An interview of Daniel Varney Thompson conducted 1974 September 25-1976 November 2, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Thompson speaks of authenticating a painting by Leonardo Da Vinci; teaching at Harvard University with Edward Waldo Forbes; his 1923-1925 expedition to India and China with Langdon Warner and Fogg Art Museum personnel to study cave paintings; setting up the art history department at Yale with Everett Meeks and teaching tempera painting; his studies in Europe and work at the Courtauld Institute in London; and translating manuscripts dealing with medieval painting techniques and media. He recalls Bernard Berenson and William Mills Ivins.
Biographical / Historical:
Daniel V. Thompson (1902-1980) was an art historian, conservator, professor, and chemist engineer. Thompson studied techniques of medieval and Renaissance painting. He was a professor at the Courtald Institute, London, 1938-1947.
Originally recorded on 4 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 7 digital wav files. Duration is 6 hr., 55 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.
Transcript is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
Scrapbooks, photograph albums, sketchbooks, correspondence, manuscripts, and printed material reflect Brown's work as a painter, and his ties with contemporary musical and literary figures.
REEL 877: Four scrapbooks, 1946-1972, containing: photographs of composers Igor Stravinsky and Paul Hindemith, artist Don Bachardy and Brown; letters and notes to Brown from musicians Stravinsky, Hindemith, John Cage, and Samuel Barber; drawings and photographs of works by Brown; clippings; and manuscript material by John Cage and Francis Poulenc.
REEL 921: Eight photograph albums, 1941-1971, including photos of Brown's work; photos of Brown at MacDowell Colony working on a series of self-portraits; of Brown, friends, and other artists, including Paul Wonner, Sonia Sekula, John McLaughlin, Jack Zajac, Sterling Holloway, Richard Diebenkorn, Mary Callery, David Park, Robert Shaw, poet May Sarton, playwright William Inge, composers Igor Stravinsky and Paul Hindemith, author Christopher Isherwood, and others.
REELS 1095 and 1116 (photographs only): Correspondence, ca. 1923-1974; with artists, musicians, writers, composers, and others; privately published letters of Brown's grandfather; sketchbooks, including two from his early years, 1926 and 1930-1934, and six done in Europe, 1945; one sketch by Brown and one each by Paul and Gertrude Hindemith; manuscripts; photographs of family, friends, and associates; photographs of drawings; catalogs and announcements; printed papers; legal documents; and 2 clippings relating to Igor Stravinsky.
REEL 1095: Correspondents include: Eugene Anderson, Cecil Beaton, James Broughton, Van Deren Coke, Robert Craft, Jay DeFeo, Elaine De Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, Richard Donovan, Vladimir Golschmann, George H. Hamilton, Thomas B. Hess, Gertrude Hindemith (36 letters), Paul Hindemith, David Hockney, Bart Howard, William Inge, Christopher Isherwood, Dorothy Jenkins, Frank Johnson, Gavin Lambert, Jo Lathwood, Amy Loomis, Ben Masselind, Everett Meeks, Nathan Oliveira, Mary Petty, Josephine Carson Rider, Muriel Rukeyser, Eva Marie Saint, Leo Schrade, Bruce Simonds, Helen Stone, Vera Stravinsky, Richard Swift, Ann Tardos and Wayne Thiebaud; many are represented with only one letter.
Biographical / Historical:
Painter; San Francisco, Calif. Associated with the late 1950s movement of Bay Area figurative painting. Had particularly close ties with contemporary musical and literary worlds.
Material on reels 877 and 921 lent for microfilming and remainder donated 1974 by William T. Brown. Catalogs on reel 1095 were transferred to NMAA/NPG Library after microfilming.
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.