Rothko: Pictures Must Be Miraculous - Timeline

Timeline

1903
Born September 25, in Dvinsk, Russia, to Jacob Rothkowitz and Anna Goldin Rothkowitz.

1913
Emigrates with his family to Portland, Oregon.

1921
Attends Yale University for two years.

1923
Moves to New York City. Begins classes at the Art Students League.

Late 1920s
Develops a friendship with Milton Avery who becomes a mentor.

1929
He begins teaching children at the Center Academy of the Brooklyn Jewish Center. Rothko continues teaching here for 20+ years.

1933
Given his first one-person show at the Museum of Art in Portland, Oregon.

1935
Joins with Adolph Gottlieb, Ilya Bolotowsky and others to form The Ten. They exhibit together eight times between 1935 and 1939.

1940s
Rothko’s work becomes more abstract and symbolic. He creates a series of paintings based on Greek myth.

1943
Rothko, Gottlieb and Barnett Newman write a letter to the New York Times, spelling out their take on modern painting. The Times publishes the letter in full.

1947
Rothko’s work moves fully into the abstract, beginning a series of paintings that become known as the Multiforms.

1949
Rothko begins what is now known as his classic paintings, featuring floating rectangles on a colored background.

1958
He accepts a commission to create seven murals for the Four Seasons Restaurant in the new Seagram’s Building in New York. His palette darkens significantly.

1959
Rothko withdraws from the Seagram commission, objecting to the commercial nature of the setting.

1964
The de Menil Family commissions Rothko to create murals for a chapel on the University of St. Thomas campus in Houston.

1968
Rothko has an aortic aneurysm, severely limiting his ability to paint.

1969-70
Rothko creates a new series of black and gray paintings and a series of compositions in pastel pink and blue shades.

1970
On February 25, 1970, Rothko takes his own life at his studio in New York.

Premieres nationwide Friday, October 25 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/americanmasters and the PBS Video app