Mark Rothko Toward the Light in the Chapel Annie Cohen-Solal

Series:
Jewish Lives
Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
26 Feb 2015
ISBN:
9780300182040
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
296 pages: 210 x 146 x 25mm
Illustrations:
17 b-w + 16 color illus.

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Mark Rothko was not only one of the most influential American painters of the twentieth century; he was a scholar, an educator, and a deeply spiritual human being. Born Marcus Yakovlevich Rotkovitch, he emigrated from the Russian Empire to the United States at age ten, already well educated in the Talmud and carrying with him bitter memories of the pogroms and persecutions visited upon the Jews of Latvia. Few artists have achieved success as quickly, and by the mid-twentieth century, Rothko’s artwork was being displayed in major museums throughout the world. In May 2012 his painting Orange, Red, Yellow was auctioned for nearly $87 million, setting a new Christie’s record.

Author Annie Cohen-Solal gained access to archival materials no previous biographer had seen. As a result, her book is an extraordinarily detailed portrait of Rothko the man and the artist, an uncommonly successful painter who was never comfortable with the idea of his art as a commodity.

Annie Cohen-Solal is an academic and a cultural historian who served as cultural counselor to the French Embassy in the United States. Her books include the acclaimed Sartre, 1905–1980; Painting American (Academie des Beaux Arts Prize); and Leo & His Circle: The Life of Leo Castelli (ArtCurial Prize).

“Gripping . . . meticulous . . . this novelistic account is a rewarding close-up of Rothko’s . . . experience as a Jewish immigrant.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review


"Cohen-Solal's study of Mark Rothko is notable for her ability to link his strong Jewish ties to his changing, evolving art. Her access to newly available archives enables her comprehensive portrait of the man . . . A sure hit for fans of art history, and readers looking to understand modern art and especially abstraction will find this wonderfully enlightening."—Kirkus Reviews


“Once again, Annie Cohen-Solal has done it. As with her book on Leo Castelli, she has managed to bring not only Mark Rothko, but his time, to life. This book is a grand blend of biography, cultural history, and art criticism. Rare is the scholar who can pull it off so masterfully.”—David N. Myers, Professor of Jewish History, UCLA History Department


“[A] tightly focused, profoundly clarifying biography . . . A defining and affecting tribute to a modern master.”—Booklist, starred review


‘In this moving and readable biography, Cohen-Solal tells the story of Rothko’s life through the prism of his Jewishness.’—Marcus Field, the Independent.


“It’s unlikely that many of Rothko’s admirers understand his art as he wanted it understood. . . . Annie Cohen-Solal . . . corrects our perceptions in Mark Rothko.”—National Post


“This compact study places Rothko’s development within the context of the evolution of American art in the mid-twentieth century . . . Cohen-Solal subtly demonstrates the link between Rothko’s three outsider statuses (artist, immigrant, and Jew), his color-block canvases, and his essential Americanness.”—New Yorker


"Illuminating . . . Impressively sourced . . . A sublime little volume."—Washington Times


“An admirable attempt to construct a coherent framework around what is undeniably a complicated, not to say messy, life.”—Washington Post


“Engrossing.”—Times Higher Education Supplement


"Cohen-Solal's work is well-written and well-argued, and will be of interest to anyone concerned with Rothko, modern art, American intellectual history or the politics and processes of Jewish identity and assimilation."—Cleveland Plain Dealer


"Cohen-Solal has made an important contribution with a well-researched book about Rothko's life."—New Criterion