Following G.H. Rothe’s death in 2007, the artist’s son Peter Rothe discovered a cache of paintings far afield from the artist’s known oeuvre. Seven Paintings is the first-ever public presentation of works that were hidden since their creation in 1987. Rothe’s exquisitely lucent tempera works are stunning and frank pictures of sex between aging couples. The tightly framed, small-scale works explore moments of sensuality and pleasure at an age often perceived to exceed the prime for physical intimacy. Seven Paintings present ecstasy cascading through myriad triggers—the pure color of radiant jewels, sheer and slumping flesh, euphoric expression, un-gendered faces, the unexpected eroticism of geriatric bodies, and Rothe’s virtuosic layering of paint.
Rothe’s remarkably successful and mainstream commercial art practice focused on highly detailed mezzotints of surreal landscapes, intricately rendered horses, and graceful dancers. These works were often produced in large editions, and amounted to a career in which Rothe sold over 30,000 works.
About the Artist
G.H. Rothe (1935–2007) was born in Beuthen, Germany (ceded to Poland in 1945) and grew up in Wiedenbrück, Germany. Following early training in drawing and goldsmithery, Rothe studied painting at Pforzheim Academy of Design, Germany, where she was awarded the Villa Romana Prize, which enabled her to live and work in Florence for a year. Rothe travelled extensively and resided in New York and later in Carmel, California.
SFAI thanks Peter Rothe and Bonnie Levinson for their support of this exhibition.
G.H. Rothe, Untitled, 1987, Tempera on paper, 18 x 16 inches, framed, Courtesy of the Estate of G.H. Rothe