Born in London, the son of the artist Sir William Rothenstein, he studied at Chelsea Polytechnic and the Central School of Arts and Crafts, 1924-7. He first worked as a watercolourist and during the late 1930s his output was mainly of neo-romantic subjects and landscapes. He held his first one many show at the Warren Gallery in 1931 and another at the Matthiesen Gallery in 1938. During World War II he participated in the Pilgrim Trust Recording Britain project. He held the first of his many one-man shows at the Redfern Gallery in 1942. Rothenstein also exhibited at the Royal Academy, New English Art Club and Leicester Galleries. Always fond of strong colours, from the 1940s he devoted most of his energy to producing prints and earned a reputation for being one of the most innovative and experimental British print makers of the second half of the 20th century. In the early 1942 he moved to the Essex village of Great Bardfield, joining the small resident community of artists that included John Aldridge, Edward Barden and Kenneth Rowntree. The group soon attracted other artists to the area and Rothenstein was responsible for organising the Great Bardfield Artists exhibitions in the 1950s which attracted huge numbers of visitors. His work is in many public collections including the Tate Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum and Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden.
Redfern Gallery, London