Carl Rotky Biography

Carl Rotky




Painter and printmaker Carl Rotky was born in Graz, Styria, Austrian Republic, on April 21, 1891. His family operated a farm in Kogelberg, Leibnitz and divided their time between the farm from spring through autumn and Graz in winter, where Rotky's father was a district captain. Rotky proved to be a talented artist from a young age and hoped to pursue art as a career, but his father forbade it, requiring him to find a more lucrative path. Thus, Rotky entered the University of Graz to study medicine. 

After graduating from Charles University in Prague in 1914, Rotky was sent to the frontlines in World War I as a surgeon, first in Russia, then Galicia, and finally Poland. Once the war ended he resettled in Graz and set up his own practice. This afforded him the ability to pursue art on his own time, and in the mid 1920s he took painting and printmaking lessons from Constantin Damianos, oil painting from Anton Marussig in Graz, and finally with Sandor Alexander von Kubinyi in Munich. Stylistically, his interest began in Impressionism, though once he began focusing more on woodcut printmaking in the 1930s he also began exploring Expressionism, and, later, Abstraction.

Rotky moved to Kogelberg in 1929, setting up a studio. He traveled frequently for inspiration, visiting Italy, Greece, Grance, and Germany, among other places. Among his commissioned works were illustrations for poetry volumes and other literary publications. He would continue to work until his death on August 16, 1977. His work can be found in the Albertina Museum in Vienna and the Nueue Galerie in Graz.