Ted Rose (1940-2002) Biography

Ted Rose (1940-2002)


Ted Rose had a passion for railroads, which started when he took his first train ride in 1949 to a railroad fair in Chicago.  Then, in the mid-1950s, a teenaged Rose traveled throughout the United States and Canada, photographing and sketching in watercolor what he sensed was the twilight of the steam locomotive.

After receiving a B.F.A. from the University of Illinois in 1962, Rose served in Vietnam, and upon his return settled in Chama, New Mexico.  In  1966 he moved to Santa Fe, where he opened a graphic design business.  In 1983 he started to paint watercolors full time, with a nostalgic focus on the days when steam ruled the railroads.  Rose is a signature member of the New Mexico Watercolor Society and a member of the American Watercolor Society.  Recently New Mexico Magazine honored him as their Distinguished Artist for 1997.

Rose found watercolor to offer a greater number of options than oil, and to be more malleable.  “Watercolor is direct; there is almost no complexity in the preparation of the painting aspects of it,” Rose said.  First he visualized a prospective painting, and then sketched reference points to understand if what he imagined would work on paper.  His camera was the sketchbook, but he rarely created one of his almost photographic watercolors from a single image.  Often, he searched for illustrations by Depression-era photographers Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans for background material, and even consulted old timetables to ensure he was accurate about the exact time of a train’s departure from a depot.


  • Born August 13,1940, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • BFA ( Honors), University of Illinois, 1962; major, Painting; minors, Printmaking, History
  • U.S. Army, 1963-65; 12-month Vietnam tour
  • Moved to Chama, New Mexico, 1965; to Santa Fe, 1966



  • 2nd Annual Missouri National Juried Exhibition, 2002
  • 71st Annual Hudson Valley National Juried Exhibition, 2002
  • 26th Annual Midwest Watercolor Society Juried Exhibition, 2002
  • The Artist’s Magazine, Competition Finalists’ Show, 1997 (First Place, Landscape)
  • Ridgway Gallery, Colorado: solo exhibition, 1997
  • Johnsons of Madrid (NM. Group shows, 1997
  • NM. Arts and Crafts Fair, jurors’ show. 1997
  • Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors, Old Forge N.Y.,1997,1996
  • National Irving Shapiro Memorial Watercolor Competition, Chicago,1996,1995
  • California State Railroad Museum, Sacramento, 1995-1997
  • Fenn Galleries, Santa Fe: invitational group show for Absolute Vodka, 1995
  • Nymeyer Gallery, Chicago: Group show, 1995
  • Cline Gallery, Santa Fe, “Enduring Inspiration: N.M. Landscape Painting 1995, “invitational group show,1995
  • Zaplin-Lampert Gallery, Santa Fe: solo shows 1995, 1994, 1992, 1990
  • Museum of New Mexico, Southwest Biennial, 1969



  • Board of Directors Award, NM Watercolor Society, Spring 2000
  • Best of Watercolor/Gouache, Old West Museum, Cheyenne, Wyoming, 2000
  • Lafayette (La.) Art Association, Best in Two-Dimensional, for a monotype, 2000
  •  The Artist’s Magazine national competition, First Place, Landscape, 1997
  • New Mexico Magazine’s Distinguished Artist for 1997
  • National Irving Shapiro Memorial Watercolor Competition, Chicago: Second Place 1996
  • Adirondacks National Exhibition: Winsor & Newton Award 1996
  • Midwest Watercolor Society Nat’l Exhibition: Door County Creative Workshop Award 1996
  • Kansas Watercolor Society Seven-State Exhibition: Mountain Iron & Supply Award 1996
  • New Mexico Watercolor Society: Board of Directors Award 1997 and 1996 Best of Show 1994;
  • Grumbacher Award 1993; Board of Directors Award 1991; Honorable Mention 1990, 1988; Second Place 1989. Signature Member, elected 1991
  • New York Book Show: 3rd Place Jacket Award (Across America on an Emigrant Train, Clarion Books) 1994
  • West Texas Watercolor Society: Second Place 1994
  • American Watercolor Society: Signature Member, elected 1993; Dagmar Tribble Award 1993
  • American Advertising Federation: First Place (Addv) for Cumbres & Toltec Scenic
  • Railroad magazine ad 1982
  • American Advertising Federation, District 12: First Place 1982
  • Northern New Mexico Advertdisting Federation, Santa Fe: more than 25 First, Second and Merit awards 1982-1988,1993
  • Milwaukee Journal Art Contest, Milwaukee, Wisconsin: First Place 1956


Publications - Profiles

  • The Artist’s Magazine: “ 97 Art Competition, Landscape, First Place, Ted Rose,” Dec. 1997
  • New Mexico Magazine: “Ted Rose: Off the Beaten Track, “by  Candelora Versace, with 10 paintings, Sept. 1996
  • Railfan & Railroad: “Returning to the Rails: Artist Ted Rose came back to his favorite subject and medium, 
  • “feature article by Editor Jim Boyd, with six paintings including cover, Nov. 1994; “We’d like you to meet Ted Rose, “ Jan. 1987
  • Wingspread: editorial feature, Winter 1994-95
  • Southwest Art: “Ted Rose: Locomotion, “by Anna Francis, with four paintings, May 1993
  • LOKI Magazine (Germany) : “ The Paintings of Ted Rose, “by Peter Gloor, with six paintings, May 1993
  • New Mexico Magazine: Enthusiasm for Trains Colors His Work, “by Arnold Vigil, with five paintings, Sept. 1989 


Books - Paintings have been featured in

  • Splash 5: The Glory of Color, w/ statement on color, North Light Books, 1997
  • Leading the West: One Hundred Contemporary Painters and Sculptors, by Donald J. Hagerty, Northland Press, 1997
  • The Chili Line and Santa Fe the City Different, R.D. Publications, 1997
  • Confessions of a Train Watcher, ed. George H. Drury, cover painting, Kalmbach, 1997
  • Splash 4: The Splender of Light, w/statement on light, North Light ‘Books, Cincinnati, 1996
  • Robert W. Richardson’s Narrow Gauge News, Colorado Railroad Historical Foundation, 1994
  • Across America on an Emigrant Train, dust jacket, Clarion Books,1994 (New York Book Show jacket award)
  • The Rio Grande Southern II, An Ultimate Pictorial Study, R.D. Publications, 1994
  • Missouri Pacific Northwest, South Platte Press 1994
  • Cape Cod Railroads, 1st ed., Cape Cod Historical Publications, 1990; 2nd ed., 1993
  • Rails Across America, Salamander Books (London),1993
  • Steams Finest Hour (anniversary reissue), Kalmbach Publishing Co.,1990
  • Railroads and Railroad Towns of New Mexico, New Mexico Magazine (publisher),1989
  • Canadian Steam!, Kalmbach Publishing Co., 1962



Magazines - Paintings have been featured in

  • Amtrak Express
  • The Keystone (Pennslvania RR Technical & Historical Society, pub.): covers, centerspreads
  • Locomotive & Railway Preservation, covers, centerspreads, feature articles
  • Model Railroader
  • Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette, covers
  • New Mexico Magazine: special Chile Issue: two feature articles
  • Pacific Rail  News: cover and centerspread
  • Passenger Train  Journal: covers, Amtrak painting and article
  • RailNews: feature articles and paintings
  • Trains: centerspreads, cover
  • Vintage Rails: frontispieces


Articles by the artist with paintings

  • Locomotive & Railway Preservation: November 1989, May 1987
  • Pacific Rail News: June 1995, Nov.1995
  • Railfan & Railroad: Jan.1997, Nov. 1994 Jan.1992, Feb.1991, Dec.1989, Nov.1988,Jan.1987
  • RailNews: June 1997
  • Trains: 50th Anniversary Issue Nov.1990, Sept.1989, Dec.1985
  • Trains Illustrated: premiere issue 1988



  • Daylight, Coast Starlight, Southern Pacific Lines, for SP business cars, 1995
  • New Kid on the Block, Santa Fe Southern Railway, 1995
  • Taking on More Varnish, The Deal, The Celebrations: Sprint Press, fort Worth, 1995
  • Assignments, 1992; Once Upon a Time,1991: Cottonwood, Albuquerque
  • Ascending Grade: San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society, 1991
  • Wine –Dark Soo, 1990; Westbound Chief, 1988; Hot Out of Chama, Otowi Crossing, 1986 Hod Carries Ink
  • Pennsy Men: Locomotive & Railway Preservation, 1988



  • Leanin’ Tree, twelve card, 1990-1997



  • New Mexico Magazine’s Distinguished Artist Calendar, 1997
  • Amtrak, 1997,1998
  • Images of Railroading: Paintings by Ted Rose, Cedco,1996,1997,1998,1999,
  • An American Journey, Paintings by Ted Rose, Cedco,1999
  • The Chili Line, with historical commentary: Hod Carriers Ink, 1985



  • Tracks Ahead III, featured artist, for PBS by WMVT-TV, Milwaukee,1995



  • “Art and Impressions,” column on fine art in Locomotive & Railway Preservation,1995-96
  • “Reproduction or Print: What’s the Difference?”, article in Railfan & Railroad, Oct.1994
  • Good, Bad and Ugly: The Railroad as Subject in American Art, “paper with slide illustrations presented to 
  • The Lexington Group, 1994



  • New Mexico Arts & Crafts Fair, Paintings, 1997
  • Ouray County (Colo.) Arts Association, Alpine Artists Show, 1997



  • American Watercolor Society (signature member)
  • New Mexico Watercolor Society (signature member)
  • Kansas Watercolor Society (signature member)
  • Pennsylvania Watercolor Society (signature member)
  • The Lexington Group in Transportation History
  • Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania: Advisory Board



Paintings in private and corporate collections including:

  • CSX Corporation
  • College of Santa Fe
  • Burlington Northern Santa Fe
  • John & Marilyn Mc Greer
  • Dr. Alexander Ruthven II
  • Donnell & Susan Piestrup
  • John & Susanne Manley
  • Union Pacific Railroad
  • Amtrak
  • U.S. Postal Service
  • Kalmbach Publishing Co.
  • Margot Fogg
  • Colorado Railroad Museum
  • Judge Reinhold
  • Bill Withuhn
  • Albert Louer
  • Wallace Abbey
  • Fred Springer
  • Santa Fe Southern Railway
  • Morgan Stanley (Japan)
  • California State Railroad Museum
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