This is a very fine collection and reflects more than just Rothko's colorfield paintings. There's a bit of biographical information and some nice commentary, but that isn't really the focus here. The beautiful reproductions are the real reason to purchase this book over other Rothko volumes. There are quite a few Rothko books around these days. Some have better commentary and criticism, while others have more extensive biographical information. What this Skira edition has going for it is the amazing reproductions.
I've seen a few complaints concerning the color and image quality. I'm not sure if these reviewers received, but my edition is stunning. When looking at Rothko reproduced, it's important to remember that he intensionally thinned his colors. Often when we see a Rothko reproduction, the color is too saturated - sometimes to the point that we might as well be looking at a Barnett Newman! Anyone who has had a chance to see a Rothko colorfield in all its glory will doubtlessly find this collection to be faithfully reproduced, and without enhancement.
My favorite feature of this book is the size. Naturally, it's woefully inadequate when compared to seeing one of his paintings in person, but since we don't all live near a major museum, this book will suffice. The size is large enough that the paintings begin to fill your field of vision, so long as you're holding it in front of you. With smaller reproductions, you don't get the same sense of space, and thus, you lose a great deal. This book (about one square foot) seems to strike a balance between size and affordability. Taschen will inevitably publish a massive four foot tall Rothko edition at some point, but even when they do, I sure won't be able to afford it!
If you're looking for a great collection representing each of Rothko's periods with uniformly excellent quality, this book is for you.
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I'm in my second year of PhD work at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. My primary interest is Lacanian psychoanalysis and music.
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Recently breaking the record price for post-war art at a Sotheby’s auction, Rothko’s White Centre (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose) is indicative of this artist’s tremendous and enduring legacy as a master of color. This beautifully produced, oversized monograph presents roughly 100 works (70 paintings in full-color plates and 28 drawings) from private and public collections, tracking the evolution of his signature style. The monograph begins with Rothko’s early work, focusing specifically on the delicate hues and subtle textures of his relatively small paintings on gesso board. It continues with an exploration of the stratified and chalky color that appear in his surrealist works that signal his increasing pull toward abstractionism and ends with a survey of his mature works, where all of these techniques culminate into the gradated colors in rectangular forms that would become hallmarks of his style. The portion addressing his late works is divided into three sections: a group of paintings from the early 1950s; ten paintings that were shown at the 1958 Venice Biennale; and the nucleus of the former Panza Collection. The Blackform paintings from the 1960s and the ultimate Black on Greys conclude the monograph, providing glimpses of an even more austere art at its inception, and creative horizons the artist would die before realizing. A fine selection of works on paper is also included to outline specific aspects of each period of Rothko’s ...