William Rothenstein

English , 1872 - 1945

English painter, printmaker, teacher and writer William Rothenstein was born in Bradford in 1872. He studied at the Slade School of Art in London and at the Académie Julian in Paris. Primarily, he made his reputation producing skillful portrait lithographs of well-known cultural figures such as Auguste Rodin, Walter Pater, Alphonse Legros, Max Beerbohm, Paul Verlaine and Henri Fantin-Latour. In addition, he completed a famous chalk drawing of Algernon Charles Swinburne and a pastel drawing of Charles Condor.

A prolific painter, Rothenstein’s canvases were greatly influenced by the styles of Degás and Whistler, in fact, Whistler and Rothenstein met in Paris and kept a correspondence during the 1890s. Whistler accused Rothenstein of being partially responsible for the acceptance of a William Eden watercolor by the jury of the New English Art Club in 1896. He was a member of the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, of which Whistler became President in 1898. He was also a Professor of Civic Art at the University of Sheffield, a principal of the Royal College of Art, a trustee of the Tate Gallery and a member of the Royal Fine Art Commission.

During WWI, Rothenstein served as an official was artist and he was an unofficial artist to the Royal Air Force during WWII. Rothenstein was knighted in 1931 and he died in Far Oakridge, Gloucestershire in 1945. During his life, he created over 750 portrait drawings and 135 lithographs.


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