Joseph Rosenthal

About the Artist

Joseph Rosenthal was born in 1921 in Romania, but moved with his family to Toronto, Ontario when he was six years old. By age 14 he was studying art at Toronto’s Central Technical School, and by age 21 he won a national poster competition organized by the Art Gallery of Toronto (now the Art Gallery of Ontario). The poster was a war image entitled All Out for Victory.

Rosenthal served in the Canadian Army from 1942 to 1945, winning first prize in an Army art exhibition in 1943. After completing his service Rosenthal returned to Toronto and studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design from 1946 to 1947. He excelled in printmaking, drawing,  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (  and sculpture, becoming particularly well known for his sculpture, some of which are installed in public spaces in his hometown.

Rosenthal’s sculptures have received national and international recognition and praise. In a 1986 review Nancy Beale described Rosenthal as a  sculptorA three-dimensional work of art, or the art of making it. Such works may be carved, modeled, constructed, or cast. Sculptures can also be described as assemblage, in the round, and relief, and made in a huge variety of media. A sculptor is one who creates sculptures. (  who “…speaks about the basics. His  bronzeAny of various alloys of copper and tin, sometimes with tin or other metals. It has commonly been used in casting. A work cast in bronze is sometimes referred to as a bronze. It may also refer to the color of bronze, a moderate yellowish to olive brown.(  sculptures of market women are earthy, solid, full of humour, ready to gossip…they are reassuring pieces about the timelessness of a sculptor’s  subjectA topic or idea represented in an art work.  matter – the human form – and how it can have as much impact when it is treated in the vernacular.” (Beale in author unknown, 2006)

In 1969 Rosenthal was awarded a  grantFunds dispersed by a granting agency (often a government agency), usually made available to a non-profit agency (like an educational institution) or business to enable the completion of a specific project. Grants usually require an application in the form of a proposal or submission, and may be competitive.  from the Canada Council to go on a three-month tour of  First NationsFirst Nations is a contemporary term referring to the Indian peoples of Canada, both status and non-status (definition from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada). To find out more about Canada’s First Nations, go to: Assembly of First Nations: Village of First Nations: Canada’s First Nations: Wikipedia:   across Canada, making drawings of what he saw. He produced 600 drawings during the tour. During an exhibition of the drawings in 1971 Ottawa Citizen reviewer Jenny Bergin wrote:

Through his drawings Joe Rosenthal evokes a genuine sympathy for his subject. His work is tender, though in no way sentimental. His draughtsmanship is excellent and he says what is said clearly and with a certain panache, although he never slips into that unfortunate slickness which can so easily afflict a clever draughtsman. (Bergin in author unknown, 2006)

Rosenthal has primarily focused on drawings during his extensive travels across Canada, Mexico, Cuba, England, Holland, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Jordan Israel and Egypt. He has received numerous awards for his work, and he has exhibited widely both in Canada and abroad.


Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning