Published: October 5, 2021
GLEN COVE, N.Y. – The personal collection of Tony Rosenthal was sold at Roland Auction NY on Saturday, September 25.
Southampton-based American abstract sculptor Tony Rosenthal (American, 1914-2009) curated and refined his own personal collection, both in the Rosenthal home and upon its Southampton, N.Y., property, over the course of a half century. For the first time ever, the collection was made available at Roland in collaboration with the Tony Rosenthal estate.
The 1,000-pound, 7-by-9-foot “Lovers,” a brushed aluminum relief sculpture with juxtaposed geometric forms, topped its high estimate, selling for $62,500 to a New York dealer bidding on the phone. This piece graced the front yard of Rosenthal’s property for more than 20 years.
Tony Rosenthal is possibly best known for his landmark 15-foot-high rotating sculpture, the “Alamo” cube, on New York City’s Astor Place. He designed the work in 1967, when it was accepted as the first permanent contemporary outdoor public sculpture by the city of New York. He created different variations of this cube over the years and, not surprisingly, some of these were the most sought-after items in the sale. Untitled (Tony Rosenthal’s “Cube”), a polished bronze variation on the artist’s iconic cube sculptures, signed and circa 2008, 12 inches square, sold for $23,750. Rosenthal displayed it in his home’s entrance foyer. Another untitled “Cube” variation in black painted aluminum featured a revolving cube sculpture with four subdivided square elements to each side, circa 1980, sold for $22,500.
As the momentum built up earlier in the sale, some items sold higher than expected. They included Rosenthal’s “Big Red” in welded and painted aluminum, a freestanding lattice sculpture, circa 1998, that brought $11,875. An untitled work of welded brass by the artist, signed and dated 1962, was similar to an example illustrated in the 1999 book Tony Rosenthal by Edward Albee and Sam Hunter. It sold for $8,125.
Prominent Manila-based collectors Kim Camacho and her husband Lito purchased 19 Tony Rosenthal pieces from the auction. The Filipino couple began collecting art while living in New York in the late 1970s.
Online bidding soared quickly with many other items in the Rosenthal collection selling high, including the “J.S. Bach Fugue” variation, a painted and welded steel sculpture composed of semicircular elements, signed and dated 1989, that sold for $8,750.
Tony Rosenthal and his wife Cynthia made Southampton their home for more than 25 years. The artwork offered in the single artist auction constituted Tony Rosenthal’s “private reserve,” the auction house said: his complete and intact personal collection, spanning the early 1960s through the 2000s. In line with the intentions of the artist himself, the estate directed that these sculptures should enter the public arena. Roland NY was the sole conduit introducing the collection and will be working with the estate to represent the Personal Collection of Tony Rosenthal over the next five years. All pieces come with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by Cynthia Rosenthal.
Works by Tony Rosenthal are represented in dozens of important museum and institutional collections, among them the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, The Baltimore Museum of Art, The Chrysler Museum, Cranbrook Art Museum, Guild Hall Museum, Israel Museum (Jerusalem), Jewish Community Center of Greater Buffalo, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery of Art, Princeton University, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum and Yale University. His sculptures are also found in notable corporate and private collections.
All prices reported include buyer’s premium. For more information, 212-260-2000 or www.rolandantiques.com.
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