George William Sotter
oil on canvas, 10 x 12
Born in Pittsburgh in 1879 to Nicholas and Katherine Sotter, George William Sotter painted the rivers and mills of that city in his early youth. He apprenticed with several stained-glass studios there prior to becoming a partner in the studio of Horace Rudy in Pittsburgh around 1901. He took leave from the studio and 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. George William Sotter lived in Holicong, Pennsylvania, near New Hope, in a converted 19th Century stone barn. There, in his studio, he painted landscape scenes of Bucks County, which link Sotter to the New Hope School of American Impressionism, and fashioned stained glass windows that remain extant in cathedrals, churches, and monasteries throughout the country. In 1907, he married artist Alice E. Bennett of Pittsburgh, whom he first met at the Rudy Brothers Stained Glass Studio. On an extended wedding trip abroad, the couple studied and painted throughout Europe. For nine years, Sotter taught design and painting at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, before moving permanently to their historic home in Holicong in 1919. He traveled and painted in Europe and in New England, particularly in Rockport, Maine. He opened his own stained-glass studio and he earned a national reputation making windows for churches and monasteries. 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 (cast by his artist colleagues) at the fall exhibitions at Phillips Mill in New Hope. The artist died in 1953.