Otto Rohse was born on July 8, 1925, in Insterburg in East Prussia. He spent his school years in Gumbinnen in East Prussia. He began drawing at a young age. Upon meeting the painter Helene Wagenbichler, who had an exhibit at the Art Society Königsberg, Rohse felt impelled to study art himself.
Against the intentions of his father, he started studying art at the Kunsthochschule Königsberg under Alfred Partikel, who is known for his Masurian landscapes. After the chaos of World War II, his service in the war, and a short time as a prisoner, he took up his art studies again at the Landeskunstschule Hamburg under Friedrich Ahlers-Hestermann. His instructor for typography and book design, Richard von Sichowsky, took him as his assistent.
In 1956, Rohse settled in Hamburg as a freelance artist. Meanwhile, he took over teaching duties at the Werkkunstschule in Offenbach am Main. In 1962, he founded the Otto Rohse Presse, a hand press, which stayed true to the traditions of the art of book printing.
The highly demanded bibliophilic editions can even be found in museum collections, such as the Schiller-Nationalmuseum in Marbach.
Otto Rohse achieved recognition primarily for his composition of a series of postage stamps for the German Federal Post Office between 1955 and 1995, for example the long series "Deutsche Bauten aus 12 Jahrhunderten" (German Buildings from 12 Centuries). He was honored in Hamburg with the Biermann-Ratjen medal in 1985 and the Gutenberg Prize of the city of Mainz in 2002.
Otto Rohse lives in Hamburg.
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