Portland art blog + news + exhibition reviews + galleries + contemporary northwest art

recent entries

Resist: Inauguration at Una Gallery
Early February links
First Thursday Picks February 2017
Dead tree media & dead horse flogging news
Post Snowpocalypse Weekend Picks
More Disjecta'd
New Year opportunities
Monday Integrity Links
First Thursday Picks January 2017
Jason Berlin + Alanna Risse at Rainmaker
Saying goodby to 2016
Mid December Links

recent comments

categories

 

Book Review
Calls for Artists
Design Review
Essays
Interviews
News
Openings & Events
Photoblogs
Reviews
Video
Links
About PORT

regular contributors

 

Tori Abernathy
Amy Bernstein
Katherine Bovee
Emily Cappa
Patrick Collier
Arcy Douglass
Megan Driscoll
Jesse Hayward
Sarah Henderson
Jeff Jahn
Kelly Kutchko
Drew Lenihan
Victor Maldonado
Christopher Moon
Jascha Owens
Alex Rauch
Gary Wiseman

archives

 

Guest Contributors
Past Contributors
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005

contact us

 

Contact us

search

 


syndicate

 

Atom
RSS

powered by

 

Movable Type 3.16

This site is licensed under a

 

Creative Commons License

Wednesday 02.29.12

« The Infectious Corruption of Color | Main | Portland's relationship to Rothko »

History on the Kaufman Rothkowitz on display at PAM

Rothkowicz_Reed_sm.jpg

Mark Rothko
Beach Scene, ca. 1928
Oil on canvas board
14.5 x 16 in.
Reed College Art Collection
Kaufman Memorial Collection
Gift of Louis and Annette Kaufman

Mark Rothko's family emigrated from Russia to Portland in 1913. Home life was intellectually rich and Rothko was fluent in Russian, Hebrew, Yiddish, and English by the time he attended Lincoln High School with Louis Kaufman, graduating with honors in three years. In 1921 Rothko was awarded a scholarship to Yale, but found Yale elitist and conservative. In response, Rothko and fellow student Aaron Director published the satirical review The Yale Saturday Evening Pest.

Rothko withdrew from Yale his second year and moved to New York City to study art with Max Weber at the Art Students League. Weber encouraged his students to study Cezanne's depictions of light and human form. Weber's influence is evident in Rothko's painting of female bathers, likely painted on a trip with Avery.

Louis Kaufman introduced Rothko to Milton Avery at the Opportunity Gallery in New York in 1928 (the same year this beach scene was painted), where Avery was exhibiting work. Rothko and Kaufman grew up together in Portland and remained life-long friends. Louis Kaufman became a celebrated American violinist and worked extensively in the movie industry. Kaufman and his wife Annette were thoughtful, inspired collectors, buying paintings directly from artists, most of whom were quite poor and had no gallery representation. The Avery's were their closest friends, and Rothko quickly became a part of their artistic and social community. Avery introduced Rothko to Adolph Gottlieb, who had a profound influence on Rothko's art and politics.

In 1934, Gottlieb, Rothko, and painter Louis Harris (also in the Reed College Art Collection) were founding members of the artists' group "The Ten." The Ten called for an expressive, political American art in opposition to "sentimental" and "nostalgic" imagery. In a 1938 manifesto written in protest over the '38 Whitney Biennial, The Ten declared their mission to "... see objects and events as though for the first time, free from the accretion of habit and divorced from the conventions of a thousand years of painting." Both Rothko and Gottlieb revered Avery as a humble and dedicated progenitor of this vision.

The son of a tanner, Milton Avery worked full-time in factories and later as a file clerk to pay for his painting education in Hartford, Connecticut. Louis Kaufman introduced Mark Rothko to Avery in 1928, and the two quickly became close friends. Eighteen years Avery's junior, Rothko was deeply inspired by Avery's simple, colorful and emotive forms. Through Rothko, Avery soon met many other young artists such as Adolph Gottlieb, Barnett Newman, and Helen Frankenthaler, all of whom frequently visited Avery's studio to watch him paint.

For a time, Rothko and Gottlieb visited daily, and for several years Avery, Rothko, Gottlieb and their families all summered together in Provincetown. Avery liked to paint while his friends spent time in the studio. Kaufman would often play violin while Avery worked. The Kaufmans purchased the four Milton Avery paintings in the Reed College Art Collection directly from Avery.

Avery's practice was intrinsic to his everyday life. He saw painting as the primary vehicle for expressing his feelings, passions, and personal experiences, often lovingly depicting the people and places with which he felt a strong personal affinity. His dedication to developing his craft, combined with his rapid rate of output, resulted in a vast and stylistically diverse body of work. His ethos is perhaps best encapsulated by his oft-quoted phrase, "Why talk when you can paint?"

As Mark Rothko wrote for Avery's memorial service in 1965,
"Avery is first a great poet. His is the poetry of sheer loveliness,
of sheer beauty. Thanks to him this kind of poetry has been
able to survive in our time."

—Text by Stephanie Snyder, Curator, Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College, and Cooley interns Nick Irvin '13, and Zoe Stal '12


Posted by Guest on February 29, 2012 at 6:17 | Comments (0)


Comments

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


Remember me?


s p o n s o r s
Site Design: Jennifer Armbrust   •   Site Development: Philippe Blanc & Katherine Bovee