Michael Rothenstein, the son of the celebrated artist Sir William Rothenstein, studied at the Central School of Art from 1924 to 1927. Early in life he suffered a long illness and in 1940 he went to live in Essex where he became influenced by the Neo-Romantic movement which was concerned with evoking emotion in landscape imagery. He moved to Great Bardfield in 1941, staying first at The Place House, where John Aldridge also lived, and then Ethel House close to Edward Bawden's home. He produced images of the Essex landscape through the Recording Britain project. After the war he began print making and in Paris he worked at Atelier 17 with Stanley Hayter.
Born in Hampstead, London, on 19 March 1908, Rothenstein was the youngest of four. He studied at Chelsea Polytechnic and Central School of Arts and Crafts, 1924-7. He had his first one-man show in 1938 and during World War II participated in the Pilgrim Trust Recording Britain project. After the war, he taught printmaking at Camberwell School of Art and was Art Fellow at Sheffield University in 1962.
Rothenstein became one of the most experimental printmakers in Britain during the ‘50s and ’60s. As well as found objects such as wood offcuts and metal debris, he incorporated fresh 20th century imagery into his relief prints, combining photographic material with traditional woodcuts and linocuts. Numerous major galleries currently hold his work and he was made Hon. RE and elected RA in 1983.