An interview of Jacob Kainen conducted 1982 Aug. 10-1982 Sept. 22, by Avis Berman, for the Archives of American Art's Mark Rothko and His Times oral history project.
Kainen speaks about his family and educational background; early interest in art; his studies at the Art Students League and Pratt Institute; showing at the ACA Gallery; the community of artists in New York in the late 1930s; writing for ART FRONT; his employment by the graphic arts division of the WPA-FAP in New York; his move to Washington, D.C., in 1942, to work for the Smithsonian Institution; his first marriage to Bertha Friedman and their children; his career in Washinton, D.C. as a curator, painter, printmaker, writer, and teacher; the FBI investigation of his background; and the art scene in Washington, D.C. Kainen also recalls artists he has known including Stuart Davis, Joseph Solman, John Graham, Mark Rothko, Pietro Lazzari, Willem de Kooning, Max Schnitzler, Arshile Gorky, Gene Davis, Alma Thomas, George McNeil, Kenneth Noland, Boris Margo, Stanley Hayter, and Ad Reinhardt. He discusses Mark Rothko's influences, how he "hated the art industry" and was secretive about his art materials. Kainen also recalls encountering Rothko in Provincetown in 1968 and comments on his art and his suicide. Jacob Kainen's wife, Ruth, was also present and contributed her recollections.
Biographical / Historical:
Jacob Kainen (1909-2001) was a painter, printmaker, and curator from Washington, D.C. Studied at the Art Students League and Pratt Institute; died at age 91.
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, Louis Kaufman, Jack Kufeld, Katharine Kuh, 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.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Painters -- Washington (D.C.) -- Interviews Search this
Correspondence; exhibition catalogs; notes; photographs; notebooks; scrapbook; clippings; and miscellany.
REELS N69-72-N69-74: Correspondence, 1929-1968 with Alexander Calder, Serge Chermayeff, Jimmy Ernst, Sigfried Giedion, Walter Gropius, Guggenheim Museum, Carl Holty, Katharine Kuh, L. and Sybil Moholy-Nagy, Museum of Non-Objective Painting and Hilla Rebay, Harry Holtzman, Stephen R. Hustvedt, Bob Osborn, Philip Pearlstein, Ad Reinhardt, and Kurt Seligmann; exhibition catalogs; price lists; clippings; articles; talks and notes; photographs of paintings and sculpture, 1929-1958; notebooks, 1929-1965; and a scrapbook, 1934-1938.
REEL N69-98: Nine letters from Morris D. C. Crawford and his wife, 1926-1932, and a carbon copy of a letter to Dorothy Miller Cahill, May 27, 1969, in which Wolff mentions his efforts, as president of the Artists' Union of Chicago, ca. 1936, to unseat Increase Robinson. Wolff also explains how he became Holger Cahill's "bitter enemy."
Biographical / Historical:
Designer and painter; New Preston, Connecticut. Died in 1978.
Lent for microfilming 1969 by Robert Jay Wolff.
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
An interview with Lucy Lippard conducted 2011 Mar. 15, by Sue Heinemann, for the Archives of American Art's Elizabeth Murray Oral History of Women in the Visual Arts project, at Lippard's home, in Galisteo, N.M.
Lippard discusses her childhood summers in Maine; growing up in New Orleans, La., and Charlottesville, Va.; attending the Abbot Academy and Smith College; her junior year in Paris; working in the Museum of Modern Art Library; living on Avenue D; meeting Bob Ryman and Sol Lewitt; birth of her son Ethan; Dore Ashton as a role model; involvement with various groups and political causes including the Angry Arts movement, the Art Workers' Coalition, Women Artists' Committee, Guerilla Art Action Group, Womanhouse, Political Art Documentation and Distribution (PAD/D), the Ad Hoc Women Artists Committee, and others; the development of Heresies Collective; her publications including, "From the Center: Feminist Essays on Women's Art," (1976), "On the Beaten Track: Tourism, Art and Place," (1999), "Mixed Blessings: New Art in a Multicultural America," (1990, 2000), "The Lure of the Local: Sense of Place in a Multicentered Society," (1997), and "Overlay: Contemporary Art and the Art of Prehistory," (1983) ; curating exhibitions; travels to Argentina and Mexico; moving to Galisteo, N.M.; interest in the Galisteo Basin; teaching; and other topics. She recalls Ad Reinhardt, Donald Judd, Harmony Hammond, Judy Chicago, Gregory Sholette, Carolee Schneemann, Max Koszloff, Joyce Koszloff, May Stevens, Betsy Hess, Mary Miss, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Lucy R. Lippard (1937- ) is a writer and art critic in New York, N.Y. and Galisteo, N.M.
Originally recorded on Edirol R-09HR on 4 secure digital memory cards. Duration is 4 hr., 29 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 recording is restricted. Contact Reference Services for more information.
The papers of Romare Bearden measure 2.1 linear feet and date from 1937 to 1982. The collection includes biographical information, correspondence, writings by and about Bearden, miscellaneous legal and financial material, photographs, drawings, and printed material. Found are numerous letters referring to African-American arts movements of the 1960s and 1970s, including exhibitions, publications, associations, and scattered letters of a more personal nature.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of Romare Bearden measure 2.1 linear feet and date from 1937 to 1982. The collection includes biographical information, correspondence, writings by and about Bearden, miscellaneous legal and financial material, photographs, drawings, and printed material.
Correspondence is with family, friends, artists, galleries, museums, publishers, universities, arts associations, and colleagues, primarily concerning gallery space, exhibitions, sales of artwork, publishing, and arts events. Also found are numerous letters referring to African-American art movements of the 1960s and 1970s, including exhibitions, publications, associations, and scattered letters of a more personal nature. Many of the letters are illustrated with Bearden's doodlings and drawings. Although most of the letters are from galleries, museums, publishers, and arts associations, scattered letters from Charles Alston, Jacob Lawrence, Ad Reinhardt, Carl Holty, and Sam Middleton are found. In addition, there are letters from the Black Academy of Arts and Letters, and letters concerning its founding.
Writings by Bearden include lectures, speeches, talks, essays, and prose. Many are handwritten, annotated, and edited in Bearden's hand and several are illustrated with Bearden's doodlings and sketches. Included are a memorial delivered upon artist Carl Holty's death, a tribute to Zell Ingram, autobiographical essays, essays on art, and African-American art, artists, and cultural life. Also found are several handwritten examples of Bearden's prose and poetry. There are also writings by others and one folder of fragments and notes assumed to be by Bearden.
The collection houses two folders of photographs and snapshots of Bearden, family members, other unidentified artists or friends, classes and/or lectures, and works of art. Also found are several undated ink drawings, sketches in pencil and ink, and a hand-drawn and colored map with overlay of Paris. Printed material includes examples of Bearden's commissioned artwork for publications, press releases, exhibition catalogs and announcements, invitations, newspaper and magazine clippings, and miscellaneous printed materials. Although much of the printed material concerns Bearden's work, a fair portion concerns African-American art, artists, and cultural movements.
The collection is arranged into seven series based on type of materials. Documents within each of the seven series have been arranged in chronological order, except for the writings which have been further subdivided by creator and are undated. Printed materials have been arranged primarily according to form of material and are in rough chronological order.
Series 1: Biographical, 1977, undated (Box 1; 1 folder)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1944-1981, undated (Box 1-2; 0.8 linear feet)
Series 3: Writings By and About Bearden, circa 1950s-1980s (Box 3; 6 folders)
Series 4: Legal and Financial Material, 1970-1977 (Box 3; 3 folders)
Series 5: Photographs, undated (Box 3; 2 folders)
Series 6: Drawings, undated (Box 3, OV 6; 4 folders)
Series 7: Printed Material, 1937-1982 (Box 3-5; 1 linear foot)
Biographical / Historical:
Born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, in 1914, Bearden's family relocated to New York City when Bearden was a toddler. Living in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, Bearden was exposed to such luminaries as writer Langston Hughes, painter Aaron Douglas, and musician Duke Ellington. While attending New York University, Bearden became interested in cartooning and became the art editor of the NYU Medley in his senior year. He received his B.S. in mathematics in 1935, initially planning to pursue medical school. Realizing that he had little interest in the other sciences however, Bearden began attending classes at the Art Students League in the evenings, studying under George Grosz.
In the mid-1930s Bearden published numerous political cartoons in journals and newspapers, including the Afro-American, but by the end of the decade, he shifted his emphasis to painting. Bearden's first paintings, on large sheets of brown paper, recalled his early memories of the South. After serving in the Army, Bearden began exhibiting more frequently, particularly in Washington, D.C. at the G Street Gallery and in New York with Samuel Kootz.
During a career lasting almost half a century, Bearden produced approximately two thousand works. Although best known for the collages of urban and southern scenes that he first experimented with in the mid-1960s, Bearden also completed paintings, drawings, monotypes, edition prints, public murals, record album jackets, magazine and book illustrations, and costume and set designs for theater and ballet. His work focused on religious subjects, African-American culture, jazz clubs and brothels, and history and literature. Not confining his abilities to the visual arts, Bearden also devoted attention to writing and song writing. Several of his collaborations were published as sheet music, among the most famous of which is "Seabreeze," recorded by Billy Eckstine. In addition, Bearden coauthored three full-length books: The Painter's Mind: A Study of the Relations of Structure and Space in Painting (1969) with painter Carl Holty; Six Black Masters of American Art (1972); and A History of African-American Artists: From 1792 to the Present (posthumously, 1993), the latter two with journalist Harry Henderson.
Bearden was also active in the African-American arts movement of the period, serving as art director of the Harlem Cultural Council, a founding member of the Black Academy of Arts and Letters, and organizer of exhibitions, such as the Metropolitan Museum's "Harlem on My Mind" (1968). Romare Bearden died in 1988.
Within the Archives holdings are two oral history interviews with Romare Bearden. One was conducted in 1968 by Henri Ghent and another in 1980 by Avis Berman.
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming (reel N68-87) including correspondence, a scrapbook, photographs, catalogs, clippings, and writings. Except for the correspondence, loaned materials were returned to the donor and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Romare Bearden lent material for microfilming to the Archives of American Art in 1968, donating the correspondence. Bearden also gave additional papers between 1977 and 1983.
The bulk of the collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website. Use of material not digitized requires an appointment.