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 Charles Rohrbach  (1892 - 1962)

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Lived/Active: New York / Switzerland      Known for: commercial art, design, painting, crafts

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Ad Code: 4
Charles  Rohrbach
An example of work by Charles Rohrbach
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Charles Rohrbach (American, 1892-1967) captured in watercolor and oil the seasonal beauty of the Western New York landscape. A calling spanning six decades, the bold style of the painter is evident through command of rich pigments, utilizing unique perspectives and stylized imagery.

Painting excursions to local environs with fellow artists such as Alex Levy were regular events for Rohrbach. “Mr. Levi’s friendship and unfailing interest proved of the greatest value in my work. He showed me many of the shortcuts to improvement in drawing and painting.”

In addition to his recognition as an accomplished painter, Rohrbach was a fine graphic design artist. He was employed as Art Director at the Larkin Co. from 1922 until 1943. Rohrbach’s homey yet stylish designs were featured on the covers of the Buffalo based soap company’s corporate, mail order and Cozy Home Club catalogues.

Post Larkin, Rohrbach joined The Courier-Express Newspaper’s Rotogravure Department. In 1946, he accepted the art directorship of The Roizen Advertising Agency. In 1950, he began a 16 year association with Addison F. Busch, Inc., another ad agency.  He also worked freelance during those years until his retirement in June 1966.

Emigrating from Switzerland at the age of 18, Charles Rohrbach first went to England, Canada and then to the United States in 1915, arriving in Buffalo in 1916. He eventually settled in East Aurora, New York and lived there from 1923 until his death in 1967.

Rohrbach was a member and former president of the East Aurora Society of Artists (The Paint and Varnish Club) and The Buffalo Society of Artists. In addition to numerous awards and citations, he was three times the recipient of The Buffalo Society of Artists’ Gold Medal – Best of Show Award. He was also a member of the Guild of Allied Artists and The Greater Buffalo Advertising Club. “The association with artists has been most helpful to me in my work. The artists’ critical eye detects faults that the average spectator overlooks.”

His paintings have been included in the Albright Knox Gallery 1987 exhibition “The Wayward Muse”, the Amherst Museum 1991 exhibition “The Larkin Way, A Retrospective Exhibit”, The Buffalo History Museum 2012 exhibition “The Comprehensive Artist, Charles Rohrbach,” and numerous Meibohm Fine Arts exhibitions, including the more recent 2013 exhibit “Charles Rohrbach: The Larkin Idea.”

Works of the artist are also included in the permanent collection of the Burchfield-Penney Art Center. “Modern art is indeed stimulating; but sooner or later, there will undoubtedly be a reaction against its extremities. When the painters go too far into the abstract, the public loses interest. The work of Rockwell and the Swiss artist, Hodler, seem to me outstanding in the modernistic school; for they have not lost sight of the comprehensible.” -Charles Rohrbach quoted in the Buffalo Courier Express, January 25, 1931.

Submitted by Mark Strong, (Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc.
Biographical information from portrait photograph and quotes from the grandson of the artist; and our internal records.

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