As a college student, David J. Rosenfeld, M.D., had to choose between two passions: surgery and sculpture.
Now, at age 63, he finally has time for both.
Dr. Rosenfeld, an otolaryngologist, recently returned to sculpture after a long hiatus to establish his medical practice and raise his family. This spring he showed his work for the first time in 40 years, at a First Friday reception at Penn Stone in Lancaster.
“There are many parallels between surgery and art,” he said. “Surgery is like a piece of art when it’s done well.”
Dr. Rosenfeld took art lessons growing up in Westchester, New York. He majored in zoology and studio art in college. When the time came to choose a career, medicine won out.
In 1988, after residency in Philadelphia, Dr. Rosenfeld started what became Rosenfeld, Belser & Davis ENT. He currently serves as Chief of the Division of Otorhinolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery at Lancaster General Hospital.
Residency and training—and later the demands of his growing private practice and raising four children with his wife, Julia—left little time for art. But Dr. Rosenfeld, now a new grandfather, always knew he would pick up his welder’s torch again one day.
“A long time ago, I had to choose one or the other,” he said. “I reached the stage about two years ago where I can be both a surgeon and an artist.”
In the garage studio behind his home, Dr. Rosenfeld welds metal sculptures up to 10 feet tall and 500 pounds. He uses all found objects, such as old wrenches, pipes, wheels and antique farm equipment, to create abstract geometric designs.
Drawing particular inspiration from American sculptor David Smith and other abstract expressionists, he creates mostly larger pieces for outdoor display, as well as some smaller tabletop pieces. He is planning additional shows following his successful debut.
Dr. Rosenfeld, who served on the board of the Demuth Museum, also loves collecting art and art history. His art collection fills his home and office, as well as the Inn at Pinetown, a local bed and breakfast his family owns and operates.
His return to sculpture doesn’t mean he’s ready to retire or even slow down his medical practice.
“I still love to operate,” he said. “The OR is the only place where you can really relax. All of the other distractions are gone.”
Like a true surgeon, Dr. Rosenfeld is aiming high when it comes to art. He hopes his sculptures will one day be displayed in a museum.
“I’ve achieved the goals I set for myself in medicine,” he said. “Now I’d like to achieve my goals in art.”