Exhibition of Oils, Water-colors, Drawings by Marcus Rothkowitz

This gallery show was Rothko’s first solo exhibition in New York and according to its checklist included 15 canvases, 4 watercolors, and 6 drawings referred to as “black and whites.” The black and whites—likely graphite, charcoal, or black water-soluble paint—and watercolors, which depict Oregon landscapes, gained attention in reviews. A citation in the New York Times noted that the “water-colors and wash drawings are freest and most successful” and singled out Flying Bridges (possibly [Portland, Oregon]) and Mt. Hood for their “lightness and a graceful quality” [H.V.D., “Art in Review,” New York Times, November 25, 1933, 13]. The New York Sun reviewer, who described the artist’s style as “peculiarly suggestive” and was critical of his “indifference to establishing any markedly definite form,” did note that “several water colors, though, really score, particularly Mount Hood, Portland (possibly [Portland, Oregon]), and Flying Bridges” [“Lively Doings in Art Circles,” New York Sun, December 1, 1933, 30]. Jane Schwartz in Art News described the “full-fledged influence of Cézanne” and noted that “pigment modeling . . . is not confined to oil, since Portland in watercolor shows the same tendencies.” She continued: “Of the black and white[s], Riverside Drive (possibly [Riverside Drive Viaduct, New York]) appears to be the outstanding sketch” [“Around the Galleries,” Art News 32, no. 9 (December 2, 1933): 16]. The watercolors were likely executed during the summer of 1933, when the artist and his wife Edith hitchhiked to Portland from New York. Extant works of this period correspond to checklist titles, but without published illustrations or installation photographs, it remains uncertain which, if any, were shown at this gallery in 1933.