Herman Rose, a Brooklyn-born New Yorker who drew inspiration for his cityscapes from his home on 74th Street, is dead at 98. After he was included in a 1952 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art called “15 Americans,” which also presented works by Jackson Pollock, Clyfford Still and Mark Rothko, he was able to live mainly on sales of his paintings. In 1962, the New York Times wrote that “[a]n obstinate, all-seeing devotion to New York scenes and characters turns this painter’s realism into something transfiguring.”
At a time when big-scale abstraction was ascendant, Mr. Rose painted small, airy, light-filled views of skies and rooftops in an Impressionistic manner. He painstakingly constructed his pictures from countless little blurry squares and dabs of paint, producing an enhanced tension between the concrete substance of the paint on the canvas and the spacious and luminous illusion of reality the work projected.
He also made still-life paintings, inspired by those of Giorgio Morandi, and watercolors. In a review of a 1981 exhibition, the New York Times critic Hilton Kramer wrote that his watercolors “must surely be counted among the most beautiful works anyone has produced in this challenging medium for many years.”