Join Joseph Solman in a discussion
of Rothko and Abstract Expressionism.
August 13, 1998
August 5, 1998
Paul Solman and his father reflect on the art of Mark Rothko.
July 17, 1997
A sweeping look at history of American Art.
May 23, 1997
The Whitney Museum's biennial exhibit.
January 21, 1997
A new Pablo Picasso biography.
January 1, 1997
Paul asks the question: What is Modern Art?
Browse the Online NewsHour's coverage of Arts and Entertainment.
The National Gallery's Rothko site.
Several paintings by Joseph Solman.
Jesse Bar of Atlanta, GA asks:
What influenced Rothko's art? |
Joseph Solman responds:At that time (1930s) Regionalism was big. You had John Steuart Curry and others. These painters were very representational and direct.
Sometimes I say that in my early years I was a regionalist-- my region was east New York. But even then, all of us in New York were more expressionist.
And there were the Social Realists too-- they painted of people sleeping on park benches, the poor and hungry.
I think one of the major influences on Rothko was Milton Avery. Avery was around 10 years older and he painted broad planes of color--- not geometric like Rothko, he painted recognizable things. He painted landscapes of Vermont and Maine, he painted seascapes. In some works he emphasizes a river or lake or sky with broad colored swatches.
Rothko got more mystical. He was into myths and transcendence-- very much like Wassily Kandinsky. Kandinsky influenced his philosophy and his theories about art and the spirit. But it was Avery who showed Rothko the power of color and put him on the path towards abstractionism.
I give Rothko a lot of credit for pursuing his vision. He was not young in the 1940s when he found his stride, when he found himself and his style. He really struggled-- through abstractionism, which I didn't really relate to, to the color paintings where I think he really created something new and exciting.