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Oral history interview with Barbara Novak

Interviewee:
Novak, Barbara  Search this
Interviewer:
McElhinney, James Lancel, 1952-  Search this
Names:
Art Students League (New York, N.Y.) -- Students  Search this
Barnard College -- Students  Search this
Brooklyn Museum  Search this
Harvard University -- Students  Search this
Aaron, Dan  Search this
Bochner, Mel, 1940-  Search this
Bosa, Louis, 1905-  Search this
Coremans, Paul B., 1908-1965  Search this
Davis, Meredith (Meredith J)  Search this
Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968  Search this
Feldman, Morton, 1926-1987  Search this
Ferber, Linda S.  Search this
Goetzmann, William  Search this
Hayes, Bartlett H., 1904-1988  Search this
Held, Julius Samuel, 1905-  Search this
Hesse, Eva, 1936-1970  Search this
Hopper, Edward, 1882-1967  Search this
Hutchinson, Peter A., 1930-  Search this
Icahn, Belle  Search this
Karolik, Maxim  Search this
Kaufman, William  Search this
Krasner, Lee, 1908-1984  Search this
Lane, Fitz Henry, 1804-1865  Search this
Lawrence, Marion  Search this
LeWitt, Sol, 1928-2007  Search this
McCoy, Ann Wyeth  Search this
Melkoff, Edward  Search this
Nevins, Kate Lockwood  Search this
O'Doherty, Brian  Search this
Presser, Josef, 1909-1967  Search this
Rauschenberg, Robert, 1925-2008  Search this
Reff, Theodore  Search this
Rothko, Mark, 1903-1970  Search this
Rowland, Ben  Search this
Scharf, William, 1927-  Search this
Shapiro, Marge  Search this
Smithson, Robert  Search this
Watts, Marissa  Search this
Wyeth, Andrew, 1917-2009  Search this
Extent:
4 Items (Sound recording: 4 sound files (4 hr., 26 min.), digital)
89 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Interviews
Sound recordings
Place:
Europe -- description and travel
Utah -- Description and Travel
Date:
2013 October 8-17
Scope and Contents:
An interview with Barbara Novak conducted 2013 October 8-17, by James McElhinney, for the Archvies of American Art, at Novak's home in Manhattan, New York.
Novak speaks of her early art training; learning to draw at the age of eight with help from her uncle William Kaufman and later taking art classes with Belle Icahn; Edward Melkoff; Joseph Presser; and classes at the Art Students League; becoming Expressionist in her painting; her year in Europe as a Fulbright student from Harvard University; the powerful lectures of Julius Held at Barnard College that launched her career; feeling that she devised a system by which works of art can be understood through looking closely at their physical properties and how she tries to develop the individual in her students; her time as a docent at the Brooklyn Museum in the American art collection; which led her to becoming an Americanist; her book, "Alice's Neck" and the inspiring Utah landscape; the importance of Fitz Henry Lane's work; the embodiment in American art of Pragmatism and Transcendentalism; and being led to Luminism; her books showing how to understand American culture through art, covering formal, contextual, and spiritual elements; hosting the first television show on art, "Vision of Art"; her husband Brian O'Doherty's background in art; the importance of nature for Cole and Durand; that common sense should be used in describing works of art, rather than assuming current events influenced the artist; her education at Harvard; Margaret Fuller and writing "The Margaret-Ghost"; Marcel Duchamp; Andrew Wyeth; Edward Hopper; Robert Rauschenberg; Mark Rothko; and Lee Krasner; and that the most exhilarating time intellectually for her was the 1960s with a group that included Robert Smithson, Sol LeWitt, Eva Hesse, Peter Hutchinson, Morton Feldman, Mel Bochner, and others. Barbara also recalls Mrs. Nevins, William Scharf, Paul Cormans [ph], Marion Lawrence, Marge Shapiro, Maxim Karolick, William Goetzmann, Ann McCoy, Ben Rowland, Bart Hayes, Ted Reff, Dan Aaron, Louis Bosa, Linda Ferber, Meredith Davis, Marissa Watts, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Barbara Novak (1929- ) is an art historian in New York, New York. James McElhinney (1952- ) is a painter and educator in New York, New York.
General:
Originally recorded as 4 sound files. Duration is 4 hr., 26 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Occupation:
Art historians -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Fulbright scholars  Search this
Topic:
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Art, American  Search this
Expressionism (Art)  Search this
Luminism (Art)  Search this
Pragmatism  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.novak13
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw98b209753-c622-42d5-aad3-a2049f54363c
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-novak13
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