Mark Rothko was born Marcus Rothkowitz in Dvinsk, Russia (today Daugavpils, Latvia), on September 25, 1903. He was the fourth child of Jacob Rothkowitz, a pharmacist (b. 1859), and Anna Goldin Rothkowitz (b. 1870), who had married in 1886. Rothko and his family immigrated to the United States when he was ten years old, and settled in Portland, Oregon.
Rothko attended Yale University in 1921, where he studied English, French,
European history, elementary mathematics, physics, biology, economics, the history of philosophy, and general
psychology. His initial intention was to become an engineer or
an attorney. Rothko gave up his studies in the fall of 1923
and moved to New York City.