An interview of Peter Agostini conducted in 1968, by Colette Roberts, for the Archives of American Art at 151 Avenue B, New York, New York.
Mr. Agostini speaks of his childhood spent living throughout the five boroughs of New York; his interactions with clients of his father's acting employment agency; his early education in Catholic school and the creative freedom allotted by the nuns; his first feelings of isolation as an artist at the age of seven; the development of a sense of communication as the result of the loss of his mother at the age of three and time spent at a school for orphans; his early realization and vision of artistic destiny; his religious interests which lead to mysticism in his earlier work; his time spent working freely in the DaVinci Studio with Spaventa; the discovery by Hess of his works in Gallerie Grimaud; his attainment of the Longview Grant; his working experience throughout the Depression as part of the WPA casting plaster mannequins while working indirectly with Pollack as well as Marca Relli; his subsequent move to designing department store windows (use of Mondrian-like forms and lines); his feelings of his position as an observer; the importance of communication through art (communication without words); his rejection of the Abstract Expressionist group and choice of independence; the influence of the sculpture of Kolbe and Bache in the thirties; Clement Greenberg's distaste for his work; his feelings about the relative failure to sell his work due its unusual edginess and mystery; his role in the introduction of the work of contemporary European artists (Chausserian, Gauthier, Modrian) to the American group; his description of his own work as "traditionless"; his feelings of self-importance as one of the most original sculptors in the art world; his influence on the younger generation, particularly Marisol; the enslavement to originality that the younger generation faces; his attitudes towards American Art forms and their lack of rebellious spirit; the virtues of the American writers, such as Poe, Whitman, and Melville as American "knapsack" writers; his personal technique which places an emphasis on the "skin" or volume of something; his attempt to create quiet art, or art that merely indicates features; his frustration with teaching and the problems of regurgitated knowledge; the role of Meyer Shapiro in his teaching career at Columbia; the formation of the Club and its similarity to the Cubist's café scene; his opinions on the relationship of sex and sensuality in American art; his personal struggles, including the loss of his second wife and two of his brothers, in addition to the estrangement of his only daughter by his first wife; his feelings on the role of psycho analysis and personal history in a work of art; his present works which feature the "swell." For the majority of the second half of the interview Ms. Roberts asks Mr. Agostini to express his opinions on the work of: Kline; DeKooning; Duchamp; Oldenburg; La Tour; DeChirico; Maillol; Pompon; Rothko; Chardin; Cezanne; Giacometti; Reinhardt; Chryssa; Tony Smith; Segal; Lachaise; Zorach; Manship; Flannagan; Kelly; Lassaw; David Smith; Hare; Lipton; Ferber; Lippold; Roszak; Nakian; Noguchi; Hague; Kohn; di Suvero; Chamberlain; Kaprow; Sugarman; Stankiewicz; Bontecou; Scarpitta; Cornell; Keinholz; Rivera; Judd; Robert Morris; O'Keeffe; Samaras; Mark Tobey; Marin; Pollock; Hartley; Dove; Macdonald-Wright; Demuth; Sheeler; Hopper; Mirot; Matisse; DuBuffet.
Biographical / Historical:
Peter Agostini (1913-1993) was a sculptor from New York, New York.
Originally recorded on 3 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 28 digital wav files. Duration is 10 hrs., 37 min.
Transferred from 4 3" reels.
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.
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews Search this
1.2 Linear feet ((ca. 700 items partially microfilmed on two reels))
1968-1977 and [undated]
Scope and Contents:
Photographs by Roxanne Everett, of artists fabricating and installing their sculpture at Lippincott, Inc., and other sites.
REEL 1400: 23 photographs including: Robert Breer, Ellsworth Kelly, Donald Lippincott, Clement Meadmore, Robert Morris, Louise Nevelson, Barnett Newman, Claes Oldenburg, Lucas Samaras, George Sugarman, and Minoru Yamasaki.
REEL 1875: 79 photographs including: Robert McIntyre Doty, Jean Dubuffet, Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein, David McKee, Clement L. Meadmore, Robert Murray, Forest Warden Myers, Claes Oldenburg, James Rosati, Lucas Samaras, George Sugarman, and others.
UNMICROFILMED: 593 photographs, among them ca. 300 of Claus Oldenburg, and many of Robert Murray, George Sugarman, Louise Nevelson, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosati, Ellsworth Kelly, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
North Haven, Ct. Founded in 1966 by Donald B. Lippincott as a place for artists to create large sculptures and receive help in transportation and installation of their work.
Photographs on reel 1400 donated 1974 by Roxanne Everett and Donald B. Lippincott; those on reel 1875 donated 1978 by Everett. Unmicrofilmed photographs donated by Roxanne Everett, October 4, 1983.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Authorization to publish, quote or reproduce requires written permission from Jonathan Lippincott. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Interview of Alfonso A. Ossorio conducted 1968 November 19, by Forrest Selvig, for the Archives of American Art.
Ossorio speaks of his youth and education in England and the United States; attending Harvard; working as a medical illustrator for the Army; coming to New York and becoming acquainted with Jackson Pollock and other New York artists; a mural commission he received for a church in the Philippines; the difficulty of introducing new ideas into Catholic art; traveling to Paris; his association with Jean Dubuffet; changes in his technique; his work in collage; his affiliation with the Signa Gallery; abstract expressionism.
Biographical / Historical:
Alfonso Ossorio (1916-1990) was a painter in Wainscott, New York.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
Patrons must use transcript.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Collagists -- New York (State) -- Interviews Search this