Ismond Rosen

(1924 – 1996): Psychiatrist, Psychotherapist, Psychoanalyst, Artist.

Born in 1924 in Johannesburg, Rosen was just six years old when he began making clay figures in the style of his African neighbours. Although particularly talented and creative, his parents insisted that his academic talent was far more important. So, at the age of 17, Rosen went to train at Wits Medical School.

Despite studying academically rigorous medicine, Rosen realised that he need not leave his passion for creativity behind. He decided that the two did not have to be mutually exclusive and during his placement at a Community Health Centre he began to make sculptures of the patients and staff.

After coming to England in 1951, Rosen travelled to Paris where he studied at the Academie Julien and the Ecole des Beaux Arts. After working at the Maudsley & Bethlem Hospital in England for 6 years, Rosen began to specialise in sexual deviation and psychiatry whilst also training as a psychoanalyst.

The 1970s were very much Rosen’s ‘creative’ years. He had begun running his own private psychotherapy practice, but during his spare time he was devoted to his art. He created works for an exhibition at the Camden Arts Centre and even wrote papers for huge art institutes in London on Richard Dadd and Otto Dix.

One of Rosen’s most prominent sculpture, Civilisation, can be found in South Africa’s National Botanical Gardens



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