Rachel Rosenthal

1926 - 2015 · United States

Artist biography

Rachel Rosenthal was a creative visual artist, who was born in the United States. Born in 1926, Rachel Rosenthal passed away in 2015. Born in the same country and around the same year are Sol LeWitt, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Dan Flavin.

Historical Context of United States

The United States has been a major country in the development of modern and contemporary art in the twentieth century, especially in the post war period, when the cultural importance of New York assumed primacy over Paris, formerly considered as the most important art hub globally.

Major art movements established and fostered in important ways throughout the United States include Abstract Expressionism in diverse forms, Pop Art, including its West and East Coast branches, Minimalism, Conceptual Art, Neo-Expressionism, Graffiti and Street Art, plus a multitude of post-modern repetitions of these many types. In the modern and contemporary era, the United States has exercised a powerful influence over the global visual culture, due to the authority of its economic and political institutions. Key examples of world renowned U.S artists of the modern and contemporary period include Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella, Donald Judd, Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger, Julian Schnabel, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring.

Further Biographical Context for Rachel Rosenthal

Rachel Rosenthal was born in 1926 and was primarily influenced by the 1930s growing up. During the 1930s, many political ideologies such as Marxist Socialism, Capitalist Democracy, and the Totalitarianism of both Communism and Fascism were engaged in struggles for dominance, and characterised the political atmosphere of the era.

In Europe, Surrealism continued to be prominent, and had grown to have influence worldwide. Leading artists took the ideas posed by Surrealism and incorporated them into their pioneering political ideologies, creating a new kind of magic realism. This was epitomised in the work of artists such as Frida Kahlo and Diego Riviera in Mexico.

In the United States, the Great Depression had a severe impact on artistic output, and artists began to focus on the idea of humility and of the ordinary man on the streets. The focus of art in the United States also began to take a more political turn for the first time, and artists used these subjects and ideas to try to impact society. Topics such as poverty, lack of affordable housing, anti-lynching, anti-fascism, and workers' strikes became prevalent in the work of a number of artists.

In the Soviet Union, Stalin’s government was in dire need of urgent funds to implement the industrialisation of the Five Year Plan. In a stealthy bid to acquire funds, the government proposed to sell off assets from the State Hermitage Museum in Leningrad (St. Petersburg), which included some two hundred and fifty paintings by the Old Masters, a number of which had been deemed irreplaceable. Many of the pieces came to be owned by Andrew Mellon, via the New York based art dealing company, Knoedler.

By the end of the decade, the Second World War had begun, having been aided by Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in Germany in 1933. This political turmoil would go on to preoccupy both artists and the worldwide population.

Rachel Rosenthal

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