Born in Russia as Marcus Rothkowitz in 1903, Mark Rothko came to be after emigrating to the US and later enrolling at the Parsons New School for Design. His signature abstract style did not develop until after WWII when he began to use regions of color to express the tragedy of war and elicit an emotional response from the viewer. Rothko himself described his rectangular fields of color and light paintings as possessing a more organic structure and as self-contained units of human expression. For him, these blurred blocks of various colors, devoid of landscape or the human figure, possessed their own life force. They contained a “breath of life” he found lacking in most figurative painting of the era.