Mark Rothko, No. 9,1948, National Gallery of Art, Gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc., 1986.43.143

For him, eschewing representation permitted greater clarity, "the elimination of all obstacles between the painter and the idea and between the idea and the observer." As examples of such obstacles, Rothko gave "memory, history, or geometry, which are swamps of generalization from which one might pull out parodies of ideas (which are ghosts) but never an idea in itself. To achieve this clarity is, inevitably, to be understood."


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