While at Lincoln High School in Portland, Oregon, Rothko was friends with Augusta Kirshner (1908–2005), who later moved to New York City where she studied and danced with Martha Graham [Daily Argus (Mount Vernon, NY), September 9, 1940]. For most of the 1930s, she taught dance at the Young Women’s Hebrew Association (YWHA) of Mount Vernon, New York. Rothko taught art classes to children and adults at the same YWHA in 1930 and 1931 [Daily Argus, October 1, 1930]. It is possible that the dancer portrayed in this drawing, and a pair of closely related drawings, is Augusta Kirshner (see Related Works on Paper).
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.