This early landscape, on a sheet torn from an eighteen-hole sketchbook, is marked on its verso by smudges and swirls of watercolor, likely color and brush tests (fig. 1). The subject, a lake with rolling hills, indicates that Rothko might have made it at Lake George, New York, where he spent time during the summer of 1932. It was here, while camping at Hearthstone Point near the southern end of the lake, that he met his future wife, Edith Sachar (1912–1981). Rothko’s application of paint, however, suggests an earlier date. Rothko traveled from New York to his hometown of Portland, Oregon, several times between 1926 and 1933, and it is possible that this quick landscape sketch was made not at Lake George but during a previous cross-country trip.
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.