Rohrer, Warren Eby (1927-1995)

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Warren Eby Rohrer, circa 1955. Scan courtesy of the Rohrer family

Abstract painter Warren Eby Rohrer was born in Smoketown, Pennsylvania, on 4 December 1927, to Israel D. Rohrer (1902-1988) and Edna (Eby) Rohrer (1902-1951). The eldest of five siblings, Warren grew up on a poultry farm and attended public school, demonstrating at an early age a talent for drawing. He joined Mellinger Mennonite Church and attended Lancaster Mennonite High School, from which he graduated in 1945. In the fall of that year he enrolled in Eastern Mennonite College to study Bible in preparation for the ministry. After also taking art education courses at nearby Madison College, Warren graduated with bachelor’s degrees from both institutions.

In 1948, he married Martha Jane Turner (b. 1928), daughter of Charles Casper Turner (1900-1985) and Mildred (Shoemaker) Turner (1901-1969), of Broadway, Virginia. The couple had two children, sons Jon Warren (b. 1952) and Dean Michael (b. 1953). Jane supported her husband’s artistic career and later published collections of her own poetry. During the 1950s, Warren studied painting at The Pennsylvania State University over the course of three summers, and took evening classes at Philadelphia institutions while teaching high school. In 1961 the Rohrers moved to a farm near Christiana, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where Warren converted the barn into a painting studio. He joined the faculty of the Philadelphia College of Art (now University of the Arts) in 1967, and exhibited his work in Philadelphia and New York. After the Rohrers moved to Philadelphia in 1984, Warren often returned to Lancaster to photograph and sketch the agriculturally altered landscape that inspired his final, large paintings. He died on 21 February 1995, at the age of 64. His work is housed in private and public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery, and Philadelphia Museum of Art.


Carrier, David and Elaine Mehalakes. Warren Rohrer. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Locks Art Publications and Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley, 2016.

Kasdorf, Julia Spicher, Christopher Reed, and Joyce Henri Robinson, eds. Field Language: The Painting and Poetry of Warren and Jane Rohrer. State College, Pennsylvania: The Palmer Museum of Art, 2020.

Oral history interview with Warren Rohrer by Marina Pacini, March 9, 1989–June 1, 1989, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Author(s) Julia Spicher Kasdorf
Date Published May 2020

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MLA style

Kasdorf, Julia Spicher. "Rohrer, Warren Eby (1927-1995)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2020. Web. 29 Sep 2020.,_Warren_Eby_(1927-1995)&oldid=168129.

APA style

Kasdorf, Julia Spicher. (May 2020). Rohrer, Warren Eby (1927-1995). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 29 September 2020, from,_Warren_Eby_(1927-1995)&oldid=168129.

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