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 Anna Fell Rothstein  (1890 - 1967)

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Lived/Active: New York / Austria      Known for: harbor view, figure

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Anna Fell Rothstein
An example of work by Anna Fell Rothstein
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Butler Institute of American Art:
Artist Statement:

I was born on a farm in Austria. That was in 1890. I lived there the first fourteen years of my life. These were happy years. I loved the farm, hope to end my life on one.

New York next. What a big ugly monster this beautiful big city seemed to the child of fourteen. I hated it. All I could see or hear was the dirt and the noise.

At nineteen, I married a good, kind man. I bore him two children. Life played its tricks on me as it does everyone.

At sixty-four, my work was done, and, it seemed I live with it. Then I started painting, something I always wanted to do.

I love the work. One can forget all the sorrows in the world in the beauty one hopes to achieve in one's work.

What a chance to fight all the wrongs one sees! I hope my paintings will do it.

(Statement from Gallery show : Paintings by Anna Fell Rothstein : November 1st - November 30th 1957 Este Gallery. Stefan Ehrenzweig. 32 East 65th Street. New York 21, N.Y.)

Died September 1967 (from Social Security Death Index)
The following is from the artist and submitted February 2004 by Pat McCormick, Acting Registrar.

Contradiction plays a central role in my work. Without it, there is no tension and in its absence, no beauty. My attraction to the purity and relative emptiness of the square monochrome is confounded by my insistence on filling that void with expressive content. By simultaneously embracing these disparate impulse, I launched into my current series of paintings/scuptures that I refer to as 'altered flats' and 'nodes'

As a youth, I developed an unyielding reverence for the natural world but as an adult, I was drawn to the energy of the city. This dichotomy serves as an appropriate metaphor for my current work. While the undulating surface that I carve into the sustrate mimics a glacial landscape or the wave patterns of a lake, the optical precision of the automotive finish that I apply is all about the speed of the city. That this polished surface is achieved by hand and not by machine, further adds to the intensity of the contradiction. To the viewer the finished panel is tactile and soothing, in stark contrast to the incongruity that guides the process.

This practice of blending opposing forces has also informed and clarified the communicative function of my paintings. In addition to the private impetus, there is a more public and reactionary spirit embedded in the work and true to form, it's expressed with an intentional contradiction. My response to the state of current day society, with its frenetic tempo and superficial complexity, is in the form of an antidote and that would be the evocative and substantive simplicity of an expressively charged monochrome.

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