Writings on Art

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While the collected writings of many major 20th-century artists, including Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell, and Ad Reinhardt, have been published, Mark Rothko’s writings have only recently come to light, beginning with the critically acclaimed The Artist’s Reality: Philosophies of Art. Rothko’s other written works have yet to be brought together into a major publication. Writings on Art fills this significant void; it includes some 90 documents—including short essays, letters, statements, and lectures—written by Rothko over the course of his career. The texts are fully annotated, and a chronology of the artist’s life and work is also included.
This provocative compilation of both published and unpublished writings from 1934--69 reveals a number of things about Rothko: the importance of writing for an artist who many believed had renounced the written word; the meaning of transmission and transition that he experienced as an art teacher at the Brooklyn Jewish Center Academy; his deep concern for meditation and spirituality; and his private relationships with contemporary artists (including Newman, Motherwell, and Clyfford Still) as well as journalists and curators.
As was revealed in Rothko’s The Artist’s Reality, what emerges from this collection is a more detailed picture of a sophisticated, deeply knowledgeable, and philosophical artist who was also a passionate and articulate writer.
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Editorial Reviews

New York Sun
Writings on Art brings Rothko’s genius into full and more personal light.”—Lance Esplund, New York Sun

— Lance Esplund

New York Sun - Lance Esplund
Writings on Art brings Rothko’s genius into full and more personal light.”—Lance Esplund, New York Sun
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300114409
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 465,126
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (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. Miguel López-Remiro is associate director at the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum.
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Table of Contents

"New training for future artists and art lovers," 1934 1
"Scribble book," ca. 1934 4
Sketchbook, ca. 1934 14
The ten : Whitney dissenters, 1938 16
"A comparative analysis," ca. 1941 18
"The ideal teacher," ca. 1941 22
"Indigenousness," ca. 1941 25
"The satisfaction of the creative impulse," ca. 1941 28
Manuscript drafts of a letter to the editor by Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb, 1943 30
Rothko and Gottlieb's letter to the editor, 1943 35
"The portrait and the modern artist," by Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb, 1943 37
Comments on The omen of the eagle, 1943 41
Brief autobiography, ca. 1945 42
Letter to Emily Genauer, 1945 43
"I adhere to the reality of things," 1945 44
Personal statement, 1945 45
Letter to the editor, 1945 46
Letter to Barnett Newman, 1945 47
Introduction to First exhibition paintings : Clyfford Still, 1946 48
Letter to Barnett Newman, June 1946 49
Letter to Barnett Newman, August 1946 50
Letter to Barnett Newman, 1947 52
Letter to Herbert Ferber, 1947 53
Letter to Clay Spohn, 1947 55
"The ides of art : the attitudes of ten artists on their art and contemporaneousness," 1947 57
"The romantics were prompted," 1947 58
Letter to Clay Spohn, February 1948 60
Letter to Clay Spohn, May 1948 62
Letter to Barnett Newman, 1949 63
Letter to Clay Spohn, 1949 64
"Statement on his attitude in painting," 1949 65
Letter to Barnett Newman, April 1950 66
Letter to Barnett Newman, June 1950 68
Letter to Barnett Newman, July 1950 69
Letter to Barnett Newman, August 7, 1950 70
Letter to Barnett Newman, August 1950 72
"How to combine architecture, painting, and sculpture," 1951 74
Notes from an interview by William Seitz, 1952 75
Letter to Herbert Ferber, August 1952 80
Letter to Herbert Ferber, September 1952 82
Letter to Lloyd Goodrich, 1952 83
Notes from an interview by William Seitz, March 1953 85
Notes from an interview by William Seitz, April 1953 86
Letter to Katharine Kuh, May 1954 89
Letter to Katharine Kuh, July 14, 1954 90
Letter to Katharine Kuh, July 28, 1954 92
Letter to Katharine Kuh, ca. August 1954 94
Letter to Petronel Lukens, August 1954 95
Letter to Petronel Lukens, September 1954 96
Letter to Katharine Kuh, September 20, 1954 98
Letter to Katharine Kuh, September 25, 1954 99
Letter to Katharine Kuh, September 27, 1954 101
Letter to Katharine Kuh, October 20, 1954 102
Letter to Katharine Kuh, October 23, 1954 103
Letter to Katharine Kuh, November 1954 104
Letter to Katharine Kuh, December 1954 105
Letter to Petronel Lukens, December 1954 107
Letter to Katharine Kuh, ca. 1954 108
"Whenever one begins to speculate," ca. 1954 109
"Relation to one's own past," ca. 1954 111
"Space in painting," ca. 1954 112
Letter to Katharine Kuh, 1955 113
Letter to Herbert Ferber, July 7, 1955 114
Letter to Herbert Ferber, July 11, 1955 116
Letter to Lawrence Calcagno, 1956 118
Notes from a conversation with Selden Rodman, 1956 119
Letter to Herbert Ferber, 1957 121
Letter to Rosalind Irvine, 1957 123
Letter to the editor, 1957 124
Address to Pratt Institute, 1958 125
Letter to Ida Kohlmeyer, ca. 1958 129
John Fischer, "The easy chair : Mark Rothko, portrait of the artist as an angry man," 1970 130
Letter to Herbert Ferber and Bernard Reis, 1959 139
Letter to Elise Asher and Stanley Kunitz, 1959 141
Letter to Milton Avery, 1960 142
Notecards, ca. 1950-1960 143
Letter to the Whitechapel Gallery, 1961 145
"A talk with Mark Rothko," 1961 147
Letter to Herbert Ferber, 1962 148
Tribute to Milton Avery, 1965 149
Letter to Bernard Reis, 1966 151
Letter to Norman Reid, 1966 152
Letter to Herbert Ferber, July 7, 1967 153
Letter to Herbert Ferber, July 19, 1967 155
Letter to Elise Asher and Stanley Kunitz, 1967 156
Acceptance of Yale University honorary doctorate, 1969 157
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2006

    Silences Broken

    Mark Rothko created some of the more spiritually radiant paintings of any artist form any ear. That his paintings were abstractions - blocks of color conjoined by a marriage of midline intercourse of pigment - makes this accomplishment something that still befuddles art critics and historians and viewers alike. Here at last, some thirty-six years after his death by suicide, editor Miguel Lopez-Remiro has gathered notes from his addresses to Pratt Institute, letters to artists and friends and curators and writers, proving that Rothko was not the silent warden of explanations about his work: he was an eloquent spokesman and writer who simply felt that words were unnecessary in people's experience of his visual statements.He wrote, `I have never thought that painting a picture has anything to so with self-expression. It is a communication about the world to someone else. After the world is convinced about this communication it changes. The world was never the same after Picasso or Miro. Theirs was a view of the world which transformed our vision of things.' Kind accolades from a man once thought to be a recluse. In response to art critics' questions he merely state 'A painting doesn't need anybody to explain what it is about. If it is any good, it speaks for itself.'Rothko's writings collected in this book demonstrate that he did indeed have the ability to discuss his mysteriously beautiful works: he also makes it clear that the communication between his paintings and the viewer should relay on the spiritual needs and vulnerabilities. These letters and essays are informative, well arranged chronologically by Lopez-Remiro, and graciously allowed to stand alone for their impact, much in the way his paintings must stand alone - usually in context with other Rothko paintings in isolated rooms with special lighting that gives the work the sense in frailty and intransigence. Highly recommended reading for those who have experience the miracle of standing before a Rothko image. Grady Harp

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2010

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