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The Artist's Reality: Philosophies of Art

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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 ...

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The book is an enormously important art history document because, oddly, it is unsurprising. It confirms what the best critics have always seen in Rothko’s work: the desire to go beyond the historical moment, beyond the accidental detail, beyond nation or culture, even the self, to arrive at a transcendent and universal experience, to arrive at, as he puts it, the myth.”—Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times Magazine (London)
New York Sun - Lance Esplund
“[One] of the most important documents written by an Abstract Expressionist—or by an American painter.”—Lance Esplund, New York Sun
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300102536
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2004
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 7.18 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet 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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Table of Contents

Introduction
The artist's dilemma 1
Art as a natural biological function 6
Art as a form of action 9
The integrity of the plastic process 14
Art, reality, and sensuality 19
Particularization and generalization 22
Generalization since the Renaissance 30
Emotional and dramatic impressionism 34
Objective impressionism 38
Plasticity 43
Space 56
Beauty 62
Naturalism 73
Subject and subject matter 76
The myth 91
The attempted myth of today 102
Primitive civilizations' influence on modern art 105
Modern art 109
Primitivism 113
Indigenous art 117
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