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Theodore Roszak’s Sentinel

Being a connoisseur of all things Eastern Bloc – art, men, prisons – I don’t know how Theodore Roszak’s Sentinel sculpture has escaped me all the years I’ve lived in New York. It looks like a relic of the Cold War- somehow planted right in Manhattan.


Theodore Roszak (May 1, 1907 – September 2, 1981) was an American sculptor and painter who emigrate to the U.S. from Poland at the age of 2. Growing up in the Polish section of Chicago, he received a scholarship from the Art Institute allowing him to travel through Europe from 1929 -1931. He visited Germany, Czechoslovakia and Prague, where he set up a studio for nine months. His exposure to modern art and architecture in Prague changed his focus from painting to sculpture.

Roszak created Sentinel between 1966 and 1968 as a memorial to the people who work in public health. The sculpture is located at 455 First Avenue at 27th Street, next door to the Public Health Research Institute near Bellevue.  Roszak was known to produced hundreds of sketches that served as a jumping off point for his large sculptural pieces. His work explored the struggle between nature and man, and the destructive force of war.

Who: Theodore Roszak

What: Sentinel

Where: 455 First Avenue at 27th Street

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