An interview of Walter Feldman conducted 1998 Aug. 10, by Robert Brown, for the the Archives of American Art, in Feldman's home, Providence, R.I.
Feldman discusses attending classes as a youth, 1939-1942, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; attending Yale's School of Fine Arts, 1942; service in combat infantry in the U.S. Army, Europe, 1943-1946; completing his BFA at Yale, 1946-1950 and MFA, 1951; working as an instructor in painting at Yale until his appointment at Brown University (1953; professor 1961) where he continues to teach; exhibitions and commissions; working in painting, printmaking, mosaics, and in fine book making.
He discusses working as the sole studio art teacher at Brown University until mid-1960s; hiring of additional artist-teachers and the subsequent split of the art department between studio art and art history; bringing book arts to Brown with his establishment of the Brown/Ziggurat Press, which he directs and which mostly publishes poetry; the many visiting arists at Brown; frequent commissions which have kept him young in spirit; and working in widely divergent media: medals, mosaics, and a huge mural commission in 1976; discussion of leading examples of his handmade books, including James Schevill's poetry, "Lager Lieder" (1991), a book of concentration camp songs, and Michael Harper's "Family Sequences" (1998); broadsides he's designed, sculptural "reliqueries" to memorialize the Jewish Holocaust; the current prospering of his artists books; and his success as a teacher.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Walter Feldman, 1998 Aug. 10. 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.
Walter Feldman (1925- ) is an artist and art educator of Providence, R.I. Established Ziggurat Press in 1984 and, as teaching adjunct at Brown University, the Brown/Ziggurat Press in 1990.
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.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001