Self Portrait, 1936 by Mark Rothko

Self Portrait, 1936 by Mark Rothko
Courtesy of www.Mark-Rothko.org

In 1923, Rothko gave up his studies at Yale University and moved to New York City. There he spent hours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and attended classes at the Art Students League, briefly studying under American Cubist, Max Weber. In the late 1920s, he met the modernist painter Milton Avery, whose simplified and colorful depictions of domestic subjects had a profound influence on Rothko's early development. At this time, Rothko was particularly interested in Self-portrait by Rembrandt from the National Gallery of Art in Washington especially caught his eye and echoed in Rothko's Self-Portrait from 1936.

Rothko has deep and sustained interest in the art of the past. From his earliest visits as a student to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and his first encounters with Rembrandt, Vermeer and classical art and architecture, to his trips to Europe to see its churches, chapels and Old Master painting collections in Paris, London, Venice, Arezzo, Siena, Rome, Pompeii and Florence, Rothko dedicated himself to the study of historical art and architecture until his death by suicide in 1970.