[Woman seated on a man’s lap]

9 15/16 x 8 in. (25.2 x 20.3 cm)
Estate/Inventory Number
O 45
National Gallery of Art, Gift of the Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc., 1986.56.595. © Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko
Around 1932/1933, Rothko treated the subject of a man and woman seated in close proximity and seemingly absorbed in each other. A canvas of that date, The Proposal, depicts a man with a receding hairline, his head resting on his hand, gazing attentively at a woman with her hair in a chignon (fig. 1). Rothko met Edith Sachar (1912–1981) in the summer of 1932; they married in November of that year. Biographical facts, coupled with the title of the related painting, suggest that this watercolor might be dated to the early months of their relationship.
1. Mark Rothko, The Proposal, 1932/1933, oil on canvas, 20 x 16 in., National Gallery of Art, Gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc., © Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko, 1986.43.25. [Anfam 27]