Peter Frederick Rothermel

(American, 1812 - 1895)

Born in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, Peter Frederick Rothermel became known chiefly as a historical and portrait painter. In Philadelphia, he studied under John Rubens Smith (1775-1849) and Bass Otis (1784-1861). Rothermel began focusing on history painting in the 1840s. A member of the National Academy of Design in New York, he also belonged to the Artists’ Fund Society in Philadelphia, where he held the offices of vice-president (1844) and president (1864) and to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he was a director from 1847 to 1855. In 1864, Rothermel was elected chairman of the group of Philadelphia artists participating in the Great Central Fair, where he exhibited at least twenty works, more than any other artist. In 1995 the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, mounted Painting in the Grand Manner: The Art of Peter Frederick Rothermel (1812-1895); its catalogue, by Mark Thistlethwaite, is the standard reference on the artist.