Carl Roters (1898-1989)
Carl Roters (1898-1989). Coney Island, c.1930. Watercolor on paper measures 18 x 19 inches, 21.5 x 22.5 inches framed. Signed lower right. Restoration in corners of paper which experienced bumping and loss. The piece was glued down to cardboard which has been professionally removed. Restoration conducted by Paper Restoration Studio in NYC. Original backing comes with the piece. New hand-made silver leaf custom frames by City Frame in New York City.
Carl Roters, a Brooklyn native whose early work depicted scenes of New York said, “New York was the only thing surrounding me, so I painted it.” The habit of being inspired by his location continued throughout Roters’ life-in New York City, Syracuse, Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and Jackson, Wyoming.As a teenager, Roters took an apprenticeship at the Rebele Studios of New York, where he was able to develop his skills under the influence of many illustrators and designers of the early 20th Century. He later produced a series of watercolor paintings in 1929 called “New York by Night” that included landmarks, side streets and waterfronts of the city. Roters also painted a watercolor mural for the New York World’s Fair Consolidated Edison Building in 1939 that was an aerial view of Manhattan and was an area of 1,000 square feet, the world’s largest mural at that time.Roters married, had children and moved with his family to Mercersburg, Pennsylvania in 1943. He enjoyed the rural lifestyle and painted the baby farm animals that lived near his home. His paintings were shown at the Hagerstown museum and after a short time, he was commissioned to design and illustrate a Postwar Planning Book for the City of Syracuse.The Postwar Planning Book gained the attention of the chancellor of Syracuse University, and Roters became a professor at the College of Fine Arts in 1946. While there, he painted several murals for the Hotel Syracuse that depicted Syracuse and its history. He used oil on wood and casein and incorporated the grains of wood into the subject of the painting. Still teaching at Syracuse in 1954, he competed for the Jackson Lake Lodge project commissioned by John D. Rockefeller. The theme of the murals was “The Fur Traders and Trappers of the Early West.” Carl Roters won the commission and painted eleven wood panels that are eight feet tall and now hang on the walls of the Jackson Lake Lodge.Until he retired from Syracuse University in 1964, Roters spent summers in Wyoming, painting scenes of the countryside. He also continued to produce paintings based on the Rendezvous theme. He moved to Jackson, Wyoming in 1968 and exhibited his Old West paintings in a Jackson Gallery and in a gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Although the subject of his art was mainly Western while he lived in Wyoming, he didn’t consider himself a Western artist. He thought of himself as a painter inspired by the life around him. Carl Roters lived and worked in Jackson until he died in 1989.