18.7. linear ft. (32 boxes and 1 flat file folder).
4 audio discs (CD) : digital, mono; 4 3/4 in.
Organized in six series: I. Research files on individuals, 1913-1994; II. Research files on institutions and organizations, 1921-1992; III. Topical research files, 1903-1991; IV. Photographs and reproductions, 1900-1994; V. Book publication files, 1989-1993; VI. Audio recordings of interviews, 1985-1990.
Assembled by James Breslin as he researched and wrote Mark Rothko: a biography (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), the collection situates the Russian-born American painter and his work within broad artistic and historical contexts with particular emphasis on abstract expressionism and the New York art world from the 1920s through the 1960s. Also included in the collection are research materials regarding Dvinsk, Russia (now Daugavpils, Latvia) and Portland, Oregon, during Rothko's childhood. Among the individuals featured prominently in the collection are artists Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Clyfford Still, Adolph Gottlieb, Milton Avery, and Max Weber, and critics Dore Ashton and Katharine Kuh.
Included in the collection are audio recordings and transcripts of Breslin's interviews with approximately 100 of Rothko's surviving family, friends, and associates, including lengthy recordings of Motherwell. Other materials include correspondence, financial and legal documents, assorted printed materials, clippings, and notes. Photographic materials include slides, prints, negatives, and transparencies, predominantly reproductions of Rothko's paintings, but also personal photographs reproduced from other collections, photographs of the landscapes and landmarks of Rothko's childhood, and exterior views of his studios in New York City.
The earlier items in the collection (1900-1982) are primarily photocopied research materials, including documents from various personal and institutional archives as well as published resources. Later materials (1983-1994) consist primarily of Breslin's interviews, correspondence, and extensive notes.
Professor of English, and later chair of the Art Practice Department at the University of California, Berkeley, James Breslin published three books examining the work and lives of key figures in twentieth-century American poetry and art.
Open for use by qualified researchers, with the exception of materials related to Theodoros Stamos in boxes 32-33, which will remain sealed until 2076. Cassette recordings in boxes 25-31 are unavailable until reformatting is completed.