I am a sucker for these Bucks County winter night scenes, especially George Sotter’s “Bucks County Night Scene” pictured at left. It can be seen at the Gratz Gallery‘s Holiday Celebration Exhibition through Jan. 31.
George William Sotter (1879-1953) painted the rivers and mills of his native Pittsburgh in his early youth. He apprenticed with several stained-glass studios prior to becoming a partner in the studio of Horace Rudy in 1901. He came to Bucks County in 1902 to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts as well as with Edward W. Redfield, the premier painter of the New Hope School.
In 1903, he participated in the annual exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He continued his studies at the Academy from 1905-1907 under William Merritt Chase and Thomas Anshutz.
Sotter lived in Holicong, Pa., near New Hope, in a converted 19th Century stone barn. There, in his studio, he painted landscape scenes of Bucks County, and fashioned stained glass windows that remain in cathedrals, churches and monasteries throughout the country.
He painted in New England as well, particularly in Rockport, Maine. Lauded for his marine pictures and dramatic landscapes with cloud-filled skies, Sotter was particularly recognized for painting winter night scenes, and consistently won the favorite painting ballot at the fall exhibitions at Phillips Mill in New Hope.