- No. 210/No. 211 (Orange) is an Abstract Expressionist painting that uses color relationships to evoke a general spiritual feeling. Rothko painted the orange in areas of varying density and transparency over the purple so that the relationship between the colors is explored in many variations.
- The painting is meant to elicit deep human emotion. Rothko was concerned throughout his career with the relationship between art and the spiritual, and how to evoke a spiritual response with a modernist visual vocabulary.
- 1960 was poised between the post-World War II era that confronted questions about humanity’s brutality and the dawning era of the Civil Rights movement; it is possible the color choices are meant to reflect that.
More to think about
Mark Rothko used relationships between colors and simple geometric shapes to create paintings meant to feel spiritual but not be attached to any specific religion. How does Rothko’s work compare with James Turrell’s Skyspace: The Way of Color?