Edited and prepared for the Internet by Ronald Davis
1908 - 1964
Stanley Roseman enjoyed a close and loving relationship with his father Bernard Roseman. A native New Yorker, he was president of the textile company that he founded in Manhattan after having served as a sergeant in the American Army in World War II. Bernard Roseman was greatly supportive of his young son's natural talents in art and desire to become an artist.
Bernard Roseman's untimely death at age fifty-six was a profound loss for his son Stanley, who was nineteen years old and beginning the sophomore year of his undergraduate studies in fine art. Over the years, the artist has written loving remembrances of his father. Presented here are selections from the artist's writings.
"My father Bernard Roseman was born in 1908 in New York City and grew up on the Lower East Side. His father, Louis Roseman, was a tailor. As were many immigrants to the United States in the early twentieth century, my paternal grandparents were poor. My father left high school in his junior year to get a job to help support his parents and younger brother and sister. My father's teachers tried to discourage him from leaving school because he was a conscientious student, highly intelligent and eager to learn, with a particular aptitude in history and mathematics. But my father felt a great responsibility to his family, and leaving school, he found work in the garment industry. Nevertheless, he continued reading and studying on his own, and I will always remember his reverence for books.
"From my earliest memories of my father, he was a strong and loving presence in my life. Although reserved by nature, he had a wonderful sense of humor and a pleasant manner that endeared him to others. My father was a man of infinite kindness and deep humanity and taught me to understand and accept differences of race, nationality, and religion. My father had a great natural intelligence, with far-ranging interests, and he was an avid reader from whom I inherited my love of books.
Ice Skating, Tennis, and Fishing
"When I was a boy, my father taught me to ice skate and play tennis, two sports in which he excelled. He had been a speed skater when he was a young man and had won several racing competitions. However, I was familiar with my father skating at a modest speed on an ice rink, with his hands held together behind his back in typical racing style and leaning forward striding over the ice. As I had a natural ability for dancing, my father provided me with figure skating lessons on our winter holidays at Hotel Laurel in the Pines, in Lakewood, New Jersey. My mother bought us matching, white woolen sweaters with green and red horizontal bands, and my father and I happily wore our sweaters when we went skating. My father was also an avid tennis player, and he and I played tennis together often.
3. Stanley Roseman and his father Bernard Roseman on an ice rink in Lakewood, New Jersey, 1954.
Opera, Theatre, Dance, and the Circus
"After the War, my father and a business partner founded in Manhattan a textile company specializing in taffeta, with over 400 colors in stock. Some years after my father had passed away, I learned from a business associate of his that my father was innovative in having produced a sample brochure with swatches of fabric that his company offered clients. Today, such brochures, I understand, are customary in the textile industry. My father also had pencils printed with the company's name and address. I wrote and drew with the pencils my father thoughtfully gave me. But I also saved some, which I never sharpened and used. I always keep one of my father's pencils in a jar with pencils and pens on my desk.
"My father was an enthusiastic opera-, concert-, and theatre-goer and fostered my early interests in music and theatre. He provided me with piano lessons, took me to chamber music and symphony orchestra concerts, and introduced me to performances of opera. The first opera I attended was Verdi's Il Trovatore at the former Metropolitan Opera House on Broadway and 39th Street. Before attending the performance of Il Trovatore, my father heightened my anticipation of seeing the opera by telling me that the magic of the theatre would transport us to a far away time in Spain. We would see a castle and soldiers, a troubadour who falls in love with a noble lady, and a gypsy camp where the gypsies sing the stirring 'Anvil Chorus,' which was thrilling to hear each time my father played a recording of the opera at home.
The Bibliothèque Nationale de France in a biographical essay on Roseman in the exhibition publication Stanley Roseman - Dessins sur la Danse à l'Opéra de Paris, 1996, commends the artist for his "profound interest in the human condition in portraying different kind of people, professions, social or artistic groups.''
Exemplary of Roseman's drawings on the dance and of particular interest in regards to the artist's homage to his father are two drawings featured below from the Paris Opéra Ballet's presentation of Jerome Robbins' The Four Seasons, choreographed to Giuseppe Verdi's ballet music from I Vespri Siciliani, with additional music from the composer's Jerusalem and Il Trovatore, the first opera Roseman saw in his youth.
4. Nicolas Le Riche, 1996
Paris Opéra Ballet
The Four Seasons
Pencil on paper, 38 x 28 cm
Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
5. Kader Belarbi, 1996
Paris Opéra Ballet
The Four Seasons
Pencil on paper, 38 x 28 cm
Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
The Uffizi Gallery, Florence, with its world-renowned collection of master drawings, acquired a suite of Roseman's drawings on the dance. The acquisition includes the two splendid drawings featured here of star dancers Nicolas Le Riche, 1996, (fig. 4), and Kader Belarbi, 1996, (fig. 5), in The Four Seasons. The document of acquisition enumerates ''four drawings by Stanley Roseman inspired by the dance'' and states that the works ''will enrich the collection of the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi."
Roseman's drawings from The Four Seasons are also of particular interest here as Jerome Robbins, whose distinguished career includes choreography for the musical theatre, directed and choreographed the Broadway musical Peter Pan, which was the first Broadway show Roseman attended in his youth.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
Roseman received a superlative review in The New York Times for his work on the subject of the circus clown. The review "Spirit of the Clown," is subtitled "Paintings by Stanley Roseman glow with a shiny dignity."
The American Bicentennial exhibition:
Stanley Roseman - The Performing Arts in America
"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.''
"I was nine years old when my father took me to my first Broadway musical, Peter Pan, which opened in 1954. Like many children, and adults as well, I was charmed by the famous Broadway star Mary Martin, who played the adventurous young hero, 'flew' across the stage and up to the top of the proscenium arch; taught the young Wendy, Michael, and John how to fly; and escorted them to the enchanting realm of Never Never Land, where they encountered the villainous but amusing pirate Captain Hook, memorably portrayed by Cyril Ritchard. My father bought me the recording of Peter Pan, which I played over and over, learned the lyrics to all the songs, and even made up my own dance steps."
2. Stanley Roseman's mother and father,
Roselle and Sergeant Bernard Roseman,
Fort Knox, Kentucky, 1943.
"My father's Honorable Discharge document, 11 November 1945, cites his Military Occupational Specialty: Administrative N C O; and lists his Military Qualification and Decorations: Expert Medal Rifle Calibre 30, American Theatre Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, and World War II Victory Medal.
"I was in my mid-teens when my father purchased a summer home on the shores of Lake Mah-Kee-Nac in Berkshire County in western Massachusetts. He had worked hard in his business to be able to afford to buy the house, and he loved his summer vacations there. We enjoyed going fishing, and I am very thankful for the wonderful times my father and I shared in our rowboat out on the beautiful lake.
Early Interest in Puppetry
"I learned to make my own hand puppets and marionettes with fabric and other supplies generously provided me by my father. Further encouraging my interest in puppetry, my father taught me to sew, as he had learned from his father, a tailor. I remember him as a loving grandfather, a slender man with kind eyes and a bushy, silvery moustache, but who, sadly, passed away when I was a boy. I felt that in a modest way I was following in the trade of my grandfather when I designed and sewed the costumes for my puppets and marionettes. I presented musical variety shows at children's birthday parties and for special events at schools. During school holidays, I donated my time performing puppet shows in children's hospital wards and recreational centers for mentally handicapped children and adults. I was also invited to appear with my puppets on television. I was grateful for the experience of performing for audiences, for the opportunity to earn some money, and to gain confidence in my creative abilities.
6. Keith Crary, (detail), 1973,
as featured in
The New York Times review
"Spirit of the Clown."
"In my boyhood, as it must have been for many children growing up in or near New York City, I looked forward to the spring when the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus came to town. Seated next to my father in the vast indoor arena called Madison Square Garden, I watched in wonderment aerialists, acrobats, jugglers, equestrians, and wild animal trainers and was overwhelmed by the spectacular Circus. I became enamored of the clowns, those marvelous personalities in fanciful, colorful costumes and beautiful, imaginative makeup. I loved them - those 'glittering joys of all of our lives' (The New York Times).
7. Lincoln Center Plaza, New York City,
with the banner announcing the exhibition
Stanley Roseman - The Performing Arts in America
at the Library and Museum for the Performing Arts, 1977.
"I remember my father taking me to see My Fair Lady with Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison. I was eleven years old and enamored of Broadway. Like other shows before and others to come, I sat next to my father in the theatre, my heart racing with excitement as the house lights dimmed and the orchestra began Lerner and Loewe's jubilant overture. Then all at once the curtain rose on a gathering outside London's Covent Garden, and the performers whose names I knew from the record album cover and whose voices were familiar to me from the recording became a living reality.
In a poignant remembrance of his father, the artist writes:
"My father would have been very proud to know that the great experience he had given me in my youth of attending performances of opera, theatre, dance, and the circus and his encouragement for me to pursue a career as an artist had resulted in my work on the performing arts and the exhibition that toured the United States for the American Bicentennial in 1976. The exhibition concluded at the Library and Museum for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, in the winter-spring of 1977.
"I would have been filled with the happiest of emotions to have escorted my father up the steps of Lincoln Center Plaza to my exhibition on the performing arts.
Stanley Roseman - The Performing Arts in America exhibition featured the artist's drawings of 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 through the 1970's. The exhibition also featured Roseman's paintings, drawings, and engravings of the clowns of the famous Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
The Performing Arts in America exhibition, produced by Ronald Davis, opened on the eve of the American Bicentennial celebrations in December 1975 in the historic city of Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. The Curtis Institute of Music, one of the world's leading music conservatories, presented the exhibition in Philadelphia. The exhibition's national tour through 1976 concluded in 1977 at the Library and Museum for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center.
8. Stanley Roseman drawing the dance
from the wings of the stage of the Paris Opéra, 1994.
"My father had a great appreciation for French culture. One spring, my father, mother, younger brother, and I spent a school holiday in Quebec City, where we absorbed a French atmosphere. I was filled with excitement to discover from personal experience another country and another culture. My father thoughtfully bought me albums of songs sung by Edith Piaf and Line Renaud.
"Growing up in the 1950's with the phenomenal, new medium of television, live theatre made a profound impression on me. The very presence of the actors in performance with its exciting immediacy enthralled me, and I experienced early that extraordinary relationship between performers and audience.
"And so it happened in the spring of 1973, with a cordial invitation from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, I was given the wonderful opportunity to include the circus clowns in my work on the performing arts. I happily returned to Madison Square Garden, albeit at its new location on Eighth Avenue and 33rd Street, and to the famous three-ring Circus that had thrilled me in my youth. I carried my drawing materials in a brown leather attaché case that had been my father's. His attaché case served me well all through the years I drew in theatres, opera houses, and at the Circus."
The exciting world of the Performing Arts is a major theme in Roseman's oeuvre. Starting out on his career in New York City in the early 1970's, the artist received cordial invitations from leading opera, theatre, and dance companies to draw at dress rehearsals and performances from the auditorium and from the wings of the stage. With an equally cordial invitation from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Roseman was brought into the closed and itinerant circus community where he made drawings and painted portraits of the celebrated circus clowns. Roseman's love for the performing arts goes back to his youth and his relationship with his father:
"We talked about many things, of the past, the present, and of plans and hopes for the future. I listened intently to my father and learned much from his experiences and advice. My father was an optimist with strength of conviction and fortitude in meeting challenges. He was also a very generous and loving father whose encouragement of my interests in the arts had a profound effect on my adult life and career."
"My father encouraged me in my early interests in puppetry, and on one of our memorable trips to Broadway, when I was thirteen years old, I saw Bil Baird's acclaimed marionette show Davy Jones' Locker, with its fantastic marine creatures; a band of pirates; a lovely, blond-haired mermaid; and the white-bearded Captain Davy Jones himself, who rides in a large, open clam shell led by two salmon-pink sea horses. I appreciated having a friendship and correspondence with the American master puppeteer Bil Baird, who invited me for visits to his studio-workshop on New York City's West Side and some years later, for visits to his new studio and theatre on Barrow Street in Greenwich Village.
"I have made a number of gifts of my work to museums in loving memory of my father. I am sincerely grateful to those museum directors and curators who graciously accepted my offer of a gift and who wrote appreciative letters on behalf of themselves and their museums, as did J. Carter Brown, Director of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., in letter of May 7, 1981:
- J. Carter Brown, Director
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
9. Two Monks Bowing, 1979
Abbey of Solesmes, France
chalks on paper, 35 x 50 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
'I am happy to say that at their meeting today the Board of Trustees of the National Gallery of Art gratefully accepted your generous offer to give your drawing Bowing Monks in memory of your father, Mr. Bernard Roseman.
'May I add my own warmest personal thanks for your interest in the Graphic Arts Department of the Gallery and say how very pleased we all are to acquire this fine example of your drawings.
1. From the Army of the United States Honorable Discharge document for Bernard Roseman Staff Sergeant.
The document was issued at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and dated: 11 November 1945.
2. Stanley Roseman - Dessins sur la Danse à l'Opéra de Paris (text in French and English),
(Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 1996), p. 10.
3. Stanley Roseman completed his sophomore year at Syracuse University and decided to continue his undergraduate studies closer to home so
that he could be of help and comfort to his widowed mother and a surrogate father to his younger brother. Stanley was accepted at the
prestigious Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, in New York City, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and
went on to earn a Master's of Fine Arts degree from the equally respected Pratt Institute, also located in New York City.
Roseman's autobiographical writings contain many entries about the theatre, as when he recounts:
"From the mid 1950's to the mid 1960's, I attended more than forty Broadway musicals. I was fortunate to see shows by renowned composers, lyricists, directors, and choreographers and with many of the greatest performers of the time. I am very grateful to my father for having provided me with a most wonderful experience of the American musical theatre. During my high school years I attended comedies and dramas as well as musicals - all of which contributed to making those years of theatre-going a remarkable experience for an adolescent passionate for the performing arts."
At the famous Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the clowns offered their time to Roseman in the intervals between their acts, during intermissions, and before and after the shows. The artist has written about his sojourns at the Circus, where he painted portraits and drew the celebrated clowns. The white-face clown Keith Crary is seen here offering a friendly regard as he looks directly out from the canvas in this magnificent portrait, (fig. 6).
In Paris, Roseman returned to the subject of the Clown, whom the artist drew in performances in the theatre, music hall, and at the circus. Living in France, Roseman also created an extensive oeuvre of landscapes. Painting and drawing en plein air, he came to know the beautiful French countryside in the changing seasons, from seacoast to rolling pastures, woodland, and mountainous terrain.
"A few years before my father purchased the summer house on Lake Mah-Kee-Nac, he began taking our family to the Berkshires to attend the Tanglewood Music Festival in Lenox, the summer residence of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. During those summers I also went to the Berkshire Playhouse, in Stockbridge; and some 30 miles north, to the Williamstown Summer Theatre at Williams College.
"My father took me to movies with French themes, such as Lili, with Leslie Caron and Mel Ferrer; Gigi, with Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jordan, and Hermione Gingold; and Mon Oncle, with Jacques Tati. As with the Broadway musicals I saw, my father bought me the albums to those memorable movie scores. Although the story of the endearing waif Lili and her friendship with the charming puppets in a French carnival and Lerner and Loewe's Gigi, set in Paris in the early twentieth century, were popular movies in the United States, none of my schoolmates knew the amusing, cinematic adventures of Jacques Tati, and so in my youth I was already becoming a Francophile. Nevertheless, I could not have imagined then that a great part of my work as an artist would be created in France."
"Not far from Stockbridge, in the town of Lee, I attended the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, founded by Ted Shawn, a pioneer of modern dance. From those performances at Jacob's Pillow and the ballets and musical theatre I saw in New York City, I gained a love for the dance. Invitations from major dance companies in New York City in the 1970's gave me the wonderful opportunity early in my career to make the dance a subject of my drawings. With great excitement I returned to the dance in Paris through the 1990's with a cordial invitation to draw the dance at the Paris Opéra."
The prestigious invitation to Roseman in 1989 from the Paris Opéra was greatly meaningful as the Dance holds a preeminent place in the cultural tradition of France and is an important subject in French art. In 1996, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France presented the exhibition Stanley Roseman - Dessins sur la Danse à l'Opéra de Paris. In its exhibition publication, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France praises the artist for his "magnificent drawings" and concludes "Stanley Roseman's drawings show the many facets of his great talents as a draughtsman."
"I cherish the correspondence with my father when I was away at university. His letters were encouraging, praising, counseling, anecdotal, humorous, serious, loving letters that meant very much to me.
"With his untimely passing away at the beginning of my sophomore year , his letters, which I re-read again and again, comforted me in my profound loss. Reading his letters today holds an even greater meaning for me in remembering my father."
''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.''
The present drawing was featured in a superlative, full-page review of Roseman's work in The Times, London.
© Stanley Roseman and Ronald Davis, 2014 - All Rights Reserved
Visual imagery and website content may not be reproduced in any form whatsoever.
"My father served as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army in the Second World War. He was thirty-five years old when he was drafted. After his basic training and due to his administrative skills, my father was stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky, a military installation since 1918 engaged in the development of tactics and military equipment, with a training center for the active Army and the Reserve. The Armored Force was established at Fort Knox in July 1940. The Armored Force School and the Armored Force Replacement Center were established in December that same year.
"The Armored Force was vital to the Allied victory in Europe in World War II. General George S. Patton, an early exponent of tank warfare, commanded the American Third Army that made the historic drive liberating Nazi occupied cities, towns, and villages from Normandy and Brittany to the cathedral cities of Chartres and Rheims, eastward through the region of Lorraine, north to Luxembourg, and on to Bastogne in Belgium.
Roseman's career took him to France in 1979 for his work on the monastic life. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., conserves a drawing of two monks bowing in prayer at the Abbey of Solesmes, (fig. 9, below). Roseman, who is of the Jewish faith, was invited to share in the day-to-day life in the cloister. He painted portraits and drew monks and nuns at prayer and work, taking meals in silence in the refectory, and studying in their cells. The artist drew monastic communities chanting the Psalms in choir throughout the day and at Vigils in the night. Roseman's ecumenical and critically acclaimed oeuvre, created in the enlightenment of Vatican II, includes Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran communities in some sixty monasteries in Europe.
Roseman's father, who introduced his son to performances of opera, theatre, and dance, also brought his son to the Circus.
Homage to my Father Bernard Roseman
An Audience with Pope John Paul II
An Invitation to Draw at the Metropolitan Opera