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George R. Anthonisen

Painter · Sculptor
Born July 31, 1936, Boston, Massachusetts

"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 James A. 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, and is a drama 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 20th century; but to use only the visual vocabulary of the 20th century (modern art) can deprive us of our history."

George R. Anthonisen was part of the exhibition 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.

Image: George R. Anthonisen, photograph by Stephen Barth, 1996, photo courtesy James A. Michener Art Museum library

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