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Catalog Data

Anderson, Edgar, 1922-  Search this
Gold, Donna, 1953-  Search this
Kelsey, John  Search this
Eco, Umberto  Search this
Rand, Ayn  Search this
Meier, Richard  Search this
Anderson, Joyce  Search this
Grotta, Lou  Search this
Wright, Frank Lloyd  Search this
Johnson, Philip  Search this
Grotta, Sandra  Search this
Smith, Paul J.  Search this
Roman, Paul  Search this
Sperber, Robert  Search this
Hornbostel, Caleb  Search this
Slivka, Rose  Search this
Pratt Institute  Search this
American Crafts Council.Museum of Contemporary Crafts  Search this
Philadelphia College of Art  Search this
Woodstock School of Painting  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Taliesin Fellowship  Search this
Fallingwater (Pa.)  Search this
Sound recordings
Place of publication, production, or execution:
New Jersey
Physical Description:
Transcript: 78 pages
Sound recording: 24 sound files (5 hr., 52 min.) digital wav
General Note:
Originally recorded 5 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 24 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hr., 52 min.
Access Note / Rights:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
An interview of Edgar Anderson conducted 2002 September 17-19, by Donna Gold, in Morristown, New Jersey, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America.<br /> Anderson describes his philosophy of nature, and the genetic affinities between trees and humans. He discusses childhood in Jersey City, New Jersey; his parents; his grandfather, who was a bookbinder and leather craftsman; and other influences from his childhood, including his uncles and the Stickley family's Craftsman Farms. He recalls that his mother was an accomplished painter and amateur architect; his father was responsible for constructing the foundations for the Chrysler Building. He describes his early admiration for Frank Lloyd Wright, and a meeting with Wright to inquire about the Taliesin Fellowship. Anderson did not join the Fellowship. He briefly discusses Ayn Rand and The Fountainhead. He recalls his architectural studies at Pratt Institute, including a structural investigation of Wright's Fallingwater house, and studying architectural rendering with Caleb Hornbostel. He describes his service during World War II, serving in Italy as a platoon commander for the Army Engineers. He talks about meeting his wife, Joyce, and the genesis of their working partnership. After the war, he and Joyce studied at Pratt under Philip Johnson; he recalls his student projects and the continuing influence of Frank Lloyd Wright. He also studied at Chicago Technical College. He recalls his apprenticeship building boats with his uncle. He describes, in technical detail, the early years of the practice, including a discussion of his wood supplier, the Monteath Company. He comments at length on his personal creative process, which includes elliptical references to a wide variety of sources, including Umberto Eco and the film 2001. He describes several projects for Lou and Sandy Grotta, including an anthropomorphic grandfather clock in the shape of a hand and wristwatch, an illusionary headboard, and the Knight table. He also comments on the Grotta house, designed by Richard Meier. He briefly mentions the editorial strategy of American Craft, and later Craft Horizon, and his relationships with editors such as John Kelsey, Paul Roman, and Rose Slivka. He mentions having taught at Philadelphia College of Art. He recalls racing in a demolition derby. He discusses his attitude towards criticism, mentioning Paul Smith, the director of the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, at length. He briefly describes his design for a 9/11 memorial at Liberty State Park and the political character of his work. He also reflects on his work relative to the culture at large. He talks about new technologies and new tools, and the evolution of the partnership. He describes his involvement in the craft community at Peters Valley, New Jersey. He comments at length on his apprentice Rob Sperber, and their development of the chainsaw mill.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Edgar Anderson, 2002 September 17-19. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Additional Forms:
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.
Biography Note:
Edgar Anderson (1922- ) is a woodworker from Morristown, New Jersey. Donna Gold (1953- ) is an art writer from Stockton Springs, Maine.
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.
Location Note:
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Craft Horizons  Search this
2001, a space odyssey (Motion picture)  Search this
Woodwork  Search this
September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001  Search this
Liberty State Park (Jersey City, N.J.)  Search this
Art  Search this
Wood-workers  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Record number:
Data Source:
Archives of American Art