Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Phil Rosenfeld, 1925-2012

A friend and local painter Phil Rosenfeld died January 12, 2012.

Phil was born in 1925 in the Bronx. His parents emigrated from Romania and Russia.  His father was a carpenter.
Phil started working at the age of 12. One of his first jobs was as a “marker” (marking with a crayon  fabric to be cut) in the garment district.
He attended the Arts Students League on a scholarship for a number of years studying with Morris Kantor, Yasho Kuniashi and Will Barnet.
Phil put aside his painting to raise a family. He became a member of the North 7th Assembly District of the American Labor Party and became an activist.
He resumed painting full-time after moving to California in 1972. He met and married a fine painter, Jackie Kirk. They lived in Marin county for a many years, most recently in Fairfax.

"Mule Driver" from the brochure of the SGVCC exhibit

I hosted an excellent show by Phil at the San Geronimo Valley Community Center entitled “The American Labor Movement: Dramatic Representations from the Early 1900’s”.  That exhibit is one of my favorite experiences from my time presenting shows at the Center.
Last year Phil and I talked of doing another show but could never settle on a date.

He did have other exhibits at the Bolinas Museum, College of Marin, Gallery Route One and his last significant solo exhibit, ”From the Bronx to the Bay,” featuring  Phil’s portraits from his American Labor Movement series as well as abstracts and landscapes. The work was exhibited at the Elizabeth S. and Alvin I. Fine Museum at the Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco.
He was a wonderful, irreverent and inspiring character. (Molly calls him a “rascal”).
Phil said in a 2009 interview in J. the Jewish News Weekly:
“I get up in the morning and I paint every day. It fulfills the spirit. I look around at people my age and it’s pathetic. They look lost.”
“I am not lost. I have direction. I have a force. I paint pictures.”

All images copyright Phil Rosenfeld and estate.


  1. Wow. Phil was my uncle. I really enjoyed seeing this site. I didn't even know he had been a "marker" in the garment district for his first job.

    1. Larry, Thank you. This is so nice of you to put this up. Phil was my step father for the last 30 years. I am so glad to see his art able to be on the web forever to honor his commitment to art. He will be missed, but his passion for art will be an inspiration forever. Love you Meese. Tom

    2. Hello Lloyd,

      We're glad you like the post on your uncle. Phil had some remarkable stories to tell. I hope someone did some sort of oral history with him (?).

      -Larry and Molly

  2. Thank you Tom.

    Phil was a remarkable person and a quite an artist. Molly and I truly enjoyed knowing him.

    I regret I couldn’t get him back in the gallery at the Center. We talked about an exhibit and I offered him several different potential dates but, unfortunately, none of them worked out.

    Again, it was a pleasure and honor to have known him.