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Samuel Rothbort Portrait

Samuel Rothbort

Wolkovisk, Russia 1882

New York, New York 1971

Luce Artist Quote

“I use anything decayed, where Time has left its mark. By carving these materials, I feel myself as part of nature, and the subject is born directly out of the material.” Samuel Rothbort, Out of Wood and Stone, 1952

Luce Artist Biography

Samuel Rothbort began sculpting at an early age, making animals from bread dough in his mother’s kitchen. As a young man, he worked in a glassware store while also painting fifty-cent charcoal portraits and training to be a leather worker. He immigrated to New York in 1904 and took a variety of unskilled jobs, including night watchman on a construction site. The master builder on the site noticed Rothbort drawing on unfinished plaster and decided he was too talented to be a watchman. As a result, Rothbort became a decorator, creating designs in paint and plaster for the homes of wealthy Manhattanites. For most of his life he ran a farm on Long Island with his wife, Rose, and created many paintings, sculptures, and mosaics that captured, as he described, “a little bit of truth from nature.”