[Bathers on the beach]

15 5/16 x 22 1/2 in. (38.9 x 57.2 cm)
Estate/Inventory Number
Collection of Christopher Rothko. © Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko
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.