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 Annette Rosenshine  (1880 - 1971)

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: sculpture-abstraction

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The sculptress known for her work in miniature, Annette Rosenshine, was born in San Francisco in 1880. She studied at the Mark Hopkins Institute in San Francisco, and most notably, with Henri Matisse in Paris. The Mark Hopkins Institute was established in a mansion on Nob Hill in February 1893, by Mr. Edward F. Searles, who donated the Hopkins Mansion to the University of California in trust for the San Francisco Art Institute. The aim of the institute was to provide "instruction in and illustration of the fine arts, music, and literature." The mansion sadly burned to the ground in the fires started by the 1906 earthquake. The University of Berkeley owns a typescript of her reminiscences in which she describes her childhood in San Francisco including the 1906 earthquake.

Rosenshine spent two years in Paris where she was a student of Matisse, a friend of Picasso, and a member of the Stein Salon--- Alice B. Toklas and the Stein family---Sara, Michael, Leo, and Gertrude. It was during this time that she became immersed in the movement called Fauvism, an obvious influence on her style.

Rosenshine would return to the States and interestingly, turn her sites to social work---the impetus for this transition requires further research. She would ultimately return to Europe, where she consulted with Carl Jung, one of the fathers of modern psychiatric theory and author of "Man and His Symbols" who encouraged her to pursue her art. Rosenshine's career suggests a woman who was committed to her fellow man, not only from the vantage of an aloof aesthetic observer, but also from the role as a committed protectrice.

The University of California, Berkeley owns a collection of her drawings, but the location of only one sculpture, her metier, has been identified by the author of this biography, "Caricature of H.L. Mencken," a small brown and black patinated bronze from the 1930's measuring only 4 x 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches. The work is incised with printed initials-- AR-- and a copyright symbol. Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Collection was the recipient of the work as a gift from a Mr. Bradford F. Swan. At the age of 49, Rosenhine exhibited a bronze sculpture in a 1929 show of modern art in Atlantic City, New Jersey, which was spearheaded by the famous dealer and collector, Louis Sterne. The work was a dark miniature of a squatted primitive figure made more curious by one arm held up as if making a significant yet secretive gesture. The modularity and the androgynous non-European features are suggestive of Cycladic idols, fertility statues, and Mycenean miniatures. With the discovery of the palaces of Knossos, Phaestos, Zakros, and Malia at the beginning of the century, it would be natural for a sculptress under the influence of Fauvism to look at the earliest examples of bronze sculpture and atavistically fall under their influence. The 1929 show displayed her work along with the leading contemporary artists of the day including Robert Henri, Marsden Hartley, George Bellows, John Sloan, the Zorachs, and Edward Hopper, and suggests her stature at the time, and thus making her descent into obscurity more remarkable.

Rosenhine was photographed by a local California photographer, G. Paul Bishop, and Carl Van Vechten, a writer and photographer well-known for his studio portraits of artists and writers with a special emphasis on the members of the Harlem Renaissance, and suggests her life was affiliated with the country's leading aesthetes and thinkers.

In 1953, an exhibition of her work at Bishop's gallery was covered in the "Berkeley Daily Gazette" on April 23. Rosenshine was described as a Berkeley artist and the creator of "masques, grotesques, and portraits." According to G. Paul Bishop, Jr., Rosenhine lived only five blocks away from the studio and was a frequent visitor. The Bishops opened up their studio once per month and exhibited the work of local Berkeley artists, described as often "social artists." It is perhaps in seeking a label that we can consider describing her broadly as a humanist. To what extent her philosophies were influenced by the sites of the Great Depression, a horror to a sensitive woman can only be surmised. Her career as a social worker certainly point to an investigation of the question. The scale of her work, miniature, suggests her desire a level of intimacy and offers the work a tactile quality, which obliges the viewer to come close and begs for its placement in the palm of a hand.

Another article on the subject of Rosenshine's work appeared in 1975 in the "Lost Generation Journal," written by Paul Padgette, and entitled, "Sculpture Becomes Her Language. Padgette has written, it appears, extensively on the life of Gertrude Stein.

The partners at Loranth Projects look forward to continuing the exploration of Rosenshine's life, the search for her work, and warmly welcome all correspondence related to it.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in San Francisco, CA on April 14, 1880, Rosenshine studied at the Mark Hopkins Art Institute and continued in Paris with Matisse.  While there, she introduced her childhood friend Alice B. Toklas to Gertrude Stein. Except for the five years she spent in NYC during the 1920s, she remained in the San Francisco Bay area.  Having studied psychology in Zürich with Jung, she carried his teachings into her sculptures which were always whimsical or grotesque. She never married, and died in Oakland, CA on July 22, 1971.

Member: SF Women Artists.

Exh: SFMA, 1935. In: SFMA.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
American Art Annual 1933; Oakland Tribune, 7-23-1971 (obituary).
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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