Drawings and Water Colors by M. Rothkowitz

This short exhibition marks the first presentation of the artist’s work in a museum setting, perhaps fittingly in his hometown of Portland, where during the summer of 1933 Rothko and his wife were visiting relatives after hitchhiking across the country from New York. While neither a catalog nor a checklist has been found for the show, a general description of the drawings and their materials are given in a review by Catherine Jones in the local newspaper: “[W]ater colors are chiefly landscapes and studies of forests in which the artist has sought to retain the effect of complexity one finds in the out-of-doors and to show its ultimate order and beauty. A hint of his admiration for Cézanne is in these water colors. They are carefully thought out and in no way theatrical or dramatic, as are the temperas which were spontaneously conceived and executed and which depend upon the richness of their blacks against white for effect. Those who admire the rich and velvety quality of the tempera will be mildly surprised to discover that the artist combined only black water color, or show card, the sheets from a 10-cent tablet of linen writing paper, with his own skill to get the desired effect” [“Noted One-Man Show Artist One-Time Portland Resident,” Sunday Oregonian, July 30, 1933]. Works by Rothko’s young students at the Center Academy of the Brooklyn Jewish Center were installed at the museum for the same period and were favorably reviewed by Jones the week before [Sunday Oregonian, July 23, 1933].