Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko

by James E. B. Breslin
     
 

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A book of heroic dimensions, this is the first full-length biography of one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century—a man as fascinating, difficult, and compelling as the paintings he produced. Drawing on exclusive access to Mark Rothko's personal papers and over one hundred interviews with artists, patrons, and dealers, James Breslin tells the story

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Overview

A book of heroic dimensions, this is the first full-length biography of one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century—a man as fascinating, difficult, and compelling as the paintings he produced. Drawing on exclusive access to Mark Rothko's personal papers and over one hundred interviews with artists, patrons, and dealers, James Breslin tells the story of a life in art—the personal costs and professional triumphs, the convergence of genius and ego, the clash of culture and commerce. Breslin offers us not only an enticing look at Rothko as a person, but delivers a lush, in-depth portrait of the New York art scene of the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s—the world of Abstract Expressionism, of Pollock, Rothko, de Kooning, and Klein, which would influence artists for generations to come.

"In Breslin, Rothko has the ideal biographer—thorough but never tedious, a good storyteller with an ear for the spoken word, fond but not fawning, and possessed of a most rare ability to comment on non-representational art without sounding preposterous."—Robert Kiely, Boston Book Review

"Breslin impressively recreates Mark Rothko's troubled nature, his tormented life, and his disturbing canvases. . . . The artist's paintings become almost tangible within Breslin's pages, and Rothko himself emerges as an alarming physical force."—Robert Warde, Hungry Mind Review

"This remains beyond question the finest biography so far devoted to an artist of the New York School."-Arthur C. Danto, Boston Sunday Globe

"Clearly written, full of intelligent insights, and thorough."—Hayden Herrera, Art in America

"Breslin spent seven years working on this book, and he has definitely done his homework."-Nancy M. Barnes, Boston Phoenix

"He's made the tragedy of his subject's life the more poignant."—Eric Gibson, The New Criterion

"Mr. Breslin's book is, in my opinion, the best life of an American painter that has yet been written . . . a biographical classic. It is painstakingly researched, fluently written and unfailingly intelligent in tracing the tragic course of its subject's tormented character."—Hilton Kramer, New York Times Book Review, front page review

James E. B. Breslin (1936-1996) was professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of From Modern to Contemporary: American Poetry, 1945-1965 and William Carlos Williams: An American Artist.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times

“Mr. Breslin’s book is, in my opinion, the best life of an American painter that has yet been written. . . . A biographical classic. It is painstakingly researched, fluently written and unfailingly intelligent in tracing the tragic course of its subject’s tormented character.”—Hilton Kramer, New York Times Book Review

New Criterion

“He’s made the tragedy of his subject’s life the more poignant.”— New Criterion

Boston Globe

“This remains beyond question the finest biography so far devoted to an artist of the New York School.”—Boston Sunday Globe

New York Times - Hilton Kramer

“Mr. Breslin’s book is, in my opinion, the best life of an American painter that has yet been written. . . . A biographical classic. It is painstakingly researched, fluently written and unfailingly intelligent in tracing the tragic course of its subject’s tormented character.”—Hilton Kramer, New York Times Book Review

 

Chicago Reader - Ed Gero

“Historically, [Mark Rothko] is a rich work that beautifully sets out the New York art scene of the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s, giving a palpable sense of this complex, conflicted artistic genius and monumental ego, his colleagues and his period.”—Ed Gero, Chicago Reader

 

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A hefty, bear-like man with voracious appetites, an alcoholic who withdrew into isolation and took his own life, Mark Rothko (1903-1970) made paintings that transformed despair into transcendent beauty. Breslin's biography, a splendid achievement, exorcises Rothko's private demons and explores how he invented a modern art which enacted his inner drama. Born Marcus Rothkowitz in Russia, raised in Portland, Oregon, from age 10, the painter launched an iconoclastic underground newspaper at Yale, became a ``self-made proletarian'' in the Depression, and progressed from expressionist urban moodscapes to surreal mythic pictures to the free-floating stacked rectangles that are his trademark. A melancholy man who never felt fully at home in his adopted country, Rothko festered with indignation as an outsider, but once he achieved fame and insider status, he felt corrupted and doomed by it, according to Breslin, a UC-Berkeley Enlgish professor and biographer of William Carlos Williams. Illustrated. (Nov.)
Arthur C. Danto
"Engagingly written and brilliantly researched... This remains beyond question the finest biography so far devoted to an artist of the New York School." -- Boston Sunday Globe

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226074061
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
05/22/2012
Edition description:
1
Pages:
764
Sales rank:
579,169
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.38(h) x 1.90(d)

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