An interview of Elizabeth Saltonstall conducted 1981 November 18, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Saltonstall discusses her experiences with art as a child in Boston (mentioning Frank Weston Benson as an influence) and her subsequent art education at the Winsor School, the art school of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and independent study in Paris. She remembers the various teaching styles of the Museum School faculty (Frederick A. Bosley, Henry Hunt Clark, Anson K. Cross, Philip Leslie Hale, Alexander James, and Leslie P. Thompson), especially as they contrasted with French teaching methods. She also speaks of her teachers in France and on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket (including Frank Swift Chase), and recalls some of her co-students (including Josef Presser). Particular mention is made of a lithography workshop taught by Stow Wengenroth, and of George C. Miller, who printed her lithography stones. Her cousin, Nathaniel Saltonstall, is discussed as a patron of the arts, especially his contributions to the establishment of the Institute of Modern Art [Institute of Contemporary Art] in Boston. She touches also on her own teaching career at Winsor School and Milton Academy, and her involvement with the Boston Society of Independent Artists and the Grace Horn Gallery.
Biographical / Historical:
Elizabeth Saltonstall (1900-1990) was a painter, printmaker, and instructor of Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Originally recorded on 1 sound cassette. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 25 min.
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.
Correspondence, business files, academic papers, photographs, clippings, sketchbook, sketches, and miscellaneous notes.
REEL 581: Selected items from 2 family scrapbooks, 1933-1943 and 1946-1956; including clippings, photographs, correspondence, invitations and awards. Most material pertains to Plaut's work as director of the ICA and advisor to the government of Israel. Also included are correspondence from Georges Rouault, Carl Milles, and Oskar Kokoschka; and 6 drawings by Waldo Peirce.
REEL 5139: Two family scrapbooks, 1956-1959 and 1960-1980, containing clippings, invitations, photographs and miscellaneous material from Plaut's work World's Fairs at Brussels, 1958, New York, 1964 and Japan, 1970. Also found are family snapshots of the Plaut's travels, their children and grandchildren and include 7 earlier photographs of Plaut and his parents, ca. 1906-1932, and one photograph of Eleanor Roosevelt, 1959.
UNMICROFILMED: Travel sketchbook of Rome; term papers, honors thesis, and sketches for an architectural history course; files relating to Plaut's positions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the ICA, the World Crafts Council, and other professional and personal concerns; correspondence, including letters from Eugene Berman, Carl Milles, Lincoln Kirstein, Paul Sachs and others; personal and work related photographs; lecture notes; slides from the World's Craft Fair Council, 1974; 2 untranscribed sound tape reels of an interview made by Plaut for Alfred Auerbach concerning the Brussels World's Fair 1958 and typed list of questions for the interview; and miscellaneous papers.
ADDITION: Resumes and obituaries; correspondence; the book, Waldo Peirce, by Margit Varga, 1941, with insertions of a caricature by Peirce, illustrated postcards, and a letter; photographs of Walter Gropius House, Lincoln, Mass. and 7 photographs of Plaut with Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, Konrad Adenauer, Indira Gandhi, Leonard Bernstein, and Dwight David Eisenhower; scrapbook and slides pertaining to Plaut's work for the World's Fair, Brussels, 1958; writings and publications; publications of the ICA and the WCC; the book, The Overcoat, by Nikoli Gogel, presented to Plaut upon retirement from the WCC; publications by others on art and design; and a file on James and Mary Plaut's personal art collection, ca. 1935-1990s.
Biographical / Historical:
Art administrator and museum director; Boston, Mass. Plaut was born to a wealthy family in Cincinnati, Ohio, graduated from HarvardCollege, and received an M.A. from Harvard University. His uncle was Paul Sachs, a connoisseur and influential museology professor at Harvard andsor. Plaut held curatorial positions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and became Director of Boston's Institute of Modern Art in 1939 (later the Institute of Contemporary Art or ICA) where he staged early exhibitions of contemporary design and European avant-garde paintings and sculpture until his resignation in 1956. Plaut was also involved in many international exhibitions and expositions, serving as Deputy U.S. Commissioner to the World's Fair in Brussels, 1958, and was Secretary General of the World Crafts Council, 1967-1976 and a consultant on industrial design in Israel.
Scrapbooks on reel 581 lent for microfilming by Plaut, 1973; his estate, via the executor Edward M. Condit, Jr., lent those on reel 5139 in 1996. Plaut donated the unmicrofilmed material in 1985 and 1992, and additional papers were received as a bequest in 1996 via the executor of his estate.
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.
Arts administrators -- Massachusetts -- Boston Search this
Museum directors -- Massachusetts -- Boston Search this
Examines the Boston art scene in the late l930s and l940s, where traditional conservative artistic taste clashed with the emerging Boston Expressionists trained at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston School. Focuses on the artists' relationship to the newly formed Institute of Modern Art, and the uproar which resulted when its director, James Plaut, issued a statement viewed as antagonistic to artists explaining the change of name of the museum to the Institute of Contemporary Art. Discussing the events are artists Barbara Swan, Bernard Chaet, Ralph Coburn and Hyman Bloom, ICA director James Plaut and president Nathanial Saltonstall, art historian Pamela Allara, Nelson Aldrich and Lloyd Goodrich.
Publication, Distribution, Etc. (Imprint):
Boston: WGBH Educational Foundation, c1987
First broadcast on WGBH January 1988.
Donated in 1993 by the WGBH Educational Foundation.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.