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 George Rioch Anthonisen  (1936 - )

About: George Rioch Anthonisen


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Lived/Active: Pennsylvania/Massachusetts      Known for: figurative sculpture

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Ad Code: 4
George Rioch Anthonisen
from Auction House Records.
A Passive Thought, 1989
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1936, George Rioch Anthonisen spent his early years in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Anthonisen was identified as learning disabled and tutored throughout the years from age 8-12 by Elizabeth Clark Gunther of Hancock, New Hampshire, who had a degree in landscape architecture from the Cambridge School of Domestic and Landscape Architecture for Women. As a teenager, Ms. Gunther lived in Rome where her father held the position of Director of Classical School of the American Academy (1916-1918). Her husband, John F. Gunther was an architect and painter.

Living in the Gunther home for two years, three months each year, George was introduced to art books, paintings, sculpture, archaeological artifacts and to works of wood-cut artist, Lynn Ward. When the family moved to Hanover, New Hampshire in 1946, Anthonisen continued to be tutored by Betty Gunther. That same year, he discovered Mexican muralist Clemente Orozco in Baker Library, Dartmouth College.

In 1955, stationed in Hanau, Germany with the U.S. Army, Anthonisen visited the Louvre for the first time. "Nike of Samothrace" (Winged Victory), "Venus De Milo" and "Michelangelos Two Slaves" left indelible impressions.

After military service, he enrolled and graduated from the University of Vermont. He moved to New York in 1961 to pursue studies at the National Academy of Design, NY with Adolph Block, Paul Fjelde and Douglas Gorsline and the Art Students League, NY with Jose De Creeft and John Hovannes from 1962-1964. He returned to New Hampshire in 1967 to study anatomy through the dissection of cadavers at Dartmouth College Medical School.

In 1971, the U.S. Department of the Interior named Anthonisen as sculptor-in-residence of the Augustus Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, New Hampshire. In the same year, Anthonisen moved to Bucks County, Pennsylvania where he has lived ever since.

Lisa Tremper Hanover, Director of the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA states ".There is no such thing as a casual stroll past a George Anthonisen sculpture. You see it, you feel it, you react to it, you contemplate it, you analyze it and often you are startled; with a gesture, a facial expression, Anthonisen presents us with both information and questions. He addresses issues in his work that are universally understood and in other words, we all approach an image with our own body of experiences to inform our perception of it; yet somehow Anthonisen succeeds in capturing a moment that enables each of us to reach the same conclusion about its intent, regardless of how we worked our way to that point. "

Although his subject matter deals with twentieth-century concerns, his imagery and technique remain within the boundaries of the classical tradition. His love for literature often informs his sculpture and an iconographic reference can usually be found in either scripture or Greek mythology.

Anthonisen says "The danger in using traditional art by itself is that it ignores the existence of the 20th century, but to use only the visual vocabulary of the 20th century (modern art) can deprive us of our history."


Donald Martin Reynolds, Ph.D., Art Historian and Author, New York City, NY

Anthonisens images tap the vast reservoir of our affective and cognitive origins and bring us face to face with our most fundamental drives and urges. They reveal to us the noblest aspirations of the human spirit as well as the darkest forces that threaten humanitys survival. From the sheer beauty of his female nudes to his psychologically revealing portraits and the subtle complexities of social and moral conflict and harmony in his ideal pieces, Anthonisens images deal primarily with the immutable essence of the individual person, the family, and human society in a changing world. Indeed, those notions virtually transpire through his humanizing images.

John H. Dryfhout, Augustus Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish, NH

The artist's work combines classical and contemporary themes. Ever the humanist, Anthonisen has renewed the art form of the ancients, the Renaissance and the modern.

Lisa Tremper Hanover, Director, Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College, Collegeville, Pennsylvania

Far from being cold, impersonal depictions of the figure, Anthonisens bronzes are the culmination of a thoughtful approach to issues that are relevant to him personally and as a common thread that binds our collective thinking.

Michael W. Schantz, Ph.D., Director and CEO, Woodmere Art Museum
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

George Anthonisen is one of America's outstanding figurative sculptors. The Philadelphia area is fortunate indeed to list him among the stellar talents that have emanated from its fertile artistic soil.

Cathy Viksjo, Regional Art Critic

First, his art illuminates the human condition as its emotional darkness and its spiritual light. Guided by purely ethical and moral concerns, Mr. Anthonisens work deals with courage, integrity, free will, genocide, the power to choose good over evil, self-sacrifice, and world hunger. And on the flip side of the equation, he portrays beauty, family, joy and bliss, rapture, love and good will towards all.


2007  Life in Bronze: Sculpture of George Anthonisen, The Cooley Gallery, Old Lyme, CT   

2006  The Sculpture of George R. Anthonisen, Jonathan Edwards College, Yale University, New Haven, CT.   

1999  Reflections on The Human Condition: Nine Sculptures by George R. Anthonisen
Center for Interfaith Relations, Festival of Faiths, Gardens of Louisville, Louisville, KY

1998  George R. Anthonisen  Sculpture and Fresco, Bianco Gallery, Buckingham, PA

1996  The Compassionate Spirit: Sculpture and Fresco by George R. Anthonisen
            Berman Museum of Art, Collegeville, PA

1995 Philadelphia Flower Show, Gale Nurseries presents Sculpture in Harmony
(featuring five Anthonisen bronzes, Awarded Best of Show), Philadelphia, PA

1994 George Anthonisen  New Work: Fresco and Sculpture, Bianco Gallery, Buckingham. PA
1992    Anthonisen, Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA
1989    I Set Before You This Day, Rotunda, Cannon House Office Building, U.S.Capitol, Washington, DC
1986    University of Scranton Art Gallery, Scranton, PA
1966    Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH


2007  National Sculpture Society Fellows Exhibition, New York, NY
Group Exhibitions    

2005  Sculpture Along Bear Creek, SculptureWorks, Inc., Keller, TX
2003  Artists of the River Towns, Philadelphia Sketch Club, Philadelphia, PA

2002  Small Treasures, Holiday Artists Show, Travis Gallery, New Hope, PA       

2000  Continuing The Bucks County Landscape Tradition, Bianco Gallery, Buckingham, PA
and Salmagundi Club, New York, NY  (Oct.11-Oct.29) 

2000  The Art Gene: Anthonisen, Dodge,Gowin, Osterman; James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA (April 15-July 2)
1997  Caring  Humanity’s Hope for Survival, Samuel Dorsky Symposium on Public Monuments presented by The Monuments Conservancy, New York, NY
1993  The Second Century, Contemporary Works Exhibition, National Sculpture Society, New York, NY
1991  Images of Courage and Compassion, Millersville University, Millersville, PA
1988  Inaugural Exhibition, The James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA
1987  Celebration of the Figure, Port of History Museum, Philadelphia, PA
1985  Artists Three, Bucks County Council for the Arts, Doylestown, PA
1971  National Academy of Design, New York, NY

World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland (World Headquarters)
U.S. Capitol Building, Capitol Visitors Center, Washington, DC
Carnegie Hall (Shorin Club Room), New York, NY
Please Touch Museum, Philadelphia, PA
James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA
Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA
Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, PA
Center for Interfaith Relations, Louisville, KY
Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA
University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK
Washington School of Psychiatry, Washington, DC
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH
J. Henry Schroder Bank & Trust Company, New York, NY
Keneseth Israel, Elkins Park, PA
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
Doylestown Hospital (Women’s Diagnostic Center), Doylestown, PA
2009: Honorary Degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA
2002: Honorary member, Philadelphia Sketch Club, Philadelphia, PA
1985: Exemplary Achievement in the Arts Award, Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce,
1976: Alaska State Council on the Arts
1971: U.S. Department of Interior, Sculptor-in-residence, Augustus Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish, NH;

1967: Dartmouth College Medical School
1962-1964: Art Students League, New York, NY (with Jose De  Creeft, John Hovannes)
1961-1962: National Academy of Design, New York, NY (with Adolph  Block, Paul Fjelde, Douglas Gorsline)
1961: University of Vermont, BA
1955-1957: U.S Army

"A Space Enlivened", Sally Friedman, Home & Design, section E1, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Sunday, January 7, 2011

The Sculpture of George R. Anthonisen, Jonathan Edwards College, Yale University, New Haven, CT. 2006;

"Showing Humanity’s Extremes", Valerie Reed, Philadelphia Inquirer, Sunday, June 22, 2003

Artists of the River Towns: Their works and their stories, Doris Brandes, River Arts Press, 2002

The Art Gene: George and  Daniel Anthonisen, Video Tape, James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA, 2000

Dedication WW II Memorial: Promise/Anthem by George R. Anthonisen, Berman Museum of Art, Collegevile, PA, 1998

The Compassionate Spirit: Sculpture & Fresco of George R. Anthonisen; Berman Museum  of Art, Collegeville, PA, 1996

Quest: George R. Anthonisen, Sculptor, NJ Cable Television Network, produced by College of New Jersey, 1993;

Acceptance of the Statue of Senator Ernest Gruening, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1978.

Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Art; Who’s Who in the East and more

Submitted by the artist, April 2013

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