For some, Mark Rothko’s art is as unclear as mercury. The darkness of “I can also paint it” can often be heard by those standing next to their work. For others, Rothko’s vision is the culmination of creative expression. However, there is no confusion about the perception of the art market about their work. Only the last ten years, a single Rothko painting has sold nearly $ 190 million.
But like many other artists in history, he fought for his survival. The alien who was born in Russia, even after Rothko’s fame, felt the burden of financial difficulties. That was exactly what Rothko was in 1957 when he moved his studio to a building on the corner of Bowery Street / Prince Street on the Lower East Side of New York.
At that time, the neighborhood was dangerous and infected with drugs, but the studio was cheap, with high ceilings in uninhabited rectangular rooms, perfect for an artist who wanted to make great murals. That was exactly what Rothko was intended for.
The 54-year-old artist had just been instructed to paint a number of large murals on the walls of the Four Seasons Manhattan restaurant in the almost finished Seagram building. But New York is a city that has the ability to cannibalize its own history. Ca. Sixty-two years later, the fate of this almost mythical space has been seriously compromised.
It seems that almost all buildings in New York City have a remarkable history. But some are more interesting than others. And the old Rothko studio at 222 Bowery is high on the list. Although Rothko had not painted there, although he had not worked on his most famous murals in this study (a series of Peter Selz, former painter and sculptor head of MoMA, has already been described as “the celebration of a civilian death”), “The building still kept some of the most interesting, if not eccentric, people in history.
222 Bowery was built in 1884 in Romanesque style. The building was the first YMCA to be opened in New York City (a visit to the building now has a glass glass and an indoor pool in the original design basement). On the second floor, the Rothko studio still has a shower and original metal cages from the YMCA that protects the old training centers’ headlights. French painter Fernand Léger moved in 1940 (eight years after the YMCA was destroyed by the building).
The artist had escaped Europe during World War II and in New York he had discovered a new color perspective. “Neon advertising on Broadway impressed me,” he wrote. “You’re there, you’re talking to someone, and suddenly it turns blue, so the color fades, another appears and colors it red or yellow.”