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 Richardson (Dick) Rome  (1902 - )

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Lived/Active: Colorado/Kansas/Minnesota      Known for: animal, landscape, etching, block print

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Richardson Rome
An example of work by Richardson (Dick) Rome
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Come Up and See My Etchings

Rome in the Rockies

WHAT was once a Denver bakery is now a plant which houses one of the most unusual enterprises in the Rockies. The lettering on the window announces that this is the home of Rome Creations. Fifteen years ago, Rome Creations sold an occasional box of stationery, each sheet of which bore the imprint of an original etching by Richardson Rome, an artist with an idea. The idea had sufficient merit so that today twelve million pieces of etching stationery have passed through the Rome office in New York, en route to all corners of the United States.

The founder and head of this unique enterprise in commercial art is handsome, graying Richardson Rome, who has a friendly manner and a shrewd head for business.  Born in Minneapolis, he traveled extensively in his early youth and received his formal education at Colorado Springs and Berkeley, California.  He decided to become an artist along the way, and, in order to earn his schooling, took on many odd jobs.

Rome worked as a caddy so that he might pay for a correspondence course in art.  He was a student at the University of Minnesota Art Institute from 1920 to 1925, and was trained under Ella Witter and S. Chatwood Burton.

Richardson Rome became art director for Fawcett Publications' Minneapolis office in 1929.  The Alden Galleries of Kansas City hired him as manager-lecturer later that year.

The Depression put the hex on the market for etchings—an art form which had always been associated with the well-to-do collector.  Etchings cost around $35 to $40 in those days, and even the avid collectors were inclined to let these luxuries go off their budgets.  This situation, in part, gave Rome his inspiration.

 ________


In 1931, Rome arid a friend, Dave Sterling [sic Stirling], opened a studio in Estes Park, Colorado, where they proceeded to combine the esthetic and the practical to meet the situation. With a small press and a quantity of fine French paper-which they were lucky enough to get hold of they started to produce various types of stationery , each bearing the print of an original etching. The subject matter for the pictures came from the surrounding beauty of the mountain country, and the idea caught on immediately with the tourist public.

Soon afterward it became necessary to expand-to set up a shop in Grand Lake over the Trail Ridge Road from Estes. And then a shop was started at Boulder, the mountain university town, where the present-day Rome etchings are cut, Next came a processing plant at Denver; sales were made throughout the nation; and a New York outlet was established. Rome Creations had arrived—solidly.

Today, boxes of attractive Rome stationery-postcards, notepaper, greeting cards, and writing paper can be found in stationery and department stores allover the country.

The initiative of the Rome enterprise lies in two factors: all the etchings are printed from the first plates rather than from a secondary photo engraving taken of the original; and the subject matter of the etchings is governed by the section of country in which it will be sold. Etchings of mountain scenes are made in the high-altitude West for sale there. Pacific views are designed for the West Coast trade. Old sailing ships and dignified white churches are authentically New England for New Englanders.

By catering in this manner to the regional public taste, Rome has turned his art into a well-paying industry and a distinctive one.  His etchings are originals, yet mass-produced for a nation.  The quality of the delineations is unquestionably good if not great; the subject matter is not intended to delight the sophisticated, or overwhelm the connoisseur with the unusual. It's success lies with those who "don't know anything about art, but know what they like"—just to drag in an ancient phrase.

However, certain of Rome's etchings have met the criterion of the most discriminating. They are to be; found in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Brooklyn Museum of Art; and the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art in Kansas City.

Rome has made the etching a household property, and has removed this art medium from the narrow category of a carriage trade item.: Here is one artist who doesn't have to die to be recognized.-B. L,


Source:
Rocky MOUNTAIN LIFE, July 1946
http://www.oldestes.com/Rome%20-%20Come%20Up%20and%20See%20My%20Etchings.htm
Memberships:
Philadelphia Print Club; Kansas City Woodcut Society; Northwest Printmakers; Chicago Galleries Association; American Society of Graphic Arts.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Richardson Rome, born in Minneapolis, is noted for his 1920's and 30's etchings and block prints of Rocky Mountain National Park and his watercolors of many Colorado landscapes. "Dick" was an artist who was vitally interested in all of the natural beauty of the West. He drew from his experiences as a "dude wrangler" in Estes Park, Grand Lake and Rocky Mountain National Park to create artwork with rare insight into ranch and mountain scenes which are rich with experience, masterfully drawn and imaginatively executed.

Richardson Rome received his education in the schools of Minnesota and California, where his father was engaged in the practice of medicine. From childhood, he was interested in art, and after attending the University of Minnesota, he engaged in various art-related fields. He was an illustrator, an art editor, and later became associated with Alden Galleries of Kansas City.

He entered the field of graphic arts at about the same time he fell in love with the Colorado Rockies. It was in his studio in Estes Park that all of his early plates were made. These mountain etchings were so well received that he decided to travel to other parts of our country, etching typical scenes in each locale. However, he remained in Colorado, living and working in Estes Park, Grand Lake, Boulder and Aspen.

Richardson Rome is listed in "Who's Who in American Art" and is represented in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, The Brooklyn Museum of Art and the William Rockhill Nelson Museum in Kansas City.


Sources include:
Dickens Alley
Information submitted as a bulletin by Bill Gordon, whose source was Rome Creations, Boulder, Colorado

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born Minneapolis, MN, Jan. 15, 1902, Richardson Rome was an artist, blockprinter, designer, etcher, engraver and lithographer. He traveled extensively in his early youth and received his formal education at Colorado Springs, CO and Berkeley, CA.

He decided to become an artist along the way, and, in order to earn his schooling, took on many odd jobs. Rome worked as a caddy so that he might pay for a correspondence course in art.

He was a student at the University of Minnesota Art Institute from 1920 to 1925, and was trained under Ella Witter and S. Chatwood Burton.  Rome became art director for Fawcett Publications' Minneapolis office in 1929.

The Alden Galleries of Kansas City hired him as manager-lecturer later that year. In 1931, Rome and a friend, Dave Stirling, opened a studio in Estes Park, CO, where they proceeded to combine the esthetic and the practical to meet the situation. With a small press and a quantity of fine French paper, they started to produce various types of stationery, each bearing the print of an original etching and thus the stationary company, Rome Creations, was created.

The subject matter for the pictures came from the surrounding beauty of the mountain country, and the idea caught on immediately with the tourist public. Rome Lived in Estes Park, CO. in 1935 and in Topeka in 1939. He spent most of his artistic life living and working in Colorado depicting the Rocky Mountains landscape. He worked, and painted in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park as well as Boulder, and other locations.
Source:
COLLECTIONS:
Brooklyn Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Kansas City Art Institute; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

MEMBERSHIPS:
Philadelphia Print Club; Kansas City Woodcut Society; Northwest Printmakers; Chicago Galleries Association; American Society of Graphic Arts.

SOURCES:
Susan Craig, "Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945)"
Topeka Cap & Topeka J (Topeka Capital, Topeka J (aka Topeka J) newspapers—usually reports of the Kansas Artists Exhibition 1st= Topeka Cap Nov. 11, 1925 9th= Topeka J Nov. 11, 1933 2nd= Topeka Cap Nov. 10, 1926 10th= Topeka J Nov. 10, 1934 3rd= Topeka J Nov. 19, 1927 11th= Topeka J Jan. 7, 1936 4th= Topeka J Nov. 3, 1928 12th= Topeka J Nov. 11 & 14, 1936 5th= Topeka J Nov. 2, 1929 14th= Topeka J Jan. 22, 1938 6th= Topeka J Oct. 18 & Nov. 1, 1930 15th= Topeka J Mar. 10, 1939 7th= Topeka J Oct. 24, 1931 16th= Topeka J Feb. 2 & 10, 1940 8th= Topeka J Oct. 22, 1932 17th= Topeka J Mar. 8 & 17, 1941) (Jan. 28, 1939); Who’s Who in American Art. New York: American Federation of Arts, 1936- v.1=1936-37 v.3= 1941-42 v.2=1938-39 v.4=1940-47. 1; AskArt, www.askart.com, accessed Dec. 23, 2005
This and over 1,750 other biographies can be found in Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945) compiled by Susan V. Craig, Art & Architecture Librarian at University of Kansas.

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