Green, Red, Blue
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Green, Red, Blue, 1955
Oil on canvas
81 1/2 × 77 3/4 in. (207.01 × 197.49 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley M1977.140
© 2008 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Russian-born artist Mark Rothko became one of the leaders of the New York School’s first generation of Abstract Expressionists. Like his colleagues Newman, Still, and Gottlieb, Rothko sought to communicate deep emotion through fields of color rather than the gestural drama of Pollock, de Kooning, and Kline. By 1950, the date of this painting, Rothko had developed his compositional format of colored rectangles hovering against a framing background. Despite the unbroken opacity of the forms, their delicate edges and brushy surface generate a sense of transitory existence – of continual emergence and recession. The high-keyed works of the early 1950s gave way to increasingly dark, sonorous paintings that evoke tragedy on a grand scale. Their transcendent nobility did not prevent the artist from giving way to his own depression and ending his life in 1970.
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