Collection: Gatja Helgart Rothe

G.H. Rothe is renowned as master of the mezzotint and as one of the world's greatest living artists. She combines technical mastery with inspired imagination. She was born in 1935 in Beuthen, Germany (ceded to Poland in 1945) and her studies in art history, human anatomy, goldsmithing and extensive drawing culminated in her discovery of the mezzotint technique. Impelled to revive this most difficult technique of printmaking led to an invention in 1972 never accomplished before in mezzotint: transparency. Her years of research and constant practice supplied the perfect medium for her vast repertoire of images. Ludwig von Siegen, the first mezzotint engraver would have been impressed. He wrote in 1642, "There is no living artist who could guess how this engraving has been executed." Yet more impressive is G.H. Rothe's zeal; she has completed over 70,000 mezzotints. "I carve my images into copperplates directly with a diamond. Then I pit the surface with a chisel-like tool called a rocker. When the ground work is done, I use a steel burnisher quite extensively to shape my images as one would do in a fine barr relief but working in reverse. After I pull a proof print from the copperplate, I cover the surface anew with fine pitted holes using the rocker, eliminating thought in action, practicing Karma Yoga. The experience of layering images and the x-ray shapes is guided by the mind's eye. I feel but cannot see the picture underneath the second layer of pits. As the essence of life is an unknown force, I see when I don't look.