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In his mature work, Rothko abandoned specific reference to nature in order to paint images with universal associations. By the late 1940s he had developed a style in which hazy, luminous rectangles float within a vertical format. Rothko wrote that the great artistic achievements of the past were pictures of the human figure alone in a moment of utter immobility. He sought to create his own version of this solitary meditative experience, scaling his pictures so that the viewer is enveloped in their subtly shifting, atmospheric surface.

July 2012