Reviews - What do customers think about Mark Rothko, 1903-1970: Pictures as Drama (Taschen Basic Art)?
A good introduction Apr 28, 2007
If you do not want to spend a fortune and still read a good introduction to Rothko's work, this is the best choice. It covers the whole career of the artist in a text which is short and easy to read, with surprisingly good illustrations of famous or rarely seen works (many are in private collections, like the one on the cover). This is what you call good value for your money. Do not expect, though, to have a comprehensive analysis on each of the works; I would call this book "Rothko for beginners", which is, in no way, a negative opinion.
a terrific little bargain Aug 7, 2003
There are many larger, fatter and even better books on Rothko, but this little volume is pretty solid. At ten bucks, you shouldn't even wait for the second thought: it's a sure thing. It includes a wealth of color reproductions, and frankly their scale is surprisingly generous for a book of modest dimensions. Some are as large as the repros in all but the largest-format Rothko books. Taschen has wisely chosen to devote a full, text-less page to most of the canvases reprinted here, and the photography is fine and sensitive. Good quality photos like these reveal nuances that make the photos effectively "larger".
The text covers Rothko's life and analyzes his thought, innovations and development through abundant quotations and sound analysis. There's unusually full exploration of his early work, and a good chapter on his symbolist-surrealist myth-paintings (though I miss seing "Slow Swirl by the Edge of the Sea.") The book also includes a few works by other artists where appropriate (as in the reprint of a Matisse painting that Rothko answered with his "Hommage to Matisse"). It's a complete yet efficient book, as are most of the titles in this series.
My sole important reservation about the book concerns the minimal coverage of the essential "multiform" period of Rothko's work--only three or so examples appear here. That's an important failing, but not enough to dull my overall enthusiasm.