An interview of Leo Holub conducted 1997 July 3, by Paul Karlstrom, for the Archives of American Art, in San Francisco, Calif.
Holub discusses his background, being born in Arkansas, moving to New Mexico, and then to Oakland, Calif. (1923); early educational experiences in Oakland, and later at the Art Institute of Chicago; seeing Edward Weston's photographic work at an exhibition in Chicago, and admiring Weston's nude studies of Charis Wilson; his return to the Bay Area; his studio on Montgomery St. (Monkey Block); meeting painter Matthew Barnes, who had assisted Diego Rivera with his murals at the California School of Fine Arts (CSFA), 1931-1932; his experiences as a student at CSFA- its program and instructors which included Maurice Sterne, Gottardo Piazzoni, Lee Randolph, Dick Hackett, Otis Oldfield, William Gaw, Spencer Mackey, and Victor Arnautoff; fellow students including Hassel Smith, Ed Corbett, and Florence Michelson (his future wife); and his beginning awareness of modernism.
Holub discusses his involvement with the Golden Gate International Exposition (1939); apprenticeship with industrial designer Joe Sinel and the advent of the product design era; his founding of Design Development Associates, and staying only a year before moving to Grass Valley, Calif. for his son's health; his return to the Bay Area, succeeding Emmy Lou Packard at the San Francisco Planning Office graphic arts dept.; working at the housing agency and redevelopment agency and as chief designer for the Bay Area Rapid Transit report.
He recalls his encounter with Ansel Adams at the 1955 Yosemite workshop where Holub produced a pictorial map of Yosemite; Adam's "zone system" of exposing for shadows and developing for highlights; going on to teach at CSFA (1955-1957), where Imogen Cunningham was a guest instructor; Minor White replacing him; his ten years at Stanford University's planning office (1960-1970); his campus views "Stanford Scene" that were used by the university to appeal for more space for the art dept., and his shows at Stanford's art gallery in 1964 and at the Washington, D.C. home of Vice President Walter Mondale in 1980.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Leo Holub, 1997 July 3. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Leo Holub (1916-2010) was a photographer, lithographer, and teacher from San Francisco, Calif.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art 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 administrators. Other interviewees in the Art Schools in California Oral History Project include: Emerson Woelffer, Charles Linder, Paul Carey (1993), and Paul Carey and Stephanie Caloia (1997), with funding provided by the Bente and Gerald E. Buck Collection.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001