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.
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.
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.
2 Linear feet ((partially microfilmed on 2 reels))
3 Items (rolled docs)
9.3 Linear feet (Addition)
Scope and Contents:
The collection includes correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, exhibition catalogs, sketches, drawings, business records and miscellaneous printed material.
REEL 1519: Correspondence, 1930-1979, including letters from William Zorach and Robert Tristam Coffin; and three scrapbooks, 1936-1979, containing clippings, exhibiton catalogs and announcements.
REEL 5136: Letters from Ipcar's parents to her and her husband, Adolph Ipcar, ca. 1939 and 1951-1968, concerning family affairs with some references to art; two scrapbooks, 1979-1990, containing portions of Ipcar's autobiography, exhibition announcements, clippings and other printed material on Ipcar's work and her community service [note: the first half of the first scrapbook was previously filmed on reel 1519, fr. 336-446, and has not been refilmed]; and Robinhood Snooper, writings referred to as "wall newspapers," written by Dahlov and Adolph Ipcar, 1934-1938 and undated, pertaining to family and local "gossip." Also present are photocopies of works of art by other artists, 1942 and 1965, including a sketch of Marguerite Zorach.
UNMICROFILMED: Business and personal correspondence; letters from Ipcar's parents, Marguerite and William Zorach; photographs of her family and slides of her work; writings and notes; sketches and studies for paintings; blueprints for tapestries and relief sculptures; price lists, contracts and other business records; printed material, including exhibition announcements, catalogs and clippings; and miscellany.
ADDITION (9.3 ft.): Personal and professional correspondence and related printed material, some relating to the Zorachs, 1940s-1997; and files pertaining to a scholarship in sculpture given by Dahlov and Adolph Ipcar to the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in memory of William and Marguerite Zorach.
Biographical / Historical:
Painter and illustrator; Robinhood, Maine. Ipcar primarily painted animal scenes and illustrated several children's books. She was the daughter of artists Marguerite and William Zorach.
Material on reel 1519 lent for microfilming 1979, and unmicrofilmed material donated 1979-1997 by Dahlov Ipcar. Material on reel 5136 was lent for microfilming 1996.
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.