Bernard “Tony” Rosenthal Papers
SERIES I: Biographical (1939-2000) contains items related to Tony and Halina Rosenthal and their friends, as well as materials used in production of the book, Tony Rosenthal. Included in the Biographical series are articles about Rosenthal, ephemera, newspaper and magazine clippings, and sketches. Of particular interest are two sketches by Florence Schust Knoll Bassett.
SERIES II: Art Production (1950-2000) consists primarily of printed materials, publications, and correspondence from the 1940s to 2000. The bulk of Tony Rosenthal’s correspondence dates from the 1950s to the 1990s and deals with the commission, completion, installation, and exhibition of his sculptures. Some of the correspondents of note include Roy Slade (president of the Cranbrook Academy of Art from 1977 to 1995), Helen Frankenthaler, Doris C. Freedman, and Florence Schust Knoll Bassett. Most of the publications found in Boxes 2-5 are exhibition catalogs from the 1940s to the 1990s. They are divided into Solo Exhibitions and Group Exhibitions. In addition, the Publications subseries includes annual reports, award catalogs, gallery catalogs, and invitations. The printed materials are mainly clippings from newspapers and magazines regarding Rosenthal’s exhibitions and specific sculptures from the 1950s to the 1990s. This subseries also contains press releases and an article written by Tony Rosenthal.
SERIES III: Teaching Career contains information on the California School of Design (1948).
SERIES IV: Oversized Materials (n.d.) contains two scrapbooks, a folder of oversize photographs, and a large exhibition catalog. The scrapbooks contain mostly clippings from newspaper and magazines relating to Rosenthal’s sculptures. There were loose items in the scrapbooks including photographs, clippings, correspondence, and exhibition catalogs that were removed to the appropriate folders. The oversize photographs include pictures of “Cranbrook Cube” and “Alamo.” The exhibition catalog is from a 1970 exhibition that included Rosenthal’s “Cube in Seven Parts,” first shown in Detroit.
- 1939 - 2000
- Rosenthal, Tony, 1914-2009 (Person)
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Permission to use collection materials must be requested in writing.
Bernard Joseph “Tony” Rosenthal was born 9 August 1914 in Highland Park, Illinois. He attended the University of Michigan from 1932 to 1936 where he studied psychology, worked for the Michigan Daily, and took the two art classes offered, drawing and sculpture. After graduation, he returned to Chicago and took a sculpture class from Alexander Archipenko. He worked for Archipenko and Saks Fifth Avenue, and taught sculpture classes in a garage that he used as a studio.
In 1939, Tony Rosenthal attended the Cranbrook Academy of Art to study sculpture with Carl Milles. There he met and became friends with Charles Eames, Florence Schust Knoll, Eero Saarinen, and others. During World War II, Rosenthal commanded a unit that created topographical models of terrain. After the war, he taught sculpture at the U.S. Army University in Biarritz, France. There he met and married Halina Kotlowicz. In 1946, the Rosenthal’s moved to California at the suggestion of Charles and Ray Eames. Rosenthal’s first solo exhibition was in 1947 in Monterey. Working on commission for several architectural firms, Rosenthal created a number of sculptures for buildings. He also worked for John Entenza, the publisher of Arts & Architecture, and taught sculpture at UCLA. While still living in California, Rosenthal became affiliated with the Catherine Viviano Gallery in New York City.
In 1960, the Rosenthal’s moved to New York City where Tony Rosenthal showed his works at the Kootz Gallery and later at the M. Knoedler & Co. Gallery. During the 1960s and 1970s, Rosenthal received commissions to create outdoor sculptures in New York City, Honolulu, Ann Arbor, and other cities. In 1980, Rosenthal installed “Cranbrook Ingathering” at the Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum. Additional commissions during the 1980s included pieces in New York City, Houston, Miami, and Bloomington, and, in 1983, he took part in the exhibition Design in America: The Cranbrook Vision 1925-1950 shown in Detroit, New York City, Helsinki, Paris, and London. Among his works of the 1990s are the “J. S. Bach Fugue” and “J. S. Bach Variations” series. After forty-five years of marriage, Halina Rosenthal passed away in 1991. Tony Rosenthal married Cynthia Dillon in 1995.
Tony Rosenthal has had twenty-five solo exhibitions and has participated in numerous group exhibitions. He has been a guest lecturer for several events, and also performed in a play by Pablo Picasso at the Guggenheim Museum. For more detailed information about Rosenthal’s career, see the book, Tony Rosenthal.
4.4 Linear Feet (6 MS, 1 OS)
Language of Materials
In 1939, Tony Rosenthal attended the Cranbrook Academy of Art to study sculpture with Carl Milles. There he met and became friends with Charles Eames, Florence Schust Knoll, Eero Saarinen, and others. After WWII, Rosenthal worked on commissions for several architectural firms and taught sculpture at UCLA. In 1960, he moved to New York City where he exhibited in galleries and received commissions to create outdoor sculptures in New York City, Honolulu, Ann Arbor, and other cities. In 1980, Rosenthal installed “Cranbrook Ingathering” at the Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum. Additional commissions during the 1980s included pieces in New York City, Houston, Miami, and Bloomington, and, in 1983, he took part in the exhibition Design in America: The Cranbrook Vision 1925-1950 shown in Detroit, New York City, Helsinki, Paris, and London. This collection contains some biographical materials related to Tony and his wife Halina, their friends and materials for his biography. The bulk of the collection relates to the commission, completion, installation, and exhibition of his work with an extensive correspondence series and some legal and financial materials. The publications are predominantly exhibition catalogs covering 1940s-1990s. There are also some teaching materials and scrapbooks with articles and clippings.
This collection is divided into four series: SERIES I: Biographical (Box 1); SERIES II: Art Production (Box 1-6); SERIES III: Teaching Career (Box 6); SERIES IV: Oversized Materials (Box 7). Folders in each series are arranged in alphabetical or chronological order, and each folder’s contents are arranged in chronological order.
Series II: Art Production is divided into the following subseries: Awards/Recognitions, Correspondence, Events, Exhibitions, Financial Records, Legal Records, Project Files, Notes, Printed Materials, and Publications.
Gift of Tony Rosenthal in July 2000. Tony Rosenthal donated the letters he had received from Carl Milles to Cranbrook Archives prior to donating his collection. These letters are not included in this collection.
Photographs were removed to the Photograph Special Files. An interview with Tony Rosenthal conducted by Trudie Grace in 1998 is stored separately in the Audio Cassette Tape Collection, Tapes 221 to 225. (An index of the interview is available.)
Karen Turlay, April 2003.
- Bertoia, Harry
- Cranbrook Academy of Art
- Detroit Institute of Arts
- Eames, Charles
- Eames, Ray
- Knoll, Florence, 1917-2019
- Korab, Balthazar
- Milles, Carl, 1875-1955
- Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973
- Saarinen, Eero, 1910-1961
- Saarinen, Lillian Swann, 1912-
- Slade, Roy
- University of Michigan
- Yale University
- Guide to the Bernard “Tony” Rosenthal Papers
- Karen Turlay
- April 2003
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Edition statement
- Resource record created by Laura MacNewman.
Part of the Cranbrook Archives, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research Repository