This is a view north along Twelfth Avenue beneath the Riverside Drive Viaduct. Completed in 1900, the viaduct spans the Manhattan Valley between Tiemann Place and 135th Street, connecting Harlem and Washington Heights. From late 1924 or early 1925 to the autumn of 1926, Rothko rented a room in the apartment of the Goreff family, distant relatives of his mother, at 19 West 102nd Street, less than two miles from the viaduct. The drawing was likely made during this period. Aside from eliminating a sequence of crossbeams mounted atop each of the viaduct’s twenty-six arched girders, Rothko’s drawing is an accurate document of the structure (fig. 1). Signed and matted, this is possibly the drawing that Rothko exhibited in 1933 at Contemporary Arts in New York as “no. 23, Riverside Drive.”
1. Berenice Abbott, Under the Riverside Drive Viaduct, 125th Street at 12th Avenue, Manhattan, 1937. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library.
Mark Rothko: Works on Paper will ultimately document approximately 2,600 works from public and private collections worldwide. Cataloging is ongoing, and works and information will be added to the site during the coming years.