A green sofa as well as a green armchair like the one in this watercolor, appear in several works on paper and canvas made at Rothko’s Brooklyn apartment (1000 Park Place), where he and his wife lived from the fall of 1933 to late 1935. Signed, matted, and inscribed with a title and a price, Portrait must have been offered for sale at some point by Rothko, though it remained in his possession at his death. It is possible that it was available for sale during one of the group exhibitions in which the artist was included in 1934; it does not appear on any known checklists, but additional works were occasionally available for potential buyers’ perusal during exhibitions at Contemporary Arts in New York. The number assigned during Rothko’s inventory of 1968/1969 and inscribed on the work’s verso erroneously signifies a creation date of 1925–1927.
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.