David Wells Roth, a portrait and land/cityscape artist, was born in Florida and grew up in Sudbury, Massachusetts.  While in high school he received private instruction from Boston expressionist David Aronson then studied painting in Boston University under a Ford Foundation scholarship, graduating with a BFA in painting.

Right after college between 1980-1892, Roth moved to New York City.  Despite the financial hardships of being a fledgling artist in New York (which included living in his car for a time), he painted cityscapes, views in Central Park and street scenes throughout the city and sold them to passersby off of his portable easel . 

In 1982, a French family offered Roth the opportunity to live in their home in the South of France for several months in exchange for a painting.  He then moved to the Paris suburb of Le Pre St. Gervais and lived there through 1997, bartering his paintings for his apartment.  While in Le Pre St. Gervais, he continued to paint city life, cafes and landscapes of Europe, including painting throughout Italy between 1984-1986.  He was involved in exhibitions in Paris and Boston, including solo exhibitions at the French Library in Boston, and the Copley Society.  He participated in group shows in Paris, including shows at the Grand Palais, a juried competition at the Cirque d’Hiver called Les Trophees de la Couleur, and a juried salon exhibition in the 10th district city hall of Paris.   While in Paris, from 1995-97, he commuted back to Boston for a commission to paint a series of historical paintings for the Boston landmark and America's oldest continuously operating restaurant, The Union Oyster House.  The series was about the life of the Boston Revolutionary War publisher, Isaiah Thomas, and Daniel Webster, as well as some images of early Boston history which are on view in their Heritage room and along their sidewalk windows.

Since returning to the states, Roth participated in group shows in the Allan Stone and DFN galleries in New York, had solo exhibitions at the American Institute of Architects in Boston and the Whistler House Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts and was a finalist in the Blanche E. Coleman Award Competition.  The Boston Public Library recently acquired several of his drawings and watercolors for its print and paper collections.

The federal and state courts in Massachusetts commissioned judicial portraits including a portrait of judge Richard G. Stearns which is hanging in Boston’s federal courthouse.

From 2007-2010 he was awarded a commission to paint the portraits of all 34 judges (past and present) of the United States federal court of the district of Puerto Rico.


Boston University, BFA, Painting.
Studied under: David Aronson (pre-college private mentor then professor at BU), John Wilson, Arthur Polonsky, David Ratner, Iso Papo, Morton Sacks, Joseph Ablow

Rhode Island School of Design, Pre-college studies program.
Studied under: Richard Merkin, David Mccoulay

Awards and recognition

2012-15 St. Botolph Club, Boston - Fellowship, Fellow
2006 Blanche E. Coleman Award Competition, finalist
1993 Lefranc  & Bourgois, Winsor Newton, Les Trophees de la Couleur, France
1975-76 Ford Foundation, Educational Grant, Boston University, Boston, MA
1975 Gold Medal, M. Grumbacher Artist’s Material Award, New York National Scholastic Awards, New York, NY
1974-75 Boston Globe Scholastics Art Competition,  various awards

Exhibitions and Collections
Press and Publications