I stumbled upon this book and had to take it home once I found out what it was. It is the never before published or seen essays by Mark Rothko from a period of his life during his rocky first marriage to a prolific jewelry designer. (Which perhaps is why he talked against decorative arts and moved into color field paintings later in life.) His son (from his second marriage) writes the introduction and biographical background of that time in which Rothko was struggling as a painter and turned to writing as an outlet. Some of it is bitter, some of it spiritual, some deeply philosophical. I don't believe he ever intended to publish the writings, as it lay buried, well after his death, in files that a hired registrar for the family found and encouraged his son to publish. Christopher Rothko edited the writings into a readable format and separated them into a series of shorter essays. Interestingly, Rothko never addresses his own artwork, but theorizes the purpose of the artist and shares formal and insightful thoughts on painting and abstraction. Some of the essays are very moving and stirred my own struggling thoughts as a creative individual. It is a beautiful and fascinating book worth picking up.
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.