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Michael Rothenstein

One of the most experimental printmakers in Britain during the 1950s and '60s, Michael Rothenstein took part in the creation of the Penwith Portfolio, along with other illustrious contemporaries such as Dame Barbara Hepworth, Peter Lanyon, Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore and John Piper.

The son of Sir William, he was little known as a painter - despite having been represented in a solo exhibition as young as 23 at the Warren Gallery in London - but deeply fascinated by the infinite possibilities offered by printmaking, in a time when it was generally considered as a secondary activity to the major art forms. Michael recognized this sentiment from the public, but such was his enthusiasm for the medium - shared with Edward Bawden from the 1950s onwards - that together they invented always more curious ways of achieving novel effects, even employing the car to run overprints to achieve an innovative texture.

He was the instigator of the flourishing of a thriving artistic colony in Great Bardfield, where John Aldridge, Edward Bawden, Kenneth Rowntree, George Chapman, Stanley Clifford-Smith, Audrey Cruddas and Marianne Straub gathered in the post-war years. Thanks to Michael’s relations (his older brother, Sir John, being the head of the Tate Gallery, and his father being one of the most respected painters and lecturers of his time) the exhibitions organised in the Essex village became nationally known and attracted thousands of visitors.

Michael Rothenstein Ara (1908-1993) 'Sunset at 36,000 feet'. lithograph and intaglio print in 7 colours, signed and numbered 45/90, part of Penwith portfolio by Curwen Studio, 48cm x 71cm, framed.

Michael Rothenstein
Michael Rothenstein +

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