Anne Rothenstein


Anne Rothenstein is virtually self-taught apart from a brief period at the Camberwell School of Art in the late 1960s. She comes from an artistic family background which has obviously informed and influenced her work, and grew up in the community of artists in the Essex village of Great Bardfield. Her father was the late Michael Rothenstein, the print-maker, and her mother is Duffy Ayers, the painter. Her grandfather was William Rothenstein who ran the Royal College of Art and served as an official British war artist. Her uncle, John, was a Director of the Tate Gallery, and her brother, Julian, is a designer and founder of the Redstone Press. She is married to the film director Stephen Frears and has been painting full-time since 1978. She has had four solo exhibitions at England & Co since 2000.

In 2005, Mel Gooding described Rothenstein's recent paintings as having 'a directness and rawness that is unprecedented in her work, qualities that apply to both subject matter and treatment... form and content are expressively one.' She has used 'the primitive and the brut as the means to express the most intense emotions.'

Rothenstein's distinctive and atmospheric paintings subtly combine sophistication with innocence. She reproduces scenes and events that have been processed and filtered through her memory and imagination; depicting people sitting in cafés, women sleeping or lying in bed, or people dressing. The poet and writer Jehane Markham describes Rothenstein's pictures as 'deeply vulnerable... she achieves a quality of stillness; something immensely human is hinted at obliquely, but never allowed to dominate.'

In her work Rothenstein seeks to somehow recapture the emotions behind paintings by other artists that move her. These influences are diverse and many-layered, from poetry and photography to primitive art: they encompass the works of artists such as Edouard Vuillard, Vanessa Bell, Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, Modigliani, William Scott, Milton Avery, and the self-taught artists Alfred Wallis and Bill Traylor. She feels somehow emotionally and stylistically closer to those untrained artists who work outside the cultural mainstream and she shares with them the quality of timelessness that emanates from their own personal, and sometimes isolated, worlds.

Illustrated catalogues available.