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Oral history interview with Sam Gilliam

Interviewee:
Gilliam, Sam, 1933-  Search this
Interviewer:
Forgey, Benjamin, art critic  Search this
Names:
Corcoran Gallery of Art  Search this
District of Columbia Arts Center, Inc.  Search this
Jefferson Place Gallery  Search this
Washington Coalition of Artists  Search this
Washington Gallery of Modern Art (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
Washington Project for the Arts (D.C.)  Search this
Downing, Thomas, 1928-1985  Search this
Hopps, Walter  Search this
Krebs, Rockne, 1938-2011  Search this
Extent:
4 Items (Sound recording, sound cassettes)
54 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1989 Nov. 4-11
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Sam Gilliam conducted 1989 Nov. 4-11, by Ben Forgey for the Archives of American Art. Gilliam speaks of his decision to come to Washington, D.C., from Louisville, Ky.; his shift from figurative painting to abstract painting; meeting Washington painters Robert Gates and Tom Downing; the "stature" of Tom Downing in the Washington art scene in the 1960s and Walter Hopps' role; influential exhibitions at the Jefferson Place Gallery and the Washington Gallery of Modern Art; being a Washington artist and a black artist; artist/teachers at American University; the Johnson Avenue Workshop grant; his relationship with Rockne Krebs; the history of the Washington Coalition of Artists; the Corcoran Gallery and the Washington Project for the Arts' relationship to Washington artists; his involvement with the District of Columbia Art Center; teaching; and his working methods. Gilliam also discusses various paintings, processes, materials, ideas and experiments at length. He recalls Gene Davis, Howard Mehring, Ken Noland, Morris Louis, Nesta Dorrance, Alma Thomas, Lou Stovall, Al Nodal, Jock Reynolds, Michael Botwinick, Willem de Looper, Paul Reed, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Sam Gilliam (1933- ) was a painter of Washington, D.C.
Provenance:
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.
Occupation:
Painters -- Washington (D.C.) -- Interviews  Search this
Topic:
Art -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Art -- Technique  Search this
Painting, Modern -- 20th century -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
African American painters -- Washington (D.C.) -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.gillia89
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-gillia89

Sam Gilliam papers

Creator:
Gilliam, Sam  Search this
Names:
Carl Solway Gallery  Search this
Philadelphia Museum of Art  Search this
Studio Museum in Harlem  Search this
Andrews, Benny, 1930-2006  Search this
Driskell, David C.  Search this
Gilliam, Dorothy Butler, 1936-  Search this
Krebs, Rockne, 1938-2011  Search this
Mondale, Walter F., 1928-  Search this
Extent:
7.9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Interviews
Photographs
Prints
Scrapbooks
Sketches
Sound recordings
Transcripts
Date:
1957-1989
Summary:
The papers of contemporary Color Field painter and educator Sam Gilliam measure 7.9 linear feet and date from 1957 to 1989. The papers include biographical material, correspondence, writings, business records, printed material, subject files, a scrapbook, artwork, and photographic material that document Gilliam's life from his time as a student through his teaching, professorial, and artistic career. The collection highlights Gilliam's close involvement with the art institutions, racial politics, and artistic innovation taking place in 1960s through 1980s America, specifically in Washington D.C.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of contemporary Color Field painter and educator Sam Gilliam measure 7.9 linear feet and date from 1957 to 1989. The papers include biographical material, correspondence, writings, business records, printed material, subject files, a scrapbook, artwork, and photographic material that document Gilliam's life beginning as a student, through to his teaching, professorial, and artistic career based in Washington D.C. The collection highlights Gilliam's close involvement with the art institutions, racial politics, and artistic innovation taking place in 1960s through 1980s America, specifically in Washington D.C., and showcases the planning and creation of the large scale three-dimensional paintings Gilliam is best known for as a member of the Washington Color School of painting.

Biographical material includes resumes, passports, exhibition lists, artists' statements and essays, interview transcripts and recordings. Also included are audio recordings of conversations between Sam Gilliam and artist Benny Andrews, between Gilliam and artist Rockne Krebs, as well as recordings of a 1968 interview conducted by Dorothy Gilliam.

Correspondence spans over 20 years and includes letters to and from museums and galleries such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Carl Solway Gallery, collectors, artists including David Driskell, friends, family, students, and fans.

Writings include notes, statements, and essays by and about Gilliam, writings by university students of Gilliam, and writings related to Gilliam's artwork and public commissions including measurements for artworks, material research, and information regarding prints created for the private home of Walter Mondale.

Business records primarily include the daily records of activities kept by Sam and Dorothy Gilliam's secretary, Debby, from 1973 to 1978. Also present are resumes for a studio assistant for Gilliam, certificates of originality, legal documents, receipts and invoices, a record of donated paintings, financial records, ledgers, contracts, records and paperwork for the Gilliam's company Enterprise 101, and miscellany.

Printed materials include photocopies, exhibition announcements, magazines, and clippings regarding exhibitions, specific artworks, and commissions, and Gilliam and/or his then-wife, Dorothy Gilliam.

The subject file series contains letters, photographic material, business records, sketches, and printed materials concerning specific galleries, public art commissions, arts organizations, workshops, teaching positions, Gilliam's studio, art suppliers, and other topics.

A disbound scrapbook contains photographs, notes, and printed material related to Gilliam and his studio practice.

The artwork series includes sketches, personal notes, and small preparatory drawings by Gilliam.

Photographic material includes negatives, slides, and transparencies of artworks, Gilliam in his studio, and Gilliam and staff preparing museum and gallery exhibition spaces. Also included are records of student artwork, and photos and slides of artwork sent to Gilliam by students and aspiring artists.
Arrangement:
This collection is arranged as 9 series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1958-1988, (Box 1; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1965-1989, (Boxes 1-2; 0.6 linear feet)

Series 3: Writings, 1962-1988, (Box 2; 0.4 linear feet)

Series 4: Business Records, 1957-1986, (Boxes 2-3; 1.0 linear foot)

Series 5: Printed Material, 1962-1987, (Boxes 3-4; 1.0 linear foot)

Series 6: Subject Files, 1963-1988, (Boxes 4-7; 2.2 linear feet)

Series 7: Scrapbook, 1958-1968, (Box 7; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 8: Artwork, 1970-1980, undated, (Boxes 7-9; 0.4 linear feet)

Series 9: Photographic Material, 1960-1985, (Boxes 8-9; 0.3 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
Sam Gilliam (1933- ) is an African-American artist based in Washington, D.C. He was born in Tupelo, Mississippi and raised in Louisville, Kentucky where he began painting as a child, eventually attending the University of Louisville where he received his B.A. in Fine Art and M.A. in Painting. He went on to teach art to high school students in the Washington D.C. public school system, and university-level students at the Corcoran School of Art, the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), the University of Maryland, and Carnegie Mellon University. His numerous grants and awards include the 1971 Solomon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and multiple Honorary Doctoral degrees.

As an artist, Gilliam is best known for his three-dimensional draped and suspended paintings, covered with large fields of poured paint, pigment, and colorful staining influenced by the movement and colors of Abstract Expressionist painters. Gilliam went on to become a part of the Washington Color School of painters, where his creation of free-form works flourished. He created many public works that incorporated new materials such as custom designed metal forms, quilted canvas, and textiles; his works often included subtle social commentaries through their titling. His suspended paintings cemented Gilliam as an innovative and influential presence in 20th century American art.
Provenance:
The Sam Gilliam papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Sam Gilliam in 1989.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Rights:
Authorization to publish, quote, or reproduce must be obtained from Sam Gilliam.
Occupation:
Educators -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Painters -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Topic:
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Color-field painting -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Painting, Modern -- 20th century -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Washington Color School (Group of artists)  Search this
African American artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Photographs
Prints
Scrapbooks
Sketches
Sound recordings
Transcripts
Citation:
Sam Gilliam papers, 1957-1989. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.gillsam
See more items in:
Sam Gilliam papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-gillsam

William Chapin Seitz papers

Creator:
Seitz, William Chapin  Search this
Names:
University of Virginia -- Faculty  Search this
Ashton, Dore  Search this
Banks-Woodson, Ellen  Search this
Barr, Alfred Hamilton, 1902-  Search this
Baziotes, William, 1912-1963  Search this
Conner, Bruce  Search this
D'Harnoncourt, Rene, 1901-1968  Search this
Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968  Search this
Elliott, Philip Clarkson, 1903-1985  Search this
Gorky, Arshile, 1904-1948  Search this
Gottlieb, Adolph, 1903-1974  Search this
Krebs, Rockne, 1938-2011  Search this
Monet, Claude, 1840-1926  Search this
Rosati, James, 1912-1988  Search this
Segal, George, 1924-2000  Search this
Seitz, Irma  Search this
Stella, Frank  Search this
Extent:
32.5 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Resumes
Poems
Photographs
Awards
Sound recordings
Interviews
Sketches
Notebooks
Drafts (documents)
Lectures
Date:
circa 1930-1995
Summary:
The papers of educator, painter, and art historian William Chapin Seitz measure 32.5 linear feet and date from circa 1930-1995. The collection includes biographical information, correspondence, notebooks, subject and people files, thesis research files, interviews and lecture recordings, teaching files, personal business records, scattered printed materials, photographs, and artwork. The bulk of the papers focus on Seitz's research and teaching career.
Scope and Contents note:
The papers of educator, painter, and art historian William Chapin Seitz measure 32.5 linear feet and date from circa 1930-1995. The collection includes biographical information, correspondence, notebooks, subject and people files, thesis research files, interviews and lecture recordings, teaching files, personal business records, scattered printed materials, photographs, and artwork. The bulk of the papers focus on Seitz's research and teaching career.

Biographical materials consist of resumes and CV's, identification cards including one from the WPA, documents from the memorial held at the University of Virginia for Seitz, poetry written by Irma for William on their wedding anniversaries, and x-rays.

The majority of Seitz's correspondence is professional and concerns job offers and opportunities, lectures requests, recommendation letters for Seitz and for others by Seitz, the Kress Fellowship, exhibitions, awards, and organizations. Also found are posthumus materials to Irma Seitz concerning book royalites. Personal correspondence is scattered and includes condolence letters sent to Irma.

Personal business records focus on Seitz's personal art collection, copyright information, publishing records including royalty statements, reports, scholarship and fellowship information, and professional organization membership records.

The bulk of the collection consists of research and writing files which include notebooks, subject and people files, thesis research files and drafts, general research which include writings by Seitz, card files, and recordings of lectures and interviews. Subject and people files may include correspondence, printed materials, research notes, photographs, works of art, and writings concerning and by artists, art historians, curators, subjects, and art movements. Research files are found for Dore Ashton, Alfred H. Barr Jr., William Baziotes, Bruce Conner, Rene D'Harnoncourt, Marcel Duchamp, Arshile Gorky, Adolph Gottlieb, Rockne Krebs, George Segal, James Rosati, and Frank Stella among many others. Also found are research materials on Claude Monet, some of which are written in French.

Teaching files contains extensive reference material likely used by Seitz during his career as well as correspondence, exams, and lecture materials used in specific classes.

Printed material is scattered and includes clippings, exhibition announcements, and articles. Exhibition announcements and catalogs are for Seitz's personal works and for exhibitions he curated.

The bulk of the photographs are of works of art by William Seitz, Irma Seitz, and others which were likely owned by Seitz. Also found are phtographs of exhibition installations at the Univeristy of Virginia and scattered photographs of Seitz with others.

Artwork include several pencil sketches by Seitz, two works by Ellen Banks-Woodson, and a sketch by Phil Elliott.
Arrangement note:
The collection is arranged as 8 series:

Series 1: Biographical Information, 1930s-1974 (Box 1; 7 folders)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1945-1995 (Boxes 1-2; 1.6 linear feet)

Series 3: Personal Business Records, circa 1947-1990 (Boxes 2-3; 0.4 linear feet)

Series 4: Research and Writing Files, 1940s-1970s (Boxes 4-26; 23.5 linear feet)

Series 5: Teaching Files, 1945-1970s (Boxes 27-31, OV 34-35; 5 linear feet)

Series 6: Printed Material, 1937-1984 (Boxes 31-2; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 7: Photographs, 1940s-1981 (Box 32, 33; 11 folders)

Series 8: Artwork, circa 1950s-1972 (Box 32, 33; 6 folders)
Biographical/Historical note:
William Chapin Seitz (1914-1974) was an art historian and scholar, painter, educator, and museum curator who worked primarily in New York and Virginia. He completed the first dissertation on Abstract Expressionism while a student at Princeton University in 1955.

Born in 1914 in Buffalo, New York, William Chapin Seitz studied at the Albright Art School at the University of Buffalo and the Art Institute of Buffalo. Seitz met artist Irma J. Siegelman, whom he married in 1938. Due to the Depression, he left school and worked with the Federal Arts Project in New York City in the 1930s and worked as an aircraft fuel cell deigner for the Hewitt Rubber Company during World War II. Returning to the University of Buffalo after the war, Seitz completed his undergraduate degree and remained by accepting a teaching job.

Although he saw success as a painter and exhibited in one-man shows, Seitz focused his career in academia and enrolled at Princeton University for a graduate degree in Art History. Princeton faculty held divided views on Seitz's desire to write a dissertation on the Abstract Expressionist movement and debated the subject for over a year. Seitz's dissertation topic was eventually approved and in addition to writing the first dissertation on Abstract Expressionism, Seitz received the first PhD in Modern Art from Princeton. Seitz remained at Princeton as an assistant professor and advised students such as Frank Stella.

In 1960, he accepted a job as a curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. At MOMA, Seitz curated The Art of Assemblage (1961), The Responsive Eye (1965), and an exhibition on Monet (1960). Other MOMA exhibitions focused on artists Mark Tobey, Arshile Gorky, and Hans Hofmann. Additionally, he served as director of the Rose Art Museum of Brandeis University from 1965-1970. During that time, Seitz organized the United States exhibition at the Ninth Biennial in Sao Paulo (1967) and the Seventh Biennial of Canadian Painting (1968). In 1971, Seitz returned to teaching at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia and was the Visiting Kress Professor at the National Gallery of Art from 1972-1973.

In addition to his successes in painting, education, and the curatorial field, Seitz was an accomplished writer. He published many articles, essays, and books on art and artists including Art in the Age of Aquarius, on which he worked until his death.

William Seitz died of cancer in 1974.
Related Archival Materials note:
The Museum of Modern Art Archives in New York City holds the William C. Seitz papers which contain exhibition files and records relating to an interview with Marcel Duchamp. Correspondence relating to the debate concerning the viability of Seitz's dissertation are found in the Alfred H. Barr, Jr. papers also at the Museum of Modern Art Archives.
Provenance:
The William Chapin Seitz papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Seitz's widow, Irma Seitz, in 1975 and 2003. A transcript of an interview with Mark Tobey by Seitz was donated by Rebecca Massie Lane in 1988. Seitz gave these transcripts to Lane for her graduate work and they remined in her possession after his death.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The William Chapin Seitz papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Painters -- Virginia -- Charlottesville  Search this
Educators -- Virginia  Search this
Art historians -- Virginia -- Charlottesville  Search this
Genre/Form:
Resumes
Poems
Photographs
Awards
Sound recordings
Interviews
Sketches
Notebooks
Drafts (documents)
Lectures
Citation:
William Chapin Seitz papers, circa 1930-1995. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.seitwill
See more items in:
William Chapin Seitz papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-seitwill
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Rockne Krebs

Interviewee:
Krebs, Rockne, 1938-2011  Search this
Interviewer:
Forgey, Benjamin, art critic  Search this
Names:
Caro, Anthony, 1924-  Search this
Noland, Kenneth, 1924-2010  Search this
Olitski, Jules, 1922-2007  Search this
Extent:
164 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1990 Jan. 27-Feb. 3
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Rockne Krebs conducted 1990 Jan. 27-Feb.3, by Benjamin Forgey, for the Archives of American Art.
Krebs discusses growing up in Kansas City; his early interest in art; childhood art classes at Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; his family and their home; studying sculpture at the University of Kansas; influential teachers; attending Naval Officer's Training School; his U.S. Navy service and art education while in the Navy; working in Washington, D.C. as the Public Affairs Officer for Vice-Admiral Frost in the 1960s; his wife Denise and their daughter Heather; meeting Anthony Caro, Kenneth Noland, and Jules Olitski; his "Chevron" series; his interest in planes, light, space, and "dematerializing" sculpture; the influence of Walter Hopps; working with laser specialists and Hewlett Packard equipment; his outdoor city-scale laser sculpture; and his early principal patrons Mr. and Mrs. Philip M. Stern and works created for them. Krebs also describes in detail his laser sculptures for the New Orleans Museum of Art (1971) and St. Petersburg (1975-1976) and comments on economic, political and social aspects of the art world.
Biographical / Historical:
Rockne Krebs (1938-2011) was a sculptor from Washington, D.C.
General:
Originally recorded on 4 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 14 digital wav files. Duration is 7 hrs., 27 min.
Provenance:
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. Funding for these interviews provided by the Lannan Foundation.
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Sculpture -- Technique  Search this
Sculptors -- Washington (D.C.) -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.krebs90
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-krebs90

Oral history interview with Rockne Krebs, 1990 Jan. 27-Feb. 3

Interviewee:
Krebs, Rockne, 1938-2011  Search this
Interviewer:
Forgey, Benjamin F., 1938-  Search this
Subject:
Caro, Anthony  Search this
Noland, Kenneth  Search this
Olitski, Jules  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Sculpture -- Technique  Search this
Sculptors -- Washington (D.C.) -- Interviews  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13035
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)213466
AAA_collcode_krebs90
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_213466

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