In Their Own Words: Ryan and Antonia Quinn Reflect on Their Father’s Works

The Quinn Family

Most people know Anthony Quinn the Actor, who commanded the screen in "Zorba the Greek," "Lawrence of Arabia," "Viva Zapata!," "Lust for Life," and "La Strada," just to name a few. He has over 160 performance titles to his name, not to mention numerous awards and a star on the Walk of Fame. Who many people don’t know, however, is Anthony Quinn the Artist, a prolific and passionate sculptor, painter, and drafter. Even the most cursory glance at his works will attest that they came from his heart and his soul; there is a strength and fervor in each of his pieces that attests to the fire that burned within its creator. Each material was carefully selected and meticulously manipulated until it reflected the emotions that inspired it. Even the pieces that remain unfinished radiate his essence; he put everything he had into his art, left it all out on the table, and those who get to see his many works are the better for it.

In upcoming months, we will be featuring some of Anthony Quinn’s works as chosen by those closest to him, and we thought who better to start with than his youngest children, Ryan and Antonia?

Here is what they have to say, in their own words, on their favorite works of their father’s.


Destroyed but not Defeated, sculpture in bronze, by Anthony Quinn.
Destroyed but not Defeated, sculpture in bronze, by Anthony Quinn.

My favorite sculpture of my father's is called “Destroyed But Not Defeated.” I have always found the title to be so inspiring. I believe that it means no matter how much your enemy tries to hurt you or destroy you, you should never concede defeat. As well as my fascination with the title, the sculpture itself also has sentimental value to me because it reminds me of my father’s strength and determination. I love the roughness it has on the edges and the smooth feeling on the head. Whenever I see it I run my hands up and down the sculpture to get the textural feeling of it.

I find all of my father's pieces to have this sort of feeling, so that literally touching them enhances or amplifies the metaphorical or sentimental meaning my father wanted to convey when he was creating them.

Years ago, we had “Destroyed But Not Defeated” out in our front yard. I remember it covered with snow and my friends and I throwing snowballs at each other while using the sculpture as a shield. I always felt protected by it.


"Tonia" by Anthony Quinn, 1994.
"Tonia" by Anthony Quinn, 1994.

My favorite work of my father’s [would be] the drawings he created of me as a child. With so many amazing works, it is very hard to choose just one thing to be my favorite; I love watching his movies as well as seeing his artwork every day in our house, but there is something about how personal these drawings are that makes them my favorite.

I have the drawings hung over my bed at home because I think it is amazingly emotional to see a portrait of myself as a child through my dad’s eyes every day. I only discovered the drawings a couple of years ago, but I imagine they were very special to him as well.

The drawings are just sketches of me as a baby, [but] I think they are wonderful because they capture my personality in such an artistic and abstract way that only my dad could have created.