Famous Quotes & Sayings

Mark Rothko Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 56 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Mark Rothko.

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Mark Rothko Quotes 1157781

That is why we profess a spiritual kinship with primitive and archaic art. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 1603059

It is the poet and philosopher who provide the community of objectives in which the artist participates. Their chief preoccupation, like the artist, is the expression in concrete form of their notions of reality. Like him, they deal with the verities of time and space, life and death, and the heights of exaltation as well as the depths of despair. The preoccupation with these eternal problems creates a common ground which transcends the disparity in the means used to achieve them. — Mark Rothko

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We assert that the subject is crucial and only that subject matter is valid which is tragic and timeless. — Mark Rothko

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To me art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can be explored only by those willing to take the risk. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 1332866

We favor the simple expression of the complex thought. We are for the large shape because it has the impact of the unequivocal. We wish to reassert the picture plane. We are for flat forms because they destroy illusion and reveal truth. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 1203330

The fact that people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions.. the people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when painting them. And if you say you are moved only by their color relationships then you miss the point. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 1332725

This would be a distortion of their meaning, since the pictures are intimate and intense, and are the opposite of what is decorative; and have been painted in a scale of normal living rather than an institutional scale. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 651363

This world of the imagination is fancy-free and violently opposed to common sense. — Mark Rothko

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There is only one thing I fear in life, my friend: One day, the black will swallow the red. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 989237

Therefore we can posit this generalization: That a painting is the representation of the artist's notion of reality in the terms of the plastic elements. The creation of a plastic unit reduces all the phenomena of the time to a unity of sensuality and thereby relates the subjective and objective in its relevance to man. Art therefore is a generalization. The use of the plastic elements to any other ends, which are most usually particularizations and descriptions of appearances, or which serve the stimulation of separate senses, are not in the category of art and must be classified in the category of applied arts. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 1556539

The most interesting painting is one that expresses more of what one thinks than of what one sees — Mark Rothko

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Without monsters and gods, art cannot enact a drama. — Mark Rothko

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Many of those who are driven to this life are desperately searching for those pockets of silence where we can root and grow. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 1318053

With us the disguise must be complete. The familiar identity of things has to be pulverized in order to destroy the finite associations with which our society increasingly enshrouds every aspect of our environment. — Mark Rothko

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And last, it may be worthwhile trying to hang something beyond the partial wall because some of the pictures do very well in a confined space. — Mark Rothko

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(I am) dealing not with the particular anecdote, but rather with the Spirit of Myth, which is generic to all myths at all times. — Mark Rothko

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There is no such thing as good painting about nothing. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 93358

I'm not an abstractionist. I'm not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else. I'm interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 186432

I use colors that have already been experienced through the light of day and through the state of mind of the total man. In other words, my colors are not colors that are laboratory tools which are isolated from all accidentals or impurities so that they have a specified identity or purity. — Mark Rothko

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I also hang the pictures low rather than high, and particularly in the case of the largest ones, often as close to the floor as is feasible, for that is the way they are painted. — Mark Rothko

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The artist invites the spectator to take a journey within the realm of the canvas ... Without taking the journey, the spectator has really missed the essential experience of the picture. — Mark Rothko

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I do not believe that there was ever a question of being abstract or representational. It is really a matter of ending this silence and solitude, of breathing, and stretching one's arms again transcendental experiences became possible. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 359504

The abstract artist has given material existence to many unseen worlds and tempi. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 410570

A picture lives by companionship, expanding and quickening in the eyes of the sensitive observer. It dies by the same token. It is therefore risky to send it out into the world. How often it must be impaired by the eyes of the unfeeling and the cruelty of the impotent. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 413738

There is more power in telling little than in telling all. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 423940

When I was a younger man, art was a lonely thing. No galleries, no collectors, no critics, no money. Yet, it was a golden age, for we all had nothing to lose and a vision to gain. Today it is not quite the same. It is a time of tons of verbiage, activity, consumption. Which condition is better for the world at large I shall not venture to discuss. But I do know, that many of those who are driven to this life are desperately searching for those pockets of silence where we can root and grow. We must all hope we find them. — Mark Rothko

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I would like to say to those who think of my pictures as serene, whether in friendship or mere observation, that I have imprisoned the most utter violence in every inch of their surface. — Mark Rothko

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The romantics were prompted to seek exotic subjects and to travel to far off places. They failed to realize that, though the transcendental must involve the strange and unfamiliar, not everything strange or unfamiliar is transcendental. — Mark Rothko

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If you are only moved by color relationships, you are missing the point. I am interested in expressing the big emotions - tragedy, ecstasy, doom. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 568356

I will say without reservations that from my point of view there can be no abstractions. Any shape or area that has not the pulsating concreteness of real flesh and bones, its vulnerability to pleasure or pain is nothing at all. Any picture that does not provide the environment in which the breath of life can be drawn does not interest me. — Mark Rothko

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If our titles recall the known myths of antiquity, we have used them again because they are the eternal symbols upon which we must fall back to express basic psychological ideas. — Mark Rothko

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The picture must be ... a revelation, an unexpected and unprecedented resolution of an eternally familiar need. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 693730

Small pictures since the Renaissance are like novels; large pictures are like dramas in which one participates in a direct way. — Mark Rothko

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It is really a matter of ending this silence and solitude, of breathing and stretching one's arms again. — Mark Rothko

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The people that weep before my paintings are having the same religious experience that I had when I painted it. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 783910

You think my paintings are calm, like windows in some cathedral? You should look again. I'm the most violent of all the American painters. Behind those colours there hides the final cataclysm. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 811532

It is really one of the most serious faults which can be found with the whole conception of democracy, that its cultural function must move on the basis of the common denominator. Such a point of view indeed would make a mess of all of the values which we have developed for examining works of art. It would address one end of education in that it would consider that culture which was available to everyone, but in that achievement it would eliminate culture itself.
This is surely the death of all thought.
This quote is taken from "The Artist's Reality: Philosophies of Art" by Mark Rothko, written 1940-1 and published posthumously in 2004 by Yale University Press, pp.126-7. — Mark Rothko

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The progression of a painter's work ... will be toward clarity; toward the elimination of all obstacles between the painter and the idea, and between the idea and the observer ... to achieve this clarity is, inevitably, to be understood. — Mark Rothko

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My art is not abstract, it lives and breathes — Mark Rothko

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A painting is not a picture of an experience, but is the experience. — Mark Rothko

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Silence is so accurate. — Mark Rothko

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Pictures must be miraculous: the instant one is completed, the intimacy between the creation and the creator is ended. — Mark Rothko

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I don't express myself in my paintings. I express my not-self. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 1192859

The myth holds us, therefore, not through its romantic flavor, not the remembrance of beauty of some bygone age, not through the possibilities of fantasy, but because it expresses to us something real and existing in ourselves, as it was to those who first stumbled upon the symbols to give them life. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 1360159

I'm interested only in expressing basic human emotions. And the fact that a lot of people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate these basic human emotions. — Mark Rothko

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Art to me is an anecdote of the spirit, and the only means of making concrete the purpose of its varied quickness and stillness. — Mark Rothko

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It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academicism. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 1613224

The reason for my painting large canvases is that I want to be intimate and human. To paint a small picture is to place yourself outside your experience, to look upon an experience as a stereopticon view or with a reducing glass. However you paint the larger picture, you are in it. It isn't something you command. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 1677975

We thus see the artist performing a dual function: first, furthering the integrity of the process of self-expression in the language of art; and secondly, protecting the organic continuity of art in relation to its own laws. For like any organic substance, art must always be in a state of flux, the tempo being slow or fast. But it must move. — Mark Rothko

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Look, it's my misery that I have to paint this kind of painting, it's your misery that you have to love it, and the price of the misery is thirteen hundred and fifty dollars. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 1861267

We are concerned with similar states of consciousness and relationship to the world ... If previous abstractions paralleled the scientific and objective preoccupations of our times, ours are finding a pictoral equivalent for man's new knowledge and consciousness of his more complex inner self. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 1875173

Art is such an action. It is a kindred form of action to idealism. They are both expressions of the same drive, and the man who fails to fulfill this urge in one form or another is as guilty of escapism as the one who fails to occupy himself with the satisfaction of bodily needs. In fact, the man who spends his entire life turning the wheels of industry so that he has neither time nor energy to occupy himself with any other needs of his human organism is by far a greater escapist than the one who developed his art. For the man who develops his art does make adjustments to his physical needs. He understands that man must have bread to live, while the other cannot understand that you cannot live by bread alone. — Mark Rothko

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the constant repetition of falsehood is more convincing than the demonstration of truth. — Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko Quotes 1896704

I am here to make you think ... I am not here to make pretty pictures! — Mark Rothko

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For, while the authority of the doctor or plumber is never questioned, everyone deems himself a good judge and an adequate arbiter of what a work of art should be and how it should be done. — Mark Rothko

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Pictures must be miraculous. — Mark Rothko