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 Tony (Bernard) Rosenthal  (1914 - 2009)

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Lived/Active: New York/California/Illinois      Known for: abstract linear public sculpture

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born Bernard Rosenthal in 1914 Highland Park, Illinois, Tony Rosenthal earned a B.F.A. from the University of Michigan and from Cranbrook Academy of Art.  Since 1960 the Artist was professionally known and credited as Tony Rosenthal, when Sam Kootz, the Art Dealer persuaded Mr. Rosenthal to use his nickname, Tony.  When the Artist celebrated his 92nd birthday, he expressed a preference for the Tony Rosenthal credit for all Works of Art he created over 7 decades.

Mr. Rosenthal is probably best known Internationally for creating The Alamo, 1967, also known as the Astor Place Cube, the Monumental 15' Rotating Black CorTen Steel Cube, poised on its tip, which has been permanent installation on Astor Place in downtown Manhattan since the 60's.  The Alamo was the first permanent contemporary outdoor public sculpture installed in 1967, and purchased by the City of New York.

The Alamo has become a permanent Landmark in downtown Manhattan, and the subject of thousands of news stories.  In fact, when The Alamo was temporarily removed for a sprucing up, Mayor Bloomberg was on hand to rededicate the famous Sculpture.  While The Alamo was New York City's first permanent outdoor sculpture ever purchased in 1967, Mr. Rosenthal had been creating public commission outdoor sculpture since 1939, when Tony Rosenthal's Nubian Slave was installed at the '39 World's Fair.

Other Large Public Commission Works include: "Wall Relief's" installed at the General Petroleum Office building, Los Angeles; the Large Bronze Disc titled Rondo, installed on 59th Street off Park Avenue in 1969; 5 in 1, the 35' Red CorTen Steel Sculpture seen everyday by those in New York on Jury Duty, installed at 1 Police Plaza.

Other famous Public Commission Works include J.S. Bach Variation #9, 1990, at the Ravina Music Festival Park, Illinois; Pass-Thru, 1988, Hofstra University; Big Six, 1975, a 10' Structural Steel Work at The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Virginia; Odyssey I, 1967, a Large Red Painted Steel Sculpture at the Open Air Museum of Sculpture, Antwerp, Belgium; and Hammarskjold, 1977, the 20' Structural Steel Work at the Fashion Institute of Technology, etc.

Tony Rosenthal had numerous Solo and Group Exhibitions since his first Exhibition in 1940. 

Sculptures by Rosenthal are included in the Collections of Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk Virginia; City of New York; Fashion Institute of Technology, New York; Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, New York;  Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection); The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut.

Rosenthal Works are also included in many Corporate and Private Collections.

Chronology of his Public Works:
1939
A Nubian Slave, cast cement, Elgin Watch Building, New York World's Fair, Queens, New York
(commissioned by William Pereira, Architect)
1941
Coal Mining, a Commission from the W.P.A., Nokamis Post Office, Nokomis, IL
Wall of Time, bronze plate, 10 feet diameter, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois
(commissioned by William Pereira, Architect)
1947
Sundial, walnut and bronze, 4 foot diameter, Motion Picture Relief Home, Calabasas, California
(commissioned by William Pereira, Architect)
Mahogany Relief, 42 x 36 feet, United States Post Office, Nokomis, Illinois
1949
Walnut Reliefs representing aspects of drilling and refining oil, 14 x 10 feet, General Petroleum Building, Los Angeles
(commissioned by Walter Wurdeman and Welton Becket, Architects)
1950
 Bronze Relief, 30 feet diameter, Office Building, 260 Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, California
(commissioned by Sidney H. Eisenshtat, Architect)
Fountain, bronze, 2 1/2 x 6 x 3 feet, University Elementary School, University of California, Loas Angeles, California
(commissioned by Robert ALexander, Architect)
1951
Two Reliefs, steel, 7 x 3 feet, Bullock's Westwood, Los Angeles, California
(commissioned by Welton Becket, Architect and Maynard Woodward, Designer)
1952
Ballet Dancers, painted plaster, 15 feet, RKO Studios, Hollywood, California
(commissioned by Jerry Wald, Producer)
Fountain, bronze, 8 x 20 x 8 feet, Robinson's Department Store, Beverly Hills, California
(commissioned by William Pereira and Charles Luckman, Architects)
1954
The Gold Coast, brass and bronze, 30 feet, Apartment Building, 1000 Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
(commissioned by Sidney Morris, Architect)
1955
The Family Group, bronze, 14 x 5 x 3 feet, Entrance Wall, Police Facilities Building (since 1971 known as the Parker Center), 150 N. Los Angeles St., Los Angeles (commisioned by Welton Beckett, Architect and Maynard Woodard, Designer)
Outside Wall Sculpture (an interpretation of Jacob's Ladder), bronze, 20 feet, Temple Emanuel, Beverly Hills, California
(commissioned by Sidney Eisenshtat, Architect)
Menorah, bronze, 8 feet, Temple Emanuel, Beverly Hills, California
(commissioned by Sidney Eisenshtat, Architect)
1958
Exterior Wall, 8 x 40 feet, brass and bronze, Southland Center, Dallas, Texas
(commissioned by Welton Becket, Architect and Maynard Woodward, Designer)
Interior Wall, 15x 25 feet, brass and bronze, Southland Center, Dallas, Texas
(commissioned by Welton Becket, Architect and Maynard Woodward, Designer)
1963
Two Painted Aluminum Walls, 13 x 28 feet each, Gateway West and Gateway East Office Building, Century City, Los Angeles
(commissioned by Welton Becket, Architect and Maynard Woodward, Designer)
1965
Megapole, painted steel, 5 x 5 x 5 feet, Fresno Public Mall, California
(commissioned by the City of Fresno)
1967
Alamo, Painted CorTen Steel, 15 x 15 x 15 feet, Collection New York City, Astor Place Traffic Island, Lafayette Street at 8th Street
1968
Endover, Painted CorTen Steel, 15 x 15 x 15 feet, Regents Plaza, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
(Gift of class of 1965)
1969
Free-standing wall, painted steel, 7 x 20 feet, Art Department campus, California State University
(commissioned by Thorton M. Abell, architect of art department campus), Fullerton
Rondo, welded bronze, 11 x 5 feet, office building at 110 East 59th Street, New York; later moved to 127 East 58th Street (William Lescaze, architect), in front of a branch of the New York Public Library, New York
(commissioned by Jack Resnick & Sons, builders)
1970
Kepaakala (Sun Disc), welded bronze, 11 x 5 feet, The Bank of Hawaii, Financial Center of the Pacific, Honolulu
1971
Odyssey I, painted aluminum, 6'8" x 7'11" x 8'9", Open Air Museum of Sculpture Middelheim, Antwerp
1972
Column, stainless steel, 30 feet, Sunrise Mall, Massapequa, New York
Cube '72, painted steel, 90 x 90 x 90 inches, Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York
Memorial Cube, painted aluminum, 7.5 x 7.5 x 7.5 feet, Cummings Art Center (Gordon Bunshaft, architect), Connecticut College, New London
1973
5 in 1, painted CorTen steel, 35 x 28 x 42 feet, Police Plaza (Gruzen & partners, architects; M. Paul Friedberg, landscape architect), New York
(commissioned by City of New York)
1974
Ark, welded brass, 28 x 36 feet; menorah, welded brass, 8 feet, wlnut wall 78 feet, Temple Beth El, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
(commisioned by Minoru Yamasaki, architect)
Odyssey III, painted aluminum, 6'8" x 7'11" x 8'9", San Diego Museum of Art, California
1975
Big Six, structural steel, 9 x 14 feet, Chysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA
Odyssey II, painted aluminum, 6'8" x 7'11" x 8'9", Yale University campus; moved 1999 to Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut
1977
Hammarskjold, structural steel, 20 x 20 x 20 feet, Hammarskjold Plaza, Second Avenue and 47th Street, New York; then located for six months at 26 Federal Plaza, New York
Holocaust Memorial, stainless steel, 10 x 5 feet, Jewish Community Center of Greater Buffalo, Getzville, New York
1978
Hammarskjold, structural steel, 20 x 20 x 20 feet, aquired by the Fashion Institute of Technology, Seventh Avenue and 27th Street, New York
Large T-Square, painted structural steel, 7' x 52" x 50", aquired by Martin Z. Margulies, installed Grove Isle, Miami, , Florida
1980
SteelPark, Painted Steel, 14 x 60 x 40 feet, Commisioned by Jack Resnick & Sons, Inc. 401 East 80th Street, at First Avenue
(commisioned by Jack Resnick & Sons, Inc.)
Cranbrook Ingathering, rusted steel, 10 x 26 x 25 feet, Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum (Eliel Saarinen, architecht), Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Element 'H' x 5, rusted steel, 6.5 x 25 x 26 feet, P.S.1 (Institute for Art and Urban Resources), Queens, New York (on view 1980-85)
1981
Bronco, stainless steel, 87 feet, atrium of an office building, 1010 Lamar (M. Nasr, architect), Houston, Texas
(commissioned by Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority)
1983
A version of Odyssey, CorTen steel, 14 x 14 x 10 feet, public park next to Metropolitan Hospital, Philadelphia
(commissioned by Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority)
Marty's Cube, painted steel, 15 feet, aquired by Martin Z. Margulies, installed Grove Isle, Miami, Florida
1984
Sculpture Park, painted steel, 14 x 80 x 60 feet, Culmer Metro-Rail Station (Harry Weese, Architect), Miami, Florida
(commissioned by Metro Dade Art Commission, Miami)
Tournesol, welded bronze, 8' x 20", lobby, Southeast National Bank ( Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, architects), now an office building, Miami
(commissioned by Florence Knoll Bassett)
Big Six, structural steel, 10 x 15 feet, Brenton Bank, Ingersoll Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa
1986
Hammarskjold II, painted steel, 20 x 20 x 20 feet, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York
1988
Pass-Thru, painted steel, 6.5 x 17 x 16 feet, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York
1989
Indiana Totem, painted aluminum, 35 feet, atrium, Indiana University Art Museum (I.M. Pei, architect), Bloomington, Indiana
1990
Boreal (A bench), steel, 5 x 9.9 x 5 feet, Runnymede Sculpture Farm, Woodside, California
1991
Fugue, painted steel, 16 feet, Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, Indiana
1992
Odyssey IV, painted aluminum, 6'8" x 7'11" x 8'9", American Bankers Assurance Co., Miami, Florida
1997
J.S. Bach Variation #9, painted aluminum plate, 16' x 36", Ravinia Music Festival Park, Highland Park, Illinois
1998
Cube '97, painted steel, 108 x 108 x 108 inches, Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, Hamilton, Ohio
Coriolis (A bench), steel, 48 x 92 x 48 inches, Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, Hamilton, Ohio
House of the Minotaur, painted steel, 6.5' x 25' x 26 ', Laumeier Sculpture Park & Museum, St. Louis, Missouri, originally unpainted, entitled Element 'H' x 5, and installed at P.S.1 (The Institute for Art and Urban Resources), Queens, New York
Bench, aluminum, 50 x 120 x 50 inches, American Bankers Assurance Co., Miami, Florida
Marty's Cube, painted steel, 15 feet, Large T-Square, painted structural steel, 7' x 52" x 50", aquired by Martin Z. Margulies, both works originally installed Grove Isle, Miami, Florida; since 1998, on loan to Florida International University, Miami, Florida
1999
J.S. Bach Fugue #1, painted steel, 192 x 120 x 60 inches, Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, Hamilton, Ohio (on long-term loan)
 

Sources include:
The information was compiled from public records and from the biography Tony Rosenthal by Sam Hunter and Trudie Grace, and the Artist's Archives.

Mr. Rosenthal passed away on July 28, 2009, in Southampton, New York.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Bernard J. Rosenthal was born in Highland Park, IL on Aug. 9, 1914.  “Tony” Rosenthal studied at University of Michigan and with Alexander Archipenko and Carl Milles.  He taught at UCLA while a resident of Los Angeles in 1947-59.  By 1966 he was in New York City and lived there until his demise in Southampton, NY on July 28, 2009. 

Exh: Art Institute of Chicago, 1939-42; Oakland Art Gallery, 1941; Metropolitan Museum, 1942; San Francisco Museum of Art, 1950; Los Angles County Museum of Art, 1950; UCLA, 1951; Santa Barbara Museum, 1952. 

Works Held: Los Angles County Museum of Art; UCLA; Illinois State Museum; U.S. Post Office (Nokomis, IL).
Source:
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
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.

Biography from Joseph K. Levene Fine Art, Ltd.:
Tony Rosenthal, the renowned Sculptor of Public Art, was best known for creating large Geometric Sculptures in Public Places, including Alamo, the Monumental 15 Foot Cor-Ten Steel Sculpture also known as the Astor Place Cube.  Considered a New York Landmark, Rosenthal's Alamo, 1967 was the first Contemporary Sculpture purchased by the City of New York as part of the New York Public Art Fund.

Born Bernard Rosenthal on August 9, 1914, in Highland Park, Illinois, Mr. Rosenthal passed away on July 28, 2009, in Southampton, NY, with his wife, Cynthia, at his side.

Encouraged by his Mother to take art classes as a child, Mr. Rosenthal created Art throughout his life. He enjoyed the process of making Art as well as the public’s interaction with his Art. Rosenthal earned a B.F.A. from both the University of Michigan and the Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Rosenthal never stopped creating Art and continued to work every day in his studio until his death at the age of 94.  Mr. Rosenthal dedicated his life to creating Sculpture and a day was hardly complete if the Artist didn't go to his Studio, always exploring new paths and new ideas.

Although Rosenthal began his career creating Figurative Sculpture, and won wide acclaim, including a 1939 commission for the Elgin Watch Company building at the World's Fair, Sam Kootz, Rosenthal's Art Dealer, later convinced the Artist to concentrate on creating Abstract Geometric Sculptures which won Rosenthal even wider acclaim.  Kootz also encouraged the Artist to use his nickname, "Tony", and since 1960, the Artist was professionally known and credited as Tony Rosenthal.

Best known for his large Public Art Sculptures, Tony Rosenthal created Sculptures in a variety of mediums, including Wood, Aluminum, Cor-Ten Steel; sizes, from Maquettes of a few inches to Monumental Outdoor Sculpture of several hundred feet.  Instantly recognizable and seen by millions every year, Rosenthal's Sculptures are better known by their shape and landmark appearance.  Edward Albee, the Pulitzer Prize Winning Playwright, said it best in his introduction to Sam Hunter's Book Tony Rosenthal, Rizzoli, 1999, "Tony Rosenthal goes to his studio every day, wrenches steel, bends aluminum, cuts and bolts, fashions and refines.  He is both artisan and artist, rendering conscious that which his creative instinct insists upon."

Mr. Albee further writes, "Tony works in all sizes. His monumental outdoor pieces, set in landscapes or in busy city spaces, seem always to have been there.  His more intimate Wall Sculptures and standing forms have a monumentality no matter what their actual size."  "Like all the important metal workers - like Stankiewicz, like Caro, like Serra, like Chamberlain - Rosenthal's objects instruct us, alter our perceptions, disturb and thrill us by their audacity, their wonder and their inevitability."

Tony Rosenthal’s Cube Sculptures are like a city, intelligent formations with secrets, hiding, balancing and finding in limitations all the possibilities of a mixed society.  Within a Rosenthal Cube, we see other shapes, planes, exposed creating steps or stairs, like a mountain difficult to climb.  But climb we do, because it is the invention of clean geometry that makes man other than nature.

Rosenthal’s Rings, Discs and Rondos, another important series of Works that Rosenthal explored over the past five decades.  Rosenthal's Circle Sculptures react to the invasion of their environment, so that the Sculpture itself becomes a frame, with which to see the environment through.  Being framed by the romance of a point of view, the feeling of movement, the reverberation of movement, we see the vigor from the choices that are commanded by Rosenthal’s Sculpture.  Tony Rosenthal finds, discovers and reports to us what we might not have seen without him.

It can be said that Tony Rosenthal's Sculpture presents the solutions for complexity finding order; sometimes it feels like tackling a problem, sometimes the appeal is emotional like the gestures of a dance or survival.  But Rosenthal Sculptures always revel in the element of discovery, finding his way through arrangements of line and space like the strong power and strength of a candid camera moment, expressing the fleeting excitement of process, remaining because a sculptural rendition is created.  Rosenthal allows us to look at remembrance, recalling life as it was, or what we desire that it may be.

Rosenthal's Alamo, the Monumental 15 Foot Cor-Ten Steel Sculpture is internationally known as the Astor Place Cube.  So famous is this landmark Sculpture that it was provided as the final visual clue on Season 10 Amazing Race Season Finale underscoring that Rosenthal's Sculptures are instantly recognizable and more known by shape than name.

Tony Rosenthal had recently completed a series of masterful Abstract Wood and Metal Wall Sculptures.  In Rosenthal’s Wall Sculptures, the Artist created a metaphor of "writing on the wall"; flat, hard-edged shapes, contrasting suggestions of the organic, all parts of design, shape and organization; the marriage of the hard edge and soothing curves.  For example, in Untitled (Two Blue Stripes), 2007, the yellow shape resembles the profile of a woman's body, while the curved black shape looks like her rear silhouette.  Rosenthal presents contrasting shapes within the confines of a geometric circle.

Sam Hunter, Professor and Art Critic named Rosenthal a "Public Art Legend". According to the Smithsonian Institution, which catalogues Sculpture located in United States Museums and Public Art Sites, Rosenthal has more Sculptures in Museums and Public places than Anthony Caro, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Serra, Richard Stankiewicz and Frank Stella.

Sculptures by Rosenthal are included in the Collections of Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk Virginia; City of New York; Fashion Institute of Technology, New York; Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, New York; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Museum of American Art: Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. (Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection); The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut. Rosenthal Works are also included in many Corporate and Private Collections.

While Alamo is the most well known Rosenthal Sculpture, the Artist has created a long list of successful Public Sculptures that date back to 1939, when Nubian Slave was installed at the 1939 New York World's Fair.  Other famous and now iconic projects include the Artist's Rondo, the elegantly highly polished Bronze Disc, installed on 59th Street off Park Avenue in 1969; "5 in 1" the 35 Foot Massive Cor-Ten Steel Sculpture of Interlocking Discs, installed at 1 Police Plaza in New York City.

Additional Sculptures include JS Bach Variation #9, 1990, at the Ravina Music Festival Park, Illinois; Pass-Thru, 1988, Hofstra University; Big Six, 1975, a 10' Structural Steel Work at The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Virginia; Odyssey I, 1967, a Large Red Painted Steel Sculpture at the Open Air Museum of Sculpture, Antwerp, Belgium and Hammarskjold, 1977, the 20 Foot Structural Steel Work at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Since 1940, Tony Rosenthal had numerous Solo and Group Exhibitions.  Mr. Rosenthal had a distinguished association with preeminent Art Dealers; from 1961-66, Tony Rosenthal had Solo Exhibitions at the prestigious Kootz Gallery, New York.  When Mr. Kootz retired in 1966, Rosenthal exhibited at M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York, and in 1988, began exhibiting with Galerie Denise Rene, Paris.  Rosenthal also had Solo Exhibitions at Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York and Maxwell Davidson Gallery, New York.

In addition, Rosenthal Sculptures have been included in hundreds of Group Exhibitions; Rosenthal was included in the National Academy, New York, Museum Exhibition titled, "The Abstract Impulse: Fifty Years of Abstraction at the National Academy, 1956-2006". Rosenthal was included in the Margulies Collection At The Warehouse, Miami, Florida, Exhibition "Sculpture: 1940 thru the Present - Selections from the private collection of Martin Z. Margulies". The Exhibition also included William DeKooning, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Joan Miro, Isamu Noguchi, George Segal, Richard Serra, Tony Smith.

Source:
tonyrosenthal.com

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