“The journey to understand the painting is also the journey to understand Rothko, because the work is so thoroughly suffused with the man.”—Christopher Rothko
Mark Rothko (1903–1970), world-renowned icon of Abstract Expressionism, is rediscovered in this wholly original examination of his art and life written by his son. Synthesizing rigorous critique with personal anecdotes, Christopher, the younger of the artist’s two children, offers a unique perspective on this modern master.
Christopher Rothko draws on an intimate knowledge of the artworks to present eighteen essays that look closely at the paintings and explore the ways in which they foster a profound connection between viewer and artist through form, color, and scale. The prominent commissions for the Rothko Chapel in Houston and the Seagram Building murals in New York receive extended treatment, as do many of the lesser-known and underappreciated aspects of Rothko’s oeuvre, including reassessments of his late dark canvases and his formidable body of works on paper. The author also discusses the artist’s writings of the 1930s and 1940s, the significance of music to the artist, and our enduring struggles with visual abstraction in the contemporary era. Finally, Christopher Rothko writes movingly about his role as the artist’s son, his commonalities with his father, and the terms of the relationship they forged during the writer’s childhood.
Mark Rothko: From the Inside Out is a thoughtful reexamination of the legendary artist, serving as a passionate introduction for readers new to his work and offering a fresh perspective to those who know it well.
About the Author
Christopher Rothko, a writer and psychologist, chairs the Board of Directors of the Rothko Chapel, Houston, and is actively involved in managing the Rothko legacy by organizing and presenting exhibitions of his father’s work around the globe.
“Not since Jean Renoir’s biography, ‘Renoir, My Father,’ have we been granted such a personal, impassioned and engaging familial portrait of an artist. Combining memoir, biography, art treatise, criticism and psychology, Mr. Rothko addresses myriad aspects of his father’s life and work, and especially people’s misinterpretations. This book is as important for its insights into Mark Rothko as it is for its fervent argument that an artist’s art comes first and must speak for itself.”—Lance Esplund, Wall Street Journal (Holiday Gift Book selection)
"[An] unusually personal and insightful melding of memoir and art criticism . . . a privileged, and fascinating, angle of vision."—Kirkus Reviews
"Christopher Rothko takes the dark myths head on with humor and insight and sheds new light on the man and his art . . . show[s] us new paths to his father’s work . . . [in] artful, accessible prose. . . . [This] may be the finest book on Rothko I’ve ever read."—Bob Duggan, Big Think
"[Christopher Rothko’s] collection of linked essays serves as a down-to-earth guide to (and guardian of) his father’s oeuvre. . . . [and] as an affectionate and refreshing introduction."—Lincoln Perry, American Scholar
"An honest appreciation full of insight and earnestness . . . Christopher Rothko has written a passionate, persuasive defense of the greatness of his father’s art."—Arlice Davenport, Wichita Eagle