An interview of Robert O. Preusser conducted 1991 January-October, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Preusser discusses the establishment of an art department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his involvement with it first as a visiting lecturer and then as a professor of visual design. He speaks often of Gyorgy Kepes, whom he had known at the Institute of Design, Chicago, in the early 1940s, and who recruited him to M.I.T; he also discusses other faculty members, like Minor White, professor of photography. He gives attention to his courses at M.I.T., 1954-1985; early computer design projects by students; his writings on the importance of visual arts to technology; and his supervision of educational programs at M.I.T.'s Center for Advanced Visual Studies, 1974-85. An extensive part of the interview is held in an exhibition of Preusser's work at the M.I.T. Museum (April 4, 1991), discussing in particular his incorporation of various plastic and metallic materials in his works from the 1960s and 1970s. He speaks as well of the importance of his inclusion in group exhibitions at the Downtown Gallery, New York, ("Newcomers," 1951, and "Recent Arrivals, 1952) and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston ("Collectors Exhibition," 1954), and of his exhibitions at the Boris Mirski Gallery and the Joan Peterson Gallery, Boston, during the 1950s and 1960s, and at various galleries in Houston during the 1980s. Other topics of discussion are his early art instruction in his native Houston, Texas, by the painter Ola McNeill Davidson, 1930-39; further training in painting and design at the Institute of Design, Chicago, 1930-39, 1941-42; Newcomb School of Art at Tulane University, 1940-41; service with a camouflage unit in the U.S. Army, 1942-45; classes at the Art Center School, Los Angeles, 1946-47; his teaching at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1947-54, and at the University of Houston, 1951-54, and his role as co-director of the Houston Contemporary Arts Association, 1948-50.
Biographical / Historical:
Robert Preusser (1919-1992) was a painter and art instructor from Houston, Texas and Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Poor sound quality. The first 35 minutes of the interview have been lost.
Originally recorded on 1 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 7 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hr., 18 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.
Artists' files relating to Richard E. Filipowski, Jason Berger and Marilyn Powers, including biographical information, correspondence, price lists, exhibition catalogs, announcements, clippings, and photographs of work.
Biographical / Historical:
Art gallery; Boston, Mass. Joan Peterson was one of the most prominent art dealers in Boston from the late 1950s into the early 1980s. The gallery showed the work of leading regional modernists. It closed in 1981.
Donated in 1992 by Joan Peterson Klimann, former director of the Joan Peterson Gallery.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Art galleries, Commercial -- Massachusetts -- Boston
Von Mohrenschildt, Dimitri Sergius, 1902-2002 Search this
8.2 Linear feet
Motion pictures (visual works)
circa 1920s-circa 1973
The William Christopher papers measure 8.2 linear feet and date from circa 1920s to circa 1973. Materials include biographical materials, correspondence, writings and notes, five diaries, subject/project files, printed materials, photographs, numerous sketches and eleven sketchbooks, and five short film reels containing amateur footage of New York City. The subject/project files include correspondence, printed materials, and two additional diaries about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.
Scope and Contents:
The William Christopher papers measure 8.2 linear feet and date from circa 1920s to circa 1973. Materials include biographical materials, correspondence, writings and notes, five diaries, subject/project files, printed materials, photographs, numerous sketches and eleven sketchbooks, and five reels of motion picture films, consisting of amateur footage of New York City. The subject/project files include correspondence, printed materials, and two additional diaries about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.
Biographical materials include address books, annotated memorabilia, awards and certificates, curriculum vitae and resume materials, and identification materials. Correspondence is with friends and fellow artists, including actress Osceola Archer and Henry Crapo, galleries, and others. Writings and notes include eleven notebooks, miscellaneous undated notes and papers, annotated drafts and writings by William Christopher, and writings by others. There are five diaries written by William Christopher from the 1940s to the 1960s.
Subject files document miscellaneous projects in which Christopher was involved and/or interested, and include several about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. containing correspondence, printed material, and two diaries written by Christopher during his attendance of the Civil Rights march from Selma to Montgomery.
Scattered personal business papers concern artwork sold and loaned and personal finances. Printed materials include clippings, exhibition catalogs and materials, magazines and programs, and posters. Photographs are of William Christopher, Henry Crapo, Margaret French, Charles Howard, Bernard Perlin, George Tooker, male models and figures, furniture, landscapes, buildings, and artwork.
Christopher's papers include over one hundred sketches and watercolors, eleven sketchbooks, an artwork by Dimitri Von Mohrenshildt, and one sketch by George Tooker. Also found among the papers are five film reels made by Christopher for an unfinished project, containing footage of New York City cityscapes and street scenes.
This collection is arranged as 10 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1940s-circa 1973 (0.5 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1947-circa 1973 (1.9 linear feet; Boxes 1-3)
Series 3: Writings and Notes, circa 1947-1970 (0.4 linear feet; Box 3)
Series 4: Diaries, circa 1940s-circa 1960s (0.2 linear feet; Boxes 3-4)
Series 5: Subject Files, 1943-1972 (0.7 linear feet; Boxes 4, 9)
Series 6: Personal Business Records, circa 1950-circa 1972 (0.3 linear feet; Box 4)
Series 7: Printed Material, circa 1950s-circa 1972 (1.4 linear feet; Boxes 4-5, 9, OV12)
Series 8: Photographs, circa 1920s-circa 1970s (0.7 linear feet; Boxes 6, 8, MGP 4)
Series 9: Artwork and Sketchbooks, circa 1940s-circa 1970s (1.6 linear feet; Boxes 6-8, OV10-11, 13-18)
Series 10: Unidentified Project, Motion Picture Films, 1961 (0.5 linear feet; FC 19-23)
Biographical / Historical:
William Christopher was a painter, art instructor, and Civil Rights activist living and working in New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont. He was born in Columbus, Georgia on March 4, 1924, and served in the U. S. Navy from 1941 to 1943.
Aided by grants and scholarships, Christopher studied in France at the Sorbonne, Academie Julian, and the Ecoles d'Art Americaines between 1946-1948. While there, he also studied with Ossip Zadkine. He returned to New York and studied with Amedee Ozenfant and Hans Hofmann between 1948 and 1950.
Christopher's painting was greatly influenced by his time spent in Paris and New York, and his later involvement with the Civil Rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the march in Selma in 1965. His first U. S. solo exhibition was in 1952 at the Roko Gallery in New York, and he exhibited widely in New York, Boston, Washington, D.C. at the Nexus Gallery, the Boston Arts Festival, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Joan Peterson Gallery, Galeria Juana Mordo, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others. In 1964, Christopher was invited to present his paintings to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the presentation of Dr. King's papers to Boston University. This is where Christopher met King.
Christopher moved to Hartland, Vermont in 1960, with his partner painter George Tooker. He remained there for the rest of his life. Christopher died in 1973.
William Christopher donated his papers to the Archives of American Art in 1972.
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 with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.
Photographs, negatives, and slides are of Richard Filipowski and others, including a group photo for the Architecture of Crow Island School with Bill Kessler, Johannes Molzahn and others; works of art including sculptures, paintings and furniture designs; slides of his exhibitions at the Nexus Gallery and the Joan Peterson Gallery, and works of art by his students from Harvard and MIT.
Photographic materials are loosely arranged by subject with photographs of Richard Filipowski at the beginning of the series.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
Richard E. Filipowski papers, circa 1940-1998. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.