Oral history interview with Charles Alan, 1970 August 20-25
Alan, Charles, 1908?-1975
Cummings, Paul, 1933-
Hirshhorn, Joseph H.
Levi, Julian E. (Julian Edwin)
Root, Edward Wales
Conner, Bruce Guldner
Askew, R. Kirk (Ralph Kirk)
Halpert, Edith Gregor
Geddes, Norman Bel
Sachs, Paul J. (Paul Joseph)
Baker, Richard Brown
Harnett, William Michael
Downtown Gallery (New York, N.Y.)
Yale School of Drama
Place of publication, production, or execution:
Transcript: 37 pages
Originally recorded on 2 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hrs., 58 min.
Access Note / Rights:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
An interview of Charles Alan conducted 1970 August 20-25, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art.
Alan speaks of studying scene and stage design; attending Yale School of Drama; doing illustrations for various publications; traveling and studying in Europe; working as a set designer for MGM and Warner Brothers; his experiences working at the Downtown Gallery; his thoughts and recollections about Edith Halpert; leaving Downtown Gallery and starting his own gallery; his opinions on the future of small galleries in New York; museum purchases; Edith Halpert's art collection; selling his gallery to Felix Landau; and various thoughts concerning the art world. He recalls Norman Bell Geddes, Edith Halpert, Stuart Davis, Julien Levy, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Kirk Askew, Raymond Breinin, Ben Shahn, George Washburn, Edward Root, Joe Hirshhorn, John Marin, John Marin Jr., Lawrence Allen, Georgia O'Keeffe, William Harnett, Julian Levi, Jack Levine, Karl Zerbe, Bruce Conner, Richard Baker, Paul Sachs, and many others.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Charles Alan, 1970 August 20-25. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Charles Alan (1908?-1975) was an art dealer from New York, New York. Alan attended Horace Mann School, graduating in 1924. Attended Yale School of Drama in 1925, then worked as a set designer for MGM and Warner Brothers. In 1930, Alan became a theatrical set designer and director. After serving in the Army in World War II, he worked for Edith Halpert at the Downtown Gallery. In 1952, he opened the Charles Alan Gallery, specializing in contemporary art. Alan closed the gallery in 1970 to become a private dealer.
These interviews are part of the Archives' Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001