Theodore (Ted, Pete) Czebotar was a Regionalist artist that studied all four corners of the United States. His talents were encouraged during his childhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Starting his hobo lifestyle in his teens, he dropped out of high school and ventured West. Czebotar was never materialistic; he was hesitant of any formal training. His art was a pure representation of his skills.
At 22 years old, Czebotar was in a serious car accident and was bed ridden. He returned to Wisconsin and began painting his sketches of the Midwest and West. When he recovered, he explored the eastern part of the United States, specifically Manhattan. He would travel between Wisconsin and New York State often for the next six years.
In the latter half of 1937, Czebotar met famed regional artist John Steuart Curry, who introduced him to his art dealer, Maynard Walker. Walker helped launch Czebotar’s career within esteemed galleries and museums. His solo show was exhibited in the Milwaukee Art Institute followed by the Prints Room Gallery in Hollywood. He would eventually exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, Frazire Gallery, and Art Institute of Chicago. He was later invited to show with famed artists such as Thomas Hart Benton, Edward Hopper, and John Marin. Due to the success of his shows, in 1942 he decided to make New York his home. He met his wife, Elizabeth “Els” Snapper, who was an accessories designer, and they lived in a friend’s art studio in Fishkill, NY. He continued his practice by painting the Hudson River, and expanding his artistic repertoire by painting portraits of his love, Els.
Similar to his early teen years, Czebotar was not interested in being tied down in one place, and he continued train hopping for inspiration. Most often, he could be found in the west, such as the Olympic Peninsula, Utah, or Arizona, or in the east, traveling to Maine and New Brunswick, Canada. There, he would avidly sketch the landscapes, animals, and daylight. Once he was finished, he would travel home to Fishkill. His sketches evolved into beautiful paintings, varying in technique but often about a conversation with the natural landscapes.
Kohler Foundation acquired a collection of artwork from the Czebotar family. Parma Conservation has been conserving the paintings. KFI has gifted 191 paintings to nine organizations including Museum of Wisconsin Art, Racine Art Museum and Miller Art Museum.