Mark Rothko 1903 - 1970
Before he developed his signature style of painting his earlier figurative work became more surreal. http://www.moma.org/collection_images/resized/218/w500h420/CRI_159218.jpg
Later still the familiar asymmetric horizontal bands of colour start to appear http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/Collection/art-object-page.67377.html before developing into his best know images. As an artist he excelled in depicting emotion with numerous variations of colour, form, balance and composition leaving the viewer to evaluate and ascertain their own understanding.
Preferring the viewer to take their own meaning from his artwork he was reluctant to discuss his work in this context believing his paintings could "represent the fundamental nature of human drama".
He is also quoted as saying "It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academicism. There is no such thing as good painting about nothing."
Might he have said the same about a photograph? Unfortunately he committed suicide in 1970. Before he died his art took on a more sombre mood, an example is in the image above. A case of art imitating life perhaps?
Image courtesy of Bridgeman Education Libraries.