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"Anthonisen's images tap the vast reservoir of our affective and cognitive origins and bring us face to face with our fundamental drives and urges. They reveal to us the noblest aspirations of the human spirit as well as the darkest forces that threaten humanity's survival. From the sheer beauty of his female nudes to his psychologically revealing portraits and the subtle complexities of social and moral conflict and harmony in his pieces, Anthonisen's images deal primarily with the immutable essence of the individual person, the family, and human society in a changing world."
-Donald Martin Reynolds
Sculptor George Anthonisen's work has appeared in numerous galleries and shows in the eastern United States. Born in Boston in 1936, Anthonisen moved to Bucks County in 1971, where he lives with his wife Ellen. Anthonisen earned his B.A. from the University of Vermont and studied at the National Academy of Design (with Adolph Block, Paul Fjelde, Douglas Gorsline) and the Art Students League (with Jose De Creeft, John Hovannes) in New York.
He sculpts figurative images, which he first models in clay, then casts into bronze, aluminum, stainless steel or hydrostone. One of his sculptures, I Set Before You This Day, is permanently installed at the Michener Art Museum. The work depicts a group of people during the Holocaust who must decide whether or not to help a victim of the war, depicting the ambiguities of human nature. His sculptures are part of collections in well-known institutions including: the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland; the US Capitol Building, Capitol Visitors Center in Washington D.C.; and Carnegie Hall in New York.
He is the recipient of several awards including an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Humane Letters from Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA (2009); the Exemplary Achievement in the Arts Award from the Bucks County Chamber of Commerce (1985); U.S. Department of Interior, Sculptor-in-residence, Augustus Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish, NH.
His exhibitions include The Sculpture of George R. Anthonisen, Jonathan Edwards College, Yale University, New Haven, CT (2006); Sculpture Along Bear Creek, SculptureWorks, Inc., Keller, Texas (2006); Reflections on The Human Condition: Nine Sculptures by George R. Anthonisen, Center for Interfaith Relations, Louisville, KY (1999).
Anthonisen states, "My work combines our ancient roots with our recent past, giving validity to the present. The danger in using traditional art by itself is that it ignores the existence of the 21st century. But, to use only the visual vocabulary of the 21st century (modern art), can deprive us of our history."
George R. Anthonisen was part of the exhibition entitled The Rodin Legacy in conjunction with Rodin: The Human Experience Selections from the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Collections exhibit at the Michener Art Museum in 2015. The Legacy exhibit explored the influence of Rodin on 20th century and contemporary American sculptors, some of whom continue to embrace Rodin's legacy with their interest in naturalism and the partial figure, direct carving, and a desire to express inner psychological states through the physical form.
Anthonisen's work will also be in the upcoming George Gershwin and Modern Art: A Rhapsody in Blue, Telfair Museums, Savannah, GA, curated by musicologist Dr. Olivia Mattis in 2024. This occasion marks the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Rhapsody in Blue and features artwork from Gershwin’s personal collection.
George R. Anthonisen, 1996. Photograph by Stephen Barth. James A. Michener Art Museum archives.
Education and Training
University of Vermont, BA, Burlington, Vermont, 1961
National Academy of Design, New York, New York, 1961-1962, with Douglas Gorsline
Art Students League, New York, New York, 1962-1964, with Jose De Creeft and John Hovannes
Studied human anatomy at Dartmouth College Medical School, Hanover, New Hampshire, 1967
U.S. Army, 1955-1957
Teachers and Influences
Influenced by Michelangelo, Auguste Rodin, and Augustus Saint-Gaudens
Connection to Bucks County
Anthonisen has lived in Solebury, Bucks County since 1971. His son, Daniel, is a landscape painter.
Colleagues and Affiliations
Painters Charles Wells, Paul Matthews, and sculptor David Crane
Major Solo Exhibitions
Life in Bronze: The Sculpture of George Anthonisen, The Cooley Gallery, Old Lyme, CT, 2007
The Sculpture of George R. Anthonisen, Jonathan Edwards College, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 2006
Reflections on The Human Condition: Nine Sculptures by George R. Anthonisen, Center for Interfaith Relations, Festival of Faiths, Gardens of Louisville, Louisville, KY, 1999
George R. Anthonisen: Sculpture and Fresco, Bianco Gallery, Buckingham, PA, 1998
The Compassionate Spirit: Sculpture and Fresco by George R. Anthonisen, Berman Museum of Art, Collegeville, PA, 1996
Gale Nurseries presents Sculpture in Harmony (featuring five Anthonisen bronzes, Awarded Best of Show), Philadelphia Flower Show, Philadelphia, PA, 1995
George R. Anthonisen- New Work: Fresco and Sculpture, Bianco Gallery, Buckingham, PA, 1994
Anthonisen, Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA, 1992
I Set Before You This Day, Rotunda, Cannon House Office Building, U.S. Capitol, Washington D.C., 1989
University of Scranton Art Gallery, Scranton, PA, 1986
Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, 1966
When I Was Here... Remembering Our Artists-in-Residence: Sculptor-in-Residence Program Retrospective, 1969-2014, Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish, New Hampshire, 2015
The Rodin Legacy, Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 2015
National Sculpture Society Fellow Exhibition, New York, NY, 2007
Sculpture Along Bear Creek, SculptureWorks, Inc., Keller, TX, 2001
Artists of the River Towns, Philadelphia Sketch Club, Philadelphia, PA, 2003
Small Treasures: Holiday Artists Show, Travis Gallery, New Hope, PA, 2002
Recent Work by George R. Anthonisen and Daniel F. Anthonisen, Bianco Gallery, Buckingham, PA, 2001
Continuing The Bucks County Landscape Tradition, Bianco Gallery, Buckingham, PA and Salmagundi Club, New York, NY, 2000
The Art Gene: Anthonisen, Dodge, Gowin, Osterman, Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA, 2000
Caring: Humanity's Hope for Survival, Samuel Dorsky Symposium on Public Monuments presented by The Monuments Conservancy, New York, NY, 1997
The Second Century, Contemporary Works Exhibition, National Sculpture Society, New York, NY,1993
Images of Courage and Compassion, Millersville University, Millersville, PA, 1991
Inaugural Exhibition, The James A. Michener Art Center, Doylestown, PA, 1988
Celebration of the Figure, Port of History Museum, Philadelphia, PA, 1987
Artists Three, Bucks County Council for the Arts, Doylestown, PA,1985
National Academy of Design, New York, NY, 1971
Exemplary Achievement in the Arts Award, Bucks County Chamber of Commerce, 1985
Alaska State Council on the Arts, 1976
U.S. Department of Interior, Sculptor-in-residence, Augustus Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish, NH, 1971
Honorary member, Philadelphia Sketch Club, Philadelphia, PA, 2002
Honorary Degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA, 2009
Honorary Membership, Allied Artists of America Inc., 2021
Fellow Emeritus, National Sculpture Society, 2021
World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
Capitol Visitors Center, US Capitol, Washington D.C.
Carnegie Hall, New York, NY
Berman Museum of Art, Collegeville, PA
Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA
Center for Interfaith Relations, Louisville, KY
Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA
University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK
Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA
Washington School of Psychiatry, Washington D.C.
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH
J. Henry Schroder Bank & Trust Company, New York, NY
Keneseth Israel, Elkins Park, PA
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
Doylestown Hospital (Women’s Diagnostic Center), Doylestown, PA
Please Touch Museum, Philadelphia, PA
University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK
Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, PA
Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA