Mark Rothko Paintings

Our paintings section features all Mark Rothko canvases that we are currently aware of, organised by year. Those interested in purchasing any of these paintings as art prints to enjoy in their own homes can use the accompanying links that would take you to the Art.com Mark Rothko prints gallery. Each print can be customised to your requirements, such as choosing a frame or multiple inlay cards.

Orange, Red, Yellow

1961


Orange, Red, Yellow, 1961 by Mark Rothko

The rectangles within this painting do not extend to the edges of the canvas and appear to hover just over its surface. Heightening this sensation is the effect of chromatic afterimage.
Staring at each colored segment individually affects the perception of those adjacent to it.
The red-orange center of the painting tints the yellow above it with just a bit of green. The yellow above seems to tint the orange with blue. Despite these color relationships, Rothko did not want his pictures appreciated solely for their spectral qualities.


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Archaic Idol

1945


Archaic Idol, 1945 by Mark Rothko

During the 1940s Rothko’s imagery became increasingly symbolic. In the social climate of anxiety that dominated the late 1930s and the years of World War II, images from everyday life–however unnaturalistic–began to appear somewhat
outmoded. If art were to express the tragedy of the human condition, Rothko felt, new subjects and a new idiom had to be found.


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Black in Deep Red

1957


Black in Deep Red, 1957 by Mark Rothko

Black in Deep Red, 1957 follows the characteristic format of Mark Rothko’s work, in which stacked rectangles of color appear to float within the boundaries of the canvas. By directly staining the canvas with many thin washes
of pigment and paying particular attention to the edges where the fields interact, he achieved the effect of light radiating from the image itself. This technique suited Rothko’s metaphysical aims: to offer painting as a doorway
into purely spiritual realms, making it as immaterial and evocative as music, and to directly communicate the most essential, raw forms of human emotion.


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Black on Maroon

1958


Black on Maroon, 1958 by Mark Rothko

Black on Maroon comes from one of three series of canvases painted by Rothko in 1958-9 in response to a commission for murals for the small dining room of the Four Seasons Restaurant in
New York. The Four Seasons, one of the smartest restaurants in the city, is in the Seagram Building, a celebrated classic modern skyscraper on Park Avenue designed by Mies van der
Rohe and Philip Johnson. As he worked on the commission Rothko’s conception of the scheme became more and more sombre and he abandoned the first series as being too light in mood. He
then adopted a palette of black on maroon and dark red on maroon, and compositional structures of open, rectangular, window-like forms, rather than his usual arrangement of uniform
rectangular patches, used for the first series. He later said ‘After I had been at work for some time I realised that I was much influenced subconsciously by Michelangelo’s walls in
the staircase room of the Medicean Library in Florence.


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Blue, Green, and Brown

1952


Blue, Green, and Brown, 1952 by Mark Rothko

In these paintings, color and structure are inseparable: the forms themselves consist of color alone, and their translucency establishes a layered depth that complements and vastly enriches the vertical architecture of the composition.
Variations in saturation and tone as well as hue evoke an elusive yet almost palpable realm of shallow space. Color, structure, and space combine to create a unique presence. In this respect, Rothko stated that the large scale of these
canvases was intended to contain or envelop the viewer–not to be “grandiose,” but “intimate and human.”


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No.9 (Dark over Light Earth)

1954


No.9 (Dark over Light Earth), 1954 by Mark Rothko

No.9 (Dark over Light Earth), 1954, was large scale, with an open structure and thin layers of color combine to convey the impression of a shallow pictorial space. Color, for which Rothko’s work is perhaps most
celebrated, here attains an unprecedented luminosity.


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Four Darks in Red

1958


Four Darks in Red, 1958 by Mark Rothko

Four Darks in Red shows Mark Rothko’s often used axis of black, brown and red, which is in a number of his easel paintings and in the mural projects for the Seagram Building and the
Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas.
The red field against which the four dark forms float is first tinged with crimson, then with orange, then with brown. The lozenge shapes complement these shifts. The one closest to the lower
edge of the canvas is a slightly blackened crimson. Moving vertically upwards, the next is more violet. The large area of black is first shaded with blue and then with green. And finally, squeezed
in at the top of the canvas there is a thin strip of a rather nondescript, umberish brown which seems to be holding all the rest in place.


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Green and Tangerine on Red

1956


Green and Tangerine on Red, 1956 by Mark Rothko

Green and Tangerine on Red was executed in the mid-1950s, when he painted scores of large canvases. All have a similar format, but vary widely in mood, depending upon their color and internal proportions. Rothko resisted
being labeled a “Color Field painter,” insisting that his art concerned the distillation of human experience, both tragic and ecstatic, to its purest form. His goal was to abandon any visual obstacles detracting from the central
idea. Rothko’s paintings, heavy with implied content and emotional impact, ventured beyond abstract representation to embody the drama of humanity.


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Magenta, Black, Green on Orange

1950


Magenta, Black, Green on Orange, 1950

By early 1949 Mark Rothko’s “multiforms” developed into the signature style; Rothko exhibited these new works at the Betty Parsons Gallery. For critic Harold Rosenberg, the paintings were nothing short of a revelation. Rothko had, after
painting his first “multiform,” secluded himself to his home in East Hampton on Long Island. He invited only a select few, including Rosenberg, to view the new paintings. The discovery of his definitive form came at a period of great
distress to the artist; his mother Kate died in October 1948.


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No. 13 (White, Red, on Yellow)

1958


No. 13 (White, Red, on Yellow), 1958

Rothko’s signature compositions after 1950, and for the rest of his career, consisted of three or four horizontal bands of color. Works like No. 13 (White, Red, on Yellow) epitomized what he said was “the simple expression of the
complex thought.” The simplification of means and structure was not a formal exercise, but a vehicle through which to experience powerful, unverbalized emotion and revelation.


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Number 14

1960


Number 14, 1960 by Mark Rothko

One of the central figures of the New York School, Mark Rothko is best known for his mature idiom, seen in his paintings of large-scale compositions comprising stacked, hovering rectangular fields of luminous color. Rothko
emphatically rejected the reading of his work in merely formal, aesthetic terms, insisting that he was “not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else.” Rather, he used abstract means to express “basic human
emotions – tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on,” earnestly striving to create an art of awe-inspiring intensity for a secular world. Those viewers who broke down and wept before his paintings, he stated, had “the same religious
experience I had when I painted them.”


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No. 16 (Red, Brown, and Black)

1958


No. 16 (Red, Brown, and Black) by Mark Rothko

The scale and surface of this painting reflect these ideas. Rothko abandoned traditional Renaissance three-point perspective, which conceives of the canvas as a window onto another world. Multiple glazes of pigments of
varying colors and opacity make the picture’s surface feel flat, yet it quivers and vibrates, offering a sense of atmospheric depth. Rothko hoped that these compositional strategies would invite visual and emotional contemplation
on the part of the viewer, creating the conditions for silence and reflection.


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No.5/No.22

1950


No.5/No.22, 1950 by Mark Rothko

The rectangles within this painting do not extend to the edges of the canvas and appear to hover just over its surface. Heightening this sensation is the effect of chromatic afterimage.
Staring at each colored segment individually affects the perception of those adjacent to it. The red-orange center of the painting tints the yellow above it with just a bit of green.
The yellow above seems to tint the orange with blue.


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Number 61

1953


Number 61, 1953 by Mark Rothko

Rothko wanted to lend his pictures what he called an “inner light,” a quality of luminosity that suggested vivid depths – one might also compare the experience of contemplating one of his works to staring tinto a fire. This, he
hoped, would encourage an experience for the viewer not unlike that of an encounter with another human being. Although the proper context for this idea is Abstract Expressionism, it is thought that Rothko may have borrowed the
phrase from a contemporary book on the techniques of the Old Masters.


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Orange and Tan

1954


Orange and Tan, 1954 by Mark Rothko

His classic paintings of the 1950s are characterized by expanding dimensions and an increasingly simplified use of form, brilliant hues, and broad, thin washes of color. In his large floating rectangles of color, which seem to
engulf the spectator, he explored with a rare mastery of nuance the expressive potential of color contrasts and modulations.


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Orange and Yellow

1956


Orange and Yellow, 1956 by Mark Rothko

Orange and Yellow reflects Mark Rothko’s mature style, in which two or three rectangles are set within a background that surrounds them all, but divides them gently from one another. The edges of the rectangles are never
distinct, avoiding an optical break and allowing viewers’ eyes to move quietly from other area to another in a contemplative way.


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Orange, Red, Yellow

1961


Orange, Red, Yellow, 1961 by Mark Rothko

The rectangles within this painting do not extend to the edges of the canvas and appear to hover just over its surface. Heightening this sensation is the effect of chromatic afterimage.
Staring at each colored segment individually affects the perception of those adjacent to it. The red-orange center of the painting tints the yellow above it with just a bit of green.
The yellow above seems to tint the orange with blue. Despite these color relationships, Rothko did not want his pictures appreciated solely for their spectral qualities.


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Red on Maroon Mural

1959


Red on Maroon Mural, 1959 by Mark Rothko

Rothko’s work began to darken dramatically during the late 1950s. This development is related to his work on a mural commission for the Four Seasons restaurant, located in the Seagram Building in New York City. Here Rothko turned to a
palette of red, maroon, brown, and black. The artist eventually withdrew from this project, due to misgivings about the restaurant as a proper setting for his work. He had, however, already produced a number of studies and finished
canvases, two of which are included in the present installation.


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Rothko Chapel

1964-1967


Rothko Chapel, 1964-1967 by Mark Rothko

The Rothko Chapel is a non-denominational chapel in Houston, Texas founded by John and Dominique de Menil and opened in 1971. The interior serves not only as a chapel, but also as a major work of modern art. On its walls are fourteen black but color hued paintings by Mark Rothko. The shape of the building, an octagon inscribed in a Greek cross, and the design of the chapel was largely influenced by the artist. Susan J. Barnes states “The Rothko Chapel…became the world’s first broadly ecumenical center, a holy place open to all religions and belonging to none. It became a center for international cultural, religious, and philosophical exchanges, for colloquia and performances. And it became a place of private prayer for individuals of all faiths”.


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Slow Swirl by the Edge of the Sea

1944


Slow Swirl by the Edge of the Sea, 1944 by Mark Rothko

Painted during his courtship with his second wife, it is likely that Slow Swirl by the Edge of Sea represents Rothko and Mell. The work was initially acquired by the San Francisco Museum of Fine Art but was traded back to Rothko
and hung in the family’s East 95th Street townhouse from 1961 until Mell’s death in 1970. Thr gyrating, swirling figures are reminiscent of the graceful calligraphic drawings of Masson and Matta.


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Tentacles of Memory

1946


Tentacles of Memory, 1946-1946 by Mark Rothko

In the late 1930s Rothko and Gottlieb adapted Avery’s method of using different registers to structure the composition in a series of paintings that incorporated mythic symbols and archetypal figures drawn from Surrealism, the
Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung’s theories of the collective unconscious, and primitive and archaic art. Rothko also found inspiration in literary and philosophical texts ranging from ancient Greek tragedy to Friedrich Nietzsche’s
Die Geburt der Tragodie aus dem Geiste der Musik
(The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music, 1872). Tentacles of Memory, exemplifies this period in Rothko’s development, and echoes Rothko’s 1945 statement: “…our paintings, like all myths, combine shreds of reality with what is considered ‘unreal’ and insist upon the validity of the merger…”


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Untitled

1947


Untitled, 1947 by Mark Rothko

In 1947, Mark Rothko moved away from Surrealism. In works such as Untitled (1947), Rothko replaced his earlier biomorphic imagery with a more abstracted style as he began to formulate his mature idiom.


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Untitled (Violet, Black, Orange, Yellow on White and Red)

1949


Untitled (Violet, Black, Orange, Yellow on White and Red) Mark Rothko

With paintings such as Untitled (Violet, Black, Orange, Yellow on White and Red), Mark Rothko arrived at his mature idiom. For the next 20 years he would explore the expressive potential of stacked rectangular fields of luminous
colors. Like other New York School artists, Rothko used abstract means to express universal human emotions, earnestly striving to create an art of awe-inspiring intensity for a secular world.


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Untitled, 1953

1953


Untitled, 1953 by Mark Rothko

Through his pursuit of a deeply original pictorial language, Rothko maintained a commitment to profound content. Although he rarely specified a precise interpretation for these works, he believed in their potential for metaphysical or
symbolic meaning. In a lecture at the Pratt Institute, Rothko told the audience that “small pictures since the Renaissance are like novels; large pictures are like dramas in which one participates in a direct way.”


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Untitled, 1968

1968


Untitled, 1968 by Mark Rothko

At different times during the 1950s and 1960s, Rothko produced a substantial quantity of small works on paper. It is not certain whether these are studies for larger paintings or simply smaller variations employing a similar dynamic of
form and color. Rothko had many of them mounted on panel, canvas, or board in order to simulate the presence of unframed canvases. The smaller format especially suited Rothko in 1968, when his physical activity was dramatically curtailed
by a heart ailment. Rothko continued to work predominantly on paper even after he returned to a relatively large format in 1969.


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Untitled (Brown and Gray)

1969


Untitled (Brown and Gray), 1969 by Mark Rothko

In 1969, Rothko moved to a predominantly darker palette of browns, grays, and black. As in Untitled (Brown and Gray) (1969), he reduced the composition of most of his works to only two planes surrounded by a white border, which
adds to the perception of flatness in the image. Frequently, the top mass appears heavier and darker than the bottom. The proportion of the border to the interior configuration was great concern to Rothko. In contrast to his earlier works,
in which the floating planes have both horizontal and vertical boundaries, the two planes of color in these later works meet at a line that extends across the width of the painted surface. Although the acrylics are more opaque than the oil
paint he used in his earlier paintings, the brushstroke in Untitled (Brown and Gray) appears to allow light to shine through the painted surface.


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White Center

1950


White Center, 1950 by Mark Rothko

White Center is part of Rothko’s signature multiform style: several blocks of layered, complementary colors on a large canvas. The painting is from top to bottom, a yellow horizontal rectangle, a black horizontal strip, a narrow white rectangular band and the bottom half is lavender. The top half of the rose ground is deeper in colour and the bottom half is pale. It measures 205.8 x 141 cm.


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Barnett Newman

1949


Barnett Newman by Mark Rothko 1949

Newman by Rothko 1949


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Beige, Yellow and Purple


Beige, Yellow and Purple by Mark Rothko

Beige, Yellow and Purple


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Black over Reds

1957


Black over Reds 1957 by Mark Rothko

Black over Reds 1957 by Mark Rothko


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Green and Maroon

1953


Green and Maroon by Mark Rothko 1953

Green and Maroon by Mark Rothko 1953


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Hierarchical Birds

1944


Hierarchical Birds 1944 by Mark Rothko

Hierarchical Birds


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No 3 / No 13 (Magenta, Black, Green on Orange)

1949


No 3 / No 13 (Magenta, Black, Green on Orange) by Mark Rothko

No 3 / No 13 (Magenta, Black, Green on Orange)


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No 4

1964


No 4 by Mark Rothko

No 4


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No. 14 (Horizontals, White over Darks)

1961


No. 14 (Horizontals, White over Darks) 1961 by Mark Rothko

No. 14 (Horizontals, White over Darks)


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No 1 Royal Red and Blue

1954


No 1 Royal Red and Blue by Mark Rothko 1954

No 1 Royal Red and Blue by Mark Rothko 1954


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No. 61 (Brown Blue Brown on Blue)

1953


No. 61 (Brown Blue Brown on Blue) 1953 by Mark Rothko

No. 61 (Brown Blue Brown on Blue)


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Ochre and Red on Red

1954


Ochre and Red on Red by Mark Rothko

Ochre and Red on Red


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No. 61 (Rust and Blue)

1953


No. 61 (Rust and Blue) by Mark Rothko

No. 61 (Rust and Blue)


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Orange and Yellow

1987


Orange and Yellow by Mark Rothko

Orange and Yellow


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Red Orange Orange on Red

1962


Red Orange Orange on Red by Mark Rothko

Red Orange Orange on Red


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Orange and Brown

1963


Orange and Brown by Mark Rothko

Orange and Brown


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Underground Fantasy

1940


Underground Fantasy by Mark Rothko

Underground Fantasy


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No. 37/No. 19 (Slate Blue and Brown on Plum)

1958


No. 37/No. 19 (Slate Blue and Brown on Plum) by Mark Rothko

No. 37/No. 19 (Slate Blue and Brown on Plum)


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Untitled 1958

1958


Untitled 1958 by Mark Rothko

Untitled 1958


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Untitled 1951-55

1951-55


Untitled 1951-55 by Mark Rothko

Untitled 1951-55


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White Cloud over Purple

1957


White Cloud over Purple by Mark Rothko

White Cloud over Purple


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Yellow Blue Orange

1955


Yellow Blue Orange by Mark Rothko

Yellow Blue Orange


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Untitled Purple White and Red

1953


Untitled Purple White and Red by Mark Rothko

Untitled Purple White and Red


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Yellow and Gold

1956


Yellow and Gold by Mark Rothko

Yellow and Gold


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Untitled (Green divided by Blue)

1968


Untitled (Green divided by Blue) by Mark Rothko

Untitled (Green divided by Blue)


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Untitled (Red over Brown)

1967


Untitled (Red over Brown) by Mark Rothko

Untitled (Red over Brown)


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Untitled circa 1944

1944


Untitled circa 1944 by Mark Rothko

Untitled circa 1944


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Untitled 1960

1960


Untitled 1960 by Mark Rothko

Untitled 1960


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Untitled (with Yellow, Brown and Green)

1949


Untitled (with Yellow, Brown and Green) by Mark Rothko

Untitled (with Yellow, Brown and Green)


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Untitled (Black on Grey)

1970


Untitled (Black on Grey) by Mark Rothko

Untitled (Black on Grey)


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Untitled (1945-46)

1945-46


Untitled (1945-46) by Mark Rothko

Untitled (1945-46)


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Untitled (1944-46)

1944-46


 by Mark Rothko

Untitled (1944-46)


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