An interview of Alan Fink conducted 1997 Jan. 22 and Jan. 29, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art, at Fink's Alpha Gallery, Boston, Mass.
JANUARY 22, 1997 SESSION: Fink discusses his childhood, early education, and first profession; traveling in Europe and meeting his future wife, the painter, Barbara Swan; and becoming interested in art.
JANUARY 29, 1997 SESSION: Coming to Boston in 1951 largely because Barbara Swan was there; first work as a gallery manager (1951-1967) for Boris Mirski; the New York dealer, Edith Halpert with whom he worked closely; the painter and head of Brandeis University art department, Mitchell Siporin; Leonard Baskin, and David Aronson; the lack of support for young local artists from Boston institutions; the major local collector of young local artists, Jerry Goldberg and Abe Pollin who followed his example; the increased number of Boston art galleries in the 1960s as art collecting grew; great success of a show of African masks at Mirski Gallery; his last years with Mirski; opening of his Alpha Gallery in September 1967; and taking on some of Mirski's artists, including Michael Mazur, Robert Birmelin, Philip Gausman, Barbara Swan, Marianna Pineda, Harold Tovish, Elbert Weinberg, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Alan Fink (1925-) is an art dealer in Boston, Mass. and is married to Barbara Swan.
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.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Swan, writing to her friends Rosalind and Edwin Miller, discusses her husband Alan Fink's positions as an art dealer and owner of the Alpha Gallery in Boston, mentioning artists Milton Avery, Gregory Gillespie, Don Gustin, Ellsworth Kelly, Boris Mirski, and Andy Stevovich. She writes also about her son Aaron's art career and daughter Joanna's career as assistant to Alan, her health problems dealing with lupus, family vacations and activities with Swan's mother and aunt, Peter and Edith Milton, and Bernard and Ninion Chaet, her numerous trips to New York and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for various art openings; and her friendship with poet Anne Sexton.
Other topics include her painting career, including illustrating Sexton's versions of Grimm's fairytales, portraits of various friends and commissions, exhibitions, painting style, and inspirations for her bottle and quarry reflection paintings.
Biographical / Historical:
Swan, a painter, draftsman, and lithographer from Boston, Mass., was friends of Rosalind Miller, a professor of psychiatric social work at Columbia University, and Edwin Miller, a Walt Whitman scholar and biographer of Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Millers are collectors of American textiles.
Donated 1992 by Rosalind Miller.
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