Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Search Results

Collections Search Center
126 documents - page 1 of 7

Oral history interview with Eugenie Gershoy, 1964 Oct. 15

Interviewee:
Gershoy, Eugenie, 1901-1983 or 6  Search this
Interviewer:
McChesney, Mary Fuller, 1922-2022  Search this
Subject:
Flannagan, John Bernard  Search this
Federal Art Project (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
Art and state  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women sculptors  Search this
Theme:
Women  Search this
New Deal  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13135
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)213484
AAA_collcode_gersho64
Theme:
Women
New Deal
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_213484
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Beatrice Wood

Interviewee:
Wood, Beatrice  Search this
Interviewer:
Karlstrom, Paul J.  Search this
Names:
Women in the Arts in Southern California Oral History Project  Search this
Natzler, Gertrud  Search this
Natzler, Otto  Search this
Extent:
48 Pages (Transcript)
1 Item (sound file (4 min. 18 sec.) Audio excerpt, digital)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1992 March 2
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Beatrice Wood conducted 1992 March 2, by Paul Karlstrom, for the Archives of American Art, Women in the Arts in Southern California Oral History Project.
Wood speaks of her memories of Gertrud & Otto Natzler and getting involved with ceramics; the future of art in America; and women in art.
Biographical / Historical:
Beatrice Wood (1893-1998) was a ceramist from Ojai, California.
General:
Originally recorded on 3 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 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. Funding for this interview was provided by the Margery and Harry Kahn Philanthropic Fund of the Jewish Communal Fund of New York.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Occupation:
Ceramicists -- California  Search this
Topic:
Ceramics  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Women ceramicists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.wood92
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9f21a82e4-b45e-4066-b241-2d64a5c7d463
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-wood92
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Richard Shaw [videorecording]

Interviewee:
Shaw, Richard, 1941 Sept. 12-  Search this
Interviewer:
Karlstrom, Paul J.  Search this
Names:
Braunstein/Quay Gallery  Search this
San Francisco Art Institute -- Students.  Search this
Braunstein, Ruth, 1923-  Search this
Chanco, Pauletta, 1959-  Search this
Hudson, Robert, 1938-  Search this
Melchert, Jim, 1930-  Search this
Extent:
12 Items (Master: 12 videocassettes (Beta) (30 min. each), sd., col., 1/2 in.)
12 Items (Duplicate: 12 videocassettes (30 min. each) (VHS), sd., col., 1/2 in.)
1 Item (Edited version: "Richard Shaw : Love of the Common Object": 1 videocassette (60 min.) (Beta), sd., col., 1/2 in.)
1 Videocassettes (VHS) (Edited version: "Richard Shaw: Love of the Common Object" (10 min.), sd., col., 1/2 in.)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Videocassettes (vhs)
Video recordings
Interviews
Place:
San Francisco Bay Area (Calif.)
Date:
1998 April 3 and 6
Scope and Contents:
An interview with Richard Shaw conducted 1998 April 3 and6, by Paul J. Karlstrom, for the Archives of American Art, at Shaw's home and studio, Fairfax, California, and at the Quay Gallery, San Francisco, California.
The interview covers the development of Shaw's career, life, and art. The first session took place in Shaw's studio and introduces his living and working environment. Shown is a step-by-step technical demonstration of Shaw creating his trompe l'oeil ceramic pieces. Shaw discusses his family background, values, his choice of a semi-rural environment of Marin County in which to live; bohemianism; connections with the counter-culture of northern California; relationships with other artists and friends and their importance to the development of his ideas and creativity; the differences in art communities of northern and southern California and the East and West coasts; experiences at the San Francisco Art Institute and instructors there which influenced him, as well as the influences of San Francisco in general. He described his illusionism, alchemy of technique, and his artistic philosophy and goals in his art. The second session took place at the Braunstein/Quay Gallery where a Shaw exhibit was then on display. The interview focused on his work, their meaning, and the evolution of ideas and expressions; his collaboration with Robert Hudson; the idea of a broader collaboration in the Bay Area over the years, especially in the 1960s, and the changes since then; and Shaw's reflections on the importance of ceramics in Bay Area art, his role, and direction for the future. The video was directed by David Bolt, the cameraman was Robert Boudreaux, and sound technician was William Steffanacci. In addition to Shaw, other participants include Shaw's wife, Martha; Ruth Braunstein, owner of the Braunstein/Quay Gallery; Pauletta Chanco, painter and former student; and James Melchert, sculptor and art administrator.
Biographical / Historical:
Richard Shaw (1941- ) is a ceramist and sculptor from the San Francisco Bay Area, California.
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.
Restrictions:
For information on how to access this interview contact Reference Services.
Topic:
Ceramicists -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Pottery  Search this
Genre/Form:
Video recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.shaw98
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw982e72bf5-f6e7-469b-ab87-547ca0d4e70b
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-shaw98

Oral history interview with Ralph Bacerra, 2004 April 7-19

Interviewee:
Bacerra, Ralph C., 1938-2008  Search this
Interviewer:
Lloyd, Frank, 1951-  Search this
Subject:
Andreson, Laura  Search this
Kester, Bernard  Search this
Maloof, Sam  Search this
Hamada, Shōji  Search this
Heino, Otto  Search this
Heino, Vivika  Search this
Peterson, Susan  Search this
Rady, Elsa  Search this
Saxe, Adrian Anthony  Search this
Voulkos, Peter  Search this
Chouinard Art Institute (Los Angeles, Calif.)  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Ceramics  Search this
Theme:
Craft  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12942
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)247258
AAA_collcode_bacerr04
Theme:
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_247258
Online Media:

James Melchert papers, circa 1949-2021

Creator:
Melchert, Jim, 1930-  Search this
Subject:
Voulkos, Peter  Search this
Tucker, Marcia  Search this
Cotton, Paul  Search this
National Endowment for the Arts  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Topic:
Interviews  Search this
Conceptual art  Search this
Funk  Search this
Ceramics  Search this
Theme:
Craft  Search this
Lives of American Artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)11162
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)249245
AAA_collcode_melcjim
Theme:
Craft
Lives of American Artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_249245
Online Media:

James Melchert papers

Creator:
Melchert, Jim, 1930-  Search this
Names:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
National Endowment for the Arts  Search this
Cotton, Paul, 1939-  Search this
Tucker, Marcia  Search this
Voulkos, Peter, 1924-2002  Search this
Extent:
7 Linear feet
12.28 Gigabytes
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Date:
circa 1949-2021
Summary:
The papers of ceramicist, educator, and arts administrator James Melchert measure 7 linear feet and 12.28 Gigabytes, and date from circa 1949 to 2021. The collection documents Melchert's career through biographical material, personal and professional correspondence, professional files documenting Melchert's teaching, residences, exhibitions, and other professional activities, writings, printed material documenting exhibitions and more, photographic material including images of Melchert and his artwork, and artwork comprising slide projection works.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of ceramicist, educator, and arts administrator James Melchert measure 7 linear feet and 12.28 Gigabytes, and date from circa 1949 to 2021.

Biographical material includes biographies and résumés, travel documents, and student records. Correspondence is professional and personal in nature and includes letters from artists such as Lawrence Weiner, Adrian Piper, Sol Lewitt, Hetty Huisman, and Peter Voulkos; gallerists and curators including Holly Solomon, Paul Kotula, Marcia Tucker, Lucy Lippard, and Harald Szemann; and notable former students including Paul Cotton and Theresa Cha. Professional files include records and correspondence from Melchert's tenures at the American Academy in Rome, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the University of California Berkeley, in addition to documenting other professional activities.

The writings series includes interviews, talks, panels, symposia, notes, artist statements, and autobiographical texts. Printed material includes clippings and exhibition documentation. Photographic material includes images of Melchert and his artwork from various stages of his career. Artwork includes Melchert's slide projection works represented by slides, and an artist multiple by Nam June Paik.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged in seven series:

Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1949-2019 (0.1 Linear feet: Box 1)

Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1953-2021 (3.1 Linear feet: Boxes 1-4; 3.93 Gigabytes: ER01-ER02)

Series 3: Professional Files, circa 1965-2020 (0.8 Linear feet: Box 4)

Series 4: Writings, circa 1960s-2020 (0.7 Linear feet: Box 5; 8.35 Gigabytes: ER03-ER05)

Series 5: Printed Material, circa 1960s-2020 (1.4 Linear feet: Boxes 5-7)

Series 6: Photographic Material, circa 1952-2017 (0.6 Linear feet: Box 7)

Series 7: Artwork, circa 1968-1990 (0.3 Linear feet: Box 7)
Biographical / Historical:
James Melchert (1930-) is a ceramicist and educator living in Oakland, California, known for his uniquely conceptualist approach to ceramics which draws from other disciplines including painting and performance art.

Born in New Bremen, Ohio, Melchert's education followed an unorthodox path: upon finishing his undergraduate degree in Art History in 1952, he spent four years in Japan teaching English at a high school, during which time he met his wife to be, a missionary and collage artist named Mary Ann Hostetler, with whom he would have three children. Melchert received a first master's degree from the University of Chicago in 1957 in painting, followed by a second master's degree in ceramics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1961. He shifted his focus to ceramics while completing his painting degree and attended a five-day workshop with the highly innovative and influential Peter Voulkos, with whom he would study at Berkeley and for whom he would serve as studio assistant. Melchert's career as a ceramicist began with a close association to Voulkos and the California Funk art movement.

Melchert's evolving interests led to his work including performance art and slide projection works, one of which was exhibited at Documenta 5 curated by Harald Szeemann in Kassel, Germany. After a trip to Europe in the eighties, Melchert began his experimental investigations with ceramic tile, working with cracks and imperfections in tiles and painting on the resulting works, a theme that would be an occupation of his studio practice to this day. Melchert taught fairly steadily throughout the early stages of his career and is known as a dedicated instructor to artists of various disciplines, including Paul Cotton and Theresa Cha.

Notably Melchert served as a faculty member at University of California at Berkeley from 1964-1994, with a stint living in Washington D.C. serving as the Director of Visual Arts Program of the National Endowment for the Arts from 1977 to 1981, and in Rome, Italy as the Director of American Academy, Rome from 1984 to 1988. As an artist, in addition to being exhibited around the world, Melchert's ceramic works including commissions are held in numerous collections such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Yale University Museum of Art.
Related Materials:
Related materials include Archives of American Art's Oral history interview with James Melchert, 1991 Apr. 4-5, and Oral history interview with James Melchert, 2002 September 18-October 19.
Provenance:
Donated 2004 and 2019-2021 by James Melchert as part of the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America.
Restrictions:
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Researchers interested in accessing born-digital records or audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
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:
Ceramicists -- California -- Oakland  Search this
Educators -- California -- Berkeley  Search this
Arts administrators -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Topic:
Interviews  Search this
Conceptual art  Search this
Funk  Search this
Ceramics  Search this
Citation:
James Melchert papers, circa 1949-2021. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.melcjim
See more items in:
James Melchert papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9d190f8b8-f9b3-4b9f-a02a-e6c19fe8769b
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-melcjim

Oral history interview with Ralph Bacerra

Interviewee:
Bacerra, Ralph, 1938-2008  Search this
Interviewer:
Lloyd, Frank, 1951-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Chouinard Art Institute (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Faculty  Search this
Chouinard Art Institute (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Students  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Andreson, Laura  Search this
Hamada, Shōji, 1894-1978  Search this
Heino, Otto, 1915-2009  Search this
Heino, Vivika, 1910-1995  Search this
Kester, Bernard  Search this
Maloof, Sam  Search this
Peterson, Susan, 1925-2009  Search this
Rady, Elsa, 1943-  Search this
Saxe, Adrian Anthony, 1943-  Search this
Voulkos, Peter, 1924-2002  Search this
Extent:
45 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2004 April 7-19
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Ralph Bacerra conducted 2004 April 7-19, by Frank Lloyd, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Los Angeles, California.
Bacerra speaks of his family background; his high school art teachers; attending Chouinard Art Institute and his friendship with his ceramics instructor Vivika Heino and her husband Otto; the interaction among ceramicists in Los Angeles around 1960; attending a workshop taught by Shoji Hamada; teaching at Chouinard Art Institute; building a studio; teaching a workshop at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts; traveling to Japan and Taiwan and the influence of Asian ceramics on his artwork. Bacerra also speaks of his daily work routine; the importance of glaze technology; changes in ceramic education and the market for ceramics in the last 50 years; exhibiting works at American Hand, Garth Clark Galleries, and Frank Lloyd Gallery; taking part in pivotal exhibitions including "Objects: USA"; attending National Council for the Education of Ceramic Arts conferences and the current sense of community among early ceramic artists; the importance of craft publications and critical writing; commissions completed throughout his career; attending museums for ideas and inspiration; teaching and the careers of his former students; and how reviews impact his work. Bacerra recalls Susan Peterson, Peter Voulkos, Bernard Kester, Laura Andreson, Sam Maloof, Elsa Rady, Adrian Saxe, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Ralph Bacerra (1938-2008) was a ceramicist of Los Angeles, California. Frank Lloyd is a gallery owner from Santa Monica, California.
General:
Originally recorded 2 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 9 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 23 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.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Topic:
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Ceramics  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.bacerr04
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw908754716-42c7-47f6-a9d3-823b3094b8ba
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-bacerr04
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Otto and Vivika Heino, 1981 Mar. 4

Interviewee:
Heino, Otto, 1915-2009  Search this
Interviewer:
Levin, Elaine  Search this
Subject:
Heino, Vivika, 1910-1995  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Ceramicists -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Ceramics  Search this
Theme:
Craft  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13053
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)212337
AAA_collcode_heino81
Theme:
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_212337
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Robert Arneson, 1981 August 14-15

Interviewee:
Arneson, Robert, 1930-1992  Search this
Interviewer:
Jones, Mady  Search this
Subject:
Thiebaud, Wayne  Search this
Voulkos, Peter  Search this
Wildenhain, Marguerite  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Ceramicists -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Sculptors -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Theme:
Craft  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)11807
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)212219
AAA_collcode_arneso81
Theme:
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_212219
Online Media:

Clayton Bailey papers, ca. 1960-2020

Creator:
Bailey, Clayton, 1939-2020  Search this
Bailey, Betty, 1939-2019  Search this
Subject:
Zack, David  Search this
Cumming, Robert  Search this
Gilhooly, David  Search this
Pyron, Bernard  Search this
Ratajczak, Robert  Search this
Rossol, Monona  Search this
Scanga, Italo  Search this
Wilson, S. Clay  Search this
Wonders of the World Museum  Search this
Topic:
Glazing (Ceramics)  Search this
Ceramics -- Technique  Search this
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Ceramics  Search this
Theme:
Art Materials, Techniques, and Studio Art Education  Search this
Lives of American Artists  Search this
Craft  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)5836
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)208676
AAA_collcode_bailclay
Theme:
Art Materials, Techniques, and Studio Art Education
Lives of American Artists
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_208676

Oral history interview with Otto and Vivika Heino

Interviewee:
Heino, Otto, 1915-2009  Search this
Heino, Vivika, 1910-1995  Search this
Interviewer:
Levin, Elaine  Search this
Extent:
4 Sound cassettes (Sound recording)
85 Pages (Transcript)
1 Item (Audio excerpt: 1 sound file (4 min. 52 sec.), digital)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound cassettes
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1981 Mar. 4
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Otto and Vivika Heino conducted 1981 Mar. 4, by Elaine Levin, at their home in Ojai, Calif., for the Archives of American Art.
The Heinos speak of their backgrounds and education; his early interest in pottery, hers in puppetry and other crafts; their careers as potters and work they have done separately and collaboratively; and the current status of pottery and of people involved in it.
Biographical / Historical:
Otto (1915-2009) and Vivika Heino (1910-1995) were ceramists of Ojai, Calif.
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 others.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Topic:
Ceramicists -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Ceramics  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.heino81
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9d421e8ce-3a0a-40e9-b039-bdddf7f336a5
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-heino81
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Robert Arneson

Interviewee:
Arneson, Robert, 1930-1992  Search this
Interviewer:
Jones, Mady  Search this
Names:
Thiebaud, Wayne  Search this
Voulkos, Peter, 1924-2002  Search this
Wildenhain, Marguerite  Search this
Extent:
96 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1981 August 14-15
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Robert Arneson conducted 1981 August 14-15, by Mady Jones, for the Archives of American Art.
Arneson speaks of his family background, teaching himself to draw by copying comic strips, his early interest in commercial art and discovering ceramics. He discusses, teaching ceramics to high school students, his philosophy of teaching; and the influence of Peter Voulkos and the shift toward abstract expressionism and Pop art. He reminisces about the first exhibit of his work; getting established in galleries; teaching ceramics at the University of California, Davis; his major exhibitions; and museum purchases of his work.
Biographical / Historical:
Robert Arneson (1930-1992) is a ceramic sculptor from Benicia, California.
General:
Originally recorded on 5 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 10 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hr., 11 min.
Sound quality is poor.
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:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Occupation:
Art teachers -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Topic:
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Ceramicists -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Sculptors -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.arneso81
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw965b05eec-54ad-49ad-aea8-d9b56394dd4c
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-arneso81
Online Media:

Clayton Bailey papers

Creator:
Bailey, Clayton, 1939-2020  Search this
Bailey, Betty, 1939-2019  Search this
Names:
Wonders of the World Museum  Search this
Cumming, Robert  Search this
Gilhooly, David  Search this
Pyron, Bernard  Search this
Ratajczak, Robert  Search this
Rossol, Monona  Search this
Scanga, Italo, 1932-2001  Search this
Wilson, S. Clay  Search this
Zack, David, 1938-  Search this
Extent:
34.8 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
ca. 1960-2020
Scope and Contents:
The Clayton Bailey papers measure 34.8 linear feet and date from circa 1960-2020. Included are slides of works of art and family photographs; teaching material; correspondence; sketches; printed material including catalogs, newspapers, magazines and other material related to the funk art movement and Bailey. Also included are over one hundred DVDs and CDs of lectures, performances, interviews, art openings and television programs. A small portion of the papers relate to Betty Bailey.
Biographical / Historical:
Clayton Bailey (1939-2020) was a ceramicist in Port Costa, California. Bailey served on the Board of Directors of the National Council on Education for Ceramic Arts (NCECA) from 1977-1979 and taught at the California State University at Hayward from 1968-1996.
Provenance:
Donated 1979 and 2004 by Clayton Bailey and in 2021 by Robin Liebes, Bailey's daughter.
Restrictions:
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Researchers interested in accessing audiovisual recordings and born-digital records in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
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:
Ceramicists -- California  Search this
Topic:
Glazing (Ceramics)  Search this
Ceramics -- Technique  Search this
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Ceramics  Search this
Identifier:
AAA.bailclay
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw94ce2fa97-4953-4beb-8a22-ce1f199240ec
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-bailclay

Oral history interview with Michael and Magdalena Suarez Frimkess

Interviewee:
Frimkess, Michael, 1937-  Search this
Frimkess, Magdalena Suarez  Search this
Interviewer:
Karlstrom, Paul J.  Search this
Names:
Clay Art Center -- Students  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Otis Art Institute -- Faculty  Search this
Otis Art Institute -- Students  Search this
University of California, Berkeley. Department of Art -- Students.  Search this
Rosen, Clara  Search this
Voulkos, Peter, 1924-2002  Search this
Extent:
83 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2001 March 8-April 17
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Michael Frimkess and his wife, Magdalena Suarez Frimkess, conducted 2001 March 3-April 17, by Paul Karlstrom, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in the Frimkesses' studio/home, Venice, California.
Frimkess speaks of his early life in East Los Angeles, growing up in a multi-ethnic neighborhood, and later moving with his family to Hollywood; his interest in modeling figures beginning at age 3; studying with Peter Voulkos at Otis Art Institute beginning in 1955; his animation for United Productions of America, where he worked on Mr. Magoo as an "in-betweener"; his drug use; playing the saxophone and his goal to "blow" like Charlie Parker; Voulkos's "pot shop" at Otis; following Voulkos to the University of California at Berkeley to learn bronze casting; and Vouklos's teaching methods. Frimkess also discusses his interest in classical Greek and Chinese proportions and simplicity of design in his ceramics; how playing music has helped him to be more ambidextrous and develop dry throwing; Clara Rosen as a mentor; his spiritual connection to other dimensions when throwing; his isolation from the craft community because of his multiple sclerosis and the controversy over his technique; the article he wrote "The Importance of Being Classical" (Craft Horizons, March/April 1966) and its impact on his career; Super Mud and other conferences; using his ceramics to express his political ideas about America as a melting pot; his imagery; plans for his upcoming exhibition in Korea; and his lack of production over the past 20 years. Michael Frimkess recalls Paul Soldner, Michael Cardew, Ken Price, Garth Clark, James Melchert, Ron Nagel, Richard Shaw, and others. There is also a discussion with his wife Magdalena including such topics as her childhood in an orphanage in Caracas, Venezuela, where she began painting; her studies in Chile with artists Sewell Semen, Norman Calber, and Paul Harris; her scholarship to the Clay Art Center in Port Chester, N.Y., in 1963; meeting Michael at the Clay Art Center and their relationship; their financial difficulties; setting up joint studio in which he threw pots and she glazed them; Michael's lack of participation in the craft community; and the state of his health.
Magdalena Frimkess also provided another informed perspective on the events described by her husband.
Biographical / Historical:
Michael Frimkess (1937- ) is a ceramist from Venice, California. Magdalena Frimkess is a ceramist from Venice, California. Paul J. Karlstrom is the director of the West Coast Resource Center, Archives of American Art, San Marino, California. Michael Frimkess was a leading innovator of the California fine art clay movement that grew up around Peter Voulkos and his "pot shop" at the Otis Art Institute. An element that distinguished the vessels that made Michael Frimkess's reputation was the surface decoration based on popular culture and a Pop Art sensibility. This signature style, consisting of small figures mimicking classical or pre-Columbian friezes, was further developed by Frimkess's wife Magdalena (Suarez Frimkess) who eventually, as Michael's multiple sclerosis progressed, did most of the painting of the vessels.
Magdalena was born in Venezuela and was sent to an orphanage at age 7, when her mother died and her father was unable to support her. Later she moved to Chile where her two children were born. When she was offered a fellowship to the Clay Art Center in New York her companion told her she would have to choose between that and him and the children. She reluctantly chose art, but kept up with her offspring who eventually moved to California. Her sculpture career was to a large extent subsumed after she met and married Michael Frimkess.
General:
Originally recorded on 6 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 12 digital wav files. Duration is 6 hr., 2 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.
Topic:
Art -- Study and teaching -- Chile  Search this
Potters -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Pottery -- Study and teaching -- United States.  Search this
Ceramicists -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.frimke01
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw90b4f4424-8f3e-433d-a868-3150ad81b171
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-frimke01
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Marilyn Levine

Interviewee:
Levine, Marilyn, 1935-2005  Search this
Interviewer:
Adamson, Glenn  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Melchert, Jim, 1930-  Search this
Voulkos, Peter, 1924-2002  Search this
Extent:
54 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2002 May 15
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Marilyn Levine conducted 2002 May 15, by Glenn Adamson, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Oakland, California.
Levine speaks of growing up in Alberta, Canada; going to the University of Alberta for her undergraduate and graduate degrees in chemistry; being an analytical inorganic chemist; meeting her husband at the university; her husband's work at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan and how rules about nepotism prevented her from teaching; auditing a drawing and painting art class when she could not find a job; taking evening pottery classes taught by Beth Hone; teaching chemistry at Campion College during the school year and pottery during the summers at the University of Regina; meeting Jack Sures at the Western Potters' Association and his influence on her career; helping Sures get a pottery position at the University of Regina; teaching with him from 1966-1969; using a travel grant from the Canada Council to meet American artists such as Peter Voulkos, Ron Nagle, James Melchert, and Robert Arneson; applying to graduate school at the University of California at Berkeley and being rejected; a James Melchert workshop at Beth Hone's studio; getting into Berkeley's graduate program with Melchert's help; receiving an M.F.A.; separating from her husband; experimenting with Funk art; seeing a pair of worn down shoes and becoming inspired to specialize in super-realist ceramic sculptures; her work as "timeless" and not of a particular fashion; showing her art in a New York gallery and being ripped off; having her M.F.A., one person show, at the Hansen Fuller Gallery and at the University Art Museum; letting the galleries price her work; exhibiting at OK Harris in New York; the long, slow process of making pieces; her work being accepted in America, but not in Canada; teaching ceramics to non-art majors at the University of Utah; developing a studio building, The West Coast Macaroni Factory, with Peter Voulkos; her methods, techniques, and materials including her experiments with fiberglass, nylon, and Dacron; avoiding big conferences, such as the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts [NCECA]; her first museum retrospective in 1974 at the Norman McKenzie Art Gallery; her exhibition at the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery in Waterloo, Ontario, in conjunction with the University of Waterloo; her exhibition, "Sharp Focus Realism," at the Sidney Janis Gallery; her involvement in the exhibition, "Clayworks: 20 Americans," at the American Craft Museum; her work in museum collections; having a commission to make ceramic sculptures of sporting gear for Pacific Enterprises; her studio assistants and feeling a lack of privacy; titling her work with human names for identification purposes but not having specific references to anyone. Levine also recalls Robert Bechtle, Ruth Braunstein, Joan Brown, Stephen DeStaebler, Ivan Karp, Bella Feldman, Duane Hanson, Clay Jensen, John Mason, Joan Mondale, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Marilyn Levine (1935-2005) was a ceramist from Oakland, California.
General:
Originally recorded on 1 sound disc. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 29 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.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Occupation:
Ceramicists -- California -- Oakland  Search this
Sculptors -- California -- Oakland  Search this
Topic:
Art -- Philosophy  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Ceramics -- Technique  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women ceramicists  Search this
Women sculptors  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.levine02
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9b959aad3-2ab2-445a-a8f4-1671c87a6288
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-levine02
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Robert Winokur

Interviewee:
Winokur, Robert, 1933-  Search this
Interviewer:
Riedel, Mija, 1958-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Alfred University -- Students  Search this
Helen Drutt Gallery  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (U.S.)  Search this
North Texas State University -- Faculty  Search this
Tyler School of Art -- Faculty  Search this
Tyler School of Art -- Students  Search this
Babu, Victor, 1936-  Search this
De Kooning, Willem, 1904-1997  Search this
Ferguson, Ken, 1928-2004  Search this
Giacometti, Ignazio  Search this
Hamada, Shōji, 1894-1978  Search this
Hay, Dick  Search this
Klee, Paul, 1879-1940  Search this
Kline, Franz, 1910-1962  Search this
Levy, Marge  Search this
Minter, Myrna  Search this
Notkin, Richard  Search this
Randall, Theodore, 1914-1985  Search this
Reitz, Don, 1929-2014  Search this
Rhodes, Daniel, 1911-1989  Search this
Schulman, Norman, 1924-  Search this
Staffel, Rudolf, 1911-2002  Search this
Vavrek, Ken  Search this
Voulkos, Peter, 1924-2002  Search this
Wildenhain, Marguerite  Search this
Wood, John, 1922-2012  Search this
Extent:
7 Items (Sound recording: 7 sound files (5 hr., 35 min.))
159 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Interviews
Sound recordings
Date:
2011 July 23-24
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Robert Winokur conducted 2011 July 23 and 24, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Winokur's home and studio, in Horsham, Pennsylvania.
Robert speaks of his mother earning an award for her artwork; his father and other family members being Communists and having to distance himself in being identified with them; his mother making ceramic jewelry while his father was working as a welder at Cramps Shipyard in Philadelphia during World War II; feeling like he had an attention deficit disorder of some kind, which prevented him from doing well in school, so he took ceramics classes in high school to bring his grades up; starting in painting at the Tyler School of Art, finishing in sculpture, clay, and ceramics; appreciating the Abstract Expressionist work of Franz Kline; of the opinion that one learns art by doing and that the teachers are there to direct you only; feeling that he did not have the freedom to experiment with clay as he wished at Alfred University, School of Art and Design for fear of being compared to Peter Voulkos; his first job teaching at North Texas State University in Denton, Texas; teaching in Peoria, Illinois for a year; beginning Cape Street Pottery in Ashfield, Massachusetts; when he began salt firing and working more in sculptural forms; his work influenced by Abstract Expressionism, Paul Klee, Willem de Kooning, Ignazio Giacometti, Zen master calligraphers, Peter Voulkos, and others; feeling that the computer cannot, as of yet, produce the quality of art that humans can through repetition; that the process of creating is more important than the subject; starting his 30-year teaching career at Tyler School of Art in 1966; that students today are approaching ceramics conceptually and academically rather than through a relationship with the material; the beginning of NCECA [National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts]; and how he enjoys making what he wants to, now that he is retired. Robert also recalls Rudolf Staffel, John Wood, Ted Randall, Daniel Rhodes, Shoji Hamada, Marguerite Wildenhain, Ken Ferguson, Norm Schulman, Victor Babu, Myrna Minter, Don Reitz, Helen Drutt English, Richard Notkin, Dick Hay, Marge Levy, and Ken Vavrek.
Biographical / Historical:
Robert Winokur (1933- ) is a ceramist in Horsham, Pennsylvania. Mija Riedel (1958- ) is an independent scholar in San Francisco, California.
General:
Originally recorded as 7 sound files. Duration is 5 hr., 35 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.
Topic:
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Ceramic jewelry  Search this
Ceramicists -- Pennsylvania -- Interviews  Search this
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Communism  Search this
Painting -- Study and teaching  Search this
Sculpture -- Study and teaching  Search this
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.winokr11
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9bbe0c1c7-246e-45b7-966f-6278587c8612
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-winokr11
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Ron Nagle

Creator:
Nagle, Ron  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Interviewer:
Berkson, Bill  Search this
Names:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
San Francisco State University -- Students  Search this
Voulkos, Peter, 1924-2002  Search this
Extent:
84 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2003 July 8-9
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Ron Nagle conducted 2003 July 8-9, by Bill Berkson, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in San Francisco, California.
Nagle speaks of his childhood in San Francisco and growing up in the "Outer Mission"; his early creative influences, including his father who "could build anything," his mother, who ran a ceramics club in their basement, and his high school friend Steve Archer, who customized cars; making and selling jewelry while in high school; the Beat scene in San Francisco; teaching his high school friend Rick Gomez about jewelry in exchange for lessons in throwing clay on the wheel; attending San Francisco State University, initially as an English major then switching to art; learning about Peter Voulkos from Gomez; taking a summer course with Henry Takemoto at the Art Institute [now the California School of Fine Arts]; his "manic" interest in art magazines; studying with Charles McKee at San Francisco State; working as a studio assistant for Peter Voulkos at the University of California at Berkeley, after his graduate school application was rejected; making connections in the Los Angeles art scene through friend and sculptor Ed Bereal; the influence of Kenneth Price, James Melchert, Peter Voulkos, 16th and 17th century Japanese ceramics, popular culture, and painters such as Giorgio Morandi, Albert Pinkham Ryder, Josef Albers, Philip Guston, Billy Al Bengston, and others; his first show at the Dilexi Gallery, "Works in Clay by Six Artists," 1968; teaching for 42 years; the relation between music and "studio art"; playing the piano and his broad interest in music; his band Mystery Trend; creating sound effects for the film, "The Exorcist;" his use of color; exhibitions at Garth Clark Gallery and showing internationally; his use of porcelain in the early 1990s; the idea of craft vs. art; the meditative and playful qualities of working with clay; his references to male and female physiology in his work; and his process.
Biographical / Historical:
Ron Nagle (1939- ) is a cermacist of San Francisco, California. Bill Berkson (1939- ) is a poet.
General:
Originally recorded on 3 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 11 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hrs., 27 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.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Occupation:
Musicians -- California -- San Francisco  Search this
Topic:
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Ceramics -- Technique  Search this
Ceramicists -- California -- San Francisco -- Interviews  Search this
Jewelry making  Search this
Beat generation  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.nagle03
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw913c17d68-530f-421b-88cc-f3be55021fe0
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-nagle03
Online Media:

Oral history interview with John Roloff

Interviewee:
Roloff, John, 1947-  Search this
Interviewer:
Riedel, Mija, 1958-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Fuller Goldeen Gallery  Search this
Gallery Paule Anglim  Search this
Gallery Reese Palley  Search this
George Lester Gallery (Rome, Italy)  Search this
Humboldt State University -- Students  Search this
Lance Fung Gallery  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
University of California, Davis -- Students  Search this
University of Kentucky -- Faculty  Search this
Arneson, Robert, 1930-1992  Search this
Beuys, Joseph  Search this
Butterfield, Deborah, 1949-  Search this
Kaltenbach, Stephen J.  Search this
Melchert, Jim, 1930-  Search this
Oppenheim, Dennis, 1938-2011  Search this
Voulkos, Peter, 1924-2002  Search this
Extent:
13 Items (Sound recording: 13 sound files (8 hr., 50 min.), digital, wav file)
155 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Interviews
Sound recordings
Date:
2009 August 17-18
Scope and Contents:
An interview of John Roloff conducted 2009 August 17-18, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Roloff's studio, in Oakland, California.
Roloff speaks primarily about the intersection of art and science; his desire to look at these disciplines from multiple perspectives in his work; the relationship between materials and their geological histories; his exploration and exposure of the physical processes associated with the making of art objects; Roloff talks at length about ceramics; the chemical properties of the clays and glazes; their connection to geological landscapes; and their transformation through the firing process; moreover, he discusses site specific works; the importance of location in giving context to a piece; as well as referencing a site through site based materials; furthermore, he expounds his theory of anthroturbation; discusses the parallels between man-made and natural structures; and ruminates about his work's visual engagement with ecological systems; Additionally, Roloff converses about several formative childhood experiences; how they shaped his later artistic interest and evolved into thematic elements in his work; studying marine geology at University of California-Davis; taking a ceramics class with Robert Arneson; becoming a dual art and science major; the spirit of experimentation at UC-Davis, which led to his early ceramic discoveries; pursuing graduate work at Humboldt University; teaching at the University of Kentucky-Lexington; developing his Exile and Rower series; showing his sculptures at Lester Gallery and Fuller Goldeen Gallery in California; his shift from studio work to landscape/installations; the development of his Ship and Kiln series; as well as his later photographic work; Roloff also recalls Stephen Kaltenbach, Deborah Butterfield, Peter Voulkos, Jim Melchert, Dennis Oppenheim, Joseph Beuys, Kenneth Baker, in addition to the following galleries: Lance Fang, Paule Anglim and Reese Paley.
Biographical / Historical:
John S. Roloff (1947- ) is a sculptor and ceramicist and lives and works in Oakland, California. Roloff also taught at the San Francisco Art Institute and Mills College.
General:
Originally recorded on 2 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 13 digital wav files. Duration is 8 hr., 50 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.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Topic:
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Art -- Technique  Search this
Ceramicists -- California -- Oakland -- Interviews  Search this
Ceramics -- Technique  Search this
Science -- Study and teaching  Search this
Sculptors -- California -- Oakland -- Interviews  Search this
Submarine geology  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.roloff09
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9f4887af7-aabd-4e00-8143-9c793cab7f34
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-roloff09
Online Media:

Oral history interview with John Mason

Interviewee:
Mason, John, 1927-2019  Search this
Interviewer:
Smith, Paul J.  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Chouinard Art Institute (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Students  Search this
Ferus Gallery (Los Angeles, Calif.)  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Otis Art Institute -- Students  Search this
Ballard, Richard  Search this
Coplans, John  Search this
Fuller, R. Buckminster (Richard Buckminster), 1895-1983  Search this
Hopps, Walter  Search this
Kienholz, Edward, 1927-  Search this
Koshalek, Richard  Search this
Marer, Fred  Search this
McClain, Mac  Search this
Melchert, Jim, 1930-  Search this
Peterson, Susan, 1925-2009  Search this
Price, Kenneth, 1935-2012  Search this
Sheets, Millard, 1907-1989  Search this
Soldner, Paul  Search this
Sullivan, Louis H., 1856-1924  Search this
Voulkos, Peter, 1924-2002  Search this
Wright, Frank Lloyd, 1867-1959  Search this
Extent:
47 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2006 August 28
Scope and Contents:
An interview of John Mason conducted 2006 August 28, by Paul Smith, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Smith's office, in New York, N.Y.
Mason speaks of his childhood in rural Nevada; early interests in photography and jazz; moving to Los Angeles to attend the Los Angeles County Art Institute, now Otis College of Art and Design; attending Chouinard Art Institute; experiences working at Vernon Kilns and with the head designer Elliot House; opening Glendale Boulevard Studio with Peter Voulkos; his association with Ferus Gallery; and teaching experiences at Pomona College, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Irvine, and Hunter College. He also discusses the development of the Hudson River series exhibition; solo exhibitions at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LA Louver Gallery, Pasadena Art Museum, now Norton Simon Museum of Art, and others; participation in group exhibitions such as, "Sculpture Off the Pedestal" at Grand Rapids Museum of Art; imagery found in his work including the orbit, the figure, the torque, the spear form, the vertical form, the cross or X form, symmetry and the monolith; an interest in Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan; the architectural qualities in his work; the foresight of Buckminster Fuller; and the accelerating change in technology that has taken place over the course of his career. Mason recalls Susan Peterson, Kenneth Price, Paul Soldner, Mac McClain, Fred Marer, Millard Sheets, Edward Kienholz, Walter Hopps, James Melchert, John Coplans, Richard Ballard, Richard Koshalek, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
John Mason (1927-2019 ) was a ceramicist of Los Angeles, California. Paul Smith (1931- ) is Director Emeritus, American Craft Museum of New York City, N.Y.
General:
Originally recorded on 5 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hrs., 26 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.
Restrictions:
This transcript is open for research. Access to the entire audio recording is restricted. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Topic:
Ceramicists -- California -- Los Angeles -- Interviews  Search this
Sculptors -- California -- Los Angeles -- Interviews  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.mason06
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw93531d57a-bc1c-4053-908d-79bc55d3fcc1
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-mason06
Online Media:

Henry Varnum Poor papers

Creator:
Poor, Henry Varnum, 1887-1970  Search this
Names:
Montross Gallery  Search this
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture  Search this
Benton, William, 1900-1973  Search this
Biddle, George, 1885-1973  Search this
Billing, Jules  Search this
Burchfield, Charles Ephraim, 1893-1967  Search this
Caniff, Milton Arthur, 1907-1988  Search this
Ciardi, John, 1916-  Search this
Czebotar, Theodore  Search this
Deming, MacDonald  Search this
Dickson, Harold E., 1900-  Search this
Dorn, Marion, 1896-1964  Search this
Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968  Search this
Esherick, Wharton  Search this
Evergood, Philip, 1901-1973  Search this
Garrett, Alice Warder  Search this
Houseman, John, 1902-1988  Search this
Marston, Muktuk  Search this
Meredith, Burgess, 1907-1997  Search this
Mumford, Lewis, 1895-1990  Search this
Padro, Isabel  Search this
Poor, Anne, 1918-  Search this
Poor, Bessie Breuer  Search this
Poor, Eva  Search this
Poor, Josephine Graham  Search this
Poor, Josephine Lydia  Search this
Poor, Peter  Search this
Sargent, Elizabeth S.  Search this
Smith, David, 1906-1965  Search this
Steinbeck, John, 1902-1968  Search this
Watson, Ernest William, 1884-1969  Search this
Extent:
12.9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sketches
Motion pictures (visual works)
Diaries
Prints
Photographs
Illustrations
Drawings
Watercolors
Sketchbooks
Date:
1873-2001
bulk 1904-1970
Summary:
The papers of Henry Varnum Poor measure 12.9 linear feet and date from 1873-2001, with the bulk from the period 1904-1970. Correspondence, writings, artwork, printed material and photographs document Poor's work as a painter, muralist, ceramic artist and potter, architect, designer, writer, war artist, educator and a co-founder of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Also found is extensive information about the design and construction of Crow House, his home in New City, New York, commissions for other architectural projects, and his personal life.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Henry Varnum Poor measure 12.9 linear feet and date from 1873-2001, with the bulk from the period 1904-1970. Correspondence, writings, artwork, printed material and photographs document Poor's work as a painter, muralist, ceramic artist and potter, architect, designer, writer, war artist, educator and a co-founder of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Also found is extensive information about the design and construction of Crow House, his home in New City, New York, commissions for other architectural projects, and his personal life.

Henry Varnum Poor's correspondence documents his personal, family, and professional life. Correspondents include family and friends, among them George Biddle, Charles Burchfield, John Ciardi, Marion V. Dorn (who became his second wife), Philip Evergood, Lewis Mumford, John Steinbeck, David Smith, and Mrs. John Work (Alice) Garrett. Among other correspondents are galleries, museums, schools, organizations, fans, former students, and acquaintances from his military service and travels. Family correspondence consists of Henry's letters to his parents, letters to his parents written by his wife, and letters among other family members.

Among the writings by Henry Varnum Poor are manuscripts of his two published books, An Artist Sees Alaska and A Book of Pottery: From Mud to Immortality. as well as the text of "Painting is Being Talked to Death," published in the first issue of Reality: A Journal of Artists' Opinions, April 1953, and manuscripts of other articles. There are also film scripts, two journals, notes and notebooks, lists, speeches, and writings by others, including M. R. ("Muktuk") Marston's account of Poor rescuing an Eskimo, and Bessie Breuer Poor's recollections of The Montross Gallery.

Subject files include those on the Advisory Committee on Art, American Designers' Gallery, Inc., William Benton, Harold Dickson, Reality: A Journal of Artists' Opinions Sales, and War Posters. There are numerous administrative files for the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

Artwork by Henry Varnum Poor consists mainly of loose drawings and sketches and 45 sketchbooks of studies for paintings, murals, and pottery. There is work done in France, 1918-1919, and while working as a war correspondent in Alaska in 1943. There are commissioned illustrations and some intended for his monograph, A Book of Pottery: From Mud to Immortality. Also found are a small number of watercolors and prints. Work by other artists consist of Anne Poor's drawings of her father's hands used for the Lincoln figure in The Land Grant Frescoes and interior views of Crow House by Ernest Watson.

Documentation of Poor's architectural projects consists of drawings and prints relating to houses designed and built for Jules Billing, MacDonald Deming, John Houseman, Burgess Meredith, Isabel Padro, and Elizabeth S. Sargent. Also found is similar material for the new studio Poor built in 1957 on the grounds of Crow House.

Miscellaneous records include family memorabilia and two motion picture films, Painting a True Fresco, and The Land Grant Murals at Pennsylvania State College.

Printed material includes articles about or mentioning Poor, some of his pottery reference books, family history, a catalog of kilns, and the program of a 1949 Pennsylvania State College theater production titled Poor Mr. Varnum. Exhibition catalogs and announcements survive for some of Poor's shows; catalogs of other artists' shows include one for Theodore Czebotar containing an introductory statement by Henry Varnum Poor. Also found is a copy of The Army at War: A Graphic Record by American Artists, for which Poor served as an advisor. There are reproductions of illustrations for An Artist Sees Alaska and Ethan Frome, and two Associated American Artists greeting cards reproducing work by Poor.

Photographs are of Henry Varnum Poor's architectural work, artwork, people, places, and miscellaneous subjects. This series also contains negatives, slides, and transparencies. Images of architectural work include exterior and interior views of many projects; Poor's home, Crow House, predominates. Photographs of artwork by Poor are of drawings, fresco and ceramic tile murals, paintings, pottery and ceramic art. People appearing in photographs include Henry Varnum Poor, family members, friends, clients, juries, students, and various groups. Among the individuals portrayed are Milton Caniff, Marcel Duchamp, Wharton Esherick, M. R. ("Muktuk") Marston, and Burgess Meredith. Among the family members are Bessie Breuer Poor, Marion Dorn Poor, Anne Poor, Eva Poor, Josephine Graham Poor, Josephine Lydia Poor, Peter Poor, and unidentified relatives. Photographs of places include many illustrating village life in Alaska that were taken by Poor during World War II. Other places recorded are French and California landscapes, and family homes in Kansas. Miscellaneous subjects are exhibition installation views, scenes of Kentucky farms, and a photograph of Poor's notes on glazes.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 9 series:

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1919-1987 (0.2 linear feet; Box 1, OV 18)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1873-1985 (1.5 linear feet; Boxes 1-2)

Series 3: Writings and Notes, circa 1944-1974 (0.6 linear feet; Boxes 2-3)

Series 4: Subject Files, 1928-1975 (0.8 linear feet; Box 3, OV 23)

Series 5: Artwork, circa 1890s-circa 1961 (3.5 linear feet; Boxes 4-6, 9-10, OV 19-22)

Series 6: Architectural Projects, circa 1940-1966 (0.7 linear feet; Box 6, OV 24-26, RD 14-17)

Series 7: Miscellaneous Records, 1882-1967 (Boxes 6, 11, FC 30-31; 0.5 linear ft.)

Series 8: Printed Material, 1881-2001 (1.2 linear feet; Boxes 6-7, 11, OV 27-29)

Series 9: Photographs, 1893-1984 (2.3 linear feet; Boxes 7-8, 12-13)
Biographical Note:
Henry Varnum Poor (1888-1970), best known as a potter, ceramic artist, and a co-founder of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, was also an architect, painter, muralist, designer, educator, and writer who lived and worked in New City, New York.

A native of Chapman, Kansas, Henry Varnum Poor moved with his family to Kansas City when his grain merchant father became a member of the Kansas Board of Trade. From a young age he showed artistic talent and spent as much time as possible - including school hours - drawing. When a school supervisor suggested that Henry leave school to study at the Art Institute of Chicago, the family disagreed. Instead, he enrolled in the Kansas City Manual Training High School where he delighted in learning skills such as carpentry, forge work, and mechanical drawing. In 1905, he moved with his older brother and sister to Palo Alto, California and completed high school there. Because Poor was expected to join the family business, he enrolled at Stanford University as an economics major, but much to his father's disappointment and displeasure, soon left the economics department and became an art major.

Immediately after graduation in 1910, Poor and his major professor at Stanford, Arthur B. Clark, took a summer bicycling tour to look at art in London, France, Italy, and Holland. As Poor had saved enough money to remain in London after the summer was over, he enrolled in the Slade School of Art and also studied under Walter Sickert at the London County Council Night School. After seeing an exhibition of Post-Impressionism at the Grafton Galleries in London, Poor was so impressed that he went to Paris and enrolled in the Académie Julian. While in Paris, Poor met Clifford Addams, a former apprentice of Whistler; soon he was working in Addams' studio learning Whistler's palette and techniques.

In the fall of 1911, Poor returned to Stanford University's art department on a one-year teaching assignment. During that academic year, his first one-man show was held at the university's Old Studio gallery. He married Lena Wiltz and moved back to Kansas to manage the family farm and prepare for another exhibition. Their daughter, Josephine Lydia Poor, was born the following year. Poor returned to Stanford in September 1913 as assistant professor of graphic arts, remaining until the department closed three years later. During this period, Poor began to exhibit more frequently in group shows in other areas of the country, and had his first solo exhibition at a commercial gallery (Helgesen Gallery, San Francisco). In 1916, Poor joined the faculty of the San Francisco Art Association. He and his wife separated in 1917 and were divorced the following year. Poor began sharing his San Francisco studio with Marion Dorn.

During World War I, Poor was drafted into the U. S. Army, and in 1918 went to France with the 115th Regiment of Engineers. He spent his spare time drawing; soon officers were commissioning portraits, and Poor was appointed the regimental artist. He also served as an interpreter for his company. Discharged from the Army in early 1919, Poor spent the spring painting in Paris. He then returned to San Francisco and married Marion Dorn.

Once Poor realized that earning a living as a painter would be extremely difficult in California, he and his new wife moved to New York in the autumn of 1919. They were looking for a place to live when influential book and art dealer Mary Mowbray-Clarke of the Sunwise Turn Bookshop in Manhattan suggested New City in Rockland County, New York as good place for artists. In January of 1920, the Poors purchased property on South Mountain Road in New City. The skills he acquired at the Kansas City Manual Training High School were of immediate use as Poor designed and constructed "Crow House" with the assistance of a local teenager. Influenced by the farmhouses he had seen in France, it was made of local sandstone and featured steep gables, rough plaster, chestnut beams and floors, and incorporated many hand-crafted details. Poor designed and built most of their furniture, too. Before the end of the year, he and Marion were able to move into the house, though it remained a work in progress for many years. Additions were constructed. Over time, gardens were designed and planted, and outbuildings - a kiln and pottery, work room, garage, and new studio - appeared on the property.

In 1925, two years after his divorce from Marion Dorn, Poor married Bessie Freedman Breuer (1893-1975), an editor, short story writer, and novelist. Soon after, he adopted her young daughter, Anne (1918-2002), an artist who served as his assistant on many important mural commissions. Their son, Peter (b. 1926) became a television producer. Crow House remained in the family until its sale in 2006. In order to prevent its demolition, Crow House was then purchased by the neighboring town of Ramapo, New York in 2007.

Between 1935 and 1966 Poor designed and oversaw construction of a number of houses, several of them situated not far from Crow House on South Mountain Road. Poor's designs, noted for their simplicity, featured modern materials and incorporated his ceramic tiles. Among his important commissions were houses for Maxwell Anderson, Jules Billig, Milton Caniff, MacDonald Deming, and John Houseman.

Poor's first exhibition of paintings in New York City was at Kevorkian Galleries in 1920, and sales were so disappointing that he turned his attention to ceramics. His first pottery show, held at Bel Maison Gallery in Wanamaker's department store in 1921, was very successful. He quickly developed a wide reputation, participated in shows throughout the country, and won awards. He was a founder of the short-lived American Designers' Gallery, and the tile bathroom he showed at the group's first exposition was critically acclaimed. Poor was represented by Montross Gallery as both a painter and potter. When Montross Gallery closed upon its owner's death in 1932, Poor moved to the Frank K. M. Rehn Gallery.

Even though Poor's pottery and ceramic work was in the forefront, he continued to paint. His work was acquired by a number of museums, and the Limited Editions Club commissioned him to illustrate their republications of Ethan Frome, The Scarlet Letter, and The Call of the Wild.

Poor's first work in true fresco was shown in a 1932 mural exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Between 1935 and 1949 he was commissioned to produce several murals in fresco for Section of Fine Arts projects at the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior, The Land Grant Frescoes at Pennsylvania State College, and a mural for the Louisville Courier-Journal. Ceramic tile mural commissions included: the Klingenstein Pavilion, Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York City; Travelers Insurance Co., Boston; the Fresno Post Office, California; and Hillson Memorial Gallery, Deerfield Academy, Deerfield, Mass.

As a member of the War Artists' Unit, Poor was a "war correspondent" with the rank of major in World War II, and for several months in 1943 was stationed in Alaska. An Artist Sees Alaska, drawing on Poor's observations and experiences, was published in 1945. A Book of Pottery: From Mud to Immortality, his second book, was published in 1958. It remains a standard text on the subject. While on the faculty of Columbia University in the 1950s, Poor and other artists opposed to the growing influence of Abstract Expressionism formed the Reality Group with Poor the head of its editorial committee. Their magazine, Reality: A Journal of Artists' Opinions, first appeared in 1953 featuring "Painting is Being Talked to Death" by Poor as its lead article. Two more issues were published in 1954 and 1955.

Along with Willard Cummings, Sidney Simon, and Charles Cuttler, in 1946 Henry Varnum Poor helped to establish the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine. He served as its first president. Poor and his daughter, Anne, were active members of the Board of Trustees and were instructors for many years. The summer of 1961 was Henry Varnum Poor's last as a full-time teacher, though he continued to spend summers at Skowhegan.

Henry Varnum Poor exhibited widely and received many awards, among them prizes at the Carnegie Institute, Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Architectural League of New York. Poor was appointed to the United States Commission of Fine Arts by President Roosevelt in 1941 and served a five year term. He was elected a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1943. The National Academy of Design named him an Associate Artist in 1954 and an Academician in 1963. He became a trustee of the American Craftsman's Council in 1956. The work of Henry Vernum Poor is represented in the permanent collections of many American museums including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Addison Gallery of American Art, and Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts.

Henry Varnum Poor died at home in New City, New York, December 8, 1970.
Related Material:
An oral history interview with Henry Varnum Poor was conducted by Harlan Phillips for the Archives of American Art in 1964.
Provenance:
Gift of Henry Varnum Poor's son, Peter V. Poor, in 2007. A smaller portion was loaned to the Archives in 1973 by Anne Poor for microfilming and returned to the lender; this material was included in the 2007 gift.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information. Use of 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:
War artists  Search this
Topic:
Architects -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
World War, 1914-1918  Search this
War posters  Search this
Educators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Pottery -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Designers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Ceramicists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Artists' studios  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Muralists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sketches
Motion pictures (visual works)
Diaries
Prints
Photographs
Illustrations
Drawings
Watercolors
Sketchbooks
Citation:
Henry Varnum Poor papers, 1873-2001, bulk 1904-1970. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.poorhenr
See more items in:
Henry Varnum Poor papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw96265d653-098f-4ccc-abed-0bc649c50516
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-poorhenr
Online Media:

Modify Your Search







or


Narrow By
  • Archives of American Art