Oral history interview with Earl Krentzin, 2002 August 30-31
Krentzin, Earl, 1929-
Yager, Jan, 1951-
Cranbrook Academy of Art
Wayne State University
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America
Place of publication, production, or execution:
Transcript: 48 pages.
Originally recorded on 3 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 10 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hrs., 54 min.
Access Note / Rights:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
An interview of Earl Krentzin conducted 2002 August 30-31, by Jan Yager, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan.
Krentzin speaks of his family and childhood; the education he received in Detroit, Michigan; attending Wayne State University then Cranbrook Academy of Art; deciding to major in metalwork; being exposed to Dick Thomas at Cranbrook; meeting his wife, Lorraine Wolstein at Wayne; their son Alexander; receiving a Fulbright in 1957 and 1958 and traveling to the Royal College of Art in London; visiting the museums in England and traveling throughout Europe during their time abroad; the different places he has lived in the United States; winning the Founder' Prize at the Michigan Craft Show as well as the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award; the different types of things that he and his wife collect; a gallery manager named Margaret Conzelman; Lawrence Fleischman and his insistence on Krentzin having a show in New York; the James Graham & Sons Gallery and Kennedy Gallery; and the "Young Americans Show" at the American Craft Museum and "Fiber, Clay and Metal" in St. Paul, Minnesota.
He also discusses, his interest in the English magazine, "Country Life;" flea markets in the Detroit area; trades and barters with fellow artists; the 1964 World Crafts Conference at Columbia University, organized by Stanley Lechtzin; the Michigan Silversmiths Guild; the Henry Ford Museum and Detroit Historical Society; how his process has remained the same and his pieces have only gotten a little bit larger; the commission for the Westland Shopping Center in Westland, Michigan; the jewelry he creates; the little figures, he calls "creatures," in his work; Larry Fleischman and his Krentzin collection; the important encouragement from his wife Lorraine; the significance of university training, and his disapproval of students immediately attending RISD or Cranbrook after high school; his fascination with Medieval European metalwork, Japanese metalwork, and the Bauhaus as well; the Archives of American Art and its beginnings in Detriot; he concludes with a discussion about natural objects, such as ivory or exotic woods, and the debate of their usage, then and now. Krentzin also recalls Robert Eaton, Dick Thomas, Lillian Wallick Elliott, Karl Fox, Mike Vizzini, and others.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Earl Krentzin, 2002 August 30-31. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Transcript available online.
Funding for this interview was provided by the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America. 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.
Earl Krentzin (1929- ) is a metalsmith from Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan. Jan Yager is an artist from Phildelphia, Pennsylvania.
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