Synopses & Reviews
In a career that spanned six decades, Samuel Rosenberg (1896-1972) created more than five hundred works, actively contributed to the development of painting in the twentieth century, and taught the joys of art to generations of students in the Pittsburgh region.
Rosenberg's career can be divided into four periods. His early paintings (1915-1930) are dominated by portraits revealing the influence of both Velazquez and Rembrandt. Between 1930 and 1942, he created emotionally charged urban landscapes of Pittsburgh -- focusing on the Hill District and capturing the neighborhood in transitions brought about by the depression and Pittsburgh's changing identity.
In the following decade (1942-1952), Rosenberg focused his attention on the quality of light. His subjects became more allegorical, and his technique grew more abstract. Themes of human suffering and vanity, as well as oppositions of life and death, dominate the work. Finally, over the last twenty years of his life, his paintings grew increasingly abstract, yet he never dispensed with representation altogether.
Though teaching allowed him summers off to paint, he was devoted to his students. A professor at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University), he also founded the art departments at the Irene Kaufmann Settlement, a private philanthropic social agency, and at the Isaac Seder Educational Center for the YM&WHA, and served as chairman of the art department at the Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham College). His students include Philip Pearlstein, Mel Bochner, and Andy Warhol -- whom Rosenberg supported when Carnegie Tech threatened him with expulsion.
In 1920 and 1925 Rosenberg was acceptedinto the prestigious Carnegie International, and was invited to participate in every subsequent exhibition from 1933 to 1967. During his life, he held twenty-four solo exhibitions, and his work was shown nationally at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Modern Art.
Samuel Rosenberg's legacy as an artist and inspirational teacher endures and continues to grow, even thirty years offer his death. Sidebars by Larry Glasco, Eric Davin, Barbara Burstin, and Bennard Perlman help establish and define the cultural, social, and geographical milieus of this remarkable individual.
“A solidly satisfying study of one artist’s place in the history of American art.”
Includes bibliographical references (p. 168-174) and index.
Samuel Rosenberg was an influential Pittsburgh-based painter and art instructor. In this biography Barbara Jones tells the story of his life, accompanied by almost ninety reproductions of the artist’s work.