Oral history interview with Robert Colescott, 1999 April 14
Colescott, Robert, 1925-2009
Karlstrom, Paul J., 1941-
San Francisco State University
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, San Francisco.School of Fine Arts
Place of publication, production, or execution:
Transcript: 23 pages
Originally recorded on 1 sound cassette. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr.
Access Note / Rights:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
An interview of Robert Colescott conducted 1999 April 14, by Paul Karlstrom, for the Archives of American Art, at his studio, in Tucson, Arizona.
Colescott discusses his early years growing up in Oakland; his education; military service; his experiences as a student at San Francisco State University and University of California, Berkeley; the influences at University of California, Berkeley, and of Paul Cézanne on the teaching by professors Erle Loran and Worth Ryder; working at the California School of Fine Arts; issues of race in art; views on the African-American community's desire to control visual statements by black artists, and why his work is viewed as stereotyping; political views; the work of artist Betye Saar; and his work, "George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware."
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Robert Colescott, 1999 April 14. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Transcript available online
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.
Robert Colescott (1925-2009) was a painter from San Francisco, California and Tuscon, Arizona. Colescott was raised in Oakland, California. He attended San Francisco State University and University of California at Berkeley (B.A. 1949; M.A., 1952). After receiving his bachelor's degree, he studied in Paris with abstract painter Fernand Léger. From 1976-1985 he taught at the California School of Fine Arts, and was named Professor Emeritus at the University of Arizona, Tucson in 1985.
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. Funding for the transcription of this interview is provided by Richard Baker Fund.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001