Painter Mark Rothko's Latvian hometown opens centre for his art

DAUGAVPILS, Latvia Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:22pm EDT

1 of 4. People attend the opening ceremony of the Mark Rothko Art Center in Daugavpils April 24, 2013. The center opened Wednesday in the artist's native town. It is considered to be a multi-functional contemporary arts complex, a cultural and educational institution, located in the former Artillery Arsenal building of the historic Daugavpils fortress, housing six original paintings by Rothko, according to the arts center.

Credit: Reuters/Ints Kalnins

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DAUGAVPILS, Latvia (Reuters) - Modernist painter Mark Rothko's hometown in Latvia devoted a new centre to the late artist's work on Wednesday.

The Mark Rothko Arts Centre opened in the eastern town of Daugavpils, the Baltic country's second biggest city, with six paintings from the private collection of the artist's daughter and son, who were present at the launch.

The exhibition is the first permanent Rothko installation in eastern Europe.

"This centre, I think, is going to become an important archive, an important resource for Rothko scholars to draw on, and also for Rothko's public," son Christopher Rothko told a news conference.

Rothko was born in 1903 in Daugavpils, when Latvia was part of the Russian Empire and the town was known as Dvinsk.

His parents emigrated to the United states when he was 10 and he later became one of the greatest American artists of the 20th century. He killed himself in 1970.

The new centre is located in the historic premises of Daugavpils fortress. The centre was mainly funded with European Union funds.

Auction house Christie's said on its website that its Rothko sale in May 2012 was a world auction record for any contemporary work of art.

(Reporting by Aija Braslina, editing by Patrick Lannin and Paul Casciato)

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