Signed, displaying evidence of having been matted, and inscribed with a descriptive title and a price, “Standing Woman $100,” this work was likely exhibited during Rothko’s lifetime and offered for sale at some point. It may have been available for sale during one of the group exhibitions in which the artist was included in 1934; it does not appear on the known checklists, but additional works were occasionally offered to potential buyers for perusal during exhibitions at venues such as Contemporary Arts in New York, where Rothko exhibited in several group shows. The signature in the lower right appears to have read “MRothkowitz” before being partly effaced to read “MRothko,” most likely after 1940, when the artist began using a truncated version of his given surname. The price of $100 would have been unusually high in 1934, suggesting that Rothko may have tried to sell this work later in his career, without luck, as it remained in his possession at his death. Another work from this period, The Bathers, displays evidence of a similar history. The number assigned to the current work during Rothko’s inventory of 1968/1969 and inscribed on the work’s verso erroneously signifies a creation date of 1925–1927.
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.