Skip directly to content


August 14, 1921-December 13, 2007

A child of the Great Depression, Seymour Rosenthal spent his early years in the Bronx part of New York City. He was a self-taught artist who started drawing at the tender age of 5. As a child Rosenthal drew cartoons on the New York sidewalks. During the Depression he was given paper by peddlers to create signs for them to display on their pushcarts. He was a practicing artist until his death at age 86. Rosenthal is renowned in the art world for his work with oils, egg tempera, watercolors, graphics and pen and ink drawings. He was heavily influenced by the Depression of the thirties and the rise of Fascism. His great passion and respect for the struggles of working Americans as well as his deep love of his Jewish faith are amplified in his renderings. Upon graduating high school in 1939, Rosenthal joined the Wholesale and Warehouse Workers Union Local 65. After serving in the army during World War II, Rosenthal joined Local One in 1946 as a general worker and later as an apprentice opaquer. During these early years he was known for carrying a sketchbook and pencil to draw his co-workers and street scenes. Rosenthal was encouraged to turn professional by almost everyone he met. His staunchest supporter was his wife, Frances, who was also his secretary and business manager. Once day Frances arranged for his paintings to be exhibited at a New York gallery. After balking, Rosenthal gave in. The result was rave reviews, strong sales, and a new career. Though reluctant to give up his income and the security of being a Local One member, Rosenthal eventually took the plunge with the encouragement of Local One’s leaders and members. Today, forty-two of Seymour Rosenthal’s lithographs are in the permanent collection of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. His works are also in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Suffolk Museum of Art at Stony Brook, L.I., the Harry S, Truman Library in Independence, MO, the Technion Building in Haifa, Israel, as well as other universities, museums, and private collections throughout the world. In 2009, two of his pieces were sold at auction at the renowned Sothebys New York. To see more of his work and to learn more about Rosenthal, visit online. Despite all the success and financial rewards he was afforded through his talents, Rosenthal was a very humble man, proud of his heritage, his family, and his membership in Local One. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Frances, a daughter, a son, and four grandchildren.