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March 12th, 2003
Museum Publishes First Book Devoted to Mature Work of Abstract Painter Warren Rohrer

WARREN ROHRER: Paintings 1972-93 (Philadelphia Museum of Art; June 15, 2003; $20.00 paperback) sheds light on the inspiration, intention, and process of one of the premier abstract artists to work in Pennsylvania in the 20th century. This colorful volume is published on the occasion of the first museum exhibition exclusively devoted to paintings of Warren Rohrer (1927-1995) on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from June 22 to August 17, 2003.

WARREN ROHRER features an insightful essay by Susan Rosenberg that discusses the artist’s formative years, traces the development of his painting from the 1970s to the 1990s, and considers his work in relation to such abstract artists as Agnes Martin (born 1912), Mark Rothko (1903-1970), and Barnett Newman (1905-1970), as well as American landscape painters Albert Pinkham Ryder (1847-1917) and Ralph Albert Blakelock (1847-1919). Lavishly illustrated with 41 color plates and 40 black-andwhite illustrations, the book also includes a section of previously unpublished writings by the artist—journal entries, letters, and sketchbook notes—as well as a chronology of the artist’s life, a complete exhibition history, and a selected bibliography.

Raised in the Mennonite community in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Warren Rohrer was expected to become a farmer and minister but instead surprised his family by turning to painting. Profoundly influenced by the light and landscape that surrounded him in his youth, Rohrer developed an approach to painting in which he inflected the surface of his canvases with an extraordinary luminosity. In the 1970s, while living on a farm not far from his birthplace, Rohrer established a link between the ancient culture of farming and his techniques of painting, an idea that resonates in all of his mature work. Rohrer’s use of the grid as the framework for large-scale pictorial fields of color on perfectly square canvases responds to the order of the Pennsylvania farmlands and the diligent craftsmanship of his ancestors, while creating an authentic artistic style of his own.

About the author:
Susan Rosenberg is Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She has contributed to a number of publications including Twentieth Century Painting and Sculpture (2000), Alice Neel (2000), and most recently Gifts in Honor of the 125th Anniversary of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2002).

WARREN ROHRER: Paintings 1972-93
Susan Rosenberg
80 pages, 41 color plates, 40 black-and-white illustrations
$20.00 paperback, ISBN: 0-87633-166-5

Publication date: June 15, 2003

Available at the Museum Store, by calling (800) 329-4856, or by visiting the Museum’s Online Store at
Distributed to the trade through Antique Collectors’ Club

Published on the occasion of the exhibition of the same name, Philadelphia Museum of Art, June 22-August 17, 2003

The exhibition and catalogue were supported by The Dietrich Foundation, the Kathleen C. and John J. F. Sherrerd Endowment for Exhibitions, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Judith Rothschild Foundation, the Robert Montgomery Scott Endowment for Exhibitions, the Locks Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Berton E. Korman, Mr. and Mrs. B. Herbert Lee, Francey and Bayard Storey, and other generous individuals.

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