Rowan artist Toth recognized with Tesla award

Published 12:05 am Thursday, February 23, 2017

Staff report

SALISBURY — Rowan County artist and sculptor Robert Richard Toth, known for his busts of creative geniuses — from Albert Einstein and Beethoven to Harry Houdini and Henry Ford — recently received recognition for his sculpted bust of inventor Nikola Tesla.

Toth learned he will receive a bronze medal as a recipient of a 2016 Nikola Tesla’s World Award. It recognizes Toth “for an outstanding work in promoting Nikola Tesla, his work and his legacy.”

Toth was among numerous individuals, museums, science centers and foundations receiving the 2016 awards from Nikola Tesla’s World, a Facebook site founded in August 2014 in Houston.

This is the third year the site has given out the Tesla World Awards.

Toth’s bust of Tesla, who lived from 1856 to 1943, is 21 inches high and has a hand-painted bronze patina. It sells for $900. The foundry cast bronze is $7,000.

The bust’s engraved name plate includes the title “Tribute to Integrity.”

A Serbian-American and regarded as a futurist in his day, Tesla specialized in electrical engineering and physics. He is credited with inventing the Tesla coil, alternating current, the induction motor, three-phase electric power, remote control and wireless telegraphy.

“Here at Nikola Tesla’s World,” the Facebook site says, “we’re trying to inform, educate and promote one of the greatest discoverers and inventors in the world.”

Toth himself has always been inspired by genius and often finds motivation in what his images inspire in others. Through his career, he has tended to sculpt larger-than-life figures such as Vincent Van Gogh, Sigmund Freud, Enrico Caruso, Ben Franklin, Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers.

He has been commissioned to do several busts for notable venues such as the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Franklin Institute of Philadelphia and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery.

Some of his busts have been used as props in movies, including “Scary Movie 3.”

Toth studied at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art and the Cape School at Provincetown. Go to to see his sculptures, paintings and drawings.