An interview of Edith Halpert conducted 1962-1963, by Harlan Phillips, for the Archives of American Art.
Halpert speaks of her childhood in Russia and growing up in New York City; working at Bloomindale's, Macy's, Stern Brothers, and Cohen Goldman; her marriage to artist Sam Halpert, his health, and living in Paris in 1925; becoming an art student at the Academy of Design and feeling that Leon Kroll was an excellent art teacher until he began to correct her drawings; when George Bridgman thought she was ruining his class; the Lincoln Square Arcade, when she and Ernest Fiener and Robert Brackman would rent Conan's studio evenings and bring in instructors; how Newman Montross influenced her more than anybody about showing her art that she loved; burning all of her work because Kroll said she had no talent; receiving a painting from John Marin; her friendship and working relationship with Abby Rockefeller and other family members.
She recalls opening the Downtown Gallery, in Greenwich Village, in 1926; a brief history of modern art; many artists helping decorate the new Daylight Gallery in 1930 and the first show being called "Practical Manifestations of Art"; meeting Robert and Sonia Delaunay in France; when she refused to allow Ezra Pound to speak at one of the gallery lectures because of his anti-Semite remarks and William Carlos Williams and Ford Madox Ford argued with her over it; experiencing jealousy and professional attacks from other dealers; the successful "Pop" Hart show and book in 1929; the "Thirty-three Moderns" show in 1930 at the Grand Central Galleries; the Jules Pascin show in 1930; in America, most of the art buyers supporters of culture were women, until the WPA and World War II, when it became fashionable for men to be involved; Ambroise Vollard's advice on selling art; handling the frustrations of working in the art field; friendships with Stuart Davis,Charles Sheeler, and Ben Shahn; how artists work through dry periods in their creativity and the "Recurrent Image" show; a discussion on modern art galleries of New York City, such as Daniel, Knoedler, Ferargil, the New Gallery, 291, the Grand Central, Kraushaar, and Montross; her travels through Pennsylvania and Maine for good examples of folk art for the gallery; the "The Artist Looks at Music" show; the non-competitive spirit of the early modern American artists; of being saved financially in 1940 by selling a William Harnett painting to the Boston Museum and then renting new space for the gallery.
Also, Mitchell Siporin bringing Halpert and Edmund Gurry to Mitchell Field during World War II for a camouflage show and consequently Downtown Gallery artists and others were enlisted in the camouflage corps for the U.S. Air Force; Charles Sheeler and his wife find Halpert a house in Newtown, Conn.; her decision in 1933 to push folk art for acquisition by the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery in Kansas City, Missouri; her great concern about what to do with her folk art literature collection; dismay and that no one writes about the history of folk art and those responsible for its creation and popularity; Louis Stern hiring her to organize a municipal exhibit in Atlantic City, N.J., with Donald Deskey designing the furniture and Holger Cahill managing the publicity; Joe Lillie helping her meet Fiorello La Guardia and Joe McGoldrick in 1934 about a municipal show in New York City, but it is moved to Radio City Music Hall through Nelson Rockefeller; the "Salons of America" show; wanting articles written about art for love rather than art for investment; working with Aline Saarinen on her book, "Proud Possessors;" letters from Stuart Davis, William Zorach and others that hurt her feelings; enjoying giving educational lectures and considering retirement because of ill health; the desire to write a book on the history of trade signs in folk art; feeling that the young artists are being ruined by too much support without working for it; planning to write a book entitled, "Unsung Heroes," about artists brave enough to experiment; organizing a show in Russia at her own expense; later representing the U.S. in art at the "American National Exposition"; the agitators and success of the exposition; Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O'Keeffe.
Halpert also recalls Juliana Force, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Buckminster Fuller, George Luks, Edsel Ford, Max Weber, Danny Diefenbacker, Hamilton Easter Field, Frank Stella, Glenn Coleman, Margaret Zorach, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Henry Mercer, Romany Marie, Edward G. Robinson, Paul Mellon, Charles Pollet, Alex Brook, Lunca Curass, Dorothy Lambert, Duncan Candler, Frank Rhen, Louis Rittman, Bea Goldsmith, Arthur Craven, Robert Frost, Philip Wittenberg, Caesar de Hoke, Richard deWolfe Brixey, Seymour Knox, Walt Kuhn, Elisabeth Luther Cary, Charles Locke, Duncan Fergusson, Mrs. Solomon Guggenheim, Bob Tannahill, David Thompson, Marsden Hartley, Erwin Barrie, Robert Laurent, Conger Goodyear, Henry McBride, Edward Hopper, Charles Daniel, William Merritt Chase, Charles Hopkinson, Thomas Hart Benton, Frank Crowninshield, Alfred Barr, Lord Duveen, Jacob Lawrence, John Marin Jr., Karl Zerbe, Franz Kline, Arthur Dove, Julian Levy, Jack Levine, Valentine Dudensing, Peggy Bacon, Stefan Hirsch, Gertrude Stein, Isamu Noguchi, Jasper Johns, Chaim Soutine, B. K. Saklatwalla; Fernand Leger, Pablo Picasso, Ben Shahn, Charles Demuth, Alexander Calder, Jackson Pollock, Edward Steichen, Carl Sandburg, Clement Greenberg, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Edith Halpert (1900-1970) was an art dealer from New York, N.Y.
Originally recorded on 7 tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 27 digital wav files. Duration is 32 hrs., 27 min.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art 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 others. The transcript was microfilmed in 1996.
Art dealers -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
115 letters to Field from George Bellows, Bernard Berenson, Elliott Daingerfield, Arthur B. Davies, Roger Fry, John Marin, Joseph Pennell, Man Ray, John Sloan, Max Weber, J. Alden Weir, and others. Two highly detailed letters from Maurice Sterne in 1913 describe that artist's life in Bali. Also included are signatures of American artists from a guest book, and a 1966 catalog of the Hamilton Easter Field Art Foundation Collection.
Biographical / Historical:
Hamilton Easter Field (b. 1873 d. 1922) was an artist, critic, collector, and patron notable for his support of modern art. In 1911, Field founded the Summer School of Graphic Arts in Ogunquit, Maine. The Hamilton Easter Field Art Foundation Collection is in the Portland Museum of Art (Me.).
Also in the Archives of American Art are the papers of Robert Laurent, containing material relating to Hamilton Easter Field and the Hamilton Easter Field Foundation.
Lent for microfilming 1968 by Robert Laurent. When Field died in 1922 at the age of 49 he left his estate to Robert Laurent. Laurent formed the Hamilton Easter Field Foundation.
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
3.7 Linear feet ((on 8 microfilmed reels + 1 photograph not microfilmed))
Scope and Contents:
Correspondence; manuscripts and writings; lists of works of art; photographs; biographical material; gallery and foundry files; notes and speeches; financial material; scrapbook; guest book; magazines; exhibition catalogs; clippings; and printed material.
REEL N68-2: Letters from George Bellows, Bernard Berenson, Elliott Daingerfield, Arthur B. Davies, Roger Fry, John Marin, Joseph Pennell, Man Ray, John Sloan, Max Weber, J. Alden Weir, and others. Two highly detailed letters from Maurice Sterne in 1913 describe that artist's life in Bali. Also included are signatures of American artists from a guest book, and a 1966 catalog of the Hamilton Easter Field Art Foundation Collection.
REEL N68-3 Letters from Childe Hassam, Walt Kuhn, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Gaston Lachaise, Elie Nadelman, David Smith, Alfred Stieglitz, William Zorach, Oscar Bluemner, Albert C. Barnes, Andrew Dasburg, Ernest Fiene, Pop Hart, Robert Henri, Joseph Stella, Maurice Sterne, and others. Also included are manuscripts, lists of works of art, and photographs of Laurent with Hamiltion Easter Field, Bernard Kariol and others.
REEL 2: Personal data sheet, exhibition catalogs and magazines containing articles by or about Laurent, ca. 1920-1965.
REEL 497: John Laurent's collection of 34 letters, 1902-1960, to Robert Laurent and Hamiltion Easter Field. The 6 letters to Field are from Bernhard Berenson, George Bellows, Maurice Prendergast, Pop Hart, Gustov Courtois, and John Carpenter. The 28 letters to Robert Laurent are from Albert P. Ryder, Gaston Lachaise, Raphael Soyer, Walt Kuhn, Robert Henri, Alfred Stieglitz, Arthur B. Davies, Milton Avery, Alexander Calder, Henry McBride, William McFee, Jules Pascin, Jean Careas, and two unidentified artists.
REEL 2063: Photographs, ca. 1930-1962, of Laurent, his studio, exhibitions, and works of art.
REELS 2065-2067: Biographical material; correspondence from Maurice Sterne, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Edith Halpert, Henry Hope, Henry Strater, Lloyd Goodrich, David Smith, Walt Kuhn, William Zorach, Ernest Fiene, and Samuel Wood Gaylor; gallery and foundry files; notes, writings, and speeches; financial material; lists of works of art; blueprints; exhibition and printed material, clippings, and a scrapbook; photos of source material and works of art owned by Laurent; and material concerning Hamilton Easter Field, Laurent's teacher and friend, including correspondence, guest book signatures, financial and legal papers and Field Foundation material.
REEL 2155: Photographs of Laurent's works of art with catalog sheets listing the title, date, medium, size, ownership, and exhibition information for each work, ca. 1920-1967. Also included are photographs of Laurent in his studio and with others, including Gaston Lachaise and David Smith; a photo of Chaim Gross; and photos of the Ogunquit Museum in Maine.
UNMICROFILMED: A black and white photograph of the Field Foundation Dinner Auction-Dinner-Dance, Ogunquit, Maine. Depicted are Lloyd Goodrich, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, William Zorach, Robert Laurent, Emil Ganso and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Painter, sculptor, teacher, etcher, and writer; Brooklyn, New York & Ogunquit, Maine. Laurent studied under Hamilton Easter Field, and both were from Brooklyn, N.Y. and were involved in the summer art colony in Oguniquit, Maine.
Material on reels N68-2-N68-3 was lent for microfilming 1968 by Robert Laurent; he donated material on reel 2 1966; material on reel 497 was lent for microfilming 1973 by John Laurent, son of Robert Laurent; material on reels 2063, 2065-2067 was donated 1978 by John Laurent; He donated additional material on reel 2155 and not filmed with his brother Paul in 1981.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Interviews of 72 artists, and transcripts for all but five, conducted by Arlene Jacobowitz, the Associate Curator for the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Brooklyn Museum, between 1965 and 1968. The artists discuss their work in the museum collection. Also included are 38 edited excerpts of the interviews, approximately 2-3 min. in length, used as "audio-labels" in the 1968 "Listening to Pictures" installation at the museum.
Scope and Content Note:
Interviews of 72 artists, and transcripts for all but five, conducted by Arlene Jacobowitz, the Associate Curator for the Department of Painting and Sculpture, between 1965 and 1968. The artists discuss their work in the museum collection. Also included are 38 edited excerpts of the interviews, approximately 2-3 min. in length, used as "audio-labels" in the 1968 "Listening to Pictures" installation.
The artists interviewed are: Lennart Anderson, Stephen B. Antonakos, Marshall Arisman, Walter Barker, Leonard Baskin, Mary Bauermeister, Thomas Hart Benton, Isabel Bishop, Robert Brackman, Sydney Butchkes, Edmund Casarella, George Constant, Robert Warren Dash, Jose DeCreeft, Blanche Dombek, Tom Doyle, Jimmy Ernst, Neil Estern, Philip Evergood, Helen Frankenthaler, Jane Freilicher, Leon Goldin, Sidney Goodman, Sante Graziani, Balcomb Greene, John Grillo, William Gropper, Chaim Gross, Roy Gussow, Robert Gwathmey, Grace Hartigan, Edward Hopper, Nora Jaffe, Paul Jenkins, Minoru Kawabata, William Kienbusch, Karl Knaths, John Koch, Yayoi Kosama, Jennett Lam, Steven Lang, Robert Laurent, Jacob Lawrence, Jack Levine, Jacques Lipchitz, Seymour Lipton, Boris Margo, Ursula Meyer, Hans Moller, Walter Murch, Louise Nevelson, Toshio Odate, Elliot Offner, Douglas Ohlson, Kenzo Okada, Amanda Palmer, Irene Rice Pereira, Gabor Peterdi, Ad Reinhardt, Bill Richards, Larry Rivers, Emilio Sanchez, Karl Schrag, Ben Shahn, Charles Sheeler, Aaron Sopher, Moses Soyer, Raphael Soyer, William Thon, Albert Weinberg, and William and Marguerite Zorach.
The collection is arranged as a single series:
Series 1: Interviews, 1965-1968 (Box 1-7; 7 lin. ft.)
The interview program at the Brooklyn Museum was begun by Arlene Jacobowitz in the spring of 1965 with artists whose works were on exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. In 1968, excerpts from the interviews were incorporated into an exhibition entitled "Listening to Pictures," in which visitors could access the sound recordings using headphones while standing before the painting being discussed. The exhibition opened April 28, 1968, and was gradually disassembled, 1971-1973.
The Brooklyn Museum Archives houses the records of the Departments of European Painting and Sculpture, American Painting and Sculpture, Contemporary Art (1897-2005), which contain records relating to the work of Arlene Jacobowitz.
This collection was donated to the Archives of American Art by Dierdre Lawrence of the Brooklyn Museum in 1989.
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Researchers may view the original reels for the archival notations on them, but original reels are not available for playback due to fragility.
Authorization to quote or reproduce for purposes of publication requires written permission from the interviewee. Citations must read:"Interview between [artist's name] and [interviewer's name] from the "Listening to Pictures" program of the Brooklyn Museum. Archives of American Art. Gift of the Brooklyn Museum." Contact Reference Services for more information.
Interview between [artist's name] and [interviewer's name] from the "Listening to Pictures" program of the Brooklyn Museum. Gift of the Brooklyn Museum. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.