Michael Rothenstein: Sustained Invention

Michael Rothenstein (1908 - 1993), one of the artists at the centre of the highly creative village of Great Bardfield in Essex, which saw the flowering of the work of Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden, amongst others, was an experimental and innovative printmaker who believed 'you could print with anything you could coat with ink'. His use of materials for relief prints and constructions was wide, encompassing metal, wood and objects found in the area around him, and combining woodcuts and linocuts with photographs. Many images using these techniques are on display in the exhibition, but there is also earlier work relating to the landscape and the English Neo-Romantic period in watercolour and ink.

Rothenstein was a seminal figure in the Great Bardfield Open House Exhibitions until 1958 when he left the village to live in nearby SIsted, where he remained until his death in 1993. Unlike other Bardfield artists, Rothenstein came from a celebrated artistic background. His father was the artist Sir William Rothenstein and his brother, Sir John Rothenstein, was a former Director of the Tate Gallery.

Rothenstein was elected to the Royal Academy in 1984 and his work is held in the V & A Museum, Tate and the Fry Gallery.

Between 2015 and 2016 his widow, the late Mrs Sam Rothenstein, gave a very substantial gift of work from his studio, and this exhibition is largely drawn from that, as well as gifts Michael Rothenstein made in his lifetime. Since its inception in 1985, the Fry Art Gallery has been building up a collection of his work and now has over 350 items.

This exhibition coincides with the publication of 'Rothenstein at The Fry Art Gallery' available for sale in the Gallery priced £10.