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"Recent announcement of the results of the favorite-painting ballot at the Fall Show at Phillips' Mill, brings a quick memory of George Sotter's embarrassment when, year after year, he kept winning this prize at the Mill Show. His fellow artists simply chuckled in deep personal affection for George and admiration of his magic, especially in his skies, the light shining through the skies in all of his landscapes- especially the light through starry night skies, falling on snow."
-Constance Allen Ward
George W. Sotter, an artist strongly identified with Bucks County, Pennsylvania, was a well known landscape painter and designer of stained-glass windows. He was a master at rendering sweeping panoramic vistas of Bucks County's hills, gently rolling under cumulus cloud-filled skies that create dramatic patterns of light and shadow. He is also well known for his work in stained glass.
While studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Sotter discovered Bucks County in 1902. That summer, he studied with Edward Redfield, where he was the only male student. The two artists became life-long friends. Sotter returned to Pittsburgh to work as a partner in the stained glass studio of Horace Rudy. He also taught for nine years as assistant professor of painting and design at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. Sotter moved to Bucks County permanently in 1919, bringing his reputation as an expert in stained glass with him. He accepted commissions for stained glass windows from churches and monasteries all around the country and developed a staffed operation that fabricated his famous designs. His award-winning paintings hang in many private and public collections. Sotter consistently won the favorite-painting ballot cast by attendees of the Phillips' Mill Art Exhibition.
George Sotter was featured in the 2017 Michener Art Museum exhibit, George Sotter: Light and Shadow. In addition to a significant investigation of Sotter's nocturnal landscapes, the Michener's exhibition, Light and Shadow presented various other types of landscapes he produced throughout his career, his work as a stained-glass artist, and the artistic exchange between the media in which he worked.
George Sotter. Photo taken by Peter A. Juley and Son. Courtesy of Carol Kinnier. James A. Michener Art Museum archives.
Education and Training
Partnered with Horace Rudy in his stained glass studio in Pittsburgh, PA
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1902 and 1905-1907
Summer class, Edward Redfield at Center Bridge, Pennsylvania, 1902
George Sotter's Studio. Holicong, Pennsylvania. Private collection. James A. Michener Art Museum archives.
Major Group Exhibitions
Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, California, 1915
Phillips' Mill Community Association Annual Exhibits, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1929
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1903-1907, 1910-1914, 1920-1923, 1925, 1931, 1937
National Academy of Design, New York, New York, 1913, 1921
50th Anniversary Retrospective Art Exhibition, Phillips Mill, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1979
Inaugural Exhibition, James A. Michener Art Center, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 1988
Pennsylvania Impressionists: Painters of the New Hope School, Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 1990
Byers' Annual Bucks Fever Art Exhibit, Bianco Gallery, Buckingham, Pennsylvania, 1993
Objects of Desire: Treasures from Private Collections, Michener Art Museum, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 2005-2006
George Sotter: Light and Shadow, Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 2017
Reading Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania
State College, Pennsylvania
Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
La Salle University Art Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Several Churches in the Bucks County region have stained glass windows by Sotter, including Saint Paul's Episcopal Church in Doylestown.
George Sotter in his studio. Image courtesy of the James A. Michener Museum archives.
Painting commissioned by Martha Mercer for Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Doylestown, 1937
Stained Glass Windows (selected list):
Our Lady of Lourdes, New York, New York
Sacred Heart Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1924
St. Joseph's, Cathedral, Wheeling, Virginia
Trenton State Museum, Trenton, New Jersey
St. Agnes Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
St. Paul's Monastery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Holy Innocent's Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Kendrick Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri
St. Mark's, St. Paul, Minnesota
St. Ann's Monastery, Scranton, Pennsylvania
St. James Church, Cleveland, Ohio
St. Michael's Monastery, Union City, New Jersey
St. Peter's Church, Brownsville, Pennsylvania
Annunciation Church, Cincinnati, Ohio
St. Mary's Church, Akron, Ohio
Trinity Episcopal Church, Buckingham, Pennsylvania
19 windows for New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, New Jersey
St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Doylestown, PA
Teaching and Professional Appointments
Professor of Painting and Design, Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh, 1910-1919
Silver Medal, Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, California, 1915
1st Prize, Pittsburgh Association of Artists, 1917
Pittsburgh Arts Society Prize, 1920
Honorable Mention, Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, 1921
Flagg Prize, Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, 1923
Affiliations and Memberships
Associated Artists of Pittsburgh
Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts
Doylestown Theatre Guild, former president
Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia
New Hope Art Associates
Salmagundi Club, New York