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Oral history interview with Fong Chow, 2002 February 6

Interviewee:
Chow, Fong, 1923-  Search this
Interviewer:
Carney, Margaret, 1949-  Search this
Subject:
Parker, Glidden  Search this
Alfred University  Search this
Glidden Pottery (Alfred, N.Y.)  Search this
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Topic:
Art -- Technique  Search this
Asian American art  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Chinese American art  Search this
Chinese American artists  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Asian American photographers  Search this
Asian American ceramicists  Search this
Asian American curators  Search this
Ceramics  Search this
Theme:
Asian American  Search this
Photography  Search this
Craft  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12375
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)229517
AAA_collcode_chow02
Theme:
Asian American
Photography
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_229517
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Marek Cecula, 2009 May 19-20

Interviewee:
Cecula, Marek, 1944-  Search this
Interviewer:
Riedel, Mija, 1958-  Search this
Subject:
Cecula, Lanie  Search this
De Waal, Edmund  Search this
Earl, Jack  Search this
Koplos, Janet  Search this
Kottler, Howard  Search this
Mayer, Jean  Search this
Nagle, Ron  Search this
Ogen, Gdula  Search this
Price, Kenneth  Search this
Shire, Peter  Search this
Spurey, Gerda  Search this
Spurey, Kurt  Search this
Veiteberg, Jorunn  Search this
Barneys New York  Search this
Garth Clark Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art  Search this
Kunst- og designhögskolen i Bergen  Search this
Memphis (Group)  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Parsons School of Design  Search this
Tiffany and Company  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Place:
Brazil -- description and travel
Israel -- description and travel
Poland -- description and travel
SoHo (New York, N.Y.) -- Description and travel
Topic:
Ceramicists -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Ceramics -- Technique  Search this
Designers -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Kibbutzim  Search this
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Ceramics  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)15681
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)282772
AAA_collcode_cecula09
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_282772
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Marek Cecula

Interviewee:
Cecula, Marek, 1944-  Search this
Interviewer:
Riedel, Mija, 1958-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Barneys New York  Search this
Garth Clark Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art  Search this
Kunst- og designhögskolen i Bergen  Search this
Memphis (Group)  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Parsons School of Design -- Faculty  Search this
Tiffany and Company  Search this
Cecula, Lanie  Search this
De Waal, Edmund  Search this
Earl, Jack  Search this
Koplos, Janet  Search this
Kottler, Howard, 1930-1989  Search this
Mayer, Jean  Search this
Nagle, Ron  Search this
Ogen, Gdula, 1929-  Search this
Price, Kenneth, 1935-2012  Search this
Shire, Peter  Search this
Spurey, Gerda  Search this
Spurey, Kurt, 1941-  Search this
Veiteberg, Jorunn, 1955-  Search this
Extent:
104 Pages (Transcript)
10 Items (Sound recording: 10 sound files (4 hr., 55 min.), digital, wav)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Interviews
Sound recordings
Place:
Brazil -- Description and Travel
Israel -- Description and Travel
Poland -- description and travel
SoHo (New York, N.Y.) -- Description and Travel
Date:
2009 May 19-20
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Marek Cecula conducted 2009 May 19-20, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Cecula's studio, in New York, New York.
Marek Cecula speaks of his childhood in Kielce, Poland, during World War II; his move to Israel at age 16; studies with ceramists Gdula Ogen and Jean Mayer; the influence of Japanese ceramics on his early studies; life on the kibbutz HaSolelim in the late 1960s and early 1970s; the influence of Kurt and Gerda Spurey and their use of porcelain and slip-casting; his work in both functional and sculptural ceramics; his move to Tel Aviv in early 1970s, then to a commune in Binyamina in 1971; his move to Curitiba, Brazil, and subsequent work with Schmidt porcelain factory; "Art Project 79" exhibition, La Jola, Curitiba, Brazil, 1979; his move to Washington, D.C., with girlfriend (later wife) Lanie in 1976; Klepisko (2008); the cyclical nature in his work; move to New York City in late 1970s; the Soho arts scene in the 1970s and '80s; his work blending design and sculpture; establishing Contemporary Porcelain gallery, 1978; interest in work by Memphis Group, Peter Shire, Jack Earl, Ken Price, and Ron Nagle; head of ceramics department, at Parsons School of Design, New York City (1985-2004); continued design and production work, including for Tiffany & Co. and Barneys New York; establishment of Modus Design firm; continued exploration of industrial processes and use of decals in his work; influence of Howard Kottler; his quest to balance digital and handmade processes, and the continued importance of the tactile; "Scatology" exhibition; series Hygiene, his first purely sculptural series; Porcelain Carpet; representation at Garth Clark Gallery (New York City, Los Angeles, and Kansas City, Missouri); series Violations; series Mutants; series Industrial Interference; "Interface" exhibition (2002), in response to terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001; Look Into My Mind; The Stand For the Heroes, 2001; series Beauty of Imperfection; move to Poland in early 2000s; a teaching/artistic position at Bergen National Academy of Arts, Norway; establishment of Design Centrum Kielce in late 2000s; Menorah, 2007, Kielce (site-specific); Six Stations, 2007, Porsgrunn, Norway (site-specific); future projects for the city of Kielce; work with the Łódź Design Festival, Poland, and design center in Cieszyn, Poland; "kilo of earth" product; Last Supper; Mandala; Islam; limitations and advantages of ceramics as a medium; his globalized, multicultural experiences and outlook; the European vanguard in ceramics; periodicals and publications of interest; writers of interest: Edmund de Waal, Jorunn Veiteberg, Janet Koplos; the "desire society"; curating Third Biennale for Israeli Ceramics, 2004; fusion art, craft, and design; "Object Factory: The Art of Industrial Ceramics," Gardiner Museum, Toronto, 2008; redefinition of the concept of the object.
Biographical / Historical:
Marek Cecula (1944- ) is a ceramist and designer, who lives and works in New York and Poland.
General:
Originally recorded on 3 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 10 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hr., 55 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:
For information on how to access this interview contact Reference Services.
Occupation:
Ceramicists  Search this
Topic:
Ceramicists -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Ceramics -- Technique  Search this
Designers -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Kibbutzim  Search this
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Ceramics  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.cecula09
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9e05d630a-38d3-4e7f-81a8-6ad7f55a5d9b
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-cecula09
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Fong Chow

Interviewee:
Chow, Fong  Search this
Interviewer:
Carney, Margaret, 1949-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Alfred University -- Students  Search this
Glidden Pottery (Alfred, N.Y.)  Search this
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) -- Employees  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Parker, Glidden, 1913-1980  Search this
Extent:
27 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Interviews
Sound recordings
Date:
2002 February 6
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Fong Chow conducted February 6, 2002, by Margaret Carney, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Chow's home, in New York, N.Y.
Chow speaks of his family, specifically, his grandfather who was sent to Hartford, Connecticutt, in 1874, for schooling, then studied at Columbia University and returned to China, working as general manager of one of the earliest railroads in north China; the schools Chow attended in Hong Kong; working in different media, including painting and photography; attending the Boston Museum School and then Alfred University; his relationship with Charles Harder, the head of the ceramic design department at Alfred; the "wonderful" teachers at Alfred in the early 1950s, including Katharine Nelson in painting, Marion Fosdick in sculpture, Daniel Rhodes and Ted Randall; learning production methods, as well as "studio potters work"; developing forms, new glazes, and decorations at Glidden Pottery; his "famous" pieces for Glidden Pottery, such as "New Equations" and "Charcoal and Rice"; how he became involved with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and his relationship with Alan Priest, curator of Far Eastern art; working at the Met as a curator for more than 20 years; changes at the Met during his tenure there; and his hiatus from making ceramics while working at the Met. He discusses his return to clay in 1983 and his studio near Cooper Union; he describes visiting his best friend from childhood, Pan He, a sculptor in China. He also discusses his health; his wife Chao-Ling and how they met; his current focus on photography. Chow also recalls Glidden Parker, James Romer, Bo Gyllensvard, Sergio Dello Strologo, Theodore Hobby, Paul Bollardo, Norman Arsenault, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Fong Chow (1923- ) is a Chinese American ceramicist, curator, and photographer from New York, N.Y. Margaret Carney (1949- ) is the director of the Schein Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art in Alfred, N.Y.
General:
Originally recorded 3 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 41 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 -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Photographers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Art -- Technique  Search this
Asian American art  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Chinese American art  Search this
Chinese American artists  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Asian American photographers  Search this
Asian American ceramicists  Search this
Asian American curators  Search this
Ceramics  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.chow02
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9f01edc96-bb0b-4ce0-bb04-22e0907cd4c7
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-chow02
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Robert Chapman Turner, 2001 June 11

Interviewee:
Turner, Robert Chapman, 1913-2005  Search this
Interviewer:
Carney, Margaret, 1949-  Search this
Subject:
National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (U.S.)  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Ceramicists -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Ceramicists -- Maryland -- Interviews  Search this
Quakers  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Conscientious objectors  Search this
Ceramics  Search this
Theme:
Craft  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12010
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)227020
AAA_collcode_turner01
Theme:
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_227020
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Val Cushing, 2001 April 16

Interviewee:
Cushing, Val M.  Search this
Interviewer:
Carney, Margaret, 1949-  Search this
Subject:
Wildenhain, Marguerite  Search this
Archie Bray Foundation  Search this
Alfred University  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Art -- Economic aspects  Search this
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Ceramics -- Technique  Search this
Glazing (Ceramics)  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Ceramics  Search this
Theme:
Craft  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12255
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)226929
AAA_collcode_cushin01
Theme:
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_226929
Online Media:

Charles Volkmar papers, 1827-1985

Creator:
Volkmar, Charles, 1841-1914  Search this
Subject:
Harpignies, Henri  Search this
Jacque, Charles Emile  Search this
Millet, Jean François  Search this
Volkmar, Carl  Search this
Volkmar, Charles  Search this
Volkmar, Leon  Search this
Type:
Sketchbooks
Topic:
Pottery -- New York (State)  Search this
Slip casting  Search this
Tiles  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Ceramics  Search this
Theme:
Diaries  Search this
Lives of American Artists  Search this
Craft  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)10189
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)213244
AAA_collcode_volkchar
Theme:
Diaries
Lives of American Artists
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_213244

Don Reitz Papers, circa 1935-2015

Creator:
Reitz, Don, 1929-2014  Search this
Subject:
Autio, Rudy  Search this
Yamamoto, Yukio  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Photographs
Sketches
Sound recordings
Video recordings
Topic:
Educators--Arizona  Search this
Sculptors--Arizona  Search this
Ceramics  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)17527
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)391676
AAA_collcode_reitdon
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_391676
Online Media:

Charles Volkmar papers

Creator:
Volkmar, Charles, 1841-1914  Search this
Names:
Harpignies, Henri, 1819-1916  Search this
Jacque, Charles Emile, 1813-1894  Search this
Millet, Jean François, 1814-1875  Search this
Volkmar, Carl  Search this
Volkmar, Charles, 1809-1892  Search this
Volkmar, Leon, 1879-1959  Search this
Extent:
1.2 Linear feet ((on 1 microfilm reel))
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sketchbooks
Date:
1827-1985
Scope and Contents:
Printed material, biographical material, correspondence, and photographs (ca. 1860-1920) documenting the Volkmar family's involvement in the development of the ceramics industry in northeastern America. The collection focuses on Charles Volkmar but the careers of Carl, Leon (1879-1959), and Charles Volkmar, Sr. (1809-1892) are also documented. Material on Charles Volkmar includes correspondence (1897-1915), notes and writings, clippings (1872-1913), articles, 2 sketchbooks, and prints and drawings. In the original 41-page typed draft of his reminiscences, Charles Volkmar writes of his flight to Europe at the outbreak of the civil war, the life of American artists in Paris, studying landscape painting under Henri Harpignies, the work of Jean-Francois Millet and Charles Emile Jacque, and his work painting pottery and tiles in France, after which he returned to the United States and went into the ceramics business. Leon Volkmar's correspondence (1901-1953) and printed materials discuss the business, artistic and family traditions of the ceramics industry. Photographs depict Leon, his family, the Volkmar Pottery and the tiles and ceramics they produced. Carl Volkmar's family papers, documents (1827-1838) and a notebook are all in German.
Biographical / Historical:
Ceramist, painter. Born in Baltimore, Charles Volkmar received his early art training at the Maryland Institute. He moved to Paris, where he studied landscape painting with Henri Harpignies in the 1860's. His paintings were exhibited in the Paris salons of the 1870's. He studied pottery painting and tile making in France, working as an apprentice at the Haviland factory. Returning to the United States, Charles built a kiln at Greenpoint, Long Island, in 1879 where he produced tiles and vases. He was the first potter to use underglaze slip painting in the United States. His son, Leon, was an accomplished potter and formed a partnership with his father. When the kiln was moved to Metuchen, New Jersey, the name was changed to Charles Volkmar and Son. In 1911 the partnership dissolved and Leon moved to Bedford, New York; established Durant kilns and devoted much time to glaze experimentation.
Provenance:
Papers were lent by Susan Volkmar, the wife of Peter Volkmar, great-grandson of Charles Volkmar.
Restrictions:
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
Occupation:
Ceramicists -- United States  Search this
Topic:
Pottery -- New York (State)  Search this
Slip casting  Search this
Tiles  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Ceramics  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sketchbooks
Identifier:
AAA.volkchar
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw93960612e-10d0-415b-9576-add5eb5ff137
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-volkchar

Oral history interview with Robert Chapman Turner

Interviewee:
Turner, Robert Chapman, 1913-2005  Search this
Interviewer:
Carney, Margaret, 1949-  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
National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (U.S.)  Search this
Extent:
48 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2001 June 11
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Robert Turner conducted 2001 June 11, by Margaret Carney, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Smithsonian Productions, in Washington, D.C.
Turner speaks of his childhood in Brooklyn, N.Y.; his father's business, Turner Concrete (now called Turner Construction); drawing classes; attending the George School for a post-graduate year before attending Swarthmore College, where his major was economics; the importance of Quakerism in his life and work; traveling throughout Europe and the Southwestern United States; his marriage to Sue, their trip to Europe during the outbreak of World War II and the difficulty of coming home to America; his involvement in war activities as a conscientious objector; the transition after the war ended into a "different reality"; visiting the different schools of craft, including Penland, Alfred, and Haystack; attending Alfred University, the teachers and students there during his years there; his relationships with other students, such as Ted Randall and Bill Schickel; teaching at Black Mountain College immediately after his graduation from Alfred; his admiration of Marguerite Wildenhain; his involvement in the first Super Mud phenomenon in 1966; how African culture fits into his work; the collaborative effort at Penland; the establishment of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA), and his experience as the third president of the group; his "retirement" since 1979; the types of materials he uses; the awards he has received; galleries and exhibitions in which he has exhibited; and recollections of Bill Brown, founder of the Penland School of Crafts. Turner also recalls Josie Adams, Charles Harder, Kurt Ekdahl, Marion Fosdick, Bill Pitney, Jessie Shefrin, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Robert Turner (1913-2005) was a ceramic artist from Alfred, N.Y. and Sandy Spring, Maryland. Margaret Carney (1949- ) is the director of the Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art in Alfred, N.Y.
General:
Originally recorded on 2 digital audio tapes. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 3 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.
Topic:
Ceramicists -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Ceramicists -- Maryland -- Interviews  Search this
Quakers  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Conscientious objectors  Search this
Ceramics  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.turner01
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9a8c3d45e-256d-42c2-8bc8-4eb0ac08b6ac
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-turner01
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Val Cushing

Interviewee:
Cushing, Val M.  Search this
Interviewer:
Carney, Margaret, 1949-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Alfred University -- Faculty  Search this
Alfred University -- Students  Search this
Archie Bray Foundation  Search this
Archie Bray Foundation -- Faculty  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Wildenhain, Marguerite  Search this
Extent:
46 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2001 April 16
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Val Cushing conducted 2001 April 16, by Margaret Carney, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Cushing's studio, Alfred Station, New York.
Cushing speaks of his early interest in drawing; applying to Alfred University without a portfolio and being accepted on an athletic scholarship to play football; his teachers at Alfred including Katherine Nelson, Charles Harder, Marion Fosdick, Kurt Ekdahl, and Dan Rhodes; his classmates at Alfred including Herb Cohen, Marty Moskof, Marty Chodos, Luis Mendez, Ed Pettengill, and Richard Homer; the influence of Marguerite Wildenhain, who came to Alfred to teach for two weeks in 1952 (Cushing's senior year); his first job making pots at Santa's Workshop in Adirondack Mountains in New York in 1951, and the value of throwing every day; learning that "technique is not enough"; his travels; serving in the military police in Fort Dix, New Jersey, during the Korean War; visiting the Metropolitan Museum to sketch pots; meeting his wife Elsie Brown, who was private-duty nurse in New York; Charles Harder as an administrator and teacher; attending graduate school at Alfred on the G.I. Bill from 1954 to 1956; his decision to become teacher rather than full-time potter at the suggestion of Charles Harder; teaching at University of Illinois in 1956 and then Alfred University in 1957; the "famous" dialogues between Charles Harder and Bernard Leach; the importance of designing functional handmade objects; the evolution of the American craft market; his work for Andover China; exhibitions; his close-knit ceramics community in the 1950s and 1960s; his relationships with galleries including American Hand and The Farrell Collection in Washington, D.C., Helen Drutt Gallery and the Works Gallery in Philadelphia, The Signature Shop & Gallery in Atlanta, Martha Schneider Gallery in Chicago, and Cedar Creek Gallery in Creedmoor, North Carolina; teaching at Penland, Haystack, Arrowmont, Archie Bray, and Anderson Ranch; "the Alfred connection at Archie Bray" and his grant to study at Archie Bray in 1968; the importance of Alfred's summer school to the history of contemporary clay in America; the value of university training; Bob Turner's and Ted Randal's influence on his work through their "philosophic stance" and "presence as artists"; his working space and his 1983 NEA grant to adapt an existing barn for use as a studio; the influence of nature on his work; working with kick wheel, Soldner wheel, Venco Pug Mill, natural gas and electric kilns; his glaze expertise; opportunities for experimentation; his love of jazz music and its influence on his working methods; pricing his pots; commissions; ceramic workshops as theatrical "performances" and an American phenomenon; the role of specialized periodicals in the craft field; the difference between craft critics and painting and sculpture critics; and the place of ceramics in museum collections in the United States and abroad.
Cushing also talks about his involvement with NCECA [The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts], the American Craft Council, and the American Ceramics Society; the lack of political and social commentary in his work; his teaching experiences in Europe and Asia; his participation in the opening of The Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Japan; and the importance of ceramic history for the contemporary ceramist. He also recalls Susan Peterson, Bill Pitney, Marv Rickel, Don Frith, Winslow Anderson, Ken Deavers, Joan Mondale, Joan Farrell, Don Reitz, Gerry Williams, Bill Parry, Ken Ferguson, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Val Cushing (1931- ) is a ceramic artist and potter from Alfred Station, New York. Margaret Carney (1949- ) is the director of the Schein Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art in Alfred, New York.
General:
Originally recorded on 3 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hr.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Occupation:
Ceramicists -- New York (State)  Search this
Topic:
Art -- Economic aspects  Search this
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Ceramics -- Technique  Search this
Glazing (Ceramics)  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Ceramics  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.cushin01
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9572d0cc4-97cb-44d7-9531-068cec70f0b4
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-cushin01
Online Media:

Don Reitz Papers

Creator:
Reitz, Don, 1929-2014  Search this
Names:
Autio, Rudy, 1926-2007  Search this
Yamamoto, Yukio  Search this
Extent:
11.6 Linear feet
11.2 Gigabytes
Culture:
Educators--Arizona  Search this
Sculptors--Arizona  Search this
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Interviews
Photographs
Sketches
Sound recordings
Video recordings
Date:
circa 1935-2015
Summary:
The papers of artist and educator Don Reitz measure 11.6 linear feet and date from circa 1935 to 2015. The collection documents Reitz's work as a professional artist and educator through biographical material, correspondence; writings, interviews and lectures; documentation on workshops and performances; studio records; gallery and exhibition files; printed material, photographic material, and artwork.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of artist and educator Don Reitz measure 11.6 linear feet and date from circa 1935 to 2015. The collection documents Reitz's work as a professional artist and educator through biographical material, correspondence; writings, interviews and lectures; documentation on workshops and performances; studio records; gallery and exhibition files; printed material, photographic material, and artwork.

Correspondence reflects relationships with professional organizations, museums and galleries, friends and family, as well as letters of recommendation from his years as an instructor. Notable correspondence is with fellow artists Rudy Autio and Yukio Yamamoto. Writings include essays and artist statements written by Reitz, as well as articles and essays written about Reitz by others. Lectures and interviews are featured in written form, as well as audio and video, including some digital video recordings. Reitz's notes include sound recordings captured in his car.

Workshop and performance files contain recordings, planning materials, contracts, and other documentation on instructional events led by Reitz. Studio records include technical files on kiln operation, supplies, project plans, and equipment.

Also found are detailed records of gallery and museum exhibitions, as well as commissions including public works and murals, in addition to various studio artwork inventories. Photographic material documents Reitz's participation in workshops and other presentations, and includes photographs of artwork, the Reitz Farm in Wisconsin, the Reitz Ranch in Arizona, as well as his early family life and military career. Photograph formats include snapshots, slides and digital images. Also included are various sketches by the artist as well as some by his niece Sara.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 9 series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1935-2014 (0.9 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1951-2014 (1.6 linear feet; Boxes 1-3)

Series 3: Writings and Lectures, circa 1970-2012 (2.0 linear feet; Boxes 3-5, 2.85 gigabytes; ER01-ER03)

Series 4: Workshops and Performances, circa 1972-2008 (0.7 linear feet; Box 5-6, 8.21 gigabytes; ER04-ER05)

Series 5: Studio Records, circa 1965-2010 (0.3 linear feet; Box 6)

Series 6: Galleries and Exhibitions, circa 1966-2014 (1.5 linear feet; Boxes 6-7, 0.065 gigabytes; ER06)

Series 7: Printed Material, circa 1950-2014 (1.3 linear feet; Boxes 8-9, 12)

Series 8: Photographic Material, circa 1940-2015 (2.8 linear feet; Boxes 9-13, 0.065 gigabytes; ER07)

Series 9: Artwork, circa 1980-2012 (0.5 linear feet; Boxes 11, 12)
Biographical / Historical:
Don Reitz (1929-2014) was a ceramic artist in Clarkdale, Arizona.

Reitz was born in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, and was raised in Belvidere New Jersey, before serving for four years in the U.S. Navy as a diver. After years working as a butcher and a house painter, Reitz attended Kutztown State Teachers College, where he studied Abstract Expressionism and discovered ceramics in his last year of study. Reitz quickly developed a passion for ceramics, built a kiln in his back yard, and enrolled in graduate school at Alfred University's New York State College of Ceramics. From 1962 to 1988 Reitz led the ceramics department at University of Wisconsin at Madison, while he raised his two children Brent and Donna on a nearby farm, where he also kept livestock and experimented in ceramic firing techniques.

Don Reitz is known for bringing the salt-firing ceramics technique to the United States, in which colorful metallic surfaces are applied to ceramics by throwing salt in the kiln, as opposed to applying paint-like slips on the clay before firing. Reitz is also widely recognized for expanding the traditional medium of ceramics to incorporate abstract and nonfunctional forms like his contemporaries Peter Voulkos and Rudy Autio, as well as incorporating elements of performance art into his demonstrations and workshops. In 1982 Reitz suffered injuries from a serious automobile accident and required years of rehabilitation. During this time Reitz's niece, Sara, was undergoing treatment for cancer. The two were instrumental in each other's recovery and elements of Sara's drawings for Don were incorporated into his work, imbuing a graphic sensibility and a bold use of color, while his ability to physically manipulate clay was impaired.

In 1988 Reitz moved to a ranch in Clarksdale, Arizona, where he continued to work after his retirement from teaching, building kilns of various types including wood-fire and Anagama kilns, traveling to conduct workshops, and accepting commissions for large-scale commissions and public works. While in Arizona, Reitz developed a strong friendship with Japanese ceramicist Yukio Yamamoto, who had been teaching in Flagstaff, Arizona. Throughout his career Reitz received numerous accolades including being named Trustee Emeritus of the American Craft Council, and making the Ceramic Monthly Reader's Poll as One of Twelve Greatest Living Ceramic Artists Worldwide in 1988 and 2001. Reitz's works are featured in numerous private and museum collections including the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the High Museum of Art. Don Reitz passed in 2014 after suffering from a series of heart attacks and related surgeries.
Don Reitz (1929-2014) was a ceramic artist in Clarkdale, Arizona. Reitz was born in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, and was raised in Belvidere New Jersey, before serving for four years in the U.S. Navy as a diver. After years working as a butcher and a house painter, Reitz attended Kutztown State Teachers College, where he studied Abstract Expressionism and discovered ceramics in his last year of study. Reitz quickly developed a passion for ceramics, built a kiln in his back yard, and enrolled in graduate school at Alfred University's New York State College of Ceramics. From 1962 to 1988 Reitz led the ceramics department at University of Wisconsin at Madison, while he raised his two children Brent and Donna on a nearby farm, where he also kept livestock and experimented in ceramic firing techniques. Don Reitz is known for bringing the salt-firing ceramics technique to the United States, in which colorful metallic surfaces are applied to ceramics by throwing salt in the kiln, as opposed to applying paint-like slips on the clay before firing. Reitz is also widely recognized for expanding the traditional medium of ceramics to incorporate abstract and nonfunctional forms like his contemporaries Peter Voulkos and Rudy Autio, as well as incorporating elements of performance art into his demonstrations and workshops. In 1982 Reitz suffered injuries from a serious automobile accident and required years of rehabilitation. During this time Reitz's niece, Sara, was undergoing treatment for cancer. The two were instrumental in each other's recovery and elements of Sara's drawings for Don were incorporated into his work, imbuing a graphic sensibility and a bold use of color, while his ability to physically manipulate clay was impaired. In 1988 Reitz moved to a ranch in Clarksdale, Arizona, where he continued to work after his retirement from teaching, building kilns of various types including wood-fire and Anagama kilns, traveling to conduct workshops, and accepting commissions for large-scale commissions and public works. While in Arizona, Reitz developed a strong friendship with Japanese ceramicist Yukio Yamamoto, who had been teaching in Flagstaff, Arizona. Throughout his career Reitz received numerous accolades including being named Trustee Emeritus of the American Craft Council, and making the Ceramic Monthly Reader's Poll as One of Twelve Greatest Living Ceramic Artists Worldwide in 1988 and 2001. Reitz's works are featured in numerous private and museum collections including the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the High Museum of Art. Don Reitz passed in 2014 after suffering from a series of heart attacks and related surgeries.
Related Materials:
Also found at the Archives of American art is an oral history interview with Don Reitz, 2006 June 6-7, conducted by Mija Riedel.
Provenance:
Donated in 2017 by Brent Reitz, Don Reitz's son.
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 archival audiovisual recordings and born-digital records with no duplicate 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:
Ceramicists -- Arizona  Search this
Topic:
Ceramics  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Photographs
Sketches
Sound recordings
Video recordings
Citation:
Don Reitz papers, circa 1935-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.reitdon
See more items in:
Don Reitz Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw97b5d1207-c22f-4b3f-b4cd-8bc57ef27530
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-reitdon

Oral history interview with Betty Woodman

Interviewee:
Woodman, Betty, 1930-2018  Search this
Interviewer:
Perreault, John, 1937-2015  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Bellagio Study and Conference Center  Search this
Boulder (Colo.).. Parks & Recreation Department  Search this
Centre internationale de recherche sur le verre et les arts plastiques (Marseille, France)  Search this
Europees Keramisch Werkcentrum  Search this
Fabric Workshop  Search this
Girl Scouts of the United States of America  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
School for American Crafts  Search this
University of Colorado -- Faculty  Search this
Brown, Elenita  Search this
Carlson, Cynthia, 1942-  Search this
Hamada, Shōji, 1894-1978  Search this
Higby, Wayne  Search this
Kozloff, Joyce  Search this
Kushner, Robert, 1949-  Search this
Leach, Bernard, 1887-1979  Search this
Serra, Richard, 1938-  Search this
Shark, Bud  Search this
Voulkos, Peter, 1924-2002  Search this
Woodman, George, 1932-  Search this
Extent:
5 Items (Sound recording: 5 sound files (2 hr., 55 min.), digital wav)
69 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Interviews
Sound recordings
Place:
Boulder (Colo.)
India -- description and travel
Mexico -- description and travel
Netherlands -- description and travel
Date:
2003 April 22 and 29
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Betty Woodman conducted 2003 April 22 and 29, by John Perreault, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in New York, New York.
Woodman speaks of frequent moves with her family during her childhood; her father's woodworking skills; gaining an interest in arts and crafts at four when she made a tablecloth with crayon drawings; attending summer camps, including Girl Scout Camp, where she participated in arts and crafts activities; being the first girl to take shop in her middle school; making model airplanes for air raid wardens during World War II; her interest in making functional objects; her introduction to clay and hand-building in high school; attending the School for American Craftsmen in New York City; collaborating with fellow students; her early desire to be a "craftsperson and not an artist"; her work with silk-screen fabric for The Fabric Workshop in Philadelphia and glass at CIRVA in Marseille, France; teaching at the University of Colorado and the City of Boulder Recreation Department; working at the European Ceramic Work Center in Den Bosch, Holland, and the Bellagio Study Center in Italy; her studios in New York, Colorado, and Italy; her travels to India, The Netherlands, and Mexico; living in New Mexico, New York, Colorado, and Italy; her business Roadrunner Pottery in New Mexico with partner Elenita Brown; collaborative projects with Joyce Kozloff, Cynthia Carlson, Bud Shark, Judith Solodkin, and her husband George Woodman; developing a following in New York; how being a woman has affected her work and how she enjoys working with other women artists; the change of market for American crafts; Italian, Greek, and Etruscan influences; teaching experiences; the importance of getting reviews in art magazines; and the strong support from her husband George, a painter. Betty Woodman recalls Lynn Feelyn, Olan Wassen, Bernard Leach, Peter Voulkos, Shoji Hamada, Bob Kushner, Richard Serra, Wayne Higby, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Betty Woodman (1930-2018) was a ceramist from New York, New York. John Perreault (1937- ) is an independent critic and curator from New York, New York.
General:
Originally recorded on 3 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 55 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Occupation:
Ceramicists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Airplanes -- Models  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Glass art  Search this
Handicraft -- United States  Search this
Screen process printing  Search this
Women artists  Search this
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Women ceramicists  Search this
Function:
Artists' studios
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.woodma03
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw90dbbae38-7d68-45f4-bae8-d119dc3aa898
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-woodma03
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Wayne Higby

Interviewee:
Higby, Wayne  Search this
Interviewer:
McInnes, Mary, 1956-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Alfred University -- Faculty  Search this
Archie Bray Foundation  Search this
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts -- Faculty  Search this
Helen Drutt Gallery  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Rhode Island School of Design -- Faculty  Search this
University of Colorado (Boulder campus) -- Students  Search this
University of Michigan -- Students  Search this
University of Nebraska -- Faculty  Search this
Bauer, Fred  Search this
Cushing, Val M.  Search this
Ferguson, Ken, 1928-2004  Search this
McKinnell, James  Search this
McKinnell, Nan  Search this
Merritt, Francis Sumner, 1913-2000  Search this
Motherwell, Robert  Search this
Neri, Manuel, 1930-  Search this
Randall, Theodore, 1914-1985  Search this
Shaner, David, 1934-  Search this
Soldner, Paul  Search this
Turner, Robert Chapman, 1913-2005  Search this
Voulkos, Peter, 1924-2002  Search this
Woodman, Betty, 1930-2018  Search this
Extent:
9 Items (Sound recording: 9 sound files (4 hr., 55 min.), digital, wav)
66 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Interviews
Sound recordings
Place:
Africa -- description and travel
Asia -- Description and Travel
China -- Description and Travel
Colorado -- description and travel
Europe -- description and travel
Date:
2005 April 12-14
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Wayne Higby conducted 2005 April 12-14, by Mary McInnes, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Alfred Station, New York. Higby speaks of growing up in Colorado Springs, Colorado; choosing to go to University of Colorado, Boulder; traveling to Europe, Asia, and Africa; being influenced by Minoan pottery; working for ceramicist Betty Woodman; deciding to become a teacher; getting a graduate degree at the University of Michigan; working at Archie Bray Foundation; teaching at the University of Nebraska and Rhode Island School of Design; having his first one person art show and exhibiting nationally; teaching at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts; the influence of landscape on his work; how the craft market has changed during his career; working with the Helen Drutt Gallery; writing about craft and the need for critical dialogue in craft publications; being inspired by Asian art; learning ceramics from Jim and Nan McKinnell, and the influence of other teachers on his career; getting hired at Alfred University; the challenges and benefits of teaching at Alfred; his colleagues at Alfred; making functional art and using the vessel form; his teaching philosophy; putting ceramics in a larger art context; his current project; his studio practice; themes in his artwork; choosing to work in porcelain; lecturing and touring in China; being interested in landscape painting; the public response to his work; and recently being awarded several honors. Higby also recalls Manuel Neri, Peter Voulkos, Paul Soldner, Fred Bauer, David Shaner, Francis Merritt, Ted Randall, Bob Turner, Val Cushing, Kenneth Ferguson, Robert Motherwell, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Wayne Higby (1943- ) is a ceramicist from Alfred Station, New York. Mary McInnes is a professor from Alfred, New York.
General:
Originally recorded on 4 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 9 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hr., 55 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:
Use requires an appointment.
Topic:
Ceramicists -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Educators -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Pottery, Minoan  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.higby05
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9bf162d01-21b8-45c0-a721-3b28272fd72c
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-higby05
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
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Genre/Form:
Sketches
Motion pictures (visual works)
Diaries
Prints
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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:

Oral history interview with Frans Wildenhain, 1978 April 10-1979 July 28

Interviewee:
Wildenhain, Frans, 1905-1980  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Pottery -- New York (State)  Search this
Ceramicists -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Theme:
Craft  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12557
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)213194
AAA_collcode_wilden79
Theme:
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_213194
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Betty Woodman, 2003 April 22 and 29

Interviewee:
Woodman, Betty, 1930-2018  Search this
Interviewer:
Perreault, John, 1937-  Search this
Subject:
Brown, Elenita  Search this
Carlson, Cynthia  Search this
Hamada, Shōji  Search this
Higby, Wayne  Search this
Kozloff, Joyce  Search this
Kushner, Robert  Search this
Leach, Bernard  Search this
Serra, Richard  Search this
Shark, Bud  Search this
Voulkos, Peter  Search this
Woodman, George  Search this
Bellagio Study and Conference Center  Search this
Centre internationale de recherche sur le verre et les arts plastiques (Marseille, France)  Search this
Europees Keramisch Werkcentrum  Search this
Fabric Workshop  Search this
Girl Scouts of the United States of America  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
School for American Crafts  Search this
University of Colorado  Search this
Boulder (Colo.).. Parks & Recreation Department  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Place:
Boulder (Colo.)
India -- description and travel
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Topic:
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Theme:
Craft  Search this
Women  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13297
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)245771
AAA_collcode_woodma03
Theme:
Craft
Women
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_245771
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Henry Varnum Poor, 1964

Interviewee:
Poor, Henry Varnum, 1887-1970  Search this
Interviewer:
Phillips, Harlan B. (Harlan Buddington),, 1920-  Search this
Subject:
Bruce, Edward  Search this
Cézanne, Paul  Search this
Sickert, Walter  Search this
Stanford University  Search this
New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Topic:
Mural painting and decoration -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Educators -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Muralists -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
World War, 1914-1918  Search this
Theme:
New Deal  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12762
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)213729
AAA_collcode_poor64
Theme:
New Deal
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_213729

Oral history interview with John Mason, 2006 August 28

Interviewee:
Mason, John, 1927-2019  Search this
Interviewer:
Smith, Paul J., 1931-  Search this
Subject:
Sullivan, Louis H.  Search this
Fuller, R. Buckminster (Richard Buckminster)  Search this
Wright, Frank Lloyd  Search this
Voulkos, Peter  Search this
Soldner, Paul  Search this
Peterson, Susan  Search this
Melchert, Jim  Search this
Kienholz, Edward  Search this
Coplans, John  Search this
Sheets, Millard  Search this
Hopps, Walter  Search this
Koshalek, Richard  Search this
Price, Kenneth  Search this
McClain, Mac  Search this
Marer, Fred  Search this
Ballard, Richard  Search this
Otis Art Institute  Search this
Chouinard Art Institute (Los Angeles, Calif.)  Search this
Ferus Gallery (Los Angeles, Calif.)  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Ceramicists -- California -- Los Angeles -- Interviews  Search this
Sculptors -- California -- Los Angeles -- Interviews  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Theme:
Craft  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13582
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)265527
AAA_collcode_mason06
Theme:
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_265527
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Michael Lucero, 2008 February 26

Interviewee:
Lucero, Michael, 1953-  Search this
Interviewer:
Lauria, Jo, 1954-  Search this
Subject:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Ceramicists -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13693
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)276096
AAA_collcode_lucero08
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_276096

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