Stanley Roseman drawing a Trappist Monk in the Kitchen.
''STANLEY ROSEMAN combines an innate artistic talent, expressed through a wide range of techniques, with a profound interest in the human condition in portraying different kinds of people, professions, social or artistic groups. With a seriousness that pushes him always further in treating a subject or theme, he continually clarifies and refines, never letting his interest waiver or diminish.''*
- Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Roseman's work has received wide critical acclaim, including laudatory reviews in The New York Times and The Times, London, and is represented in important museums and private collections. Recognized as a master draughtsman, Roseman was honored in 1983 as the first American artist to be given a one-man exhibition at the Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna's world-renowned museum of master drawings. The Albertina presented the exhibition Stanley Roseman-Zeichnungen aus Klöstern (Drawings from the Monasteries).
Dr. Walter Koschatzky, Director of the Albertina, made his first acquisition of Roseman's drawings from his travels to European monasteries in 1978, the first year of the artist's work on the monastic life. The eminent Director writes in letter to the artist's colleague Ronald Davis to acknowledge receipt of the Roseman drawings: ''I thank you and want to express my conviction that the artist is an outstanding draughtsman and painter to whom much recognition and success are due.''
3. Lincoln Center, New York City
Lincoln Center Plaza
with the banner announcing the exhibition
Stanley Roseman - The Performing Arts in America, Library and Museum for the Performing Arts,
Lincoln Center, 1977.
''Circus clowns are one of the glittering joys of all of our lives, whether we are young or old,'' states The New York Times in its superlative review entitled ''Spirit of the Clown'' dedicated to Roseman's work at the circus.
4. Frosty Little, 1977
Director of Clowns
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
Oil on Strathmore paper, 73 x 58 cm
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux
2. The Albertina poster features the drawing Brother Thijs in the Library, 1982,
chalks on paper, Benedictine Abbey of St. Adelbert, The Netherlands.
Roseman began drawing clowns at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus at Madison Square Garden, New York City, in spring of 1973. With the enthusiasm for the artist's work from Glen "Frosty" Little, renowned Director of Clowns, and the clown troupe, Roseman took to the road with his painting and drawing materials, paint box, and easel. In the private backstage realm known as "Clown Alley,'' the clowns gave of their time to the artist in the intervals between their acts, during intermissions, and before and after the shows.
"Paintings by Stanley Roseman glow with a shiny dignity"
The Saami People of Lappland
Roseman's fortitude in overcoming challenging physical and climatic conditions in order to pursue his work; his ability to be mobile, as are the Saami; his empathy with his models; and the resultant paintings earned him respect and admiration. Despite the reserve that those nomadic people held towards those outside their community, a rapport of understanding and trust was established between the Saami and the artist.
5. Bier An'te (detail), 1976
Reindeer Herder, Lappland
Oil on canvas, 98 x 80 cm
Collection of the artist
"The Saami paintings are magnificent.''
''No one, I believe, in 1,500 years of Christian monachism has catalogued, defined and described so clearly or so beautifully the business of the monastic life. No writer, no sculptor, no painter, no architect has refined a distillation so pure, so accurate, so breathtakingly clear as Roseman has done.''
6. Two Monks Bowing in Prayer, 1979
Abbaye de Solesmes, France
Chalks on paper, 35 x 50 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
The Parisian daily La Croix writes of the work of Stanley Roseman:
"He found again in the hospitality of the monasteries what he found in the Saami camps and under the circus tents. Is there not a profound relationship between the migrations of nomads, the voyages of traveling players, and the inner journey which is the contemplative life."
7. Stanley Roseman,
"truly beautiful landscape painting"
- Anzeiger von Saanen, Gstaad
8. December Morning -
View from Chardonne Overlooking Lake Geneva, 1987
Oil on panel, 16 x 39.5 cm
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen
Drawing - the Foundation of the Visual Arts
Although drawings have traditionally served as studies or drafts in preparation for compositions to be realized in another medium, drawings can be works complete unto themselves, as are Roseman's drawings, which encompass a range of subjects in a variety of drawing materials. Roseman cites Vasari's belief in drawing as the animating principle to the creative process and states: "That drawing is considered the foundation of the visual arts nurtured my early convictions as to the importance of drawing and the time given to my work as a draughtsman.''
Drawings on the Dance at the Paris Opéra
Roseman was invited in 1989 to draw the dance at the illustrious Paris Opéra. The prestigious invitation to Roseman from the administration of the Paris Opéra was greatly meaningful as the Dance holds a preeminent place in the cultural tradition in France and is an important subject in French art.
10. Stanley Roseman drawing from the wings
of the stage of the Paris Opéra, 1994.
© Stanley Roseman and Ronald Davis - All Rights Reserved
Visual imagery and website content may not be reproduced in any form whatsoever.
- Bibliothèque Nationale de France
From the outset of his career in New York City in the 1970's, Roseman was interested in a diversity of subjects. The artist's work from that period includes portraits, nudes, landscapes, and still lifes, as well as depictions of animal companions, such as his Abyssinian cat named Aby, a family friend from the artist's youth.
The American bicentennial exhibition Stanley Roseman - the Performing Arts in America comprised the artist's work on opera, theatre, dance, and the circus clown.
The exciting world of the performing arts is a major theme in Roseman's oeuvre. With invitations from leading opera, theatre, and dance companies, Roseman drew at dress rehearsals and performances from the front of the auditorium and the wings of the stage renowned singers, actors, and dancers, as well as supporting players and members of the chorus and the corps de ballet, in a spectrum of memorable cultural events of the time.
With an equally cordial invitation from the famous Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Roseman was brought into the closed and itinerant circus community where he created a critically acclaimed work on the subject of the circus clown.
''The moments Roseman has captured are many and varied,'' enthused The Saratogian, Saratoga, New York, ''and a walk through the exhibition is a trip through what will be our cultural heritage.''
Roseman's interest in the nomadic Saami took the artist and his colleague in 1976 beyond the Arctic Circle to Norwegian Lappland. There Roseman painted portraits of the Saami, a hardy, independent, reindeer herding people who maintain their centuries-old, nomadic way of life in one of the earth's harshest environments.
Roseman embarked in 1978 on what the Los Angeles Times calls ''a sweeping artistic project.'' The artist was invited to live and work in monasteries of the Benedictine, Cistercian, Trappist, and Carthusian Orders - the four monastic orders of the Western Church. Roseman's oeuvre on the monastic life, an ecumenical work brought to realization in the enlightenment of Vatican II, includes monks and nuns of the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran faiths in more than sixty monastic communities in England, Ireland, and Continental Europe.
Portraiture holds an important place in Roseman's oeuvre. Aftonbladet, Stockholm, in its Sunday magazine cover story on the artist commends Roseman for creating portraits "artistically on a high level as well as accurately expressive of the human dimension.''
Landscapes comprise an important part of the artist's oeuvre. Roseman paints and draws en plein air throughout the changing seasons - from rolling pastureland awakening with spring growth and windswept seacoasts in summer to woodlands ablaze with autumnal hues and Alpine slopes in winter.
On an early morning in December, 1987, with distant Alpine peaks silhouetted against a golden dawn and a blue-gray mist ascending the hillside where Roseman stood at his easel, he painted December Morning - View from Chardonne Overlooking Lake Geneva (fig. 8, above). A month after Roseman painted the breathtaking panorama, the Chief Curator of the Museums of France, François Bergot, acquired December Morning for the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen, of which he was the Director.
Roseman has devoted much of his professional life to drawing, considered the foundation of the visual arts. The celebrated sixteenth-century Florentine architect, painter and author Giorgio Vasari states in the preface to his famous series of biographies Lives of the Artists that drawing (disegno) is ''the parent of our three arts, Architecture, Sculpture, and Painting, having its origin in the intellect.''
''To Stanley, with admiration'' - Franco Zeffirelli
9. James McCracken as Otello
Production by Franco Zeffirelli
1972, Metropolitan Opera
Pen and bistre ink, 35 x 27 cm
Collection of the artist
At the dress rehearsal of Franco Zeffirelli's production of Verdi's Otello in March 1972, Roseman was seated in the front of the darkened auditorium and drawing by the light coming from the stage. With pen and bistre ink, the artist drew the dramatic tenor James McCracken as Otello.
As Roseman was completing the drawing, someone placed a hand on his shoulder and exclaimed ''Bravo!'' The young artist glanced up and saw standing by his side Franco Zeffirelli himself.
After the dress rehearsal and deeply appreciative of Zeffirelli's enthusiasm, Roseman asked him if he would autograph the drawing. Zeffirelli gladly did so and included a personal inscription: ''To Stanley, with admiration.'' Being that the eminent Italian director, an artist himself, had worked with many of the most celebrated performers in plays and operas by the greatest dramatists and composers, Zeffirelli's esteem for Roseman's draughtsmanship was deeply meaningful and of great encouragement to the young artist.
In the present work, (fig. 9), Otello is seated at his desk crowded with large, leather volumes, scrolls, and an inkwell from which extends a quill pen. A stone column rises behind his desk. The pyramidal composition leads the viewer's eye to the Moor's noble head, with strong, facial features and dark hair and beard. Otello's head leans heavily on his chest, and with downcast eyes, he sits absorbed in thought. A sense of contained emotion is expressed in this impressive drawing.
Roseman began his work at a glorious and unique time in the history of the Paris Opéra. The Paris Opéra Ballet was enjoying a Golden Age of Dance. Moreover, when the Opéra Bastille opened in 1989, in the eastern part of the city, the Paris Opéra Palais Garnier - the majestic opera house that crowns the grand Avenue de l'Opéra in the heart of the City - was dedicated exclusively to the dance.
In a biographical essay on the artist, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France notes that Roseman had become " 'an honorary member' of the ballet troupe.'' The artist drew at rehearsals in the dance studios and at the pré-générale and répétition générale (dress and final dress rehearsals) in the auditorium. Roseman was given the extraordinary privilege to draw from the wings of the famous stage of the Paris Opéra on opening nights and at subsequent performances, night after night, during full seasons of ballet and modern dance.
The Bibliothèque National de France states that Roseman's work "gives an answer to the challenge of expressing movement in a single pictorial image.''
Stanley Roseman - Dessins sur la Danse à l'Opéra de Paris
The reopening of the Paris Opéra, Palais Garnier, was celebrated during the month of March 1996, following more than a year and a half of renovation and refurbishing of that illustrious opera house. Three events marked the gala occasion: the return of performances of opera and ballet at the Palais Garnier and the opening of the exhibition Stanley Roseman - Dessins sur la Danse à l'Opéra de Paris.
You are also cordially invited to visit:
"a hundred magnificent drawings from the artist's oeuvre on the dance"
The three monthlong exhibition, sponsored by Louis Vuitton, was presented by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France at its library and museum the Bibliothèque-Musée de l'Opéra, housed in the former Emperor's Pavilion in the Palais Garnier. In its exhibition publication the Bibliothèque Nationale de France announces:
Autographed and inscribed:
To Stanley, with admiration
"Stanley Roseman's drawings show the many facets of his great talents as a draughtsman.''
11. Elisabeth Platel, 1996
Paris Opéra Ballet
Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux
Pencil on paper, 38 x 28 cm
Musée d'Art Moderne et
12. Kader Belarbi, 1996
Paris Opéra Ballet
The Four Seasons
Pencil on paper, 38 x 28 cm
Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe,
The graphite pencil is for Roseman an indispensible drawing instrument and is his preferred medium for drawing the dance. From the artist's oeuvre on the dance are three splendid drawings presented below of Paris Opéra star dancers Elisabeth Platel, (fig. 11); Kader Belarbi, (fig. 12); and Charles Jude seen in the drawing reproduced on the poster for the Bibliothèque Nationale de France exhibition Stanley Roseman - Dessins sur la Danse à l'Opéra de Paris, 1996.
Exhibition poster: Stanley Roseman - Dessins sur la Danse à l'Opéra de Paris
presented by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. The poster features
Charles Jude as Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake.
at the bottom of this Page 1
with links to pages:
2. World of Shakespeare
3. The Performing Arts
in America Exhibition
4. Spirit of the Clown
5. The Saami People
6. Drawings on the Dance
at the Paris Opéra
9. Diversity of Subjects
The exhibition, produced by Ronald Davis, opened in December 1975 at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in the historic city of Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. The Performing Arts in America exhibition toured the United States through 1976 and concluded its national tour at Lincoln Center in the winter-spring of 1977.
* Stanley Roseman - Dessins sur la Danse à l'Opéra de Paris (text in French and English), Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 1996, p. 11.
1. Giorgio Vasari, Vasari on Technique (New York: Dover Publications, Inc.), p. 205.
2. Stanley Roseman, Stanley Roseman and the Dance - Drawings from the Paris Opéra (Paris: Ronald Davis, 1996), p. 9.
3. Stanley Roseman - Dessins sur la Danse à l'Opéra de Paris, p. 12.
4. Ibid., p. 12.
5. Ibid., p. 12.
Behind the monastery walls, Roseman painted portraits and made drawings of monks and nuns at prayer, work and study. He drew them taking their meals in silence in the refectory and chanting the Psalms in choir in the early hours of dawn, throughout the day, and at Vigils in the night. Roseman created a monumental and critically acclaimed oeuvre on the monastic life - a life centered on contemplation and prayer.
The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., conserves the superb drawing Two Monks Bowing in Prayer, 1979, from the Benedictine Abbey of Solesmes, France, (fig. 6).
The New York Times praises the artist for his technical virtuosity: ''Roseman's style is particularly congenial to the subject matter. His vigorous brushstrokes, bold compositions silhouetted against summary backgrounds and his prodigiously bright colors are consistent with the gaiety and fantasy we associate with circus clowns.'' The eminent daily states that the artist's skillful rendering with oil paint on canvas or paper "underscores the fragility of the clowns' impressions. One can sense that their mood might change instantaneously and remove us to another dream world.''
In his youth, Roseman enjoyed a close relationship with his father, who was greatly encouraging of his son's natural talents in art and desire to become an artist. Bernard Roseman, a native New Yorker, was president of the textile company he founded in New York City after serving as a sergeant in the U.S. Army in World War II. An avid opera-, concert-, and theatre-goer, Bernard Roseman provided his son with piano lessons, took him to Broadway musicals, the Metropolitan Opera, ballets, concerts, and the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, where the young artist became enamored of the circus clowns. Bernard Roseman taught his son to ice skate and play tennis, two sports at which the artist's father excelled. Stanley Roseman writes:
"Although my father was reserved by nature, he had a wonderful sense of humor and a pleasant manner, which endeared him to others. My father was a man of infinite kindness and deep humanity. He fostered understanding and acceptance of people of different races and religions. With a great natural intelligence, his interests were far-reaching, and he was an avid reader from whom I inherited my love for books.
"From my early years, my father was of great support and encouragement to me in my love for drawing, painting, and sculpting. . . . My father's strong and loving presence in my youth gave me the strength and conviction to pursue my desire to be an artist and follow my own course in life.''
Education at Home and Travels Abroad
Roseman earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the prestigious Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, in New York City, and his Master of Fine Arts degree from the equally respected Pratt Institute, also in New York City.
Pursuing his career in New York in the early 1970's, Roseman went his own way counter to the dominant art movements that negated the presence of the human figure and Nature. Roseman's portraits, paintings and drawings of the nude, his work on the performing arts, and his landscapes confirm this.
Traveling to Lappland in 1976, Roseman recounts: "I felt akin to Gauguin's leaving a great metropolis and flourishing art center to seek inspiration for one's work among a group of people living in a remote and rural part of the world - for him, native Tahitians, in the South Pacific; for me, nomadic Saami, beyond the Arctic Circle.''
Yale University's Peabody Museum and Ronald Davis presented in 1977 Roseman's portraits in the exhibition The Saami People of Lappland. That year, the American Bicentennial exhibition Stanley Roseman - The Performing Arts in America concluded its national tour at the Library and Museum for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center. The artist continued his work on the performing arts, as well as painting and drawing portraits, nudes, and still lifes, and made plans for a return to Europe.
In 1978, Roseman and Davis began extensive travels to monasteries in England, Ireland, and Continental Europe. Roseman's work on the monastic life brought the artist and his colleague to Switzerland in 1981. From there, they returned to monasteries where they had sojourned before and with new invitations, sojourned with other monastic communities. The exhibition Stanley Roseman - Zeichnungen aus Klöstern (Drawings from the Monasteries), 1983, at the Albertina brought great prestige to the artist and his work.