Ernest D. Roth

Ernest David Roth was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1879, coming to America in 1884 with his family. Settling in New York City, Roth worked as a boy in a print shop. This sparked an interest in art which was encouraged, leading Roth to study painting with Ward and Maynard at the National Academy of Design, and with F. Louis Mora at the New York School of Art. Roth also studied etching with James D. Smillie at the National Academy, and became an American citizen in 1905. That year he traveled abroad, spending three years painting & etching in Italy, exhibiting two prints at the Venice Biennial in 1907. Returning to New York, he remained until 1912, then returned to Italy and France for two years with his friend J. Andre Smith, also a gifted etcher. Venice particularly captivated Roth, who ultimately produced about 45 etchings of the fabled city. Roth & Smith both fell under the spell of Whistler and helped to carry his legacy forward into the new century. In 1914 Roth had his first of many shows at Frederick Keppel & Co in New York, and twelve of his etchings found their way into the collection of the Uffizi in Florence. In 1915 he exhibited 25 etchings and won a silver medal at the Panama Pacific International Exhibition. The first World war quelled Roth's print production. He traveled to Spain in 1921, and back to Italy for all of 1924, producing some of his finest Venetian subjects. Over the next twenty seven years Roth produced etchings of France, Spain, Italy, as well as various American subjects which included a striking series of New York views; the new soaring towers of Manhattan outside his studio ably rendered by his capable hands. In later years Roth moved to West Redding, CT, and died in 1964. Ernest D. Roth's work has continued to delight collectors over the years who appreciate his masterful renderings of light and architectural detail, and his ability to evoke the subtle character of place. In 2012, Roth's Venetian prints were the focus of a traveling exhibition and catalog: Reflections & Undercurrents, Ernest Roth and Printmaking in Venice, 1900-1940, organized by Eric Denker, a curator and senior lecturer in the Education Department of the National Gallery of Art.