Mark Rothko

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Mark Rothko, born Marcus Rothkowitz (September 25, 1903 – February 25, 1970), was a Russian-born American painter. He is classified as an abstract expressionist, although he himself rejected this label, and even resisted classification as an "abstract painter".

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Childhood

Mark Rothko (Marcus Rothkowitz, Mark Rotkovich) was born in Dvinsk, Vitebsk Province, Russian Empire (now Daugavpils, Latvia). His father, Jacob Rothkowitz, was a pharmacist and an intellectual, who provided his children with a secular and political, rather than religious, upbringing. Unlike Jews in most cities of Czarist Russia, those in Dvinsk had been spared from violent outbreaks of anti-Semitic pogroms. However, in an environment where Jews were often blamed for many of the evils that befell Russia, Rothko’s early childhood was plagued with fear.

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