Seymour Rosenthal lithographs



2015-06-26 10:48:19

Seymour Rosenthal lithographs are art prints created by the popular American/Jewish artist Seymour Rosenthal.


Seymour Rosenthal was born in the Bronx, New York in 1921. He is reported to have grown up creating signs for peddlers’ pushcarts during the Great Depression and sketching cartoons with coloured chalks across the pavements near his home.

Rosenthal attended the Benjamin Franklin High School in Manhattan until 1939, when, immediately before graduating, he was awarded the school’s Saint Gaudens medal for artistic achievements. Rosenthal joined the Wholesale and Warehouse Workers’ Union (Local 65) in the same year, and he began to sketch street scenes populated with blue collar workers, which would end up in the Union’s newspaper, Union Voice.

During the Second World War, Rosenthal was drafted into the army. After being honourably discharged in 1945, he returned to New York City, joining the Amalgamated Lithographers of America (Local 1) – a printers’ union – upon his arrival.

During the 1950s Rosenthal’s work was picked up by the American art establishment. His work was praised by leaders of the art world, including the famous director of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, Alfred Barr, who compared him with Rembrandt.

Carl Weinhardt, former director of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, also recognized Rosenthal’s talent. In 1958, convinced that his talent was being wasted, Weinhardt said, “The world of art would be richer if Rosenthal would leave his job as a lithographer and dedicate himself to his art.”

When the lithography firm where Rosenthal worked closed in the early 1960s, he took Weinhardt’s advice and began producing a large portfolio of new art.

Today, 42 of Rosenthal’s lithographs can be found in the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum. Several of his other works are in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., Indianapolis Museum of Art, Suffolk Museum at Stony Brook, Harry Truman Library and Technion Building in Haifa, Israel.

Subject matter

Seymour Rosenthal's politics greatly informed his work. Rosenthal considered himself a man of the people and duly his lithographs are populated with everymen (and some women) as well as symbolism exploring Jewish identity, trauma and the Shoah.

He had a great passion and respect for the struggles of working Americans as well as a deep love of his Jewish faith, both of which are amplified in his works.

Collecting Seymour Rosenthal lithographs

Things to look out for

  • The artist's signature.
  • Any implication that the lithograph was created as part of a limited edition or print run, ie. "1/100" or "45/50" - the lower the second figure, the more collectible the lithograph is likely to be.
  • Original art work - as in that which went on to inform a later lithographic series - is inherently valuable.
  • Condition. Condition is a key collecting concern and any damage should be reflected in the price of an item.
  • If the item is dated and dedicated, a firmer provenence can be asserted, resulting in an increase in value.
  • Colour and size should be considered. The larger the work the more it is likely to be worth.

Price guide

Group lot of 9 Judaica art including 4 Rosenthal artist proofs brought $350 at Time & Again Auction Gallery in January 2013

A hand coloured lithograph by Seymour Rosenthal brought $50 at Time & Again Auction Gallery in May 2012

The Rabbi lithograph by Seymour Rosenthal sold for $75 at Baterbys Art Auction Gallery in February 2011.

A Seymour Rosenthal lithograph entitled Puppet Vendor brought $160 at in December 2009

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2018-03-19 14:54:32

I am interested to know if Mr. Rosenthal signed all his lithographs with his full name. I believe I have come across some fakes with an extremely illegible last name only signature, one has no name written for a title, and neither have a run number. Any response or am I the only one who has run across this type of item?

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