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A contrast worth billions


In our previous blog post, we were talking about the importance of using certain colors, color theory and color psychology, as well as why some color combinations are more pleasant to the eye. Today, we will explore one of recent history's most famous example of how colors are used to communicate within an art piece.

 

A painting we are referring to is, of course, Mark Rothko's "Untitled (Yellow and Blue)", a piece of art which value reached $46.5 million at Sotheby's auction in New York. Painted in 1954, this art piece is called "unequivocal masterpiece" by Sotheby auction house.

 


“Untitled, (Yellow and Blue)”, by Mark Rothko as found on http://news.bitofnews.com/rothko-painting-yellow-and-blue-sold-for-46-5-million/

 

Significance of the work of Mark Rothko is his astonishing understanding of colors, beauty of the contrasts he used, as well as gradient of colors in his paintings. "Yellow and Blue" is particularly interesting for us, as it is a perfect example of the effect a good color complement achieves in the eye of the viewer, and remember the previous article - Marge Simpson and Joy (Inside Out) - their skin colors with the colors of their hair balances their characters and gives them visual personality.

 

Through oil paint on canvas, one could say Mark was speaking about his philosophy and psychology of his method. So, for "Yellow and Blue", we can now picture a character that he would describe, a personality. Given how yellow is the dominant, energetic color, blue is contributing to the painting by balancing it out, but not taking over anything that yellow was meant to tell us.

 

An example of gradient he used in his work - his "Orange, red, yellow" - has been sold for $86.9 million, which was the highest price ever for a piece for contemporary art. This piece, painted in 1961, shows the artists deep understanding of color meanings. Looking at the composition of the work, you can feel variety of emotions, just as you do when you look at the setting sun, which shades exactly he used for this piece of art.

 


Rothko's "Orange, red, yellow" as found on Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Orange,_Red,_Yellow.jpg

 

This famous and very expensive contemporary artist ended his life in 1970. His work has been auctioned and sold for billions of dollars years after his death. He is now labeled as one of the most successful artist of the 20th century, and maybe one of the artists who explained best the color philosophy. His communication is purely explained through colors, shapes are there to support the expression of shades and they are not interfering with the whole composition. A true color lover, we could say.

 

About the author

Nina Petrov is an activist, poet, performer and mathematician. She communicates with the world mostly through words, movement and equations, but sometimes also by speaking very loudly. The only truth she could say about herself is that she keeps changing every day, never stops learning and interacting with her surroundings.


2 Comments
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 Comments
I am understanding these color 'matches' so much more with these articles! Thank you!
I was intrigued by this text to read more about Rothko's work.

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