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Sir Norman Rosenthal

The musical concerts mentioned at the end of the interview can be explored through this link. Below are two examples of concerts and Sir Norman Rosenthal’s biography is beneath that.

Norman Rosenthal was born in Cambridge, UK, in 1944, the son of Paul
Rosenthal and Kaethe Zucker, who came to England in 1941 and 1939
respectively. He was educated at Westminster City Grammar School and the
University of Leicester, where he graduated in 1966 with a degree in history. He
undertook postgraduate studies at the School of Slavonic and Eastern Studies, as
well as the Free University of Berlin.

Norman Rosenthal organised his first exhibition in 1965 Artists in Cornwall at the
Leicester Museum and Art Gallery in connection with the University Arts
Festival. Since that time his professional career took him to Thomas Agnew &
Sons, the well known firm of London art dealers, as librarian and researcher
from 1966 – 1970; Brighton Museum and Art Gallery as exhibition officer from
1970 – 1971; Artist’s Market, a non-profit making gallery in Covent Garden, as
organiser; from 1973 to 1976 director of European art exhibitions at The
Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, responsible for two festivals, one in
1974 devoted to contemporary German culture, which inter alia brought Joseph
Beuys to London for the first time, where he made his famous blackboard
environment Richtkräfte, now belonging to the Nationalgalerie Berlin. The other,
in 1975, was devoted to contemporary Greek culture, which brought inter alia
Jannis Kounellis to London.

From 1977 –December 2007 Norman Rosenthal was Exhibitions Secretary of the
Royal Academy of Arts, London, where he enabled and organised all loan
exhibitions, including Robert Motherwell 1978; Post Impressionism 1979-1980;
A New Spirit in Painting 1981; Painting in Naples 1981;  David Hockney: A Drawing Retrospective 1995; Sensation 1997; Joseph Beuys: The Secret Block for a Secret
Person in Ireland 1999; Georg Baselitz 2007; and many more.

Many of the above exhibitions were organised in conjunction with major
museums, largely in Europe and in North America.
Norman Rosenthal has been particularly associated with a series of exhibitions
at the Royal Academy documenting the art of the 20th Century, including German
art in the Twentieth Century 1985; British Art in the Twentieth Century 1987;
Italian Art in the Twentieth Century 1989; Pop Art 1991; American Art in the
Twentieth Century 1993.

At the Martin Gropius-Bau, the leading exhibition venue in Berlin, Norman
Rosenthal was jointly responsible for two ground-breaking exhibitions of
contemporary art: Zeitgeist in 1982 and Metropolis 1991, as well as The Age of
Modernism- Art in the 20th Century, 1997.
In 2005 Norman Rosenthal was curator of the exhibition From Luther to the
Bauhaus – National Treasures from Germany, for the Konferenz National
Kultureinrichtungen [KNK], in collaboration with the Kunst – und
Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland [KAH], Bonn.

Appointments and awards include:
1985-2000 Member of the Board of the Palazzo Grassi, Venice
1987 Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art, London
1988 Chevalier de l’Ordre de Arts et Lettres of the French Republic
1989 Cavaliere Ufficiale of the Italian Republic
1993 Bundesverdienstkreuz of the Federal Republic of Germany
1994-1998 Opera Advisory Board, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
2002-2012 Appointed to Board of Trustees, Thyssen Bornemisza Foundation, Madrid
2003 Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres of the French Republic
2003 Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters [D, Litt] University of Southampton
2004-2007 Member of Board of Trustees, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead
2005 Member of Comité Scientifique, Réunion des Museés Nationaux, Paris
2006 Honorary degree of Doctor of Letters [D, Litt] University of Leicester
2006 Member of the Order of the Aguila Azteca of the Federal Republic of Mexico
2007 Member of the Order of Knights Batchelor, Queen’s Birthday Honours, June 2007
2006- Member of the International Board of the Sanbanci Museum, Istanbul
2010-2015 Member of the Board of English National Ballet

Norman Rosenthal has undertaken many television and radio broadcasts over the years.
He frequently addresses international conferences and contributes numerous articles and
essays to catalogues and journals throughout the world. After 31 years, he retired from hisposition at the Royal Academy of Arts and currently works as a free-lance consultant and curator to public institutions and private individuals in the United Kingdom, Europe, Turkey and the USA.

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  1. WoW!! That was an Outstandingly Fascinating Interview!, Really Incredible to meet and hear this Uniquely Knowledgeable passionate man – a creator, supporter behind many of these incredible, many of my favorites as well, artists! Thank you so much for sharing this Exciting encounter. Solti, Stravinsky… what musician does not know those names? How great it would be to hear those stories as well… Brainard, you are an Awesome, patient prepared interviewer and listener. It was such a pleasure to listen to and learn. Thank you

  2. […] Sir Norman Rosenthal says that in some ways he is “yesterday’s man” although for a period of about 30 years he was responsible for all the exhibitions of the Royal Academy. The most important of these was toward the beginning of his career that introduced several new German artists, including Joseph Beuys, who subsequently became very well-known. Now retired, he still works hard to keep up with the goings on of the art world. He had an illustrious career and was responsible for some truly iconic exhibitions. Rosenthal never studied art or art history, a student of history he fell into the art world because he genuinely enjoys art as well as music. There is no point, he says, to becoming involved with art unless you love it. To hear more from this enthralling interview with a true giant of the art world, listen to the complete interview. […]


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