During the late 1960's and early 1970's, when Roseman was earning his baccalaureate from the prestigious Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City and his Master of Fine Arts degree from the equally respected Pratt Institute, also in New York City, Abstract Expressionism and Non-Figurative art were the dominant art movements of the time. Going his own way pursuing his career in New York, Roseman was absorbed with the human figure in his work, which included painting and drawing from life the female nude and the male nude.
1. Stanley Roseman, Stanley Roseman and the Dance - Drawings from the Paris Opéra, (Paris: Ronald Davis, 1996), p. 9.
Roseman refers to Giorgio Vasari, the celebrated sixteenth-century Florentine architect, painter, and author, for whom drawing
(disegno) is "the parent of our three arts, architecture, sculpture, and painting, having its origin in the intellect." Vasari on
Technique, (New York: Dover, 1960), p. 205.
2. Stanley Roseman - Dessins sur la Danse à l'Opéra de Paris (text in French and English),
(Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 1996), p. 12.
3. Giorgio Vasari, Vasari on Technique, pp. 212, 213.
4. Stanley Roseman, Stanley Roseman and the Dance - Drawings from the Paris Opéra, p. 14.
The bold composition of Stéphane, Male Nude with Arms raised, 1997, (fig. 5), brings the torso close to the viewer. Roseman employs a lively interaction of lines and tones in depicting the man's strong, facial features; well-developed musculature; and the textures of his moustache, beard, and body hair on his chest, underarms, and abdomen. With vigorous application of black, white, and bistre chalks, Roseman renders the male figure in strong contrasting light and shade, with reserved areas of gray paper for a mid-tone.
A New Yorker in his late twenties is the subject of the excellent drawing Standing Male Nude, 1974, (fig. 2), rendered in bistre, red, and white chalks on gray paper. With sculptural modeling of the chalks, Roseman describes the muscular physique of the man seen from the back, his hands on his hips and his face in profile. The moustache and dark hair complement the chiaroscuro of cool highlights and warm shading on the figure.
Rosaline, seated Female Nude wearing black Gloves and Stockings, 1997, (fig. 4), depicts the voluptuous Parisienne with her black gloved arms by her side. She wears black, knee-length, silk stockings and crosses her outstretched legs, emphasizing her feminine sex.
Roseman has made use of the classical sculptural scheme of contrapposto - from the Italian, suggesting opposing movement - whereby the standing figure rests on one leg while the other is bent at the knee, which causes an adjustment in the dispersal of body weight, as seen in the drawing presented here. The drapery alludes to Greek sculptures, such as the Venus de Milos, the Aphrodite (Venus) of Arles, and the Venus of Capua, of which drapery covers the lower half of the nude figure.
"Chalk generally refers to two kinds of drawing materials whose graphic identities are closely related. When chalk came into use as a drawing medium in the fifteenth century, the word 'chalk' referred to a soft stone cut into sticks. Black chalk, a natural carbon with a proper consistency of clay to earth pigment, 'comes from the hills of France,' notes Vasari in his Introduction to his Lives of the Artists. Red chalk, or sanguine, was cut from hematite. Vasari describes red chalk as 'a stone coming from the mountains of Germany' and further mentions that 'the stone be soft enough to be easily sawn and reduced to a fine point suitable for marking on leaves of paper.' White chalk was obtained from steatite (tailor's chalk), gypsum, or limestone.
Light falls on the subject's forehead, chest, left shoulder and arm, back, and buttocks. The combination of parallel hatching and blended passages of the chalks in describing the figure is repeated in the background of bistre and white chalks, with reserved areas of the gray paper. The artist has effectively rendered the perspective of the left arm and elbow extending forward in pictorial space. A consummate draughtsman, Roseman has created a sensual depiction of the male nude.
With arms raised, bent at the elbows, and placed together behind the right side of his face, Christophe is seen nude and standing in profile. Roseman draws the torso, genitalia, and left buttock and thigh with strong chiaroscuro modeling of cool lights and warm shading on gray paper. The Frenchman's head is inclined forward; his abundant brown hair falls to his shoulders.
Christophe, standing Male Nude in Profile, 1997, is an arresting composition with the figure placed in the center of the page. Roseman's consummate draughtsmanship combines dynamic interplay of linear description, vigorous strokes of the chalks, and the blending of the chalks to describe the athletic male's physique.
Colette, Female Nude with Drapery, 1997, (fig. 3, below), complements luminous, pale skin tones of the female figure with a warm, summary background and the grayish-brown cloth that Colette holds in her hands. Roseman places the figure parallel to the picture plane. The woman's head is lowered and turned sharply to the side, her face in profile, her auburn hair swept upwards. The angularity in the position of her limbs is reminiscent of drawings of the female nude by Rodin and Matisse.
Roseman drew Carole, seated Female Nude, 1997, (fig. 7), with a harmony of curvaceous forms of the figure complemented by the diaphanous drapery that falls around the woman's shoulders, arms, and back. The artist has finely rendered the pale-pink flesh tones with luminous highlights and soft shadows on Carole's neck and shoulders, her ample breasts, and the curves of her stomach and hips in contrast to the dark triangle of her feminine sex.