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Black Area in Red



The first half of the life of Mark Rothko, born Rothkowitz to a Russian Jewish family who later moved to the U. S., was marked by hardships, including the years under the Great Depression. The problems that tormented him were not only financial: In his struggle to find his own art, he went through many styles, and when at last he found it, he was already turning fifty. That original art of his is abstract painting with bands of color that reminds us of clouds hiding the sun or mists glowing from within. "Black Area in Red" is its example, and is from his mid-fifties, the period he was mature and most productive. The contrast between the red and black, and the clear tone of the black color in particular, is striking in this picture. The mysterious and meditative quality of his paintings, including this work, which quietly draws the viewer inward, gradually won him admirers internationally, and his retrospective was held at The Museum of Modern Art in New York at fifty-eight. Like many other artists who attained fame late in their lives, he continued to work energetically after the show. He suffered an aneurysm at sixty-eight, and this induced him to found the Rothko Foundation to support aged and financially distressed artists. He died of suicide the following year at his studio in New York.





Material/techniqueOil on canvas
Acquisition date1991
Accession number1992-00-0015-000
Copyright© 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko/ ARS, NY/ JASPAR, Tokyo E4823

Works of the same production year