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Oral history interview with W. G. Constable, 1972 July -1973 June

Interviewee:
Constable, W. G. (William George), 1887-1976  Search this
Constable, W. G. (William George), 1887-1976  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F  Search this
Subject:
Degas, Edgar  Search this
Fry, Roger Eliot  Search this
Renoir, Auguste  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Museum curators -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge -- Interviews  Search this
World War, 1914-1918  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12210
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)212599
AAA_collcode_consta72
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_212599

Oral history interview with Agnes Mongan, 1979 June 19-Aug. 30

Interviewee:
Mongan, Agnes, 1905-1996  Search this
Mongan, Agnes, 1905-1996  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Curators -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge -- Interviews  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13202
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)212904
AAA_collcode_mongana79
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_212904

Oral history interview with James S. Ackerman, 1991 January 2

Interviewee:
Ackerman, James S., 1919-2016  Search this
Ackerman, James S., 1919-2016  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F  Search this
Subject:
Focillon, Henri  Search this
Krautheimer, Richard  Search this
Lehmann, Karl  Search this
Panofsky, Erwin  Search this
New York University  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12233
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)215763
AAA_collcode_ackerm91
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_215763
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Eleanor Sayre, 1993 April 19-1997 January 10

Interviewee:
Sayre, Eleanor A. (Eleanor Axson), 1916-2001  Search this
Sayre, Eleanor A. (Eleanor Axson), 1916-2001  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F  Search this
Subject:
Ames, Winslow  Search this
Constable, W. G. (William George)  Search this
Edgell, George Harold  Search this
Forbes, Edward Waldo  Search this
Goya, Francisco  Search this
Hofer, Philip  Search this
Karolik, Maxim  Search this
King, Georgiana Goddard  Search this
Rathbone, Perry Townsend  Search this
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn  Search this
Rosenberg, Jakob  Search this
Rossiter, Henry P. (Henry Preston)  Search this
Sachs, Paul J. (Paul Joseph)  Search this
Seybolt, George Crossan  Search this
Sizer, Theodore  Search this
Swarzenski, Hanns  Search this
Washburn, Gordon B. (Gordon Bailey)  Search this
Wilson, Woodrow  Search this
Ashmolean Museum  Search this
Bryn Mawr College  Search this
Fogg Art Museum  Search this
Harvard University  Search this
Lyman Allyn Museum  Search this
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston  Search this
Museo del Prado  Search this
Rhode Island School of Design  Search this
Yale University  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Place:
Philippines -- History -- Japanese occupation, 1942-1945
Spain -- History -- 1939-1975
Topic:
Jewish refugees -- Germany  Search this
Museum curators -- Massachusetts -- Boston -- Interviews  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Germany -- Refugees  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13089
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)215869
AAA_collcode_sayre93
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_215869
Online Media:

W.G. Constable papers, 1905-1983, bulk 1920-1976

Creator:
Constable, W. G. (William George), 1887-1976  Search this
Constable, W. G. (William George), 1887-1976  Search this
Subject:
Phillips, Duncan  Search this
Stout, George L. (George Leslie)  Search this
Canaletto  Search this
Perry, Ralph  Search this
Sachs, Paul J. (Paul Joseph)  Search this
Hencken, Hugh O'Neill  Search this
Vasalle, Rudolph  Search this
Brandt, Mortimer  Search this
Links, J. G.  Search this
Ivins, William Mills  Search this
Frick, Helen Clay  Search this
Gluck, Helen  Search this
National Gallery of Canada  Search this
Watts Gallery  Search this
Christie, Manson & Woods International Inc.  Search this
Fogg Art Museum  Search this
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston  Search this
American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas  Search this
Germany (Territory under Allied occupation, 1945-1955 : U.S. Zone)  Search this
Art Gallery of Toronto  Search this
United States  Search this
Allied Forces  Search this
Type:
Photographs
Place:
Germany (Territory under Allied occupation, 1945-1955)
Topic:
World War, 1939-1945 -- Destruction and pillage -- Germany  Search this
Art, European  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
World war, 1939-1945 -- Destruction and pillage -- Italy  Search this
Museum curators -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Art, American  Search this
Art -- Collectors and collecting  Search this
Cultural property -- conservation and restoration -- Germany  Search this
Cultural property -- Conservation and restoration -- Italy  Search this
Art -- Conservation and restoration  Search this
Museum curators -- England  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Art and the war  Search this
Theme:
Art Theory and Historiography  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)9387
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)211584
AAA_collcode_conswmgp
Theme:
Art Theory and Historiography
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_211584
Online Media:

Paul Vanderbilt papers

Creator:
Vanderbilt, Paul  Search this
Names:
Graphic History Society of America  Search this
Library of Congress. Prints and Photographs Division  Search this
Philadelphia Museum of Art  Search this
State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Division of Archives and Manuscripts  Search this
Union Library Catalogue of the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area  Search this
United States. Farm Security Administration. Historical Section  Search this
Allen, Mary North  Search this
Blake, William  Search this
Conniff, Gregory, 1944-  Search this
Crane, Barbara, d1928-  Search this
Guthrie, Woody, 1912-1967  Search this
Haywood, Carl  Search this
Holzhueter, Jack  Search this
Lange, Dorothea  Search this
Lesy, Michael, 1945-  Search this
Newhall, Beaumont, 1908-1993  Search this
Pilling, Arnold R.  Search this
Plunkett, Jane  Search this
Shera, Jesse Hauk, 1903-1982  Search this
Stryker, Roy Emerson, 1893-1975  Search this
Talbot, George  Search this
Vanderbilt, Julia  Search this
Extent:
25.2 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Diaries
Interviews
Photographs
Sound recordings
Date:
1854-1992
bulk 1945-1992
Summary:
The papers of librarian, curator, and photographer Paul Vanderbilt (1905-1992) measure 25.2 linear feet and date from 1854 to 1992 with the bulk of the material dating from 1945 to 1992. The papers are comprised of biographical materials, personal and business correspondence, interviews, writings and notes, fourteen diaries and two diary fragments, reference and project files, photographic materials, sound recordings, and professional files.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of librarian, curator, and photographer Paul Vanderbilt (1905-1992) measure 25.2 linear feet and date from 1854 to 1992 with the bulk of the material dating from 1945 to 1992. The papers are comprised of biographical materials, personal and business correspondence, interviews, writings and notes, fourteen diaries and two diary fragments, reference and project files, photographic materials, sound recordings, and professional files.

Biographical materials include seven appointment books, family letters and documents, and an honorary degree from the University of Wisconsin.

Vanderbilt's correspondence is with colleagues, and organizations including Dorothea Lange, Beaumont Newhall, Roy Stryker, and Julia Vanderbilt.

Sound recordings of interviews of Vanderbilt conducted by Mary North Allen, Barbara Crane, Carl Haywood, Jack Holzhueter, and Jane Plunkett. Other recordings are of Vanderbilt discussing his personal and professional life.

Writings by Paul Vanderbilt include drafts of Between the Landscape and its Other, poems, lectures, student papers, and notes on a variety of subjects. Writings by others are found for William Blake, Gregory Conniff, Woody Guthrie, Michael Lesy, Arnold R. Pilling, Jesse H. Shera, and Roy Stryker.

Fourteen of Vanderbilt's personal diaries and two diary fragments date from 1926 to 1990.

Reference files consist of printed materials on art, art historians, book reviews, library and information studies, photography and microphotography techniques, and other themes of interest to Vanderbilt. Project files include material from Vanderbilt's various projects, including a guide to the iconography of Iran, the reclassification of FSA photographs, and the Union Library Catalog of Philadelphia.

Included in professional files are administrative records, correspondence, exhibition files, project files, printed material, and research files created during Vanderbilt's career at the Library of Congress, Graphic History Society, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Farm Security Administration. Also found are materials for Vanderbilt's work as a consultant for several organizations, lecture documents, and art-related workshops.

Photographs are by and of Paul Vanderbilt, the staff of the Library of Congress, and George Talbot. Negatives include images for the Farm Security Administration. Bibliography cards and photographs of artwork from the Library of Congress can be found on microfilm reels within the collection.

Also found are fourteen unidentified sound recordings.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 10 series.

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1894-1992 (0.5 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1933-1992 (1.5 linear feet; Box 1-2)

Series 3: Interviews, 1967-1992 (1.5 linear feet; Box 2-4)

Series 4: Writings and Notes, 1887-1992 (4.0 linear feet; Box 4-8)

Series 5: Diaries, 1926-1990 (0.5 linear feet; Box 8)

Series 6: Reference Files, 1877-1992 (2.5 linear feet; Box 8-10, 26)

Series 7: Project Files, 1935-1990 (3.0 linear feet; Box 10-13)

Series 8: Professional Files, 1854-1991 (11.7 linear feet; Box 13-24)

Series 9: Photographic Materials, 1912-1980s (0.5 linear feet; Box 24)

Series 10: Sound Recordings, circa 1980s (0.5 linear feet; Box 24-25)
Biographical / Historical:
Paul Vanderbilt (1905-1992) was a librarian, curator, and photographer active in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and Madison, Wisconsin.

Paul Vanderbilt was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts and educated in Germany, Switzerland, and Massachusetts. He attended Amherst College from 1923 to 1925 before transferring to Harvard where he graduated with a BA in art history in 1927. After graduation, Vanderbilt traveled to Europe where he studied at the American School of Librarianship in Paris and the Institut de Psychologie Bibliogique in Lausanne. In 1929, he returned to the United States and became a librarian at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and director of the Union Library Catalog project for the Philadelphia area.

In 1941 Vanderbilt began working under Roy Stryker cataloging the extensive photographic survey collection of the Farm Security Administration and U.S. Office of War Information. The collection is a rich resource of images of American life between 1935 and 1944. In 1943, the FSA photograph collection was transferred to the Library of Congress and Vanderbilt went with it as the curator of the newly formed Prints and Photographs Division, eventually becoming the Division chief of fine arts.

During the early 1950s, Vanderbilt also served as the director of the Graphic History Society of America. There he published a quarterly bulletin Eye to Eye and developed a guide to iconography in Iran. In 1954, he became the Curator of Iconographic Collections at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin and worked there until he retired in 1972.

Vanderbilt remained active after retirement. He became an artist-in-residence at the Apeiron Workshops, worked as a photographer for the Seagram courthouse project and the George Eastman House, and was a presenter at multiple conferences. Vanderbilt devoted much of his later life to working on his book titled Between the Landscape and its Other which was published posthumously after Vanderbilt's death in 1992.
Related Materials:
Also found at the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Paul Vanderbilt conducted by Richard Doud on November 10, 1964.
Provenance:
The collection was donated in 1981 by Paul Vanderbilt and in 1993 by his estate through John W. Winn, executor.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington, D.C. Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Art historians -- United States  Search this
Topic:
Curators -- United States  Search this
Documentary photography -- United States  Search this
Photography  Search this
Photomicrography  Search this
Graphic arts -- Historiography  Search this
Graphic arts -- Iran  Search this
Librarians  Search this
Photographers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Diaries
Interviews
Photographs
Sound recordings
Citation:
Paul Vanderbilt papers, 1854-1992, bulk 1945-1992. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.vandpaul
See more items in:
Paul Vanderbilt papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-vandpaul
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Eleanor Sayre

Interviewee:
Sayre, Eleanor A.  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F.  Search this
Names:
Ashmolean Museum  Search this
Bryn Mawr College -- Students  Search this
Fogg Art Museum  Search this
Harvard University -- Students  Search this
Lyman Allyn Museum  Search this
Museo del Prado  Search this
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston  Search this
Rhode Island School of Design. Museum of Art  Search this
Yale University. Art Gallery  Search this
Ames, Winslow  Search this
Constable, W. G. (William George), 1887-1976  Search this
Edgell, George Harold, b. 1887  Search this
Forbes, Edward Waldo, 1873-1969  Search this
Goya, Francisco, 1746-1828  Search this
Hofer, Philip, 1898-1984  Search this
Karolik, Maxim  Search this
King, Georgiana Goddard, 1871-1939  Search this
Rathbone, Perry Townsend, 1911-2000  Search this
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, 1606-1669  Search this
Rosenberg, Jakob, 1893-  Search this
Rossiter, Henry P. (Henry Preston), b. 1885  Search this
Sachs, Paul J. (Paul Joseph), 1878-1965  Search this
Seybolt, George Crossan, 1914-1993  Search this
Sizer, Theodore, 1892-1967  Search this
Swarzenski, Hanns, 1903-1985  Search this
Washburn, Gordon B. (Gordon Bailey), 1904-1983  Search this
Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924  Search this
Extent:
213 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Place:
Philippines -- History -- Japanese occupation, 1942-1945
Spain -- History -- 1939-1975
Date:
1993 April 19-1997 January 10
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Eleanor Sayre conducted 1993 April 19-1997 January 10, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Sayre talks about her early childhood in Williamstown and Cambridge, Mass.; her family background; visits to the White House with her maternal grandfather, Woodrow Wilson; living abroad while her father was in government service in Bangkok, then Siam (now Thailand), Paris, and Switzerland, with extensive recollections of her brothers and schooling in Europe.
Attending Winsor School in Boston; her mother's death; her years at Bryn Mawr College, including her switch to art history from political science; Georgianna Goddard King as an influential teacher; an internship under Laura Dudley at the Fogg Art Museum's Print Room and the lasting effect of this experience.
Being a graduate student in fine arts at Harvard and the importance of Edward Forbes and Paul Sachs as teachers; her decision not to pursue a PhD; working with Jakob Rosenberg; helping to get young Jews out of Europe; her position as assistant for exhibitions at Yale University Art Gallery under Theodore Sizer; the trauma of her father's internment by the Japanese in the Philippines, where he was High Commissioner and his rescue; and her decision to turn down a military intelligence job in order to work with German Jewish refugees.
Her brief tenure at Lyman-Allyn Museum, Conn., under Winslow Ames; her years in the education department under Lydia "Ma" Powel at the Museum of Art of the Rhode Island School of Design with Gordon Washburn as director; and working closely with Heinrich Schwartz on prints and drawings.
The liberal tradition of her father's wealthy family; her father; being brought to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston by its curator of prints, Henry Rossiter and on the charming collector and benefactor, Maxim Karolik; MFA curator of paintings, William George Constable; and George Harold Edgell, MFA director.
The collector, Philip Hofer, who by putting his Goya proofs on loan at the MFA, led to Sayre's life-long study of the artist; her research on Goya in Spain; raising of a large sum from Boston businesses to purchase Hofer's prints for the MFA, and the MFA's eminence by the 1960s in Goya's graphic work; the disgusting repression of dissent in Franco-era Spain; Goya's passionate self-assertion, which is what principally attracted Sayre to his work, and his conceptual process and method of work.
Earlier years at the MFA, Boston, including the accessibility of the print department's study rooms; Edwin J. Hipkiss, curator of American decorative arts; the Christmas poetry and prints exhibitions designed as profound learning experiences for a broad public; and being chosen as successor to Rossiter; and further comments on Maxim Karolik.
W.G. Russell Allen and other collectors who gave their collections to the MFA; her efforts to effectively present art to the broad public; her methods of appealing to the public coalescing at the MFA in 1989 with the "Goya and the Spirit of the Enlightenment" exhibition; and an exhibition of the work of Beatrix Potter.
Spain under the dictator, Francisco Franco; her first study in Spain of Goya's drawings and her urging the Prado Museum to conserve its drawings; the Prado's director, F. Sanchez-Canton; her research on prostitution at the Ministry of Justice; being decorated for her recommending the preservation of Goya's art and the marvelous private collections of Goya in Spain; and her obsession with interpreting the meaning of Goya's work.
The MFA, Boston, under the directorship of Perry Rathbone, who wanted many more people involved than had his predecessor, George Harold Edgell, who ran it like a Boston Brahmin Club; Rathbone's accomplishments; his downfall and that of his assistant (and curator of European decorative arts and sculpture) Hanns Swarzenski in bringing a so-called Raphael into this country by irregular means, which led to Rathbone and Swarzenski's firing by George Seybolt, the trustee president; Rathbone's reluctance to hire women curators and Sayre's finally becoming curator of prints and drawings in 1967; her philosophy as curator; on Hanns and Brigitte Swarzenski as dear friends; her exchange of positions with the curator of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, where she put their valuable but neglected print collection in order.
The exhibition and catalog, "Rembrandt: Experimental Etcher," (1969) in collaboration with the Pierpont Morgan Library; general views on exhibitions; co-authoring the exhibition catalog "Goya and the Spiris of Enlightenment" (1989); her contributions to Goya research; her current research and writing on Goya's Capaprichos print series; and her satisfaction in having spent her career in art museums.
Biographical / Historical:
Eleanor A. Sayre (1916-2001) was a curator and art historian from Boston, Mass.
General:
Originally recorded on 8 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 15 digital wav files. Duration is 11 hrs., 21 min.
Provenance:
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.
Occupation:
Art historians -- Interviews  Search this
Printmakers  Search this
Topic:
Jewish refugees -- Germany  Search this
Museum curators -- Massachusetts -- Boston -- Interviews  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Germany -- Refugees  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.sayre93
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-sayre93

Oral history interview with Agnes Mongan

Interviewee:
Mongan, Agnes  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F.  Search this
Extent:
131 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1979 June 19-Aug. 30
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Agnes Mongan conducted 1979 June 19-Aug. 30, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Biographical / Historical:
Agnes Mongan (1905-1996) was an art historian, curator, and director at Fogg Art Museum.
General:
Originally recorded on 3 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hrs., 52 min.
Provenance:
These interviews are 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 others.
Restrictions:
Use requires an appointment.
Occupation:
Art historians -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge -- Interviews  Search this
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Curators -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.mongana79
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-mongana79

Oral history interview with W. G. Constable

Interviewee:
Constable, W. G. (William George), 1887-1976  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F.  Search this
Names:
Degas, Edgar, 1834-1917  Search this
Fry, Roger Eliot, 1866-1934  Search this
Renoir, Auguste, 1841-1919  Search this
Extent:
81 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1972 July -1973 June
Scope and Contents:
An interview of W. G. (William George) Constable conducted 1972 July -1973 June, by Robert Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Constable discusses his early education, his serving in World War I, and his career as a lecturer, curator, and writer in Britain, Canada, and the United States. He discusses his relationship with collectors, the development of Canadian, British, and American museums, as well as reminiscing about key figures such as art historian Roger Fry and painters Renoir and Degas.
Biographical / Historical:
W. G. Constable (1887-1976) was an art historian and curator from Cambridge, Massachusetts.
General:
Originally recorded on 3 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 6 hr., 45 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives' 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 others.
Occupation:
Art historians -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge -- Interviews  Search this
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Museum curators -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge -- Interviews  Search this
World War, 1914-1918  Search this
Function:
Art museums
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.consta72
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-consta72

Oral history interview with James S. Ackerman

Interviewee:
Ackerman, James S., 1919-2016  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F.  Search this
Names:
New York University. Institute of Fine Arts  Search this
Focillon, Henri, 1881-1943  Search this
Krautheimer, Richard, 1897-  Search this
Lehmann, Karl, 1894-1960  Search this
Panofsky, Erwin, 1892-1968  Search this
Extent:
2 Items (sound cassettes (1 hr. 47 min.), analog.)
20 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1991 January 2
Scope and Contents:
An interview with James Ackerman conducted 1991 January 2, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Ackerman talks about his childhood in San Francisco in a wealthy family of German-Jewish descent; travels with his family in Europe; early exposure to art and art history; education at the Cate School, California; education at Yale University, 1938-41, including recollections of teachers and curriculum, especially the charismatic teaching of Henri Focillon; graduate work at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, 1941 and 1945-52, including curriculum and teachers such as Karl Lehmann, Richard Krautheimer, and Erwin Panofsky; World War II experience in signal intelligence; early publications and their fortunate effect on his career, and contrast of those who solely pursued facts and those who also have ideas.
Biographical / Historical:
James Ackerman (1919-2016) was an art and architecture historian from Cambridge, Massachusetts.
General:
Originally recorded on 2 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 3 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hrs., 47 min.
Provenance:
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.
Occupation:
Art historians -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.ackerm91
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-ackerm91

W.G. Constable papers

Creator:
Constable, W. G. (William George), 1887-1976  Search this
Correspondent:
Allied Forces. Supreme Headquarters. Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Section  Search this
Art Gallery of Toronto  Search this
Germany (Territory under Allied occupation, 1945-1955 : U.S. Zone). Office of Military Government  Search this
National Gallery of Canada  Search this
Watts Gallery  Search this
Brandt, Mortimer  Search this
Frick, Helen Clay, 1888-1984  Search this
Gluck, Helen  Search this
Hencken, Hugh O'Neill  Search this
Ivins, William Mills, 1881-1961  Search this
Links, J. G.  Search this
Perry, Ralph  Search this
Phillips, Duncan, 1886-1966  Search this
Sachs, Paul J. (Paul Joseph), 1878-1965  Search this
Stout, George L. (George Leslie)  Search this
Vasalle, Rudolph  Search this
Names:
American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas  Search this
Christie, Manson & Woods International Inc.  Search this
Fogg Art Museum  Search this
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston  Search this
United States. Internal Revenue Service  Search this
Canaletto, 1697-1768  Search this
Extent:
25.7 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Place:
Germany (Territory under Allied occupation, 1945-1955)
Date:
1905-1983
bulk 1920-1976
Summary:
The papers of art historian and museum curator W.G. (William George) Constable measure 25.7 linear feet and date from 1905 to 1981, with the bulk of the material from 1920 to 1976. The papers include biographical material; professional and personal correspondence; extensive lectures, writings, and notes; exhibition and book research files; printed materials; and photographs, glass plate negatives, and slides. There is substantive correspondence related to Constable's participation in the American Defense Harvard Group and about the formation of the Roberts Commission, including correspondence with Ralph Perry, Hugh Hencken, Paul Sachs and George L. Stout. There are numerous official reports prepared by Constable after World War II for the U. S. Office of Military Government for Germany.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of art historian and museum curator W.G. (William George) Constable measure 25.7 linear feet and date from 1905 to 1981, with the bulk of the material from 1920 to 1976. The papers include biographical material; professional and personal correspondence; extensive lectures, writings, and notes; exhibition and book research files; printed materials; and photographs, glass plate negatives, and slides. There is substantive correspondence related to Constable's participation in the American Defense Harvard Group and about the formation of the Roberts Commission, including correspondence with Ralph Perry, Hugh Hencken, Paul Sachs and George L. Stout. There are numerous official reports prepared by Constable after World War II for the U. S. Office of Military Government for Germany.

Biographical material includes W.G. Constable's curriculum vitae; club memberships; personal, educational, and military records; three memorial essays and obituaries; five address books; appointment books dating from 1930-1968; and financial records related to personal business travels.

Correspondence is mostly professional and arranged into General, Committee, Condolences, and J.G. Links. General correspondence is with friends, business associates, auction houses, galleries, and museums. The letters cover a wide variety of professional work, such as research projects, letters of inquiry and recommendation, and work done for Christie's and the Internal Revenue Service. Correspondents include Mortimer Brandt, Helen Frick, Helen Gluck, William Ivins, Duncan Phillips, Paul Sachs, and Rudolph Vasalle, among many others.

Committee related correspondence includes letters, memoranda, and reports related to ongoing committee objectives, projects, and routine activities. There is correspondence related to Constable's advisory work with the Art Gallery of Toronto, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Watts Gallery, among other projects. Condolences consists of letters and cards received by Constable's wife, Olivia, after Constable's death. Correspondence with J.G. Links is primarily about the second edition revision of Constable's book Canaletto.

There are over 170 drafts of Constable's notes and outlines for lectures. Topics range from 13th-20th century European and American art to museum conservation, ethics, art education, and art collecting. The series also includes lecture notes from organized touring trips to Canada, Northern Europe, Scandanavia, and Poland.

Writings consist of Constable's published and unpublished articles, articles submitted for the Encyclopedia of World Art, essays, notes, exhibition catalogs, translations, and drafts and research material related to Art Collecting in the United States, Art History and Connoisseurship, and The Painter's Workshop.

Files specifically documenting Constable's advisory role in the World War II American Defense Harvard Group drafting and organizing lists of men with curatorial, museum conservation, or library/archives backgrounds to aid in the protection European most valued cultural artifacts, artwork, and architecture. There are letters documenting the formation of the Harvard Group and its goals and objections. The files also include many of the original lists that were forwarded to the Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in Europe, also known as the Roberts Commission, eventually leading to the formation of the U.S. Army's Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives division. The series also includes the Harvard Group's manual Safeguarding and Conserving Cultural Materials in the Field, committee minutes, and clippings related to their work. Correspondents include Ralph Perry, Paul Sachs, George L. Stout, and Hugh Hencken.

Constable's work after the war for the U.S. Office of Military Government for Germany is documented through numerous reports, memoranda, letters, and other official documents from the U. S. Army to Constable about surveying the state of German and Italian art institutions after World War II. The series also includes Constable's notebook "Visits in Germany" (1949), and a copy of his report Art and Reorientation: Status and Future of Museums and the Teaching of Art in Western Germany.

Exhibition files contain correspondence, notes, lists, research material, and reports related to exhibitions that Constable organized prior to his employment by and after his retirement from the Boston Museum of Art.

Research files contain materials relevant to Constable's interests and include notes, lists, correspondence, and printed and photographic reference material. These subject areas cover artists, including extensive files on Canaletto and other vedute painters, museum conservation, museums and galleries, private and public art collections, and schools of art.

Printed materials include clippings, programs, book excerpts and other miscellaneous printed materials.

Photographic materials include prints of Constable with friends and family, as well as prints, glass negatives and slides of artwork. There are also prints of the Fogg Art Museum's interiors and exterior and interior shots of Tennessee Valley Authority dam projects.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 10 series.

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1905-1983 (1.2 linear feet; Box 1-2, OV 28)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1906-1981 (6.2 linear feet; Box 2-8, OV 28-29)

Series 3: Lectures, 1909-1963 (4.6 linear feet; Box 8-12)

Series 4: Writings and Notes, 1910-1974 (2 linear feet; Box 13-14)

Series 5: American Defense Harvard Group, 1942-1946 (0.6 linear feet; Box 15)

Series 6: Office of Military Government for Germany, 1947-1952 (0.3 linear feet; Box 15)

Series 7: Exhibition Files, 1930-1969 (1 linear foot; Box 15-16, OV 29)

Series 8: Research Files, 1922-1976 (7.5 linear feet; Box 16-24, OV 28-29)

Series 9: Printed Material, 1921-1977 (0.5 linear feet; Box 24)

Series 10: Photographic Materials, circa 1940-1960 (1.4 linear feet; Box 24-27, OV 28-29)
Biographical / Historical:
W. G. (William George) Constable (1887-1976) was a museum curator and art historian who worked in England and Boston.

Born in Derby, England, Constable studied for the bar at Cambridge University, but was encouraged to pursue art over law by the Lord Chancellor who told him that law would be too strenuous after a two year convalescence from gassing during World War I. For three years, he studied at the Slade School and the Bartlett School of Architecture. In 1923, he joined the National Gallery of London where he became the Assistant Director in 1929. In 1930, he accepted the first Director's position at the newly formed Courtauld Institute, where he worked to develop one of the first programs on art history. In 1938, Constable became Curator of Paintings at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and worked there until his retirement in 1957.

Throughout his career as an arts administrator, Constable remained an accomplished lecturer and held appointments as the Slade Professor of Art at Cambridge (1933-1936), Ryerson Lecturer at Yale University (1940), and the Lowell Lecturer at the Lowell Insitute (1958). As a researcher and art historian, he published a steady stream of essays on European and American art connoisseurship, and authored over ten scholarly books, including The Painter's Workshop (1953), Richard Wilson (1953), and Canaletto (1962), the definitive work on the Venetian master.

Constable was a trusted arts advisor and, in this capacity, worked for the Wadsworth Atheneum from 1943-1945. He also worked closely with Lord Beaverbrook to establish the National Gallery of Canada and later consulted for Sotheby's and the U. S. Internal Revenue Service.

In the years leading to World War II, Constable served as an advisor to the American Defense Harvard Group and was later appointed to the Commission for the Protection of Artistic and Historic Monuments in Europe (the Roberts Commission) by President Roosevelt. The Roberts Commission was responsible for the establishment of the U. S. Army's Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section. After the war, Constable served the U.S. government as a member of a commission responsible for the recovery of looted art work and the evaluation of the state of the arts in Germany and Italy.

After his retirement from the Boston Museum, Constable continued to research and write, and also served as president of the International Institute of Conservation (1958-1960) and the Renaissance Society of America (1959-1961). From 1957 to 1966, he worked on behalf of Christie's auction house, where he met with prospective clients and provided preliminary valuations of private art works and collections.

On February 4, 1976, Constable died in Cambridge, Massachusetts from natural causes.
Related Materials:
The Archives also holds additional materials related to W.G. Constable, including an oral history interview with Constable conducted by Robert Brown in 1972-1973, and a photograph and clipping of Constable donated by Eleanor Barton in 1982.

Additional W.G. Constable papers are located at archival materials are also located at St. Johns College in Cambridge,England; the Warburg Institute in London, England; the National Gallery in London, England; and the Society for the Protection of Science and Learning in London, England. Photographs of works art collected by Constable are found at the British Studies Center at Yale University. Records relating to his tenure at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston are housed there.
Provenance:
The papers of W.G. Constable were donated in multiple gifts from 1978 to 1979 and in 1987 to 1988 by his son Giles Constable. Additional material regarding Constable's research on Canaletto was donated by researcher J.G. Links in 1985.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Painters  Search this
Art historians -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Art historians -- England  Search this
Topic:
World War, 1939-1945 -- Destruction and pillage -- Germany  Search this
Art, European  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Destruction and pillage -- Italy  Search this
Museum curators -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Art, American  Search this
Art -- Collectors and collecting  Search this
Cultural property -- Conservation and restoration -- Germany  Search this
Cultural property -- Conservation and restoration -- Italy  Search this
Art -- Conservation and restoration  Search this
Museum curators -- England  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Art and the war  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Citation:
W.G. Constable papers, 1905-1983, bulk 1920-1976. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.conswmgp
See more items in:
W.G. Constable papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-conswmgp
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