This watercolor of a group of bathers on the beach was almost certainly painted in Gloucester, Massachusetts, during the summer of 1934 when Rothko and Edith vacationed there with the Averys—Milton (1885–1965), Sally, and March—and Esther and Adolph Gottlieb (1903–1974). Gottlieb recalled that he and Avery would “go out and make sketches of Gloucester Harbor or people on the beach . . . and then go home and paint them” [Miriam Roberts, Adolph Gottlieb (Omaha, NE, 1980), 8]. The current work appears to be just such a sketch, in this case for a smaller, more carefully finished painting that Rothko signed and possibly exhibited (see Related Works on Paper). 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.