Rothko: The Color Field Paintings (Chronicle, $40) is a tribute to one of the greatest periods by a single painter in art history. Mark Rothko (1903-1970), one of the leading Abstract Expressionists, pioneered the large, flat fields of solid color that Clement Greenberg dubbed “color field painting.” He worked his way toward them throughout the 1940s, and by 1949 had “arrived,” as his son, Christopher Rothko, says in the Foreword. The artist pursued color fields for the rest of his life, arranging two, three, and four color rectangles in dramatic and shimmering patterns that establish kinetic relationships between the viewer and the canvas. Presenting fifty of Rothko’s iconic paintings in chronological order, this book allows you to watch the artist develop his style and discover what the colors and rectangles could do; you can see the shades deepen, and darken. The volume also allows you to savor the full, luminous power of each composition, giving you the images one by one, with plenty of white space for the colors to breathe. Janet Bishop, curator of painting and sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, provides a commentary on Rothko’s legacy.
Rothko: The Color Field Paintings - Janet Bishop