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Inscription

upper left: MARK ROTHKO; upper right reverse: MARK ROTHKO / BIRTH OF CEPHALOPODS / 1944; upper left reverse, sideways: MARK Rothko

Provenance

The artist [1903-1970]; his estate; consigned 1970 to (Marlborough Gallery, Inc., New York); transferred 1977 back to the artist's estate;[1] transferred 1979 to The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc., New York; gift 1986 to NGA.

Exhibition History
1945
Mark Rothko Paintings, Art of this Century, New York, 1945, no. 11.
1946
Oils and Watercolors by Mark Rothko, San Fransisco Museum of Art; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1946, no cat. (shown only in San Francisco).
1978
Mark Rothko, 1903-1970: A Retrospective, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1978-1979, no. 37, repro. (shown only in New York).
2012
Mark Rothko, Portland Art Museum, Oregon, 2012, no catalogue.
Bibliography
1948
"Mark Rothko: The Romantics Were Prompted." Possibilities 1 (1947/1948): 85, repro.
1951
Hess, Thomas B. Abstract Painting: Background and American Phase. New York, 1951: 151, repro.
1965
Alloway, Lawrence. "The Biomorphic Forties." Artforum 4 (1965): 18-22.
1983
Ashton, Dore. About Rothko. New York, 1983: fig. 2.
1983
Seitz, William C. Abstract Expressionist Painting in America. Rev. ed. of 1955 Ph.D. dissertation. Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London, 1983: no. 200, repro.
1983
Weiss, Jeffrey. "Science and Primitivism: A Fearful Symmetry in the Early New York School." Arts Magazine 57 (1983): 81, repro.
1984
Clearwater, Bonnie. Mark Rothko: Works on Paper. New York, 1984: 29, repro.
1989
Chave, Anna C. Mark Rothko: Subjects in Abstraction. New Haven, 1989: 67, repro.
1992
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 296, repro.
1995
Sawin, Martica. Surrealism in Exile and the Beginning of the New York School. Cambridge, 1995: 305, repro.
1998
Anfam, David. Mark Rothko: The Works on Canvas: Catalogue Raisonné. New Haven and London, 1998: no. 231, repro.