My dear friend, the artist Peter Rogers, whom I represented for many years at my Santa Fe gallery, died May 28, well into his 86th year. He will surely endure as among the best and most original American and New Mexican artists of the 20th century.
In talent and imagination, Rogers ranks high, alongside his famous mother-in-law and father-in-law, artists Henriette Wyeth and Peter Hurd, the parents of his lovely wife, Carol Hurd, herself an artist of note now in her early 80s.
Recognizing his young son-in-law’s extraordinary artistic talent and in a graceful bow to his abilities, Peter Hurd handed over several lucrative commissions to Rogers, including creation of the 1964 mural of Texas history at the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building in Austin, Texas.
Peter Rogers’ largest and most important body of work, however, is his so-called “Artist’s Quest” series, which began circa 1969 and continued to his death in 2018. These paintings, which number perhaps 500 works, place him high in a unique category as a visionary artist of personal allegory, producing works that time and time again extol love and seek deeper meanings of life.
There is a timeless, classical and deeply philosophical quality to Rogers’ paintings, much like his fellow countryman and early inspiration, the sculptor Henry Moore, and going back to the poet and artist William Blake. In New Mexico art history and beyond, the paintings of Peter Rogers embrace the highest qualities of an artistic achievement.
Rest in peace, Peter.
Fred R. Kline is a writer and artist, generalist art historian and private art dealer, active in the Santa Fe art scene since 1980. He is author of the book titled, Leonardo’s Holy Child: The Discovery of a Leonardo Da Vinci Masterpiece: A Connoiseur’s Search for Lost Art in America.