Mark Rothko born Markus Yakovlevich Rotkovich (September 25, 1903 – February 25, 1970), was an American painter of Russian Jewish descent. Although Rothko himself refused to adhere to any art movement, he is generally identified as an Abstract Expressionist. With Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, he is one of the most famous postwar American artists.
Mark Rothko was born in Dvinsk, Vitebsk Governorate, in the Russian Empire (today Daugavpils in Latvia). His father, Jacob (Yakov) Rothkowitz, was a pharmacist and an intellectual who initially provided his children with a secular and political, rather than religious, upbringing. In an environment where Jews were often blamed for many of the evils that befell Russia, Rothko's early childhood was plagued by fear.
Despite Jacob Rothkowitz's modest income, the family was highly educated ("We were a reading family," Rothko's sister recalled), and Rothko was able to speak Russian, Yiddish, and Hebrew. Following his father's return to the Orthodox Judaism of his own youth, Rothko, the youngest of four siblings, was sent to the cheder at the age of five, where he studied the Talmud, although his elder siblings had been educated in the public school system...
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