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Central Park

Cactus Couple

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

Located on the south roof deck of the Parks administrative headquarters in Central Park, this lovely garden sculpture by Thea Tewi (b.1915) was dedicated on January 16, 1990.

The artwork consists of two cactus plants, measuring 54 inches and 18 inches tall, carved out of a dark green serpentine marble. The couple is installed on a low rough-hewn base of white marble. Prior to being received into the city’s official outdoor sculpture collection, the work was displayed in an exhibition of the artist’s work entitled “A Garden of Stone,” held at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in the spring of 1989.

Tewi was born in 1906 in Germany, and received a degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin. She immigrated to the United States in 1938, and her earliest exhibitions were in New York’s Greenwich Village. Later in life, she settled in Forest Hills, Queens. Known for her masterful stone carving, her work is in numerous private and public collections, and in addition to holding many gallery shows, she has exhibited at the Stony Brook Museum (1963), the Springfield Museum (1965), New York University (1966), Stamford Museum (1968), the Museum of Modern Art in Paris (1972), and the Hudson River Museum (1982), among other venues.

Tewi was president of the League of Present Day Artists from 1966 to 1972, chair of the Sculpture Jury of the National Association of Women Artists in 1973, and, beginning in 1971, served for two decades as president of the Sculptors League. She has also been affiliated with the Art Students League, the New School for Social Research, and the New York Academy of Science.

Cactus Couple is typical of Tewi’s art, sinuous in its carving, respectful of the natural stone, and expressing a quiet humor.

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