From Diane Waldman's book Mark Rothko, 1903-1970: A Retrospective:
"Though Rothko limited his forms and restricted his number of colors, his intention was to enhance rather than reduce the expressive possibilities of his painting. To suggest multiple levels of meaning he had first to strip away extraneous detail, just as Surrealist poets and painters divested the object of conventional associations. Once this purification has taken place and imagery has been renovated, the viewer is permitted new kinds of associations, in Apollinaire's words, 'numerous interpretations that sometimes contradict each other.' In these often contradictory layers of interpretation, Rothko expresses rich content. Formal reductivism thus gave rise to expanded meaning for Rothko as for other artists of his generation" (59).