Mark Rothko (September 25, 1903 - February 25, 1970) was a painter, often classified as an abstract expressionist (although Rothko vociferously denied being an abstract painter).
He was born Mark Rothkowitz in Daugavpils (Dvinsk), Russia (now Latvia) and emigrated to the United States in 1916.
His work concentrated on basic emotions, often filling the canvas with very few intense colours, with little immediately-apparent detail. In this respect, he can also be considered to presage the color field painters (see: Helen Frankenthaler). Although respected by other artists, Rothko remained in relative obscurity until 1960, supporting himself by teaching art. In the mid 1960s Rothko collaborated with architect Philip Johnson on a church in Houston, Texas, contributing fourteen related works in an installation setting. The church has latterly become known as "The Rothko Chapel". Numerous other works are scattered in museums throughout the world.
After a long struggle with depression, Rothko committed suicide by cutting his wrists in his New York studio on February 25, 1970. Following his death the settlement of the Rothko estate became the subject of a famous court case.