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Michener Art Museum hosts retrospective of work of Bucks sculptor George Anthonisen


The James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown announces the opening of a new exhibition celebrating the work of figurative sculptor George Anthonisen, whose 65-year artistic career creates visual dialogues between the past and the present.

“George R. Anthonisen: Meditations on the Human Condition” opens April 20, and runs through Oct. 13.

Perfect for a spring visit, “George R. Anthonisen: Meditations on the Human Condition” features more than 40 bronze sculptures, maquettes, and frescoes on view both in the galleries and the museum’s outdoor garden sculpture.

Well-versed in history and current events, Anthonisen creates sculptures that investigate the human condition and people’s capacity to destroy, create, question, and make noble choices. Working primarily in bronze, Anthonisen is known for his thoughtful and sometimes haunting content and for championing the elegance and strength of the female form. The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalog that recognizes the sculptor’s significant career and presence in the regional arts community.

Lisa Tremper Hanover, a past executive director of the museum, is the guest curator of the exhibition. On July 10, the Michener will host a Curator Conversation between Anthonisen and Hanover in which they will discuss the themes and ideas Anthonisen has explored over the course of his prolific career.

“We are thrilled to feature George’s thought-provoking work in our new exhibition,” said Anne Corso, executive director of Michener Art Museum. “For decades, George’s sculptures have encouraged us to contemplate the essence of the human being in a changing world, and we look forward to sharing his expansive work with our visitors. He is an excellent example of the kind of artist we aim to highlight at the Michener: A Bucks County artist whose work explores universal themes and has global impact.”

Anthonisen’s career highlights include service as sculptor in residence at the Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park, and exhibitions at Dartmouth College, the National Academy of Design, the Woodmere Art Museum, the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College, Yale University, and the James A. Michener Art Museum.

In the 1970s, Anthonisen won a national competition to execute a sculpture of Sen. Ernest Gruening for the United States Capitol, and Ursinus College commissioned a monumental World War II diptych from the artist. His sculpture, “Death and Starvation,” was installed at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1985.

Born in Boston in 1936, Anthonisen spent his early years in Vermont, and he was tutored by Elizabeth Clark Gunther, a landscape architect and daughter of the Director of the American Academy in Rome. Her husband, John F. Gunther, was an architect and painter. It was during this time that young Anthonisen was introduced to the world of art.

In 1955, while stationed in Europe with the U.S. Army, Anthonisen visited the Louvre for the first time, where he saw iconic sculptures like the Nike of Samothrace (Winged Victory), Venus de Milo, and Michelangelo’s Two Slaves, which left indelible impressions on him.

After military service, he studied at the University of Vermont. He moved to New York in 1961 to master traditional art skills at the National Academy of Design and later at the Art Students League. Anthonisen returned to New Hampshire in 1967 to attend Dartmouth College of Medical School where he studied human anatomy and he has lived and worked in Solebury since 1971.

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