Rolph Scarlett

American, 1889 - 1984

Untitled (Abstraction)
Watercolor and ink on paper
5 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches (framed 11 3/4 x 13 3/4 inches)

Signed Scarlett, lower left


Rolph Scarlett was born in Guelph, Ontario, Canada in 1889 and emigrated to New York City in 1918 to study at the Art Student’s League. A trip to Europe, introduced the young artist to the work of artists Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee. Scarlett’s work became heavily influenced by these artists.

Scarlett began his career as a notable set designer, with projects for the early motion pictures of D.W. Griffith in Hollywood, CA, playwright George Bernard Shaw with the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, CA and the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, New York, NY. Scarlett also designed jewelry and household objects, as well working as a fine artist. In 1938, Hilla Rebay of the Museum of Non-Obejctive painting took an interest in Scarlett’s work, awarded him a Guggenheim fellowship in 1938 and made him the museum’s chief lecturer in 1940.

Scarlett’s artwork can be found in the permanent collections of the Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY, the Whitney Museum of American art, New York, NY, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, the Smithsonian, Washington, DC, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, The Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts, among others.

He died in Woodstock, New York in 1984.

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