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Monday, June 9, 2014

Montblanc Presents Arts Patronage Award to Jane Rosenthal of Tribeca Enterprises

Jane Rosenthal Photo credit: Anthony DeMarco

Artists once depended on royalty to support their work, then it became the responsibility of governments. However, in today’s world kingdoms are few and governments are facing monumental challenges so its role is greatly reduced. This function now falls on the shoulders of private institutions and their wealthy counterparts. Since 1922, Montblanc has been honoring those who go out of their way to support artists and their creations through the Montblanc Culture Arts Patronage Award.   

“When you give an award for an artist, which is important, then you honor this artist. But you are not providing the basics for many other artists to develop because when you think about young artists what they miss the most is money. What they miss the most is the opportunity to concentrate on perfecting their skills,” said Lutz Bethge, vice chairman of the Montblanc Cultural Foundation. “This is why patronage is so important. In the past it was done by the emperors, the kings, the church and so on. They are all gone and government funds are limited so it is up to committed individuals and successful corporations to do the job.”

It even comes upon those who don't consider themselves patrons. This brings us to Jane Rosenthal. The television and movie producer is now most associated with co-founding, with her more famous partner Robert De Niro, what has grown to become Tribeca Enterprises, which she serves as CEO. The organization in the TriBeCa neighborhood of Manhattan combines for-profit and nonprofit ventures that include branded entertainment businesses, the Tribeca Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival International, Tribeca Cinemas, Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy, and the distribution label Tribeca Film.

Robert De Niro Photo credit: Anthony DeMarco

The organization under Rosenthal’s leadership has been credited with helping to revitalize the southern Manhattan neighborhood, provide funding for young filmmakers producing independent film projects and promote the arts through community outreach. For this work, Rosenthal was the latest recipient of the Montblanc Culture Arts Patronage Award during a cocktail reception at Stephan Weiss Studio in New York on June 3. It comes with a cash prize and a one-of-a-kind writing instrument, created to honor Henry E. Steinway of the Steinway Piano Company.

“I never realized the word patron applied to me,” Rosenthal said prior to the awards presentation. “It brings the connotation of kings and queens. I’m a kid from Providence, Rhode Island. But it’s so important to support the arts. Its artists who shine a light on the important problems and issues that we have and if there’s any hope, it’s going to be through the work that artists can do to unite us.”

Montblanc presents this award in several countries. Each has its own group of jurors who make the recommendations, which are then approved by all the jurors around the world. This year the American jury was comprised of fashion designer Prabal Gurung, Christopher “Kip” Forbes, vice chairman of Forbes, and actor Anthony Mackie.

Anthony Mackie Photo credit: Anthony DeMarco

“Everybody who was up for the award expressed a huge amount of philanthropy. A huge amount of selflessness,” Mackie said. “I feel like with Jane, her philanthropy stretched far outside her hands’ reach. I’ve known Jane for about seven years and she affected me far before I was able to say hello to her and she knew who I was. I feel like with this organization, Tribeca, she has the ability to reach out and affect kids all over the world, artists all over the world…. You can go anywhere in an artistic community and find someone who not only knows her but has been either helped or affected by her.”

During the presentation, several people spoke to acknowledge Rosenthal's work including De Niro, who presented the Montblanc award to her. He joked that lately she’s been receiving more honors than him. Then he became serious.

“For 25 years Jane has guided me, supported me, bullied me, challenged me and collaborated with me. She has the guts to say no to me and the taste and intelligence to be right when she says it,” he said. “Jane is being honored this evening for being a patron of the arts. It comes so naturally to her because she appreciates what artists do. She says that being an artist is a lonely job, but also an essential one. Artists need incentives and they deserve our support. Jane understands the soul of the artist because she has the soul of the artist.”

The Montblanc Henry E. Steinway writing instrument
awarded to Jane Rosenthal.
Photo credit: Anthony DeMarco

In her remarks, Rosenthal thanked Montblanc for recognizing the importance of what artists do and for providing a cash award that will be used for expanding a program at Tribeca.

“Society is defined by its culture and understanding that the creative response becomes the global response,” she said. “Thank you for making your generous donation in euros rather than dollars. They’re not only worth more but I think they’re cooler. With this award money we will fund work for ‘Tribeca Teaches,’ a program that we do here at the Tirbeca Film Institute that’s close to my heart. Our goal is to take the program nationally and internationally so thank you for helping us take another step toward that goal.”

It's clear that the Rosenthal and De Niro are not only partners but friends as she explained how De Niro approached her to take the position and how the job has defined who she is.

“When he offered me the job and I said I’m going to have to think about it, he yelled at me. ‘What? Do you want to be a studio executive for the rest of your life?’ That was the first time I ever thought that the words ‘studio executive’ was a curse word.”

If it wasn’t for Bob, I wouldn’t be here right now. I’d probably be at name-that-studio making all those silly dollars, living in some mansion in Beverly Hills, flying private, lounging at restaurants. But honestly I wouldn’t trade this for the world.”

She added, “We get asked why we give money to the arts when there are so many desperate problems in the world—famine, war, oppression, poverty. The answer is that the arts nourish us spiritually. When we as a society are spiritually whole, we will not allow famine, we will end war, we will not tolerate oppression and we may eventually eradicate poverty. Maybe we’ll even have peace.”

The Montblanc limited edition Henry E. Steinway 4810 writing instrument.

The Montblanc “Patron of Art” writing instruments is dedicated annually to an historical figure who has promoted the arts and artists. This year it’s Henry E. Steinway. In addition to the one-of-kind edition of the pen that is presented annually to winners in various countries given the Montblanc Culture Arts Patronage Award, limited editions of the writing instrument are released for the general public.

The gold nib of the Montblanc limited edition Henry E. Steinway 4810 writing instrument.

The Henry E. Steinway Limited Edition 4810 in deep black lacquer and gold-plated fittings has a cap decorated with the heart of the piano–the harp. The shape of the gold-plated clip references the once-patented screw clamps used for bending the grand piano rim into its distinctive sweeping curve. The name “Steinway & Sons,” above the keyboard of every piano produced by Steinway, is engraved on the gold-plated cone ring. The gold nib is engraved with a portrait of Henry E. Steinway. The Montblanc emblem in black and white resin crowns the fountain pen.

The Montblanc Henry E. Steinway 888 limited edition writing instrument.

The Henry E. Steinway Limited Edition 888 has a cap adorned with the representation of a piano harp made of gold. The gold nib can be seen through the skeletonized cap. The barrel depicts an octave of piano keys in black and white. The pattern on the cap ring is inspired by the decor of the domed rotunda in the Steinway Hall in New York. The Montblanc emblem is made of mother-of-pearl.

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