Welcome to the online debut of The Louis Rosenthal Museum Wander in. Explore. Enjoy.
Close your eyes and dream. New York City. 1924. You are a young unknown artist, down to your last 15 cents, standing in line for a hot cup of soup on a cold New York day. It is the day after a Fifth Avenue gallery exhibited a collection of 40 of your miniature sculptures. While in line you glance at another person holding a New York Times. In the quiet of the moment, you are startled to see your name "Rosenthal" is the headline of the Art Review Column. Unable to lavish 2 cents on the newspaper you run 38 blocks to the reading room of The New York Public Library where you read an art critic's praise of your work. It was not a dream - it was right there, in the New York Times. Louis Rosenthal was a success - in New York! He later learned that almost all 40 of his miniatures were sold that evening.
I am the granddaughter of Louis Rosenthal and I am happy to take you inside the fascinating world my grandfather inhabited.
Louis Rosenthal immigrated from Lithuania to the United States in 1907 when he was 19, attended the Maryland Institute College of Art on full scholarship, and set up an art studio on Charles Street in Baltimore City where his daily focus centered on his solitary pursuit of art.Utilizing a simple pearl-handled penknife as his sole tool, he built up his tiny figures from wax and went on to receive international acclaim for creating miniature sculptures, many no more than an inch in height.
Dignitaries, celebrities and artists from around the world traveled to the modest studio on Charles Street to see the art and meet the man who cast the tiny figures from wax into bronze himself as no foundry anywhere in the world could work with figures so small.
Museums and galleries in London, New York, Washington D.C., and Jerusalem exhibited his works, and his sculptures are still in museum collections today including the Smithsonian, and the Jewish Museum of New York and Maryland.
My grandfather created hundreds of miniatures and larger works which include the Lindbergh Memorial, the Monument to Balfour, and figures of Edgar Allan Poe, Beethoven and Mae West. His contribution to Jewish Art is immeasurable.The historical, mythological, spiritual, and often satirical significance of his work expands a vast terrain that the debut of this website has only just begun to examine. My immediate concern is to obtain recent photographs of his miniatures. Many miniatures are no more than an inch high and although I have in my archives many old photographs of them, the pictures are not high quality and do not capture the finesse and intrinsic detail in them. To be fully appreciated, the miniatures really need to be viewed in person.
My father, Bernard, died in 2000, and my mother, Genevieve (Jen), passed in 2008. The legacy of my grandfather has found its way to me.In recent years I found myself opening boxes that had been closed for many years. After just a quick glance into his life, I came to the swift and rightful conclusion that how my grandfather spent his days was spectacular.And of course, how you spend your days is how you spend your life.
From his early childhood years spent outside with his dog by his side roaming the forests of his native Lithuania on horseback, it was here where he would carve his first etchings into the barks of trees. It was here that the satyrs, centaurs and other mythological figures that he would later go on to create first captured his imagination, took shape and sprung into life.
In America, he delighted in simple pleasures – walking five miles to his studio each day, music. He was scholarly, non-materialistic.The solitary pursuit of his art consumed and comforted him.He was an accomplished violinist and an authority on Beethoven.He enjoyed the art of conversation and spent hours conversing with friends, artists and visitors who traveled to Baltimore from around the world to meet with him in his studio.Even Mae West made the trip up to his studio to see him!
I wonder how he must have felt the evening of his first exhibition in New York.I wonder how he felt when he saw his name in the headlines of the New York Times. I wonder if he loved New York, like I do.I will never truly know.My grandfather died in 1964.I was two years old when he died.I don’t remember him.My father often attempted to write a book about his father and I am profoundly aware as I sit here and write this that I am about to speak for both of them.
The Louis Rosenthal Museum is a photographic compilation of statuettes, sprinkled with reflections, passages and remembrances that have lifted themselves up and spoken to me with the desire to remain to be heard.
The art reviews of his day were eloquent and I decided for now not to write commentary on his work as much as assemble it.Considerable insight may be gained from the Art Reviews Page.
I am hopeful that the many museums, universities, and organizations that have Louis Rosenthal miniatures will consider placing their collections on exhibit. To witness the delicate miniatures that he created many years ago find a new life today is striking. I plan to seek out local and national museums, organizations, and other places where I may exhibit the collection I own.I would love to see his work on display in a symphony hall or music center.His work should be enclosed by music – just my own personal thought.The pieces sit so still and are so small yet have much to say.There is an immense power in their presence.Visit our Exhibition Page for current and ongoing exhibitions of his work.
My future objectives include contacting national and international museums to verify the locations of his collections today and obtain updated information and photographs of the sculptures; restore wax sculptures; write a book which would consist of a photographic compilation of his works; and most eagerly set up a permanent physical location for the Louis Rosenthal Museum which will house my collection.
On a personal note, I previously worked in the film industry in Los Angeles. I wrote film reviews for several publications over the years. My interests include writing, editing and film in general. I have lived in New York, Los Angeles and Palm Springs. I currently live in California and I hold dual-citizenship with Ireland and have considered moving there. I look forward to setting up a physical location for the Louis Rosenthal Museum in the near future. I am hopeful that museums and universities that maintain collections of my grandfather's miniatures will consider loaning them to me; that would compliment my collection and make for a very nice permanent exhibit.