Warren Rohrer was born in 1927 in Smoketown, Pennsylvania, near Lancaster, where he was raised by devout Mennonite farmers. During his childhood, Warren spent his days maintaining his family’s land and quickly fell in love with the beauty of his surrounding rural landscape. Ultimately, he strayed from conventional professional paths of becoming a farmer or a minister when he began to pursue art and art education.
He attended Eastern Mennonite College as a young man and graduated with a degree in Bible Studies, then went on to take art courses at Madison College (now James Madison University). In the summers he enjoyed courses under the genius of Hobson Pittman, a Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts instructor who ran a program at Pennsylvania State College. After only a few years of painting, one of Warren Rohrer’s works was chosen to be included in the 1955 Carnegie International Exhibition in Pittsburgh.
In 1961, Warren moved with his wife Jane and their young sons to a farm in Christiana, Pennsylvania, where he worked out of a barn. The landscape of his youth became his subject over the course of the next two decades of art-making. During a trip to Europe in 1972, he became inspired by seeing the works of Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko. Upon his return to the United States, he painted in an exclusively square format. In 1984, Warren established a new workplace in Chestnut Hill. He moved his studio into Violet Oakley’s former studio known as Lower Cogslea, a fantastic space overlooking the Cresheim Creek. In Philadelphia, Warren taught and exhibited extensively. He was a valued member of the faculty at the Philadelphia College of the Arts, now the University of the Arts, for nearly two decades.
Warren Rohrer’s work has been featured in countless exhibitions in recent years, including those held at the Locks Gallery, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and more.
Jane Turner Rohrer (American, b. 1928) was born in Broadway, Virginia. She grew up on a poultry and horse farm located in the Shenandoah Valley and attended Eastern Mennonite College, a private university in Harrisonburg, Virginia. There, she met Warren, and the two married in 1948. From the 1970s on, Jane engaged seriously with poetry, studying independently, auditing university courses, and taking part in writers’ workshops in Lancaster. For nearly three decades, her work appeared periodically in The American Poetry Review. Jane worked in relative obscurity until the years after her husband’s death. She published her first book of poems in 2022, Life After Death, which was published by Sheep Meadow Press. A second collection, Acquiring Land: Late Poems, was published in the DreamSeeker Poetry Series in early 2020 in coordination with the Field Language exhibition at Penn State University. Her poetry is known for its observational qualities, a sense of sound, and a deeply felt emotional core.
About Woodmere Art Museum
Housed in a 19th-century stone mansion on six acres in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, Woodmere offers a unique museum experience that centers on the art and artists of Philadelphia. Vibrant exhibitions explore the achievements and social ideas of Philadelphia’s artists in the broader context of American art; Woodmere prioritizes diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in its collecting, programming, and admission policies. Throughout the year, Woodmere offers family events, tours, gallery talks, lectures, panel discussions, studio art classes, film, and music performances. Woodmere brings the experience of art and nature together with a growing collection of sculpture installations across our six green acres.
The core of Woodmere’s collection is the gift of Charles Knox Smith (1845 – 1916). Born of modest means, Smith built his fortune in the mining industry, and he became a city leader and passionate art collector. In 1898, he purchased the Woodmere estate with the grand ambition of creating a museum of the fine arts immersed in the green beauty of Chestnut Hill. He expanded and transformed his home into a showcase for his art collection as a gift to the people of Philadelphia. Smith focused much of his collecting on Philadelphia’s artists, but his Hudson River paintings remain on view as the best in Philadelphia to this day. For almost forty years up to 1978, the artist Edith Emerson was Woodmere’s director, and she established a focus on women artists, especially collecting those in the circle of her life partner, Violet Oakley.
Woodmere is located at 9201 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia PA, 19118. Open to the public Wednesday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Admission is $10; FREE on Sunday. For more information: woodmereartmuseum.org.
Note to Editors & Writers:
● Woodmere offers free admission on Sundays.
● There will be an opening reception at Woodmere Art Museum on Saturday, April 9 from 1-3 pm.
● The Locks Gallery will also be exhibiting a collection of Warren Rohrer’s work on view from April 1 – May 14, 2022. There will be an opening reception on Friday, April 1, from 5 – 7 pm.
For additional information, images, or to request an interview please contact: