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Beatrice Wood papers

Creator:
Wood, Beatrice  Search this
Names:
Garth Clark Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
John Waller, Fine Ceramics (Firm : Los Angeles, Calif.)  Search this
Zachary Waller Gallery (Los Angeles, Calif.)  Search this
Arensberg, Louise S. (Louise Stevenson), 1879-1953  Search this
Arensberg, Walter, 1878-1954  Search this
Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968  Search this
Hapgood, Elizabeth Reynolds  Search this
Hoag, Stephen Asa  Search this
Nin, Anaïs, 1903-1977  Search this
Roché, Henri Pierre, 1879-1959  Search this
Rosencrantz, Esther, 1876-1950  Search this
Extent:
26.6 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Drafts (documents)
Interviews
Photographs
Illustrated letters
Notes
Watercolors
Diaries
Transcripts
Lithographs
Short stories
Illustrations
Designs
Drawings
Bookplates
Date:
1894-1998
bulk 1930-1990
Summary:
The papers of California ceramicist Beatrice Wood measure 26.6 linear feet and date from 1906 to 1998, with the bulk dating from 1930-1990. There is extensive correspondence with gallery owners, fellow artists, clients, friends, and family. The collection also contains biograpical materials, personal business records, writings, printed materials, photographs, and works of art. Of particular interest are the 28 diaries that Wood maintained from 1916 until her death in 1998 and 42 glazing formula notebooks dating from 1934-1997. Also found are documents of Steven Hoag and Esther Rosencranz, her husband and aunt respectively, that consist of correspondence, business records, and photographs given to the Archives of American Art as part of the Beatrice Wood papers.
Scope and Contents note:
The papers of California ceramicist Beatrice Wood measure 26.6 linear feet and date from 1906 to 1998, with the bulk dating from 1930-1990. There is extensive correspondence with gallery owners, fellow artists, clients, friends, and family. The collection also contains biographical materials, personal business records, writings, printed materials, photographs, and works of art. Of particular interest are the 28 diaries that Wood maintained from 1916 until her death in 1998 and 42 glazing formula notebooks dating from 1934-1997. Also found are documents of Steven Hoag and Esther Rosencranz, her husband and aunt respectively, that consist of correspondence, business records, and photographs given to the Archives of American Art as part of the Beatrice Wood papers.

Biographical material contains certificates, licenses, degrees, legal documents, and extensive interview transcripts, which describe her philosophy on art and her development as a ceramic artist.

Correspondence is particularly rich in documenting Wood's passion and dedication to her work as a writer and artist. The records reflect Wood's close professional and personal relationships with many friends and colleagues, including Henri-Pierre Roche, Marcel Duchamp, Anais Nin, Elizabeth Hapgood, and Walter and Lou Arensberg. Additional correspondence with editors and publishers is also included. Wood enjoyed illustrating her letters, as did many of her correspondents.

Personal business records include financial material, sales and consignment records, and correspondence with gallery owners, including Garth Clark Gallery, John Waller Gallery, and Zachary Waller Gallery.

Notes and writings extensively document Wood's second career as a writer. Edited drafts of her monographs and short stories are available, as well as her journal writings and notes. Drafts of I Shock Myself: The Autobiography of Beatrice Wood, Angel Who Wore Black Tights, 33rd Wife of a Maharajah, among others are included. Also found here are the illustrations that Wood created for her monographs. She often did a series of drawings for each illustration and these copies are included as well.

Twenty-eight detailed diaries contain information about studio sales, clients, and the economic uncertainties of being a self-employed artist. The diaries, arranged in one-year and five-year volumes, begin in 1916 and end just a few days before her death in 1998.

Forty-two glaze books record the formulas for the pottery glazes Wood developed throughout her career.

Printed material includes copies of Wood's published monographs as well as exhibition announcements and brochures. Also found are clippings about Wood, including numerous articles about her trips to India.

Photographic material includes photographs and slides of Wood, her friends, travels, and other events. Many of the photographs are identified by Wood.

Artwork includes original sketches, drawings, watercolors, lithographs and designs by Wood. The original illustrations from her books are included in this series.

The last two series contain records generated by her husband, Stephen Hoag and her maternal aunt, Esther Rosencrantz. Wood was married to Hoag from 1937 until his death in 1960. The bulk of the material contains Hoag's financial records, mostly receipts, from his early years as a engineer in the Pacific Northwest. Esther Rosencranz, a physician in San Francisco, collected book plates that are included in this series.
Arrangement note:
The collection is arranged as 11 series:

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1924-1993 (Box 1; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1910-1998 (Box 1-8; 7.7 linear feet)

Series 3: Personal Business Records, 1909-1988 (Box 9-11, 26, OV 31; 3.5 linear feet)

Series 4: Notes and Writings, circa 1912-1997 (Box 11-16, 27; 5.5 linear feet)

Series 5: Diaries, 1915-1998 (Box 17-20; 4 linear feet)

Series 6: Glaze Books, circa 1930-1997 (Box 21-22, 27-30; 2.5 linear feet)

Series 7: Printed Material, 1940-1997 (Box 23, OV 31; 1.1 linear feet)

Series 8: Photographic Material, 1913-1997 (Box 24, 30; 1 linear foot)

Series 9: Artwork, 1917-1991 (Box 24-25, 30; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 10: Stephen Hoag papers, 1906-1960 (Box 25; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 11: Esther Rosencranz papers, 1894-1959 (Box 25; 0.1 linear feet)
Biographical/Historical note:
Beatrice Wood (1893-1998) was a ceramicist, painter, and writer who relocated to Ojai, California in 1948.

Beatrice Wood was born on March 3, 1893 in San Francisco to socially prominent and wealthy parents. In the late 1890s, the family moved to New York City where Wood was expected to begin the process of "coming out" in New York society. This process included boarding schools, a convent school in Paris, and frequent summer trips to Europe where she was exposed to museums, galleries, and the theater. Wood studied acting and dance in Paris until the outbreak of the war in 1914. She returned to New York and soon joined the company of the French National Repertory Theatre. From 1914 through 1916, Wood played over 60 parts as a stage actress.

In 1917, Wood met the writer Henri Pierre Roche, with whom she had a brief affair and a long friendship. Roche introduced her to the New York world of artists and writers and encouraged her interest in drawing and painting. During a visit to see the composer Edgard Varese in the hospital, Wood met Marcel Duchamp, with whom she had a love affair and who also had a strong influence in her development as an artist. Their long discussions about modern art encouraged Wood to show Duchamp a recent drawing entitled "Marriage of a Friend." Duchamp liked the drawing so much that he published it in Rogue, a magazine partly financed by Walter and Louise Arensberg, friends of Duchamp. The Arensbergs were pioneering collectors of modern art and soon became friends of Wood as well. She became a frequent guest at their evening gatherings, forming friendships with Walter Pach, Francis Picabia, Joseph Stella, Myrna Loy, Galka Scheyer, and others.

Through Duchamp and the Arensbergs, Wood was introduced to the world of the New York Dada. Following the formation of the Society of Independent Artists in 1917, Wood exhibited work in their Independents exhibition. Together with Duchamp and Roche, she published a short-lived avant-garde journal, called Blind Man, in which the Alfred Steiglitz photograph of Duchamp's famous ready-made "Fountain" appeared. She also designed the poster for the Dada event, The Blind Man's Ball.

Throughout the 1920s, Wood continued to draw and paint, especially watercolors. Late in 1927, she moved to California to join the Arensbergs, who had been there since 1921. She also developed an interest in clay and took her first ceramics classes with Glen Lukens at the University of Southern California in the late 1930s. In 1940 Wood studied with Otto and Gertrud Natzler, Austrian potters who were known for their technical mastery and ability to throw almost perfectly formed pots. The Natzlers taught her how to throw pots and calculate glaze formulas.

Museums and galleries began to take an interest in her pottery and she held several shows in New York, San Francisco, and Phoenix. Several department stores, including Nieman Marcus and Gumps, also began to feature her pottery. During the 1940s, Wood began making figurative art in addition to more traditional pots. In 1947, for example, she included a large blue fish with white spots in an exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of History, Science, and Art. As her skills developed, Wood moved to a new home and studio in Ojai, California. By 1950, Wood was experimenting with luster surfaces, pottery with a metallic glaze that gives the effect of iridescence. These lusterware plates, in addition to her decorative figures and traditional ceramics, were sold at her studio, advertised with a sign out front that read "Beatrice Wood: Fine Pottery, Reasonable and Unreasonable."

In 1961, Wood visited India as a cultural ambassador, sponsored by the State Department. She toured the country and showed her work in fourteen cities. She became enamoured with Indian decorative arts and began to weave shimmering gold and silver threads into her palatte. Wood returned a second time in 1965 at the invitation of the Indian government. It was during this trip that she decided to adopt the sari as her style of dress, a style she continued until her death in 1998. She made her third and last trip to India in 1971. Her book, 33rd Wife of a Maharajah is about her adventures in India.

Wood always enjoyed writing, recording her daily activities in a diary and creating stories about her experiences with friends and colleagues. She published her first book, Angel Who Wore Black Tights in 1982, followed by her autobiography, I Shock Myself, in 1985.

Wood considered her last 25 years as her most productive. In addition to her literary publications, Wood also had several successful exhibitions, including Intimate Appeal: The Figurative Art of Beatrice Wood at the Oakland Museum in 1990 and Beatrice Wood: A Centennial Tribute at New York's American Craft Museum in 1997. The film, Beatrice Wood: The Mama of Dada, was filmed on the occasion of her 100th birthday in 1993. She died in Ojai, California in 1998, nine days after her 105th birthday.
Related Archival Materials note:
The Archives of American Art holds two oral history interviews with Beatrice Wood completed by Paul Karlstrom in 1976 and 1992.
Provenance:
Beatrice Wood donated her papers in several accretions between 1976 and 2002. Additional material was donated by Francis Naumann in 1993 and the Beatrice Wood Personal Property Trust in 1999. Material from a 1977 loan was included in Wood's later donations.
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.
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.
Topic:
Art -- Philosophy  Search this
Authors -- California  Search this
Glazes -- Formulae  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Art -- Economic aspects  Search this
Actresses -- United States  Search this
Ceramicists -- California  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- California  Search this
Women ceramicists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Drafts (documents)
Interviews
Photographs
Illustrated letters
Notes
Watercolors
Diaries
Transcripts
Lithographs
Short stories
Illustrations
Designs
Drawings
Bookplates
Citation:
Beatrice Wood papers, 1906-1998, bulk 1930-1990. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.woodbeat
See more items in:
Beatrice Wood papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-woodbeat
Online Media:

Billy Al Bengston papers

Creator:
Bengston, Billy Al  Search this
Names:
Ferus Gallery (Los Angeles, Calif.)  Search this
James Corcoran Gallery  Search this
John Berggruen Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Martha Jackson Gallery  Search this
Alexander, Peter, 1939-  Search this
Altoon, John, 1925-  Search this
Andre, Carl, 1935-  Search this
Chamberlain, John, 1927-2011  Search this
Diebenkorn, Richard, 1922-1993  Search this
Flavin, Dan, 1933-  Search this
Goode, Joe, 1937-  Search this
Lichtenstein, Roy, 1923-1997  Search this
Motherwell, Robert  Search this
Plagens, Peter  Search this
Ruscha, Edward  Search this
Extent:
10.4 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Interviews
Photographs
Date:
circa 1940s-1989
bulk 1960-1988
Summary:
The papers of southern California Pop artist Billy Al Bengston measure 10.4 linear feet and date from circa 1940s to 1989, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1960 to 1988. The collection documents the life and work of the artist through biographical materials, correspondence, personal business records, gallery and museum files, teaching files, project and commission files, scattered artwork, printed materials, and photographs.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Billy Al Bengston measure 10.4 linear feet and date from circa 1940s to 1989, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1960 to 1988. The collection documents the life and work of the southern California artist through biographical materials, correspondence, personal business records, gallery and museum files, teaching files, project and commission files, scattered artwork, printed materials, and photographs.

Found within the biographical materials series are three feet of calendars which extensively document Bengston's personal and professional activities for fourteen years, and include ephemera related to these activities. This series also includes health records, wills, and passports.

Correspondence is with galleries, museums, universities, businesses, friends, and colleagues, and primarily concerns exhibitions, sales, consignments, commissions, and Bengston's personal finances. Bengston's relationship with the James Corcoran Gallery, Janie C. Lee Gallery, John Berggruen Gallery, Martha Jackson Gallery, and Texas Gallery are well-documented here, as well as in the Museum and Gallery Files series. Also found is a limited amount of personal correspondence with collectors, researchers, and friends. A few letters from other artists, including Peter Plagens and a letter from Richard Diebenkorn are interfiled here.

Bengston's professional relationships with galleries, museums, and universities are well-documented in the gallery and museum files, including the galleries mentioned above, Ferus Gallery, and others. Lists of consignments and prices, invoices, records of sales, loan agreement forms, shipping receipts, exhibition checklists, and exhibition floor plans provide information about sales, exhibitions, and loans. A few files provide further information about Bengston teaching activities. His personal business records include art sales records, price lists, lists of purchases, records of investment, and personal finance records. Project files include correspondence, notes, and printed materials related to Bengston's commissions for artwork and personal projects, including a book he worked on with Ed Ruscha, Business Cards.

Writings by Bengston include responses to exhibitions of West Coast art and his thoughts on his career, art, the artistic community, motorcycles, as well as a recollection of John Altoon. Also found are questionnaires sent out by Bengston for an art survey, with responses from Peter Alexander, Carl Andre, John Chamberlain, Dan Flavin, Joe Goode, Robert Graham, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Motherwell, Ed Ruscha, and others. Writings by others consist primarily of exhibition catalog essays, manuscripts of interviews with Bengston, and other writings about Bengston. Also found is an essay by Walter Hopps. Photographs of Bengston include a family picture from the 1940s, Bengston at work on projects in Los Angeles and Syracuse, New York, and Bengston at social events. Other photographs consist of pictures of friends and artists, Bengston's artwork, documentary evidence of damaged artwork, and of commission sites.

Printed materials from the 1960s - 1980s include clippings, full articles, exhibition announcements and catalogs, and posters. They document exhibitions, art in southern California, and society and art events. The collection houses limited amounts of artwork including sketches, cut-outs, doodles and drawings.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into 10 series:

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1958-1987 (Boxes 1-4, 11; 3.7 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1966-1989 (Boxes 4-6; 1.75 linear feet)

Series 3: Gallery and Museum Files, 1961-1989 (Boxes 6-7; 1.5 linear feet)

Series 4: Teaching Records, 1968-1982 (Box 7; 7 folders)

Series 5: Personal Business Records, circa 1960-1987 (Boxes 7-8; 1.0 linear foot)

Series 6: Project Files, 1968-1987 (Boxes 8-9; 0.25 linear feet)

Series 7: Writings, 1967-circa 1988 (Box 9, OV 12; 0.25 linear feet)

Series 8: Artwork, 1960s-1987 (Box 9; 7 folders)

Series 9: Printed Materials, 1958-1988 (Boxes 9-10, OV 12-13; 1.25 linear feet)

Series 10: Photographs, circa 1940s-1987 (Box 10; 0.5 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
Billy Al Bengston was born in Dodge City, Kansas on June 7, 1934. After moving back and forth from Kansas to California multiple times, he and his family settled in Los Angeles in 1948. While attending the Manual Arts High School, Bengston became interested in art, especially ceramics. After a brief stint at Los Angeles Junior College, Bengston worked as a beach attendant at Doheny State Beach. While working there he met fellow surfer and future ceramicist Kenneth Price, who became one of Bengston's closest friends. In 1953, he reenrolled in Los Angeles Junior College to study ceramics. For the next four years he attended both the California College of Arts and Crafts and the Los Angeles County Art Institute (now the Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design). At these institutions he studied with Richard Diebenkorn, Sabro Hasegawa, Nathan Oliveira, and Peter Voulkos.

Around 1957, Bengston shifted his emphasis from ceramics to painting, and became affiliated with the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, founded that same year by Edward Kienholz and Walter Hopps. Bengston's first solo exhibition was held at the Ferus Gallery in 1958, and a second followed in 1960. At this time Bengston began to work with Pop icons combined with Color Field abstractions. His early bold paintings often featured symmetrical strong color compositions with a central image of a valentine, star, cross, chevron, or iris. The irises he called "draculas," after Kenneth Price remarked that they resembled Dracula flying through a window. He first showed his chevron paintings in 1962 at the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York. In the early 1960s, Bengston extended his imagery to the California subculture and created paintings of leisure time activities, focusing on motorcycles, racing, and scuba diving - his own interests as well.

Throughout his career, Bengston experimented with technique and materials. He experimented with automobile lacquer and spray painting techniques associated with car customization. He also used non-traditional surfaces, such as masonite and aluminum. In 1965, Bengston began creating paintings on sheets of aluminum into which he hammered dents and sometimes bent and buckled; these subsequently came to be known as "dentos." Along with painting, Bengston has also created watercolors, ceramics, and furniture. He was also one of the artists selected by Carol and Roy Doumani to design their home.

Bengston first visited Hawaii in 1974, and after several subsequent trips, established a second studio there in 1979. The work Bengston created in the following years was characterized by the use of tropical colors and representational images of running figures, airplanes, and the moon. In 1988, the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston organized a retrospective entitled "Billy Al Bengston: Paintings of Three Decades," which traveled to the Oakland Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Contemporary Museum of Art, Honolulu. Bengston also completed several years as an art instructor and lecturer at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles and The University of California at Los Angeles. Bengston continues to create and exhibit new work.
Related Material:
Found in the Archives of American Art are oral history interviews with Bengston conducted by Susan Larsen, September 9, 1980, and Susan Ford Morgan, August 2-October 7, 2002. Also found are portraits of Bengston in the Photographs of artists taken by Mimi Jacobs collection, and a rare copy of the book Business Cards by Bengston and Ed Ruscha in the Wallace Berman papers.
Provenance:
The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art by Billy Al Bengston in 1990.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
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 -- California  Search this
Topic:
Works of art  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Art -- Economic aspects  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Photographs
Citation:
Billy Al Bengston papers, circa 1940s-1989 (bulk 1960-1988). Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.bengbill
See more items in:
Billy Al Bengston papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-bengbill

Oral history interview with James Melchert, 1991 Apr. 4-5

Interviewee:
Melchert, Jim, 1930-  Search this
Melchert, Jim, 1930-  Search this
Interviewer:
Jones, Mady  Search this
Subject:
Voulkos, Peter  Search this
San Francisco Art Institute  Search this
University of California, Berkeley  Search this
National Endowment for the Arts  Search this
American Academy in Rome  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Ceramics  Search this
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area  Search this
Arts administrators -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Sculptors -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13062
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)215586
AAA_collcode_melche91
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_215586

Oral history interview with Marilyn Levine, 2002 May 15

Interviewee:
Levine, Marilyn A., 1935-2005  Search this
Levine, Marilyn A., 1935-2005  Search this
Interviewer:
Adamson, Glenn, 1972-  Search this
Subject:
Melchert, Jim  Search this
Voulkos, Peter  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Ceramics -- Technique  Search this
Art -- Philosophy  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Theme:
Craft  Search this
Women  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12144
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)237984
AAA_collcode_levine02
Theme:
Craft
Women
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_237984
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:
Ceramics -- Technique  Search this
Art -- Philosophy  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.levine02
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-levine02

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
Extent:
10 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1950-2021
Scope and Contents:
The papers of ceramicist, educator, and art administrator James Melchert, measure 10.0 linear feet and date from 1950-2021. Included are biographical information, writings, personal and professional correspondence, photographs and slides of Melchert and works of art, interview transcripts, exhibiton and performance files, commission files, files regarding residencies, project files, printed material, and sketches. A portion of the collection is in electronic format on two USB flash frives.
Biographical / Historical:
James (Jim) Melchert (1930- ) is a ceramicist, educator and art administrator in Oakland, California.
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 temporarily closed to researchers due to archival processing. Contact Reference 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
Topic:
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Identifier:
AAA.melcjim
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-melcjim

James Melchert papers, 1950-2021

Creator:
Melchert, Jim, 1930-  Search this
Melchert, Jim, 1930-  Search this
Subject:
National Endowment for the Arts  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Topic:
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Decorative arts  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

Oral history interview with James Melchert, 2002 September 18-October 19

Interviewee:
Melchert, Jim, 1930-  Search this
Melchert, Jim, 1930-  Search this
Interviewer:
Pritikin, Renny  Search this
Subject:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Ceramicists -- California -- Oakland -- Interviews  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Theme:
Craft  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)11926
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)237982
AAA_collcode_melche02
Theme:
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_237982
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Susan Peterson, 2004 March 1

Interviewee:
Peterson, Susan Harnley, 1925-2009  Search this
Peterson, Susan Harnley, 1925-2009  Search this
Interviewer:
Smith, Paul J., 1931-  Search this
Subject:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Ceramicists -- Arizona -- Interviews  Search this
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Theme:
Craft  Search this
Women  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12242
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)247188
AAA_collcode_peters04
Theme:
Craft
Women
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_247188
Online Media:

Oral history interview with John Roloff, 2009 August 17-18

Interviewee:
Roloff, John S., 1947-  Search this
Roloff, John S., 1947-  Search this
Interviewer:
Riedel, Mija, 1958-  Search this
Subject:
Arneson, Robert  Search this
Beuys, Joseph  Search this
Butterfield, Deborah  Search this
Kaltenbach, Stephen J.  Search this
Melchert, Jim  Search this
Oppenheim, Dennis  Search this
Voulkos, Peter  Search this
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  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  Search this
University of Kentucky  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Sound recordings
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
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)15703
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)283563
AAA_collcode_roloff09
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_283563
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Viola Frey, 1995 Feb. 27-June 19

Interviewee:
Frey, Viola, 1933-2004  Search this
Frey, Viola, 1933-2004  Search this
Interviewer:
Karlstrom, Paul J  Search this
Subject:
Women in the Arts in Southern California Oral History Project  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Sculptors -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Ceramicists -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Women sculptors -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Theme:
Craft  Search this
Women  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12554
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)215850
AAA_collcode_frey95
Theme:
Craft
Women
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_215850
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Susan Peterson

Interviewee:
Peterson, Susan, 1925-2009  Search this
Interviewer:
Smith, Paul J.  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
Extent:
63 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2004 March 1
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Susan Peterson conducted 2004 March 1, by Paul J. Smith, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Carefree, Arizona.
Peterson speaks of her parents; being raised in McPherson, Kansas; spending summers in California and taking art classes there; attending Monticello College in Godfrey, Illinois; studying art and education at Mills College in Oakland, California; teaching art at the Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii and at the Wichita Art Association; studying ceramics at Alfred University in New York; moving to Southern California with her husband, Jack Peterson; working at the Chouinard Art Institute and building the kilns there; teaching at the University of Southern California and meeting Peter Voulkos; and teaching summers at the Idyllwild School of Music and Arts. Peterson also speaks of moving to New York City to teach at Hunter College; opening the Clayworks Studio Workshop; creating the craft program at the Joe L. Evins Appalachian Center for Crafts in Smithville, Tennessee; doing the television series "All You Ever Wanted to Know About Ceramics;" traveling around the world, including Shoji Hamada's studio in Mashiko, Japan; attending the first American Crafts Council conference and the First World Congress of Craftsmen; publishing her first book, "Shoji Hamada: A Potter's Way and Work" and how that led to writing several other books; maintaining her own studio outside of teaching; receiving various awards; changes she sees in the craft movement and education since the 1940s; studying Native American ceramic traditions; traveling cross-country with Joan Mondale; donating her archives and ceramic collection to the Arizona State University Ceramic Research Center; and her plans for the future. Peterson also recalls Roi Partridge, Carlton Ball, Marguerite Wildenhain, Aileen Osborn Webb, Maria Martinez, Bernard Leach, Michael Cardew, Armi Ratia, John Mason, Ken Price, Françoise Gilot, and many others.
Biographical / Historical:
Susan Peterson (1925-2009) was a ceramicist and author from Carefree, Arizona. Interviewer Paul J. Smith is a curator and art historian from New York, N.Y.
General:
Originally recorded on 4 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hr., 59 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:
Ceramicists -- Arizona -- Interviews  Search this
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.peters04
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-peters04

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
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-roloff09

Oral history interview with James Melchert

Interviewee:
Melchert, Jim, 1930-  Search this
Interviewer:
Pritikin, Renny  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
Extent:
46 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2002 September 18-October 19
Scope and Contents:
An interview of James Melchert conducted 2002 September 18-2002 October 19, by Renny Pritikin, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Oakland, California.
Melchert speaks of his decision to pursue painting instead of educational psychology; his introduction to ceramics while learning to teach it at a small college in Illinois; taking a summer course with Pete Voulkos; moving to California and working as Voulkos' studio assistant at the University of California, Berkeley; his friendship with John Mason, another potter; the difference between the philosophies of Mason and Voulkos; teaching at the Art Institute in San Francisco; and the book Exercises in Style [Raymond Queneau], upon which he based his series of "a"s.
Melchert also discusses several of the group exhibitions he has been involved with; John Cage and the influence of Silence; his interest in photography; the similarities and differences between his early work and more recent work; working with tiles; his teaching techniques and how he engaged his students; the is craft art question; the Milwaukee Art Museum; and the function of pottery. Blunk also recalls Steve DeStaebler, Manuel Neri, Nate Olivera, Joan Brown, Henry Takemoto, Michael Frimkiss, Richard Koshalek, Bob Irwin, Bob Arneson, Bruce Nauman, Russell Lynes, Garth Clark, Suzanne Foley, Richard Shaw, Marilyn Levine, Theresa Cha, Jim Pomeroy, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
James Melchert (1930- ) is a ceramist from Oakland, California.
General:
Originally recorded on 3 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 3 digital wav files. Duration is 2 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.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Topic:
Ceramicists -- California -- Oakland -- Interviews  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.melche02
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-melche02

Oral history interview with Viola Frey

Interviewee:
Frey, Viola, 1933-2004  Search this
Interviewer:
Karlstrom, Paul J.  Search this
Creator:
Women in the Arts in Southern California Oral History Project  Search this
Names:
Women in the Arts in Southern California Oral History Project  Search this
Extent:
5 Sound cassettes (Sound recording (5 hrs.), analog)
126 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound cassettes
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1995 Feb. 27-June 19
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Viola Frey conducted 1995 Feb. 27-1995 June 19, by Paul Karlstrom, for the Archives of American Art, Women in the Arts in Southern California Oral History Project, at the artist's studio, in Oakland, Calif.
FEB. 27, 1995 SESSION: Family background in the Midwest; Huguenot ancestry; importance of grandmother in her life; living in Central Valley, Calif.; father's collecting junk; early plans to become a writer; declining her acceptance to UC Berkeley and attending community college to study art; attending California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, majoring in ceramics; winning a first prize at City of Paris contest; attending Tulane University; moving to New York; working at the Museum of Modern Art; returning to San Francisco in 1960 and community there. She recalls Richard Diebenkorn, Mark Rothko, Peter Voulkos, and Robert Arneson.
MAY 15, 1995 SESSION: Influence of Robert Arneson; comparison of her work to Voulkos, Arneson and Manuel Neri; effect of gender on art subjects; Frey's theme of man in suit as power to do good or bad; interest in archeology; influence of National Geographic magazine on her work, especially as a source for images of grandmothers; production of her large-scale ceramic sculpture; her preference for electric kiln; modular production; studio spaces in Oakland and San Francisco and effect of varying light; working on a piece over a long period of time, which is unusual for sculpture; and the importance of space in the creation of work.
JUNE 19, 1995 SESSION: Influence of television and radio; attitude toward Japanese-influenced ceramics; use of color; overglaze painting; china painting in France; relationships between her figure drawing and sculpture; New York period; funk; plate art; autobiographical and personal qualities in her work; move from house to studio; personal relationship with Charles Fiske; her private art library; interest in artist's monographs; social life; image of man in suit; influence of AIDS in her work; art-brute; and response to critics Donald Kuspit and Susan Larsen.
Biographical / Historical:
Viola Frey (1933-2004) was a ceramist and sculptor of Oakland, Calif.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History, 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.
Topic:
Sculptors -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Ceramicists -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Women sculptors -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.frey95
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-frey95

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