Oral history interview with Max Spivak, circa 1963
Spivak, Max, 1906-1981
Phillips, Harlan B. (Harlan Buddington),, 1920-
New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project
Place of publication, production, or execution:
Transcript: 58 pages.
Originally recorded 1 sound tape reel. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 32 min.
Access Note / Rights:
Transcript is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
An interview of Max Spivak conducted circa 1963, by Harlan Phillips, for the Archives of American Art.
Spivak speaks of how he went from being an accountant to doing art; moving to Paris for three years, and how this experience changed his life; the difference between painting in Europe and painting in America; moving back to New York; why he decided to leave Paris and move back to New York; the importance of intuitive feeling; his involvement with the Gibson Committee; how he and some members of the Gibson Committee thought of the WPA; his experiences with the PWAP at the Whitney Museum; picketing outside the Mirror; his and the other artists experiences with the Project; the development of the Artist Congress; the nature of art; his work on mosaic murals; how art started losing support from the government by the late thirties; doing murals for big companies; the waning moments of the Project. He recalls Arshile Gorky, Holger Cahill, Audrey McMahon, Lee Krasner, Harold Rosenberg, Harry Knight, Lou Block, and others.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Max Spivak, circa 1963. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Transcript available on-line at http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/oralhistories/transcripts/spivak63.htm
Max Spivak (1906-1981) was a painter and designer in New York, N.Y.
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