In January 1925 Rothko enrolled in a life-drawing class at the Art Students League of New York taught by George B. Bridgman (1865–1943). Rothko’s rendering of the hands in this drawing jibes with Bridgman’s theorization of hands in terms of their “four primal uses: weapon, scoop, book and tongs” [George B. Bridgman, Bridgman’s Life Drawing, 3rd ed. (New York, 1928), 157]. The proper left hand of Rothko’s woman, in particular, resembles Bridgman’s illustration of his caliperlike hand tongs (fig. 1).
1. “The Hand Tongs,” from Bridgman’s Life Drawing, 157.
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.