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Oral history interview with Katharine Kuh

Topic:
Saturday review
Interviewee:
Kuh, Katharine  Search this
Interviewer:
Berman, Avis  Search this
Creator:
Mark Rothko and His Times Oral History Project  Search this
Names:
Art Institute of Chicago  Search this
Black Mountain College (Black Mountain, N.C.)  Search this
First National Bank of Chicago -- Art collections  Search this
Katharine Kuh Gallery (Chicago, Ill.)  Search this
Mark Rothko and His Times Oral History Project  Search this
Vassar College  Search this
Adams, Ansel, 1902-1984  Search this
Albers, Josef  Search this
Albright, Ivan, 1897-1983  Search this
Archipenko, Alexander, 1887-1964  Search this
Arensberg, Louise S. (Louise Stevenson), 1879-1953  Search this
Arensberg, Walter, 1878-1954  Search this
Avery, Milton, 1885-1965  Search this
Barr, Alfred H., Jr., 1902-1981  Search this
Berenson, Bernard, 1865-1959  Search this
Davis, Stuart, 1892-1964  Search this
De Kooning, Willem, 1904-1997  Search this
Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968  Search this
Ernst, Max, 1891-1976  Search this
Hofmann, Hans, 1880-1966  Search this
Kepes, Gyorgy, 1906-2001  Search this
Klee, Paul, 1879-1940  Search this
Léger, Fernand, 1881-1955  Search this
Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig, 1886-1969  Search this
Moholy-Nagy, László, 1895-1946  Search this
Mérida, Carlos, 1891-1984  Search this
Newman, Barnett, 1905-1970  Search this
Noguchi, Isamu, 1904-1988  Search this
Paepcke, Walter Paul, 1896-1960  Search this
Porter, Eliot, 1901-1990  Search this
Ray, Man, 1890-1976  Search this
Rich, Daniel Catton, 1904-1976  Search this
Rothko, Mark, 1903-1970  Search this
Smith, David, 1906-1965  Search this
Stamos, Theodoros, 1922-1997  Search this
Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946  Search this
Still, Clyfford, 1904-1980  Search this
Tamayo, Rufino, 1899-  Search this
Tobey, Mark  Search this
Tworkov, Jack  Search this
Weston, Edward, 1886-1958  Search this
Extent:
313 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1982 Mar. 18-1983 Mar. 24
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Katharine Kuh conducted 1982 Mar. 18-1983 Mar. 24, by Avis Berman, for the Archives of American Art's Mark Rothko and His Times oral history project.
Kuh speaks of her invalid childhood in Chicago, the development of her interest in art, classes in art history at Vassar College, and her career as curator of modern art at the Art Institute of Chicago. She recalls in particular the "Sanity in Art" movement against modern art in Chicago. Kuh describes her relationship with Mark Rothko and Rothko's relationships with Mark Tobey, Clyfford Still, Kate Rothko, Theodoros Stamos, Milton Avery, Stanley Kunitz, and Hans Hofmann.
Kuh discusses her parents, the family silk business, travelling in Europe as a child, life in Chicago, the effects of polio and other illnesses on her interests, and her student years at Vassar College. She remembers visiting Bernard Berenson in Italy with her family and again with Daniel Catton Rich, with whom she worked very closely at the Art Institute of Chicago. She speaks of the Katharine Kuh Gallery, which she started in the mid-1930s and its place in the vanguard of the Chicago art scene.
Kuh remembers the effects of the stock market crash on her personal situation, her marriage to businessman George Kuh, distaste for life in the suburbs, and her divorce. She discusses the Katharine Kuh Gallery and the actions taken against her business by members of the reactionary "Sanity in Art" movement (including a very funny anecdote concerning Carlos Merida). She speaks of the classes in modern art that she taught at her gallery and of some of the artists she exhibited there, including the photographers Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz, and Edward Weston.
Kuh remembers the McCarthy era and the political conservatism in Chicago, including her testimony on behalf of Bill Zimmerman, Acting Commissioner of Indian Affairs. She criticizes blockbuster exhibitions and the changes in the role of a museum curator. She reminisces about building the collection at the Art Institute of Chicago and the art education program she ran there, and recalls Stuart Davis, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Gyorgy Kepes, and Ivan Albright.
Kuh remembers Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Marcel Duchamp, as well as the collectors Walter Paepcke and Walter and Louise Arensberg (whose collection she surveyed in their home for an exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago).
Kuh focuses on her memories of Mark Rothko, recalling when they met, their friendship, his manner of working, his feelings about his work, and his worries towards the end of his life. She talks about Clyfford Still, Barnett Newman, and Mark Tobey. Some parts of this tape repeat what she said earlier.
Kuh continues discussing Rothko, particularly his Houston chapel murals and the retrospective exhibition at MOMA in 1961. She remembers visiting Rothko's studio and describes his working methods. She relates Rothko's views on other artists, including Milton Avery, Clyfford Still, Turner, Robert Motherwell, and Adolf Gottlieb; parts repeat things said before. Kuh also discusses Rothko's wife and daughter.
Kuh recounts building the collection at the Art Institute of Chicago and speaks of the museum staff, trustees, and donors. She remembers Alfred Barr at MOMA.
Kuh continues speaking about the Art Institute of Chicago, describing the circumstances of her resignation and subsequent move to New York. She talks of knowing Peggy Guggenheim, Max Ernst, and Fernand Leger.
Kuh describes her work as a consultant to college museums and her writings. She discusses the field of art criticism and her career as art editor at Saturday Review. She recalls Clyfford Still's retrospective exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and his death.
Kuh describes her work as a collector for the First National Bank of Chicago.
Kuh recounts more about her work at Saturday Review and her resignation. She goes into great detail about her travels in Alaska and British Columbia surveying Northwest Indian art for a government report. She speaks again about the McCarthy era.
Kuh speaks again about the Katharine Kuh Gallery and the artists she exhibited there, including Josef Albers (and his Black Mountain College), Alexander Archipenko, Stuart Davis, Paul Klee, Alexander Calder, and Man Ray.
Kuh continues her discussion of artists she exhibited at the Katharine Kuh Gallery, including Mark Tobey, Paul Klee, and Isamu Noguchi.
Kuh continues talking about artists she exhibited at the Katharine Kuh Gallery, including David Smith, Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Eliot Porter, Rufino Tamayo, and Jack Tworkov.
Biographical / Historical:
Katharine Kuh (1904-1994) was an art consultant, curator, and critic from Chicago and New York City.
General:
Originally recorded on 16 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 31 digital wav files. Duration is 21 hrs., 52 min.
Provenance:
This interview was conducted as part of the Archives of American Art's Mark Rothko and his Times oral history project, with funding provided by the Mark Rothko Foundation.
Others interviewed on the project (by various interviewers) include: Sonia Allen, Sally Avery, Ben-Zion, Bernard Braddon, Ernest Briggs, Rhys Caparn, Elaine de Kooning, Herbert Ferber, Esther Gottlieb, Juliette Hays, Sidney Janis, Buffie Johnson, Jacob Kainen, Louis Kaufman, Jack Kufeld, Stanley Kunitz, Joseph Liss, Dorothy Miller, Betty Parsons, Wallace Putnam, Rebecca Reis, Maurice Roth, Sidney Schectman, Aaron Siskind, Joseph Solman, Hedda Sterne, Jack Tworkov, Esteban Vicente and Ed Weinstein. Each has been cataloged separately.
Restrictions:
Transcript: Patrons must use microfilm copy.
Rights:
Authorization to quote or reproduce for the purposes of publication requires written permission from Avis Berman. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Occupation:
Art critics -- Interviews  Search this
Artists -- United States  Search this
Topic:
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Curators -- Interviews  Search this
Art museum curators -- Interviews  Search this
Function:
Art galleries, Commercial -- Illinois -- Chicago
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.kuh82
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-kuh82

Fairfield Porter letters to Eliot Porter

Creator:
Porter, Eliot, 1901-1990  Search this
Porter, Fairfield  Search this
Names:
Porter, Fairfield  Search this
Extent:
7 Items
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1959-1964
Scope and Contents:
Seven letters from Fairfield Porter to his brother, photographer Eliot Porter. Fairfield writes about his own writings on art and photography, science, and the sale of his paintings.
Biographical / Historical:
Eliot Porter (1901-1990) was a photographer in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His brother, Fairfield, was a painter and art critic.
Provenance:
Donated 2017 by Stephen Porter, Eliot Porter's son.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Occupation:
Photographers -- New Mexico  Search this
Topic:
Photography  Search this
Identifier:
AAA.portelio
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-portelio

Fairfield Porter letters to Eliot Porter, 1959-1964

Creator:
Porter, Eliot, 1901-1990  Search this
Porter, Fairfield, 1907-1975  Search this
Subject:
Porter, Fairfield  Search this
Topic:
Photography  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)17431
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)385479
AAA_collcode_portelio
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_385479

The West / Eliot Porter

Author:
Porter, Eliot 1901-1990  Search this
Physical description:
17, approximately 100 pages : chiefly color illustrations ; 30 cm
Type:
Books
Pictorial works
Photography, Artistic
Nonfiction
Place:
West (U.S.)
West United States
Date:
1988
©1988
Topic:
Photography, Artistic  Search this
Landscape photography  Search this
Call number:
TR647.P844 L7
TR647.P844L7
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_362027

Appalachian wilderness; the great Smoky Mountains [by] Eliot Porter. Natural and human history by Edward Abbey. Epilogue by Harry M. Caudill

Author:
Porter, Eliot 1901-1990  Search this
Abbey, Edward 1927-1989  Search this
Physical description:
123 p. illus. (part col.) 37 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Appalachian Mountains
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (N.C. and Tenn.)
Date:
1970
Call number:
F106 .P84
F106.P84
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_5266

Regarding the land : Robert Glenn Ketchum and the legacy of Eliot Porter / by John Rohrbach with Robert Glenn Ketchum

Author:
Rohrbach, John  Search this
Ketchum, Robert Glenn  Search this
Subject:
Ketchum, Robert Glenn  Search this
Porter, Eliot 1901-1990  Search this
Amon Carter Museum of Western Art Photograph collections  Search this
Physical description:
111 p. : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 32 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Texas
Fort Worth
Date:
2006
C2006
Topic:
Landscape photography  Search this
Nature photography  Search this
Photograph collections  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_801851

All under heaven : the Chinese world / Eliot Porter ; with text by Jonathan Porter

Author:
Porter, Eliot 1901-1990  Search this
Porter, Jonathan  Search this
Physical description:
xii, 192 p. : col. ill. ; 31 x 31 cm
Type:
Books
Pictorial works
Place:
China
Date:
1983
C1983
Call number:
915.1 .P6
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_862919

The tree where man was born / [text by] Peter Matthiessen. The African experience / [photographs by] Eliot Porter

Author:
Matthiessen, Peter  Search this
Porter, Eliot 1901-1990 African experience  Search this
Subject:
Mattiessen, Peter Travel  Search this
Physical description:
247 p. : col. ill., maps ; 29 cm
Type:
Pictorial works
Place:
Africa, Eastern
Africa, East
Date:
1972
Topic:
Natural history  Search this
Animal ecology  Search this
Description and travel  Search this
Call number:
QH195.A23 M38 1972
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_738539

The tree where man was born / [text by] Peter Matthiessen. The African experience / [photographs by] Eliot Porter

Author:
Matthiessen, Peter  Search this
Porter, Eliot 1901-1990 African experience  Search this
Russell E. Train Africana Collection (Smithsonian Libraries) DSI  Search this
Inscriber:
Matthiessen, Peter DSI  Search this
Subject:
Matthiessen, Peter Travel  Search this
Physical description:
247 p. : ill., maps ; 29 cm
Type:
Pictorial works
Place:
Africa, East
Date:
1972
Topic:
Natural history  Search this
Description and travel  Search this
Call number:
QH195.A23 M38 1972
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_782636

Eliot Porter : the color of wildness / essays by John Rohrbach, Rebecca Solnit ; memoir by Jonathan Porter

Title:
Color of wildness
Author:
Porter, Eliot 1901-1990  Search this
Rohrbach, John  Search this
Solnit, Rebecca  Search this
Porter, Jonathan  Search this
Amon Carter Museum of Western Art  Search this
Subject:
Porter, Eliot 1901-1990  Search this
Physical description:
149 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 35 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
2001
C2001
Topic:
Nature photography  Search this
Call number:
TR647.P844 R65 2001
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_676347

Mexican celebrations / Eliot Porter and Ellen Auerbach ; essays by Donna Pierce and Marsha C. Bol

Author:
Porter, Eliot 1901-1990  Search this
Auerbach, Ellen 1906-2004  Search this
Pierce, Donna  Search this
Bol, Marsha  Search this
Subject:
Porter, Eliot 1901-1990  Search this
Catholic Church  Search this
Physical description:
115 p. : col. ill. ; 28 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Mexico
Date:
1990
C1990
Topic:
Fasts and feasts  Search this
Fasts and feasts--Catholic Church  Search this
Religious life and customs  Search this
Call number:
TR647.P844 P8 1990
TR647.P844P8 1990
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_404300

Monuments of Egypt / Eliot Porter ; text by Wilma Stern

Author:
Porter, Eliot 1901-1990  Search this
Stern, Wilma 1940-  Search this
Subject:
Porter, Eliot 1901-1990  Search this
Physical description:
28 p., 102 p. of plates : col. ill. ; 30 cm
Type:
Pictorial works
Place:
Egypt
Date:
1990
C1990
Topic:
Monuments  Search this
Antiquities  Search this
Call number:
TR647.P844 S83 1990
TR647.P844S83 1990
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_404301

Nature's chaos / photographs by Eliot Porter ; text by James Gleick ; compiled and edited by Janet Russek

Author:
Porter, Eliot 1901-1990  Search this
Gleick, James  Search this
Russek, Janet  Search this
Subject:
Porter, Eliot 1901-1990  Search this
Physical description:
125, [1] p. : col. ill. ; 27 x 29 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1990
Topic:
Nature photography  Search this
Chaotic behavior in systems  Search this
Call number:
TR647.P844 G5 1990
TR647.P844G5 1990
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_410565

Eliot Porter : the Grand Canyon

Author:
Porter, Eliot 1901-1990  Search this
Subject:
Porter, Eliot 1901-1990  Search this
Physical description:
152 p. : col. ill., 1 map ; 32 cm
Type:
Books
Pictorial works
Place:
Grand Canyon (Ariz.)
Grand Canyon National Park (Ariz.)
Date:
1992
C1992
Topic:
Pictorial works  Search this
Call number:
TR647.P844 P8g 1992
TR647.P844P8g 1992
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_443984

American places / Eliot Porter, Wallace Stegner & Page Stegner ; edited by John Macrae, III

Author:
Porter, Eliot 1901-1990  Search this
Stegner, Wallace 1909-1993  Search this
Stegner, Page  Search this
Subject:
Stegner, Wallace Earle 1909-1993 Travel  Search this
Physical description:
224 p. : col. ill. ; 32 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
1983
Topic:
Natural history  Search this
Description and travel  Search this
Call number:
TR647.P844 M17
TR647.P844M17
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_320281

Maine / Eliot Porter

Author:
Porter, Eliot 1901-1990  Search this
Physical description:
1 v. : chiefly col. ill. ; 30 cm
Type:
Books
Pictorial works
Place:
Maine
Date:
1986
C1986
Call number:
TR647.P844 M2
TR647.P844M2
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_337806

Eliot Porter / photographs and text by Eliot Porter ; foreword by Martha A. Sandweiss

Author:
Porter, Eliot 1901-1990  Search this
Amon Carter Museum of Western Art  Search this
Subject:
Porter, Eliot 1901-  Search this
Physical description:
275 p. : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 32 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
1987
C1987
Topic:
Nature photography  Search this
Call number:
TR647.P844 A5
TR647.P844A5
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_343929

The place no one knew: Glen Canyon on the Colorado. Edited by David Brower

Author:
Porter, Eliot 1901-1990  Search this
Brower, David Ross 1912-2000  Search this
Sierra Club  Search this
Physical description:
170 p. col. illus. 35 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Glen Canyon
Date:
1963
[1963]
Call number:
F832.C7P6X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_256220

Eliot Porter's Southwest

Author:
Porter, Eliot 1901-1990  Search this
Subject:
Porter, Eliot 1901-1990  Search this
Physical description:
25 p., [114] p. of plates : ill. ; 29 x 31 cm
Type:
Books
Pictorial works
Place:
Southwest, New
Date:
1985
C1985
Topic:
Photography, Artistic  Search this
Call number:
TR647.P844 H7
TR647.P844H7
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_289317

Seal song / Brian Davies ; [photos. by] Eliot Porter

Author:
Davies, Brian  Search this
Porter, Eliot 1901-1990  Search this
Physical description:
93 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 21 cm. x 26 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1978
[1978]
Topic:
Harp seal  Search this
Call number:
QL737.P64D38 1978bX
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_108516

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