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Case Summary

In the Matter of the Estate of Mark Rothko

In the Matter of the Estate of Mark Rothko, 379 N.Y.S.2d 923 (N.Y. Sur. Ct. 1975), modified, 392 N.Y.S.2d 870 (N.Y. App. Div. 1977), aff’d, 372 N.E.2d 291 (N.Y. 1977), further proceedings at 407 N.Y.S.2d 954 (N.Y. Sur. Ct. 1978).

In the Matter of the Estate of Mark Rothko lasted seven years and involved the Will of one of the most prominent American Abstract Expressionist artists of the twentieth century, Mark Rothko, who died by suicide in 1970.  Although in essence an inheritance dispute initiated by Rothko’s two children who were dissatisfied with their share of the Estate under the Will, the case is remembered because of the issues of self-dealing, conflict of interest, and breach of 

fiduciary duty on the part of Rothko’s chosen executors – Bernard Reis, Morton Levine, and Theodoros Stamos – that were raised at trial.

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