VENTURE DEVELOPMENT GROUP is an umbrella organization for the business activities of David M. Burwen and Susan Jo Burwen. VDG is focused on venture capital investing and publishing books authored by the Burwens.

Venture Capital: VDG invests with various angel investment groups and venture capital partnerships in technology and life science companies, primarily located in the San Francisco Bay area.

Publishing: In 2004 VDG published the book Carl Roters and the Rendezvous Murals authored by David M. Burwen and Susan Jo Burwen. The following is a description of this book.

In the 1950s fortuitous events brought together the history of the “mountain man,” the vision of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and the talent of artist Carl Roters, resulting in the creation of the Rendezvous Murals. This book tells the story of how these murals of great artistic and historical significance came to grace the walls of the Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

During the first part of the nineteenth century, mountain men and Indians combed the river valleys and creeks of the Rocky Mountains, trapping beaver to supply wealthy Americans and Europeans with exclusive top hats made from beaver fur. At an annual gathering called a “Rendezvous,” fur-trading companies brought supplies for trappers, who in turn sold their beaver pelts to the companies.

In 1837, artist Alfred Jacob Miller chronicled his 2,400-mile round-trip to the Rendezvous as well as the spectacle of the rowdy event itself. He produced approximately two hundred watercolor sketches of a land never before seen by his fellow Americans.

More than a century later, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., sponsored a competition to paint murals for his newly built Jackson Lake Lodge. Rockefeller chose “The Fur Traders and Trappers of the Early West” as the murals’ theme, recalling the mountain-man period begun in the wake of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Carl Roters, a professor of art at Syracuse University in New York, won the Rockefeller commission, basing his murals for the Jackson Lake Lodge on Miller’s sketches. Roters created these Rendezvous Murals in his Syracuse studio between 1957 and 1959; in 1959 the murals were installed in the dining room of the lodge, where they are now viewed each year by thousands of visitors to Grand Teton National Park. The two murals are made up of ten panels illustrating events associated with the 1837 Rendezvous and portraying famous participants. They span two walls of the dining room and total nearly 80 feet in length.

Carl Roters and the Rendezvous Murals recounts the events that led Roters to become a skilled painter and muralist capable of winning the Rockefeller commission. It describes the inventive techniques and materials that Roters developed for the project, such as using handmade polymer paints on gesso to produce strikingly luminous images, and applying thinned oil paints on walnut to incorporate wood grain into the compositions. The book also presents Roters’ subsequent paintings, many of which he produced after Jackson Hole became his home.

Spectacular reproductions of the Rendezvous Murals are accompanied by biographies of noteworthy participants in the 1837 Rendezvous. Their stories, combined with an historical overview of the mountain-man period, provide the twenty-first-century reader with a window into a colorful era of American history that set the stage for the westward migration of the 1840s and the rapid settlement of the United States from the Atlantic to the Pacific by the end of the century.

Readers may purchase this book at:

Contact Information:
Tel: 650-967-3403
Fax: 650-965-0320





  key words: fur trade, fur traders, fur trappers, mountain man, Lewis
and Clark, Carl Roters, Carl Roters and the Rendezvous Murals, Rendezvous, Rendezvous
Murals, Jackson Lake Lodge, Grand Teton Lodge Company, Mural Room, Alfred Jacob
Miller, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. David M. Burwen, David Burwen Susan Jo Burwen,
Susan Burwen, Venture Development Group, Western Art, Art of the west,
The epic Rendezvous Murals and Roters' other paintings bring to life the colorful era, following Lewis & Clark, when mountain men opened up the new western frontier and traders brought supplies 1000's of miles by caravan to the annual Rendezvous, VENTURE DEVELOPMENT GROUP, Click here to buy the book Carl Roters and the Rendezvous Murals
ISBN# 0-9748030-0-6
Published by Venture Development Group
Distributed by Pathway Book Service