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"Rosen was considering form in relation to warm and cool colors, lost and found edges, all of which contributed to intensify the illusion of space on flat canvas. Abstraction had gained for him a new importance."
Charles Rosen was born in 1878 on a farm in Reagantown, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. He opened a photographic studio at the age of sixteen in West Newton, in the coal mining region of western Pennsylvania. He moved to New York City in 1898 to enroll in painting classes at the National Academy of Design, where he studied with Francis Coates Jones. While in New York, Rosen took classes at the New York School of Art, where he studied with William Merritt Chase and Frank Vincent DuMond and became interested in landscape painting. In 1903 the artist married Mildred Holden. The couple moved to the New Hope area, where they lived for the next seventeen years.
During his residence in New Hope, Rosen enjoyed close relationships with Daniel Garber and Edward Redfield and became known for his large, vigorously painted Pennsylvania snow scenes. Rosen also enjoyed close friendships with fellow artists William Lathrop and John Folinsbee.
By 1916, Rosen had achieved his mature impressionist style, which often combines a sense of the decorative patterning found in nature, as well as its more dynamic, vigorous aspects. From 1919 until 1921, when the artist began working in a more modern style, he served as an instructor and later director of the Art Students League summer school in Woodstock, New York. He moved permanently to Woodstock in 1920, and became closely associated with the Woodstock Artists Colony. He adopted a cubist-realist style, which would characterize his work until his death in 1950. Rosen's paintings are in the permanent collection of the Michener Art Museum. A retrospective exhibition of his work was held at the Michener Art Museum in New Hope in 2006. The exhibition Form Radiating Life: the Paintings of Charles Rosen was accompanied by a major book on Charles Rosen, written by Brian H. Peterson, former Senior Curator at the Michener Art Museum.
Charles Rosen, ca. 1910-1915. Image courtesy of Katharine Worthington-Taylor.
Education and Training
National Academy of Design, New York, New York, 1898, 1899
The New York School of Art, New York, New York
Teachers and Influences
Francis Coates Jones at the National Academy of Design
William Merritt Chase and Frank Vincent DuMond at the New York School of Art
Members of the New Hope Group: Morgan Colt, William L. Lathrop, Robert Spencer, Rae Sloan Bredin, and Daniel Garber
George Bellows, Eugene Speicher, Henry Lee McFee, and Andrew Dasburg in Woodstock, New York
Connection to Bucks County
Rosen lived in New Hope from 1903 to 1920, first residing in a house at Phillips' Mill called Glen Cottage. In 1915, he built a home between the Delaware Canal and the Delaware River, also at Phillips' Mill, near New Hope. He became friends with Edward Redfield, who influenced his work during this period. Like Redfield, he was known for beautifully painted Pennsylvania snow scenes. Rosen became close friends with William L. Lathrop, who lived in the Miller's house at Phillips' Mill.
In 1916, Rosen joined with William L. Lathrop, Daniel Garber, Robert Spencer, Rae Sloan Bredin and Morgan Colt to form the New Hope Group of Landscape Painters. This group exhibited together from 1916 to 1926, at several prestigious places including Rochester, Cincinnati, Detroit and Cleveland Museums. The locals dubbed them the "Towpath Group."
Colleagues and Affiliations
A friend of Edward Redfield and William L. Lathrop, Rosen was also closely associated with John Fulton Folinsbee and the members of the New Hope Group.
Major Solo Exhibitions
Charles Rosen: The Pennsylvania Years (1903-1920), Traveling Exhibition; Westmoreland County Museum of Art, Greensburg, Pennsylvania; Morris Museum of Arts and Sciences, Morristown, New Jersey; The Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1983
Form Radiating Life: The Paintings of Charles Rosen, Michener Art Museum, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 2006-2007
Major Group Exhibitions
National Academy of Design, New York, New York, 1910, 1912, 1916
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1911
Salmagundi Club, New York, New York, 1914
Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1914
Panama-Pacific Exposition, San Francisco, California, 1915
Columbus, Ohio, 1924
Columbus Art League, Columbus, Ohio, 1925
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1907, 1910, 1912, 1914, 1916, 1919, 1928, 1930, 1932, 1935, 1937, 1939, 1943
St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri
Crest Galleries, New Hope, 1969
The Pennsylvania School of Landscape Painting: An Original American Impressionism, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania, 1984
The Pennsylvania Impressionists: Painters of the New Hope School, Michener Arts Center, 1990
Masterworks of American Impressionism, Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 1994
The Lenfest Exhibition of Pennsylvania Impressionism, Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA, 1999-present
Objects of Desire: Treasures from Private Collections, Michener Art Museum, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 2005-2006
An Evolving Legacy: Twenty Years of Collecting at the James A. Michener Art Museum, Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 2009
Butler Institute of American Art, Ohio
Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Morris Museum of Arts and Sciences, Morristown, New Jersey
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Former New Hope Solebury National Bank, New Hope, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania State College, Pennsylvania
St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri
Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York
WPA Murals, US Post Offices:
Beacon, New York
Palm Beach, Florida
Poughkeepsie, New York
Teaching and Professional Appointments
Instructor, Art Students League Summer School, Woodstock, New York, 1918
Conducted a painting school with Henry Lee McFee and Andrew Dasburg, 1922
Columbus Gallery of Fine Art, (Columbus Art School), Columbus, Ohio, 1924-1927
Director, The Witte Museum of Art, San Antonio, Texas, 1940-1941
3rd Hallgarten Prize, National Academy of Design, 1910
1st Hallgarten Prize, National Academy of Design, 1912
Honorable Mention, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1914
Shaw Purchase Prize, Salmagundi Club, New York, 1914
Silver Medal, Panama-Pacific Exposition, San Francisco, 1915
Inness Gold Medal and Altman Prize, National Academy of Design, 1916
Prize, Columbus Art League, Columbus, Ohio, 1925
Affiliations and Memberships
American Society of Painters, Sculptors and Gravers
National Arts Club
Associate Member, National Academy of Design, 1912
Full Member, National Academy of Design, 1917