An interview of Charles Alan conducted 1973 February 17, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art. Alan reminisces about his sister, Aline Saarinen. He touches upon her educational background; her work for "Art News" magazine and the "New York Times"; and research for her book, "The Proud Possessors," and an unpublished biography of Stanford White. He discusses Saarinen's television career with NBC News; and her relationships with Edgar Kaufman, Jr., Joseph Louchheim, John McAndrew, Elizabeth Shaw, Frank Stanton and others. Alan also comments on Eero Saarinen's personality, architectural projects, and work methods.
Biographical / Historical:
Charles Alan (1908?-1975) was an art dealer from New York, New York. Attended Horace Mann School, graduating in 1924, and Yale School of Drama in 1925. Worked as a set designer for MGM and Warner Brothers. In 1930, became a theatrical set designer and director. After serving in the Army in World War II, he worked for Edith Halpert at the Downtown Gallery. In 1952, he opened the Charles Alan Gallery, specializing in contemporary art. Alan closed the gallery in 1970 to become a private dealer.
Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformatted in 2010 as 1 digital wav file. Duration is 1 hrs., 6 min.
This interview is part of the Archives' 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.
Art critics -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews Search this
Willis' correspondence with Edgar J. Kaufmann, Jr., architectural historians, and librarians concerning the preparation of a bibliography of Kaufmann's writings, sponsored by the Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture, Columbia University, to be published by Architectural History Foundation.
Biographical / Historical:
Kaufmann and Willis are architectural historians.
Donated by Alfred Willis, 1993.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
The Avis Berman research material on art dealer and curator Katharine Kuh measures 3.6 linear feet and dates from 1939 to 2006. The materials were compiled by art historian Avis Berman in preparing Katharine Kuh's memoir, which was published posthumously as My Love Affair with Modern Art: Behind the Scenes with a Legendary Curator. The collection includes Katharine Kuh's files; Kuh's drafts, manuscripts and interviews for her memoir; and Avis Berman's files relating to the book's publication, and memorabilia. Series 5 is regarding the reissue of The Artist's Voice: Talks with Seventeen Modern Artists by Katharine Kuh, published by De Capo Press. Included are drafts, correspondence, agreements and permissions, reviews, photographs of artwork, and administrative records.
Scope and Content Note:
The Avis Berman research material on art dealer and curator Katharine Kuh measures 3.6 linear feet and dates from 1939 to 2006. The materials were compiled by art historian Avis Berman in preparing Katharine Kuh's memoir, which was published posthumously as My Love Affair with Modern Art: Behind the Scenes with a Legendary Curator. The collection includes Katharine Kuh's files; Kuh's drafts, manuscripts and interviews for her memoir; and Avis Berman's files relating to the book's publication. Also included is memorabilia.
The Katharine Kuh files contain correspondence; exhibition files; writings and notes; and Kuh's interview with Lily Harmon on J. B. Neumann. Correspondents include Walter Arensberg, Marcel Duchamp, and Edgar Kaufmann. Also included is the scattered correspondence of Daniel Catton Rich with Walter Arensberg, Chester Dale, Katharine Kuh, Samuel Marx, and others. Exhibition files pertain to exhibitions curated by Katharine Kuh for the Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection and one-man shows for Rico Lebrun and Mark Tobey, respectively.
Sorting Out and Summing Up: Episodes in An Art Odyssey contains Katharine Kuh's draft versions of book chapters; her manuscripts and interviews; and drafts of chapters that were not incorporated in the published memoir. Also included are manuscripts for the memoir and an annotated version of Avis Berman's interview with Kuh.
The Avis Berman files include correspondence, writings, printed material, clippings, press releases, and miscellaneous printed material. Files document Berman's activities concerning the publication of the memoir.
Memorabilia consists of a monograph and a memorial booklet.
Also included is material regarding the reissue of Kuh's book The Artist's Voice: Talks With Seventeen Modern Artists in 2000. Berman collected the material as the literary executor of Kuh's estate. The files contain agreement and permission paperwork, correspondence, book drafts, and financial records.
The collection is arranged as 5 series:
Series 1: Katharine Kuh Files, 1944-2003 (Box 1; 0.4 linear feet)
Series 2: -- Sorting Out and Summing Up: Episodes in an Art Odyssey -- by Katharine Kuh, 1939-2006 (Boxes 1-3; 2.0 linear feet)
Series 3: Avis Berman Files, 1950s-2006 (Box 3; 0.6 linear feet)
Series 4: Memorabilia, 1976, 1977 (Box 3; 0.1 linear feet)
Series 5: Files Regarding -- The Artist's Voice: Talks With Seventeen Modern Artists -- Reissue (Boxes 4-5, 0.5 linear feet)
Writer and art historian, Avis Berman lives and works in New York City. Berman was a close friend of Katharine Kuh's and is Kuh's literary executor. Berman compiled Katharine Kuh's research materials for the memoir that she was working on at the time of her death; the book was subsequently published as My Love Affair with Modern Art: Behind the Scenes with a Legendary Curator in 2006.
Katharine Kuh (1904-1994) was a curator and art dealer born in St. Louis, Missouri. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Vassar College in 1925, where she studied art history under Alfred Barr. In 1928, she earned her Master's in Art History at the University of Chicago. As a graduate student, Kuh developed an interest in modern art, particularly the work of European artists.
Kuh married George Kuh, a businessman in 1930. She and Kuh divorced six years later.
In 1935, she established the Katharine Kuh Gallery in Chicago. The gallery was dedicated to featuring the works of contemporary European and American painters and sculptors, such as Alexander Archipenko, Alexei Jawlensky, Wassily Kandinsky, Gyorgy Kepes, Paul Klee, Gaston Lachaise, Fernand Léger, Carlos Mérida, Joan Miro, Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, Pablo Picasso, as well as Charles Biederman, Alexander Calder, Stuart Davis, and Isamu Noguchi, among others. The Katharine Kuh Gallery was one of the first galleries in Chicago to show photography as art. Kuh held exhibitions for Ansel Adams, Eliot Porter, Edward Weston, and she also showed the photographs of Gyorgy Kepes and Man Ray.
At the gallery, Kuh taught classes on an informal basis to individuals interested in modern art. During this period, she spent her summers as a Visiting Professor of Art History at the University School of Fine Arts of San Miguel in Guanajuarto, Mexico (1938-1940). With the onset of America's involvement in World War II, Kuh realized that the war would curtail her contact with many of the European artists whose works she had promoted and in 1942, she decided to close the gallery.
In 1943, Katharine Kuh took a position in the public relations department at the Art Institute of Chicago. The following year, Kuh was asked to take over the Gallery of Art Interpretation at the Art Institute. Later she was appointed the Curator of Painting and Sculpture; in this role, she developed a close collaborative relationship with the Director of the Art Institute, Daniel Catton Rich. From 1946-1953, she served as the Editor of the Art Institute of Chicago Quarterly.
She left the Art Institute in 1959 and settled in New York City. She served as an art editor at the Saturday Review and World Magazine. She was also an art consultant for the First National Bank of Chicago from 1968-1979.
Katharine Kuh traveled extensively and often wrote about the art of the places she visited such as Sicily, Turkey, and the Yucatan. In the 1940s Kuh developed an interest in the wood carvings of the Indian tribes in the Pacific Northwest. The University of Alaska awarderd her an honorary doctorate for her efforts to preserve the indigenous artwork of the region's Native Americans.
Her publications on twentieth-century art included: Art Has Many Faces (1951), The Artist's Voice: Talks with Seventeen Artists (1962), Break-up: The Core of Modern Art (1965), and The Open Eye: In Pursuit of Art (1971). Kuh also wrote the catalog that accompanied the "Fernand Léger Retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago" (1953). At the time of her death, Katharine Kuh had completed a final draft of her memoir, which she had tentatively titled, Sorting Out and Summing Up: Episodes in an Art Odyssey.
In 1994, Katharine Kuh died in New York City.
The Archives of American Art holds the Katharine Kuh papers, 1908-1994. Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Katharine Kuh conducted by Avis Berman, March 18, 1982-March 23, 1983. Additional Katharine Kuh material is located at the Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
The Avis Berman Research Material, 1939-2006 was donated to the Archives of American Art by Avis Berman, an art historian and literary executor of Katharine Kuh's estate in 2007 and in 2021.
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
The donor has retained all intellectual property rights, including copyright, that they may own in the following material: all writings by Avis Berman.
Art historians -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Art critics -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
The papers of architectural historian, author, critic, teacher, and museum director, Henry-Russell Hitchcock, date from 1919-1987 and measure 24.8 linear feet. Almost all of the collection is comprised of Hitchcock's correspondence files relating to academic research, teaching, curatorial interests, and professional associations. Letters are from prominent architectural historians, architects, artists, preservationists, museum directors and curators, and family and friends. Also found are two feet of writings by Hitchcock and others, scattered biographical information, printed material, and photographs of Hitchcock and architecture.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of architectural historian, author, critic, teacher, and museum director, Henry-Russell Hitchcock, date from 1919-1987 and measure 24.8 linear feet. Almost all of the collection is comprised of Hitchcock's correspondence files relating to academic research, teaching, curatorial interests, and professional associations. Letters are from prominent architectural historians, architects, artists, preservationists, museum directors and curators, and family and friends. Also found are two feet of writings by Hitchcock and others, scattered biographical information, miscellaneous records, printed material, and photographs of Hitchcock and architecture.
Among the biographical documents are Hitchcock's birth certificate, passport, and wills. Awards, citations, honorary degrees and commendations are from the University of Pennsylvania, Wesleyan University, the Friends of Cast Iron Architecture, National Institute of Arts and Letters, and the Victorian Society in America.
Chronological name and subject files consist mostly of correspondence and printed material along with a small number of photographs. They include personal and professional correspondence and subject files relating to academic research, teaching, curatorial interests, and professional associations. The correspondence includes large numbers of letters from prominent architectural historians, architects, artists, preservationists, museum directors and curators. Also included are students, friends, relatives, publishers, and representatives of organizations and institutions. Among those of note are: Jere Abbott, Everett A. (Chick) Austin, Alfred H. Barr, Bernard Berenson, Eugene Berman, Leonid Berman, Lyonel Feininger, Henry (Harry) Sayles Francis, Brendan Gill, Robert Goldwater, George Howe, Philip C. Johnson, Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., Lincoln Kirstein, Thomas J. McCormick, Lewis Mumford, J.J.P. Oud, Erwin Panofsky, Nikolaus Pevsner, Kingsley Porter, Paul J. Sachs, R. M. Schindler, Vincent Scully, Jr., Theodore Sizer, E. Baldwin Smith, Peter van der Meulen Smith, James Soby, Victor Spark, Harold Sterner, John Summerson, Virgil Thomson, Paul Vanderbilt, Theo Van Doesburg, Helmut von Erffa, Gordon Washburn, Rudolf Wittkower, and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Writings by Hitchcock consist of manuscripts and drafts of numerous published and unpublished articles, book chapters, and his masters thesis. Other writings by Hitchcock include lecture notes and texts, book reviews, notes, outlines, photo lists, and a bibliography. Among the other authors represented in this series are John Coolidge and Sir Wilfred Green.
Miscellaneous records consist of the alien registration card of Hitchcock's friend Peter van der Meulen Smith, architectural drawings by Hitchcock, book contracts, and a small number of receipts and invoices.
Printed material consists of articles about, by, or mentioning Henry-Russell Hitchcock, along with advertisements for his books, and postcards of architectural subjects.
Photographs are of architecture, art work, events, people, places, and miscellaneous subjects; also included are color slides, negatives, and transparencies. Architectural subjects include the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Gaudi, as well as interior and exterior views of buildings identified only by location. Photographs of people include Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Chick Austin and Ernestine Carter, Alexander Dorner, Tammy Grimes, Lincoln Kirstein, the Steinway family, and Edgar Tafel. Events recorded include the Society of Architectural Historians at the Newport Casino, Hitchcock receiving honorary degrees at the University of Glasgow and Wesleyan University, and a high tea sponsored by the Victorian Society in America. Family houses and views of Greece are among the photographs of places. Miscellaneous subjects include exhibition installations and family heirlooms.
The collection is arranged as 6 series:
Series 1: Biographical Information, 1922-1984 (Box 1; 0.1 linear ft.)
Series 2: Chronological Name and Subject Files, 1919-1987 (Boxes 1-22; 21.9 linear ft.)
Series 3: Writings, 1922-circa 1978 (Boxes 23-24; 2.0 linear ft.)
Series 4: Miscellaneous Records, 1928-1977 (Box 25; 0.1 linear ft.)
Series 5: Printed Material, 1922-1984 (Boxes 25-26; 0.4 linear ft.)
Series 6: Photographs, circa 1926-1979 (Box 26; 0.3 linear ft.)
Henry-Russell Hitchcock, considered the "father" of modern architectural historiography, played a major role in bringing modern architecture to the United States. As an eminent professor for more than forty years, Hitchcock trained and influenced several generations of scholars and critics. He combined a love of architecture with criticism and scholarship to produce a large number of distinguished monographs and articles on a broad range of styles and periods.
Born in Boston in 1903, Henry-Russell Hitchcock was the son of Mayflower descendants. At Harvard University, he studied medieval history with A. Kingsly Porter as his mentor and completed the undergraduate curriculum in three years. Hitchcock spent his senior year studying architecture, graduated in 1924, and stayed to study for a master's degree, which was awarded in 1927. During his years at Harvard, he wrote for Hound and Horn and knew Alfred Barr, T. S. Eliot, Philip Johnson, Lincoln Kirstein, Virgil Thomson, and others who became leaders in the modernist movement.
Henry-Russell Hitchcock's teaching career began when he was appointed an assistant professor at Vassar College for the academic year 1927-28. In 1929, he joined the faculty of Wesleyan University, where he remained for two decades before moving to Smith College in 1949. During his tenures at Wesleyan and Smith, his services as a visiting lecturer were employed on many occasions by Cambridge University, Connecticut College, Harvard University, the Institute of Fine Arts, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Yale University. Upon retiring from Smith College in 1968, Hitchcock moved to New York City and taught briefly at Columbia University, the Institute of Fine Arts, and the University of Massachusetts, at Amherst.
Best known as a proponent of modernism, Hitchcock wrote more than two dozen books about a wide range of styles and periods, and most are considered standard works on their subjects. His first, Modern Architecture: Romanticism and Reintegration, appeared in 1929 and was the first book on the subject to be published in English; his final book, German Renaissance Architecture, was published in 1981.
Henry-Russell Hitchcock served as director of the Smith College Museum between 1949 and 1955. In addition, he was curator of several exhibitions, the first and most important of which was Modern Architecture: International Exhibition, organized in collaboration with Philip C. Johnson and held at the Museum of Modern Art. Their book, The International Style: Architecture Since 1922, was published in 1932 in conjunction with the exhibition.
During World War II, Hitchcock's civilian service included working as director of the U. S. Navy's Photographic Library and writing Pratt and Whitney aircraft engine manuals.
Henry-Russell Hitchcock was an active member of many professional associations. He served as president of the Society of Architectural Historians from 1952 to 1954. In addition, he was a founding member of The Victorian Society in Great Britain, and between 1969 and 1974 was president of its sister organization, The Victorian Society in America.
During his long and illustrious career, Henry-Russell Hitchcock won many awards and honors. Awards for Early Victorian Architecture in Britain and Architecture: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries were conferred by the Society of Architectural Historians (1955) and College Art Association (1960), respectively. Hitchcock received the Royal Society of Arts Medal for Best Lecture (1956) and its Benjamin Franklin Medal (1970), in addition to the American Institute of Architects' Architectural Critics' Medal (1970). Other awards include: National Institute of Arts and Letters Award (1956), American Council of Learned Societies Prize for Distinguished Accomplishment in Humanistic Scholarship (1961), Friends of Cast-Iron Architecture Certificate of Commendation (1978), the American Institute of Architects Award of Merit (1978), and Municipal Art Society Certificate of Merit (1978).
He received honorary degrees from Glasgow University and the University of Pennsylvania in 1973, and in 1979 from Wesleyan University. In Search of Modern Architecture: A Tribute to Henry-Russell Hitchcock, edited by Helen Searing, was published by The Architectural History Foundation in 1982.
Due to declining health, Henry-Russell Hitchcock lectured rarely and wrote little in the three years preceding his death from cancer. He died in New York City, February 19, 1987.
The Archives of American Art also holds Henry-Russell Hitchcock letters to Dorothy Stroud and John N. Summerson, 1946-1949. Additional Henry-Russell Hitchcock papers (circa 8 linear feet) are in the Special Collections division of Wesleyan University Library.
Mosette Broderick, assistant to Hitchcock and his literary executor, donated the papers to the Archives of American Art in 1988.
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
Architectural historians -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Museum directors -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Henry-Russell Hitchcock papers, 1919-1987. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art