Lines and Colors art blog

George Sotter, Pennsylvania Impressionist
George William Sotter was one of the group of painters working in and around New Hope, Pennsylvania in the early 20th century, who are referred to as the Pennsylvania Impressionists.

Along with Daniel Garber and Edward Redfield, Sotter is one of my favorites of the group.

Sotter painted rural scenes in Bucks County PA, and in Maine, and was noted in particular for his remarkable winter nocturnes. With these, he stepped outside the frequent limitations of night scenes — in which artists feel compelled to use a low value range — and produced bright, luminous works that are still definitely night, but night as it appears in moonlight, in the reflective light of snow cover, or when your eyes are totally dark-adapted. His night scenes are studies in the power of muted color and controlled value relationships.

I’m also very partial to Sotter’s handling of texture, which often gives his work more weight than Impressionist style paintings sometimes have.

Originally from Pittsburgh, where he was established as a stained glass artist, Sotter came to Philadelphia to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where his teachers included Thomas Anshutz and William Merritt Chase.

In Pennsylvania, he met and studied with Edward Redfield, who rarely took on students, and the two became lifelong friends. It was at Redfield’s urging that Sotter eventually settled in Holicong, PA, near New Hope, where he and his wife, artist Alice E. Bennett, opened a studio in a converted barn.

In the yearly local exhibitions at Phillips Mill in New Hope, Sotter frequently won the “favorite painter” award, as decided by his fellow artists.

Sotter is even less well known than some of the other Pennsylvania Impressionists, and examples of his work on the web are scattered and a bit thin, but I’ve gathered what I can, below.

Art History reference has some pieces large enough to see textures, Encore Editions has a nice cross section, though a bit small. Examples on Bonhams and Sothebys are zoomable.

I don’t know of any available monographs on Sotter, but there are authoritative sections in Brian Peterson’s Pennsylvania Impressionism, and Jim Alterman’s A New Hope for American Art.


2 responses to “George Sotter”

  1. 9/16/17
    I do hope you get to see – or have seen – the current exhibit of works by Sotter at the Michener Museum in Doylestown. It runs through the end of 2017.

    1. Thanks for the reminder! I hope to get there next month – in time to write a post and encourage others in the area to see the exhibit while there is still plenty of time on its run.