Chicago Public Library
Special Collections and Preservation Division
Chicago Theater Collection
Seymour Rosofsky Collection, 1953-1954, 1977
Call number: Archives_CTC_SRC
Seymour Rosofsky (1924-1981) was part of a generation of post-war, independent-minded Chicago artists who bucked the trends of abstraction, minimalism and conceptual art coming from New York in the mid-20th century. Rosofsky wrestled with his experiences through a staunchly figurative, surreal style. He is considered a founding member of the Chicago Imagist tradition.
Born in 1924, Rosofsky grew up in an immigrant neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side. His parents came from Russia and Poland. He began painting at young age and at 13 started attending the Saturday School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1943 Rosofsky was drafted into the Army, where he illustrated military training publications. His deployment to Europe offered him the opportunity to study masterpieces at the Louvre. After his return to Chicago, Rosofsky completed his studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, earning his bachelor of fine arts (1949) and master of fine arts (1951). In 1958 Rosofsky returned to Europe, studying in Rome on a Fulbright Scholarship. That year he also married Carol Rawson, with whom he had three children. The family lived in Paris from 1961 to1963 on a series of Guggenheim Foundation grants. In 1964 they returned to Chicago, where Rosofsky joined the faculty of the City Colleges. He taught there until his death in 1981.
Rosofsky’s complex imagery is intensely personal and illuminates the social, cultural and artistic contexts of the last half of the 20th century. Emotional and societal turmoil is reflected in themes of the individual’s loss of power in the face of modern life; relationships between male and female; the voyage of life; and the absurdity of war.1
The Seymour Rosofsky Collection includes 59 drawings, paintings and lithographs of theater scenes and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with conductor George Solti.
The theater drawings depict backstage activities and stars of the day—Vincent Price and Joe E. Brown—and others in performances at Salt Creek Summer Theater in the western suburbs. The drawings were commissioned by the Chicago Daily News in 1953 for its Roto Magazine.
The CSO collection is a group of working drawings, sketches and states of a lithograph commissioned by Illinois Bell in 1977 for the cover of the Chicago Telephone Book white pages. A copy of the telephone book cover is in this collection as well as lithographs signed by Solti and Rosofsky. Working sketches depict Solti conducting the orchestra.
Carol Rosofsky donated these drawings to the Special Collections and Preservation Division of the Chicago Public Library in 2011.
The Seymour Rosofsky Collection is available to the public for research in the Special Collections and Preservation Division Reading Room on the ninth floor of the Chicago Public Library’s Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State Street, Chicago, IL, 60605. Materials must be paged 24 hours in advance. The collection does not circulate, although photocopy services are available depending upon the condition of the original materials. First-time patrons to Special Collections must present photo identification and complete a Reader Registration Form. Inquiries on this collection and other Special Collections holdings can be directed to (312) 747-4875 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Folder 1||Roto, Chicago Daily News, March 26, 1953 “Features,” Chicago Sun Times, September 12, 1954|
|The Winslow Boy, July 12-July 24, 1954. Salt Creek Summer Theater (Hinsdale, Illinois)
|Folder 2||John Watherstone asking for the hand of daughter of Arthur Winslow (1 drawing, graphite on paper, 12” x 18”)|
|3||Pistol…watchful poodle belonging to Justice Watson (1 drawing, graphite on paper, 12” x 18”)|
|4||Vincent Price (backstage) (4 drawings, graphite on paper,12” x 18”)|
|5||Backstage sketches (6 drawings, graphite on paper, 12” x 18”)|
|6||Backstage sketches (6 drawings, graphite on paper, 12” x 18”)|
|7||Backstage sketches (6 drawings, graphite on paper, 12” x 18”)|
|8||Backstage sketches (6 drawings, graphite on paper, 12” x 18”)|
|10||The Winslow Boy… (1 drawing, pastel, ink and watercolor on paper, 24” x 18”)|
|11||Catherine Winslow and Dickie Winslow (1 drawing, pastel, ink and watercolor on paper, 24” x 18”)|
|12||Catherine Winslow and Sir Robert Morton (1 drawing, black ink on brown paper with white accent)|
|13||Catherine Winslow and Sir Robert Morton (1 drawing, watercolor and pastel on teal paper)|
|14||Catherine Winslow, Sir Robert Morton and Arthur Winslow (1 drawing, pastel, ink and watercolor on paper, 24” x 18”)|
|15||Arthur Winslow (1 drawing, pastel on paper, 18” x 13”)|
|The Show Off, July 26-August 8, 1954. Salt Creek Summer Theater (Hinsdale, Illinois)
|2||Ink portraits (5 drawings, ink on paper, 12” x 18”)|
|3||Amy Fisher-Price and Aubrey Piper (1 drawing, watercolor and pastel on paper, 18” x 24”)|
|4||Amy Fisher-Price (pink dress with umbrella) (1 drawing, pastel on paper, 15.5” x 26.5”)|
|Unidentified Theater Drawings|
|Folder 5||Theatrical scene (female figure with long black gloves in foreground, dancers in black tights behind) (1 drawing, watercolor on paper, 18” x 12”)|
|6||Theater figures (female figure with long black gloves in foreground) (1 drawing, watercolor and pastel on paper, 18” x 24”)|
|7||Theater figures (two female figures foreground, three dancers background) (1 drawing, watercolor and pastel on paper, 18” x 24”)|
|8||Theater figures (crouching dancer right foreground, others behind) (1 drawing, watercolor and pastel on paper, 18” x 24”)|
|9||Theater figures (dancer and poodle) (1 drawing, watercolor and pastel on paper, 18” x 24”)|
|10||Theater figures (male dancer figure in plie position foreground) (1 drawing, watercolor and pastel on paper, 18” x 24”)|
|Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO)/George Solti drawings and lithographs commissioned by Illinois Bell in 1977|
|Folder 11||Solti and CSO (1 drawing, watercolor and ink on paper, 20” x 15”|
|12||Solti and CSO (3 drawings, graphite and colored pencil on paper, 16” x 14”)|
|13||Telephone Book (1 lithograph, telephone book cover, 22” x 12”)|
|14||CSO (4 drawings, watercolor on paper, 23” x 17.5”)|
Folder 15 is oversize. See: Oversize map case storage