Happy Birthday Mark Rothko!! (Marcus Rothkowitz) Russian born American contemporary artist, (1903), Rothko immigrated to the US with his family in 1913. After attending Yale on scholarship for a time, he eventually found work in the Garment District in New York City. He was visiting a friend who was a student at the Artist Students League and saw other students sketching from models. Rothko attributes this experience to where his interest in art began. His early paintings were of dark and dreary interiors, but he gradually moved toward abstraction. His most well known works are rather like enlarged Mondrian geometric studies. His canvases are quite large blocks of solid colors. He felt “art transports us to an unknown world”, and indeed it is quite easy to lose yourself in his immense canvases. The one pictured here is titled White Center (Yellow, Pink and lavender on Rose) and hit the record mark at auction in 2007, selling for $72.84 million, the most a painting has sold post-war.