The Legacy of Mark Rothko by Lee Seldes
New York : Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1978. First Edition. Stated. Hardcover. 372 pages ; photographs ; 25 cm. $14.95 dust jacket with minimal wear. Pages are clean and unmarked. Binding is firm.
The Legacy of Mark Rothko
On February 25, 1970, Mark Rothko was found dead in his studio on East Sixty-ninth Street, partially clothed, his arms slashed. At the time of his tragic death, this distinguished pioneer of Abstract Expressionism was at the height of his fame and financial success. His paintings, which are in the collection of every major museum of modern art, were commanding between $48,000 and $60,000 apiece.
In his 1968 will, Rothko named three trusted friends as his executors. Less than three months after his death, these friends had secretly turned over control of Rothko's estate of 800 paintings to the Marlborough Galleries, the powerful international art dealers, for a fraction of their real worth.
Outraged at the betrayal of her father's trust and the crass dispersal of his life's work, Rothko's daughter, Kate, instituted suit against the executors and Marlborough. The legal battle became the longest, most complicated, and costliest in the history of art. In the course of the four-year lawsuit and the eight-month trial some of the unsavory—and illegal—machinations of the art merchandisers were exposed for the first time.
The case was decided in Kate Rothko's favor, but the decision resulted in a myriad of legal actions and appeals—and the revelations of corruption in the art trade have continued to cast a pall over museums, galleries, and private collectors around the world.
In The Legacy of Mark Rothko, Lee Seldes has traced the story of the artist's life from his immigrant childhood to his emergence as one of the great artists of the twentieth century and has explored the unanswered questions surrounding his suicide and the fate of the canvases that he left as his legacy. She has given us a unique glimpse into the world of art, disclosing the greed and deception that were to destroy Mark Rothko.
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