ART HISTORY ABRIDGED
Mark Rothko, born Marcus Rothkowitz in Russia of 1903, initially intended to become an engineer or lawyer, but instead moved to New York City and studied at the Art Students League. Following World War II, the art of the period increasingly shifted to depict the tragedies of the human condition, and Rothko felt that most figures could not serve his intended purposes without mutilation or abstraction. As a result, all references to the physical world disappeared within Rothko’s work in the 1940’s and sections of deliberately applied colors became the focus of his paintings. The liquified paint medium soaked the canvas, leaving behind a soft, indistinct edge to each geometric form — a form that Rothko utilized to convey a multitude of emotional states.