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No. 16Enlarge image

No. 16, 1957

Mark Rothko
Russian, American, 1903 - 1970
oil on canvas
265.5 x 293 cm
Purchased 1993
National Gallery of Canada (no. 36856)
© 2013 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / SODRAC

Mark Rothko began making his characteristic paintings of large floating rectangles of colour ten years before he painted this work. He not only radically simplified his compositions at that time, but abandoned conventional titles in order to avoid all references to the everyday world. However, he did not propose to eliminate subject matter from his art: the immediacy of his abstract forms sought to evoke the human condition. Rothko believed that by destroying illusion, truth would be revealed.

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