Mark selected this particular p... more >> It's six o'clock and I'm on my way home from the gallery when I pass Mark Rothko's studio, which is just across the street from my apartment. I spontaneously ring the bell, as I have done so many times before. Mark answers the door and welcomes me in. It's always a thrill to see what new paintings might be there. Hanging on the wall is an enormous painting of dark blue and black soft rectangles floating on a deep burgundy field. I am in awe of its magnificence and I tell Mark that I'm knocked out by the painting. He laughs and tells me the following story.
Mark selected this particular painting for a collector who had been asking him for a work for some time. It was Mark's practice to select the work that he felt best suited the collector, or collection, into which it might fit. Disappointed by his choice, she rejected the painting. "Mr.Rothko," she said, "I want a happy painting, not a sad painting. A pink and red and orange and yellow painting, a joyous painting." "Pink, red, orange, and yellow," Rothko mused. "Aren't those the colors of an inferno?" She left without a painting and he didn't offer her any other work.