Rothko and the art apprenticeship


(I see the light, 8×8, watercolor and acrylic)

I was blown away last night by the production RED at our local Vancouver Playhouse. It is the story of the Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko at the peak of his career when he is commissioned to paint a series of murals for the prestigious Four Seasons Restaurant in New York City. An eager young protege Ken enters his life and studio and eventually comes to challenge his idol. Both actors gave riveting performances and the set design was wonderful.

Here is a clip of the time period upon which the play is based:

As I reflect on the Rothko-Ken “master-apprentice” relationship I wonder if the age-old tradition of the apprenticeship still would have value today.  I’m half-way through the brilliant 688 page The Story of Art by E.H. Gombrich which details, among many other things, this tradition, the passing on of techniques, ideas, and methods from one generation to another and wonder if I would enjoy the process of learning at the hand of a great artist.

Would you?



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