Former East Hampton summer resident Tony Rosenthal of Southampton died on July 28 at Southampton Hospital in his wife’s arms after a brief illness. An international artist most famously noted for his sculpture “The Alamo,” which is widely known as the “Astor Place Cube,” he was 94.
Born August 9, 1914, in Highland Park, Illinois, to Bess and Nathan Rosenthal, he was a veteran of World War II and served in the U.S. Army, making topographical models for army intelligence.
He earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Michigan and from Cranbrook Academy of Art. While “The Alamo” is by far his most recognized sculpture, he completed a long list of public sculptures that date as far back as 1939, when his “Nubian Slave” piece was installed at the 1939 World’s Fair. He also has four other very notable pieces in Manhattan. One piece, “Rondo” (1969), was made of welded bronze and originally displayed at 110 East 59th Street. Later it was moved to 127 East 58th Street in front of the New York Public Library.
Another piece, “Five in One” (1974), is prominently centered at One Police Plaza, standing 30 feet high and made of 75 tons of Cor-ten steel. It is now painted bright red, according to Mr. Rosenthal’s original design. He called the sculpture abstract, but many people choose to see the five boroughs intertwined symbolically.
Mr. Rosenthal had lived in various locations throughout the United States, including primary residences in the early 1960s in Malibu and Los Angeles. When he relocated to Manhattan he spent his summers in East Hampton, but he spent the last six years at his permanent residence in Southampton. His love for the East End was the inspiration for his last series of drawings.
His artwork has dotted the landscape of the East End. He has three pieces at LongHouse in East Hampton and at one time one of his famous cubes was displayed in front of Guild Hall in East Hampton. He was associated with the Artists Colony and was a tireless supporter of up and coming artists from all over the East End.
He was an avid sailor and loved to sail the waters off Connecticut and Long Island.
He is survived by his wife, Cynthia Dillon Rosenthal of Southampton; a niece, Geri Thayer of California; and a nephew, Skip Welfeld of Colorado. His brother, Jerry Rosenthal, and a sister, Shirley Cooper, predeceased him.
A private memorial will be held on what would have been Mr. Rosenthal’s 95th birthday, August 9.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Tony Rosenthal Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 1425, Southampton, NY 11969 would be appreciated by the family.