Mark Rothko Quotes

Enjoy the top 52 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Mark Rothko.

Mark Rothko Quotes

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 —

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

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

There is no such thing as good painting about nothing.

— Mark Rothko

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

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

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

— Mark Rothko

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

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

— Mark Rothko

Without monsters and gods, art cannot enact a drama.

— Mark Rothko

My art is not abstract, it lives and breathes

— Mark Rothko

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