Tony Rosenthal

(1914 - 2009)

About The Artist

With a long and distinguished career lasting over seven decades, Tony Rosenthal (1914-2009) is still celebrated for his memorable and monumental public sculptures. Known primarily for his monumental outdoor sculptures.  Always exquisitely crafted, Rosenthal’s prominent welded metal works exhibit a unique sensitivity to site, form and material and, in their busy urban locations, continue to be enjoyed by a diverse public.

Born Bernard Rosenthal in Highland Park, Chicago, Rosenthal first studied art during high school at the Art Institute of Chicago, at his mother’s behest. He continued to take art courses while getting his BA at the University of Michigan, and upon his return to Chicago he took up a position as studio assistant for Ukrainian-born sculptor Alexander Archipenko. The influence of Archipenko’s practice can be seen in Rosenthal’s early work, which shares his master’s interest in interlocking, representational forms rendered in bronze. In 1939 Rosenthal enrolled at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, and in the same year his first public sculpture was exhibited at the World’s Fair in New York. During the Second World War, he was stationed in England where he encountered the work of Henry Moore, whose work was an important reference for the artist.

On his return to the United States, Rosenthal began to earn a series of significant commissions for the headquarters of companies such as General Petroleum (in 1949) and IBM (in 1958). However, toward the beginning of the 1960s, Rosenthal’s work was undergoing a shift from figuration to dynamic abstraction, brought about by his interest in Abstract Expressionism. With the arrival of Minimalism, Rosenthal’s work soon morphed into the geometric form that he is most famous for. His best known work is Alamo (1967), a 15 foot Cor-Ten steel sculpture located in Astor Place, Manhattan. Also known as “The Cube,” this work was initially commissioned as a temporary installation, as part of the outdoor exhibition “Sculpture in Environment. While controversial at first, it soon became acknowledged as a major landmark in the city.

Rosenthal’s work is held in various important collections including the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Long Beach Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.; Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum, Hamilton, OH; Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI; and Laumeier Sculpture Park, Saint Louis.


"Biography." Web, Jan, 18, 2017.


Price, M.N. The Abstract Impulse: Fifty Years of Abstraction at the National Academy. Hudson Hills, 2007. 73.