Louis Conrad Rosenberg ( 1890 - 1983)

Rosenberg was an American printmaker active from the 1920s to the 1940s. Rosenberg studied architecture in 1906 at the age of sixteen, he began working at Portland architect T. Chapell Brown and his mother paid the architect $50 a month to train her son. Rosenberg stayed with Brown for two years as an unpaid intern, after which he was hired on as a staff draftsman. In 1912, having distinguished himself as an excellent architectural artist and renderer, Rosenberg was awarded a scholarship by the Architectural Club of Portland. By that time he had acquired a second employer and mentor, Ellis Fuller Lawrence, who encouraged the young man to attend The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which Rosenberg graduated in 1914. While at M.I.T. Rosenberg’s formidable skills as a draftsman and architectural artist set him apart from his classmates, and he was awarded the M.I.T. Traveling Fellowship in Architecture, entitling him to two years’ study abroad.

Unfortunately, Europe was in turmoil over what were the beginnings of World War I, and Rosenberg put off his planned trip abroad. However, Ellis Lawrence, who was then establishing the school of architecture at The University of Oregon, invited Rosenberg to return home to join the faculty as Assistant to the Dean and teach. In 1917, upon America’s entry into the war, Rosenberg enlisted in the Army. He served with The Camouflage Corps, 40th Engineers, under the command of Aymar Embury, the celebrated New York Architect, who organized a unit of eight professional artists to document the activities of the American Expeditionary Force in France. In 1919, following The Armistice and his demobilisation from military service, Rosenberg returned to the University of Oregon, where he continued teaching. In June 1920, Rosenberg and his wife embarked for Europe to take advantage of his Traveling Fellowship. The next two years were fruitful, as he toured the Continent and coasted the Mediterranean visiting Southern Europe, North Africa, and The Levant. An inveterate note-taker, he filled dozens of copy books with sketches and studies of monuments, markets, and architectural scenes both great and small. Towards the end of his tour Rosenberg visited The American Academy in Rome, where he met two men whose influence would prove instrumental in the future course of his life: the American Robert Fulton Logan, from whom he took instruction in the craft of etching, and William Walcot, the British architect and illustrator whose fantastical historic recreations were the rage of London. Logan taught him how to etch, and through Walcot Rosenberg met H. C. Dickins, one of England’s principal fine art dealers and publishers.

While at The American Academy Rosenberg produced a series of etchings between the Fall of 1921 and the Spring of 1922 – The Rome Series, which initiated his career as a fine artist. One of the prints, St. Peter’s Colonnade, would win a Silver Medal from The California Printmakers Society in 1922. But Rosenberg was not yet ready to give up the practice of architecture for the uncertain rewards of an artist’s life, and returned to the United States where he took a job with the firm of York and Sawyer in New York. Once more chance intervened in his life: the British artist Muirhead Bone, an acquaintance of Phillip Sawyer, visited New York, and was immediately struck by Rosenberg’s technical and artistic work. By Bone’s encouragement, and through his influence, Rosenberg was able to attend The School of Engraving at The Royal College of Art in London, where he studied under the master printmaker Malcolm Osborne. Rosenberg moved to London in 1924, and over the next near produced two dozen prints, two of which won the Chicago Society of Etchers Logan Prize and one the Society of Brooklyn Etchers Prize.

His work was exhibited by The American Academy, Rome in 1922; by The Royal Academy in London in 1925, 1926, and 1928; by The Royal Society of Painter-Etchers in 1927, 1928, 1932, and 1954; by The Chicago Society of Etchers in 1926, 1929, 1932, 1935, and 1939; by The Brooklyn Society of Etchers in 1928; by The Society of American Etchers in 1931, 1932, 1934, 1935, 1938, 1939, and 1940; by The National Arts Club in 1929; by The Cleveland Printmakers in 1931; by The Print Club of Philadelphia in 1932 and 1940; by The California Printmakers in 1934; by The Art Institute of Chicago in 1934 and 1938; by The Municipal Art Society, New York in 1934; by The National Academy in 1937; by The World’s Fair, New York in 1939; and by The Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1962.

His work was included in the annual editions of Fine Prints of the Year, published by Halston and Truscott Smith, London, in the years 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935, and 1936. He was the subject of Modern Masters of Etching, Number 22, L. C. Rosenberg, A.R.E. in 1922; of American Etchers, Volume X, Louis C. Rosenberg, The Crafton Collection, New York, 1930; as well as numerous articles and critical reviews in publications such as The Print Collector’s Quarterly in 1928, American Artist in 1946, 1947, and 1957; Architecture Magazine in 1935, and various books published by The Architectural Book Publishing Company.

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