Signed and at one time matted (the original mount, now removed, was inscribed on the verso “The Peddler $15”), this watercolor was almost certainly exhibited or offered for sale during Rothko’s lifetime, though it remained in his possession at his death. It is stylistically similar to other works dated here to c. 1938, and the price inscribed on the back of the original mount matches documented prices on works from earlier in the decade. The signature was likely inscribed after 1940, when Rothko began using a truncated version of his given surname, Rothkowitz, suggesting as well a post-1940 date for when he might have shown or offered the work for sale.
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.