This watercolor was almost certainly made in Gloucester, Massachusetts, during the summer of 1934, when Rothko and his wife Edith Sachar (1912–1981) vacationed there with the Averys—Milton (1885–1965), Sally, and March—and Esther and Adolph Gottlieb (1903–1974). Rothko rented a house on Calder Street, East Gloucester, about a half mile from the working wharfs of Smith Cove in Gloucester Harbor, the center of the city’s gill-net fishing industry and likely the setting of the current work. The shed in the foreground would have been used for processing salt fish; to the left of the shed Rothko records drying racks called “fish flakes.” The number assigned during Rothko’s inventory of 1968/1969 erroneously signifies a creation date of 1925–1927 for this work.
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.