This work is signed and shows evidence of having once been overmatted, indicating that it may have been exhibited during Rothko’s lifetime. It might have been displayed during the summer of 1933 in Drawings and Water Colors by M. Rothkowitz at the Museum of Art, Portland, Oregon. No checklist exists for this show, but a review evokes this and similar works in praising a selection of “spontaneously conceived and executed . . . rich and velvety” black watercolors, noting that they were made with show card (an affordable paint generally used for commercial signs) on “sheets from a 10 cent tablet of linen writing paper” [Catherine Jones, “Noted One-Man Show Artist One-Time Portland Resident,” Sunday Oregonian, July 30, 1933]. The signature closely resembles those on [Woman combing her hair] and [Woman in hat], pointing to the probability of synchronous execution.
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.