Interview of Sue Fuller, conducted on April 24, 1975, April 30, 1975, and May 8, 1975, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, at the home of Sue Fuller, in Southampton, New York.
Fuller speaks of her family and childhood in Pittsburgh, including art teachers and friends; her childhood painting lessons; her education in prep school, at Carnegie Tech, and at Columbia Teachers' College; her travels to Europe and Japan; her use of plastics; her work as a teacher, commercial artist, and assistant in Bill Hayter's studio; the influence of John Dewey's philosophy on her teaching style; training with Ernest Thurn, Hans Hofmann, Josef Albers; learning printmaking and calligraphy; the Society of American Etchers; the influence of science and mathematics on her work; and her thoughts on contemporary computer art. Fuller also recalls Bertha Schaefer, Victor D'Amico, Madeleine Lejwa, John Taylor Arms, Abraham Rattner, Louis Schanker, Roberto Matta, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Sue Fuller (1914-2006) was a sculptor and printmaker from Southampton, New York.
These interviews are part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
Letters, writings and notes, art works, printed material and photographs.
Brief resumes, a genealogy of Van Ness' family and a citation from Beaver Country Day School for "Meritorious Service"; correspondence from family members, colleagues and friends includes 5 letters from Victor D'Amico and the Progressive Education Association regarding her participation in upcoming events; extensive notes and writings by Van Ness and others regarding art education theory and practice and a brief history of Beaver Country Day School written by Van Ness in 1981; teaching files, undated and 1932-1944, containing course outlines, exams and class assignments for courses taught at BCDS;
a notebook describing the dimensions, locations and types of various picture frames; a card file describing paintings by Van Ness; figure drawings, still lifes, contour drawings and charcoal studies done when she was a student; studies of people done in preparation for paintings, portrait sketches and 2 sketches of Van Ness done by her students; photographs of Van Ness, her family, models (for paintings), colleagues and teachers (includes a photo of Philip Hale and Edmund Tarbell, ca. 1905-1980), numerous photos of paintings by Van Ness, ca. 1910-1980, and photos of drawings by her students.
Printed materials include 2 articles by Van Ness on art education published in ART EDUCATION TODAY (1939) and HIGH SCHOOL JOURNAL (1940); exhibition catalogs, announcements, clippings and an essay by Hilla Rebay entitled "The Beauty of Non-Objectivity."
Biographical / Historical:
Painter, educator; Chesnut Hill, Mass. Founder and head of the Art Department at Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill (1921-1949). She studied child and adolescent behavior as applied to art education practice. Through articles, essays and presentations she advocated a more vital and integral role for art education in overall curriculum strategy.
Donated 1983 by Van Ness's daughters Mary Crocker and Silvia Martin.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.