Oral history interview with John Saccaro, 1964 June 18
Saccaro, John M., 1913-1981
McChesney, Mary Fuller, 1922-
New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project
Place of publication, production, or execution:
Transcript: 37 pages.
Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformated in 2010 as 1 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 4 min.
Access Note / Rights:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
An interview of John Saccaro conducted 1964 June 18, by Mary McChesney, for the Archives of American Art.
Saccaro discusses the primary influences on San Francisco art in the 1930s and how he started working for the WPA. He describes the working conditions on each of the projects are in detail. Robert McChesney sat in on the interview, and he at times helps Saccaro remember facts. (The two of them worked of the same mural project at Treasure Island.) McChesney and Saccaro mention 10 to 15 of their coworkers and reminisce about what became of them. None seems to have continued painting. Saccaro's first solo show (1939) is mentioned; he describes meeting Arshile Gorky near this time. The interview concludes with a consideration of the artist's place in society and how difficult it is to become established as a painter. Much attention is given to the fate of Saccaro's coworkers and the day-to-day experience of being a WPA artist. He discusses little of his own style, which remained by his own admission relatively unadventurous until after the war.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with John Saccaro, 1964 June 18. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
John Saccaro (1913-1981) was a painter from San Francisco, Calif.
Conducted as part of the Archives of American Art's New Deal and the Arts project, which includes over 400 interviews of artists, administrators, historians, and others involved with the federal government's art programs and the activities of the Farm Security Administration in the 1930s and early 1940s.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001