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Oral history interview with Hans Barschel

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Catalog Data

Barschel, Hans Joachim, b. 1912  Search this
Brown, Robert F.  Search this
Rochester Institute of Technology -- Faculty  Search this
Cowles, Hobart E., 1923-1980  Search this
Wildenhain, Frans, 1905-1980  Search this
Witmeyer, Stanley Herbert, 1913-2011  Search this
2 Sound cassettes (Sound recording (2 hrs., 1 min.), analog)
50 Pages (Transcript)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound cassettes
Sound recordings
1994 September 14
Scope and Contents:
An interview with Hans Joachim Barschel conducted 1994 September 14, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Barschel discusses his childhood during World War I and the 1920s in two Berlin suburbs, Charlottenburg and Pankow, as the son of a civil engineer and his wife, whose father was a factory foreman; the contrast of the ludicrous militarism of the late Wilhelmine Germany with the straightened but liberalized circumstances of life in the Weimar Republic which followed; and his first acquaintance with foreign cultures during a 1929 excursion with his free-spirited aunt and uncle.
He remembers the enlightened teaching and loose curricula he experienced during 1930-35 in advertising design study with George Salter at the Municipal Art School, Berlin, and then in graduate studies in design, painting, printmaking, and photography at the Academy of Fine and Applied Arts, Berlin-Charlottenburg. He talks about his disgust at the onset of Naziism; his brief career (1935-37) in Berlin as a free-lance graphic designer and as head graphic designer for the Reichsbahn; his getting his beloved teacher, George Salter, a Jew, out of Nazi Germany; his emigration in 1937 using forged documents and his rapid establishment as a designer in New York thanks to his friendship with Dr. Robert Leslie of The Composing Room.
He discusses advertisements, posters, and book jackets designed for American publications and companies and (1948) for the United Nations; his move to Rochester, New York, in 1952, as a designer for printing companies and beginning the teaching of design at the Rochester Institute of Technology at the invitation of Stanley Witmeyer, Director of its School of Art and Design; fellow teachers at RIT, including the ceramists, Hobart Cowles and Frans Wildenhain; and the importance of continually refreshing the creative powers by sketching in nature, a principle instilled in him as a student which he carried into his teaching at RIT.
Biographical / Historical:
Hans Joachim Barschel (1912-1998) was a graphic designer and art instructor from Rochester, New York.
Originally recorded on 2 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 3 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 1 min.
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.
This transcript is open for research. Access to the entire audio recording is restricted. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Art teachers -- New York (State) -- Rochester -- Interviews  Search this
Design -- Study and teaching -- United States  Search this
Design -- Study and teaching -- Germany  Search this
National socialism and art  Search this
Designers -- New York (State) -- Rochester -- Interviews  Search this
Sound recordings
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art