In 1956, Mark Rothko is exploring color through his Color Field painting and he paints Yellow over Purple. For him, art was a profound form of communication that went beyond color. He declared “I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions (…) And the fact that a lot of people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions….If you…are moved only by their color relationships, then you miss the point.
The collector Duncan Philips acquired several paintings by Rothko to create a room dedicated to the artist in his collection. He said “What we recall are not memories but old emotions”.
His friends Milton Avery and Adoph Gottlieb support him and the comment of Gottlieb is based on his quote “I use color in terms of emotional quality, as a vehicle for feeling.. feeling is everything I have experience or thought."
The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, 2004
Observer, The Summer of ’57 With Milton Avery, Gottlieb, Rothko, May 2002
The Phillips collection
Rothko and emotions, 2019, Acrylic on canvas, 14" x 11" (36 x 28 cm)