An interview of Leo Holub conducted 1997 July 3, by Paul Karlstrom, for the Archives of American Art, in San Francisco, Calif.
Holub discusses his background, being born in Arkansas, moving to New Mexico, and then to Oakland, Calif. (1923); early educational experiences in Oakland, and later at the Art Institute of Chicago; seeing Edward Weston's photographic work at an exhibition in Chicago, and admiring Weston's nude studies of Charis Wilson; his return to the Bay Area; his studio on Montgomery St. (Monkey Block); meeting painter Matthew Barnes, who had assisted Diego Rivera with his murals at the California School of Fine Arts (CSFA), 1931-1932; his experiences as a student at CSFA- its program and instructors which included Maurice Sterne, Gottardo Piazzoni, Lee Randolph, Dick Hackett, Otis Oldfield, William Gaw, Spencer Mackey, and Victor Arnautoff; fellow students including Hassel Smith, Ed Corbett, and Florence Michelson (his future wife); and his beginning awareness of modernism.
Holub discusses his involvement with the Golden Gate International Exposition (1939); apprenticeship with industrial designer Joe Sinel and the advent of the product design era; his founding of Design Development Associates, and staying only a year before moving to Grass Valley, Calif. for his son's health; his return to the Bay Area, succeeding Emmy Lou Packard at the San Francisco Planning Office graphic arts dept.; working at the housing agency and redevelopment agency and as chief designer for the Bay Area Rapid Transit report.
He recalls his encounter with Ansel Adams at the 1955 Yosemite workshop where Holub produced a pictorial map of Yosemite; Adam's "zone system" of exposing for shadows and developing for highlights; going on to teach at CSFA (1955-1957), where Imogen Cunningham was a guest instructor; Minor White replacing him; his ten years at Stanford University's planning office (1960-1970); his campus views "Stanford Scene" that were used by the university to appeal for more space for the art dept., and his shows at Stanford's art gallery in 1964 and at the Washington, D.C. home of Vice President Walter Mondale in 1980.
Biographical / Historical:
Leo Holub (1916-2010) was a photographer, lithographer, and teacher from San Francisco, Calif.
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.
Photographers -- California -- San Francisco -- Interviews Search this
Biographical material, letters, postcards, notebooks, photographs, and printed material, document Holub's career as a photographer and his association with Ansel Adams.
125 study/work prints related to the book "Leo Holub: Photographer," 1981 and printed material, including a review of the book, and biographical information on Holub; two Chouinard Art Institute Catalogs (c. 1936-1939), four black and white photographs, one color photograph of Ed Ruscha, Paul Karlstrom, and John Held, Jr. (b. 1947) in Tom Marioni's studio (2001).
ADDITION: Seven notebooks of letters, postcards, and photographs (1960s-1980) from Ansel Adams and others and those concerning Adams' exhibition Elequent Light at the M.H. de Young Museum, San Francisco (1963) and book, "An Introduction to Hawaii," by Adams and Edward Joesting (1964). Found are photographs taken by Holub, including b&w (8"x10") photographs of the Adams' opening of the de Young exhibition, and ten packets of photographs of Adams at various sites and venues from the 1960s to 1982, and one packet of photos and cards from his wife, Virginia Best Adams (1904-2000).
Biographical / Historical:
Photographer, educator; San Francisco, Calif. Leo Holub (b. 1916) began his studies at the Art Institute of Chicago (1936-1937) and at the California School of Fine Arts (now San Francisco Art Institute) (1938-1940). From 1946-1956, he worked with the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, the Planning Department, and the Housing Authority, and with the regional study for the Bay Area Rapid Transit. He returned to the CSFA to teach objective drawing (1956-1958). By 1960 he joined the Stanford University Planning Office as a senior planner and in 1969 created the studio photography courses for the Art Department. His work as a professional photographer began that year, over twenty years after his first encounter with Ansel Adams (1902-1984) at his Yosemite workshop in 1948. He attended another of Adams' Yosemite workshop in 1955 and also studied with photographer Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976), a personal advisor and friend for over forty years.
Donated 2001-2003 by Leo Holub. Additions are expected.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Photographers -- California -- San Francisco Search this