The Artist’s Reality: Philosophies of Art

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9780300102536: The Artist’s Reality: Philosophies of Art

One of the most important artists of the twentieth century, Mark Rothko (1903 1970) created a new and impassioned form of abstract painting over the course of his career. Rothko also wrote a number of essays and critical reviews during his lifetime, adding his thoughtful, intelligent, and opinionated voice to the debates of the contemporary art world. Although the artist never published a book of his varied and complex views, his heirs indicate that he occasionally spoke of the existence of such a manuscript to friends and colleagues. Stored in a New York City warehouse since the artist’s death more than thirty years ago, this extraordinary manuscript, titled The Artist’s Reality, is now being published for the first time.
Probably written around 1940 41, this revelatory book discusses Rothko’s ideas on the modern art world, art history, myth, beauty, the challenges of being an artist in society, the true nature of American art,” and much more. The Artist’s Reality also includes an introduction by Christopher Rothko, the artist’s son, who describes the discovery of the manuscript and the complicated and fascinating process of bringing the manuscript to publication. The introduction is illustrated with a small selection of relevant examples of the artist’s own work as well as with reproductions of pages from the actual manuscript.
The Artist’s Reality will be a classic text for years to come, offering insight into both the work and the artistic philosophies of this great painter.

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Review:

Mark Rothko, the painter famous for his luminous abstract canvases, spent several years in the late 1930s and early '40s writing a book about the meaning of art. Edited by his son Christopher, Rothko's uncompleted manuscript, The Artist's Reality: Philosophies of Art, reveals a man struggling to make a case for the highest ideals of Western culture at a time when crass popular taste and American regionalism were conspiring against the values he held dear. During these years, Rothko worked in a melancholy Expressionist style that was just beginning to be influenced by Surrealism. The hovering rectangles of color that would put him on the modern art map were still a decade away. While this book will no doubt be important to Rothko scholars, it is a period piece, relying on a form of rhetoric and a belief system that can be exasperating to modern readers. Windy chapters on such topics as "The Integrity of the Plastic Process," studded with references to Plato and Leonardo, "truth" and "unity," are Rothko's stock in trade. He never mentions his own paintings and refers to a few other living artists only in passing. And yet--as Christopher Rothko points out in his clear-eyed and useful introduction--the process of wrestling ideas onto the page may have helped the artist find a personal means of expressing the "tragic emotionality" that he believed to be the essence of all great art. Rothko longed to discover a new, post-Christian "myth" that could express a unified outlook on life by embodying "the world of ideals." Little did he realize at the time that the resolution of his dilemma would be based on a radically new approach to handling paint and using color. —Cathy Curtis

About the Author:

Mark Rothko was born in Russia and came to the United States with his family in 1913. A major figure in New York’s Abstract Expressionist movement, he has been the subject of retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the Guggenheim Museum, and other major museums around the world. Christopher Rothko is a writer and psychologist and is actively involved in managing the Rothko legacy. He lives in New York City.

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Editorial: Yale University Press (2004)
ISBN 10: 0300102534 ISBN 13: 9780300102536
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Descripción Yale University Press, 2004. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería M0300102534

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Rothko, Mark
Editorial: Yale University Press (2004)
ISBN 10: 0300102534 ISBN 13: 9780300102536
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Mark Rothko, Christopher Rothko (Editor), Kate Prizel Rothko (Contributor)
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Rothko, Mark; Rothko, Christopher [Editor]; Rothko, Kate Prizel [Contributor];
Editorial: Yale University Press (2004)
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Descripción Yale University Press, 2004. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Hardcover and dust jacket. Good binding and cover. Clean, unmarked pages. Ships daily. Nº de ref. de la librería 1601300058

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