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Jack Stewart papers

Creator:
Stewart, Jack, 1926-2005  Search this
Names:
New York City Transit Authority  Search this
World Trade Center (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Yale University -- Students  Search this
Baxter, Violet  Search this
Egan, Charles, 1911-  Search this
Gold, Nancy  Search this
Goulet, Lorrie, 1925-  Search this
Kahn, Wolf, 1927-  Search this
Romano, Clare  Search this
Thomas, Steffen, 1906-  Search this
Toney, Anthony  Search this
Townsend, Rodman  Search this
Walker, Herbert Brooks, 1927-  Search this
Weiner, Sam  Search this
Extent:
9.9 Linear feet
7.31 Gigabytes
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Drawings
Sound recordings
Paintings
Sketchbooks
Interviews
Transcripts
Video recordings
Date:
1926-2010
Summary:
The Jack Stewart papers are dated 1926-2010 and measure 9.9 linear feet and 7.31 GB. A significant portion of the collection concerns Stewart's dissertation, "Subway Graffiti: An Aesthetic Study of Graffiti on the Subway" (New York University, 1989), related research, writings, and exhibitions on the subject. Biographical materials, correspondence, writings, printed and digital material, artwork, sketchbooks, and photographic materials document his career as a painter, muralist, designer, educator and administrator.
Scope and Content Note:
The Jack Stewart papers are dated 1926-2010 and measure 9.9 linear feet and 7.31 GB. A significant portion of the collection concerns Stewart's dissertation, "Subway Graffiti: An Aesthetic Study of Graffiti on the Subway" (New York University, 1989), related research, writings, and exhibitions on the subject. Biographical materials, correspondence, writings, printed and digital material, artwork, sketchbooks, and photographic materials document his career as a painter, muralist, designer, educator and administrator.

Biographical materials include a "Video Archive" in digital format, consisting mainly of Jack Stewart being interviewed on several occasions by Nancy Gold for her television show, "What It Takes." In addition to discussions about Stewart's career, the shows include examples of his paintings and murals along with views of him at work.

Correspondence mostly documents Stewart's artistic career and work as an educator and administrator; there is some personal correspondence, as well. Of particular note are letters to Rodman Townsend who commissioned a mural about the human brain; they discuss the details of the project and its evolution, brain research, and subsequent exhibitions of related paintings. Illustrated letters and greeting cards with original artwork are from Violet Baxter, Lorrie Goulet, Wolf Kahn, Clare Romano, Anthony Toney, and Sam Weiner. Herbert Brooks Walker sent several pieces of mail art and, while in Italy, collected graffiti information for Stewart. Letters Stewart wrote to his mother span decades; the best represented periods are the years he served in the U.S. Army and studied at Yale University.

Writings and notes consist of Stewart's dissertation ("Subway Graffiti: An Aesthetic Study of Graffiti on the Subway"), miscellaneous writings and notes, and art and architecture notebooks. Dissertation documentation includes the manuscript, drafts, and related records. Among the miscellaneous writings and notes - published and unpublished - are shorter pieces, articles, student papers, and teaching notes. Of particular interest are notes/instructions for a performance piece titled "Endless Subway," "Memories of Steffan Thomas" and "My Recollection of Charles Egan." Also found are minutes of Cooper Union adjunct faculty meetings (1965-1966), and reports written when provost of the Rhode Island School of Design. Art and architecture notebooks (5 volumes) were compiled while at Yale University.

Research files on graffiti contain many sound recordings and some transcripts of interviews with graffiti writers, voluminous lists of graffiti writers' names/tags, correspondence, notes, photographs, and a wide variety of printed material. Some of the material is in digital format. Stewart began collecting these materials as his interest in graffiti developed. They were used for his dissertation and material continued to be added after the dissertation was completed.

Printed material mentioning Stewart or containing reproductions of his work includes exhibition catalogs, posters, and newsletters.

Artwork by Jack Stewart consists of drawings, paintings, and one etching; also found are designs and plans for tables, murals, and other projects. Drawings include figure studies, heads, and landscapes; most are in pencil and some in ink. The small number of paintings are oil on canvas (removed from stretchers), and gouache on paper and board. Sketchbooks (44 volumes) contain mostly pencil drawings and sketches, and a few studies for paintings and murals. Two volumes include writings about travels and events; of particular interest are "Notes on Kline's funeral May 1962," "Visit to Roman Bronze Art Foundry," and "Notes on My Development."

Photographic materials consist mainly photographs, but also include digital images and 35-mm color slides. Images of Stewart include views of him with paintings and working in his studio. Identified individuals with whom he appears are: Regina Stewart (wife), Brandon Stewart (son), Lil Stewart (mother), Ninalee Craig, Irving Sandler, and students in Urbino, Italy. Photographs of artwork document murals such as Raw Material (composed of shirt labels), and Versailles Hotel in Miami Beach; among the paintings documented are State of the Union, Icons of Western Art and Revelation XVI-16 (both with keys to individuals portrayed). Exhibition openings and installations are shown in photographs, color slides, and video recordings. Also found are photographs of the World Trade Center site taken by Stewart in December 2001.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 9 series:

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1926-circa 2009 (Boxes 1,11; 0.6 linear foot, ER01-ER02, 3.92 GB)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1944-2009 (Boxes 1-2; 0.7 linear foot)

Series 3: Writings and Notes, circa 1947-2003 (Boxes 2-5; 3.1 linear foot)

Series 4: Research Files on Graffiti, 1972-2010 (Boxes 5-7,11; 2.8 linear foot, ER03-ER05, 3.18 GB)

Series 5: Printed Material, circa 1945-2002 (Boxes 8, 11, OV 13; 0.7 linear foot)

Series 6: Scrapbooks, circa 1990-2003 (Box 8; 0.2 linear foot)

Series 7: Artwork, 1946-2000 (Boxes 8, 11, OV 12; 0.3 linear foot)

Series 8: Sketchbooks, 1951-2004 (Boxes 8-9; 1.3 linear foot)

Series 9: Photographic Materials, circa 1950s-2010 (Boxes 10-11; 0.4 linear foot, ER06-ER07, 0.208 GB)
Biographical Note:
Jack Stewart (1926-2005) was a painter, muralist, designer, educator and administrator in New York City. After developing an interest in graffiti in the 1970s, Stewart eventually wrote a dissertation on the subject, "Subway Graffiti: An Aesthetic Study of Graffiti on the Subway" (New York University, 1989) and was recognized as an expert on mass transit art.

Jack Stewart began studying art at the High Museum School in his hometown of Atlanta when he was 10 years old. At age 14, he began a 4 year apprenticeship with painter and sculptor Steffen Thomas. After serving in World War II, he enrolled at Yale University (B.F.A. 1951) as a sculpture student, but soon switched to the painting department where he studied with Josef Albers and Willem de Kooning. After graduation, Stewart began receiving mural commissions and enrolled in classes at Columbia University School of Architecture (1951-1953). His interest in architecture was tied to understanding how to work effectively with architects on mural projects. Later, Stewart developed an interest in graffiti which he pursued through graduate study at New York University (M.A., 1975 and Ph.D., 1989).

Stewart created murals in ceramic tile, mixed media and stained glass. In addition to mosaic murals, he designed tables with mosaic tops. As an outgrowth of his mosaic work, Stewart developed a technique for laminating stained glass onto plate glass that, by eliminating the need for lead, opened new design possibilities. Mural commissions included work for Hamilton Hotel in Chicago, Versailles Hotel in Miami Beach, Public School 28 in New York City, and several ocean liners. The most unusual mural, Raw Material commissioned by Cluett Peabody and Company, was composed of shirt labels embedded in acrylic.

Beginning in 1950 Stewart participated regularly in group shows and enjoyed solo exhibitions mainly in the New York City area. He also showed in Philadelphia, Georgia, Rhode Island, Mexico and Italy, and was included in exhibitions circulated by the American Federation of Arts.

Stewart taught at the college level for nearly thirty years, including: The New School (art and architecture, 1953-1958); Pratt Institute (interior architectural design, 1955-1960); The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (painting, drawing, human anatomy, art history, 1960-1976; Art Department Chairman, 1971-1976); International Center of Mythymna, American Division, Lesbos, Greece (summer school, 1962-1965); Columbia University (M.F.A. program instructor, 1966-1976); and New York University (drawing, 1967-1975). In 1976 he was appointed Vice President and Provost of the Rhode Island School of Design.

Stewart was active in several professional organizations. He served as New York Artists Equity Association Secretary (1986-1987) and President (1987-1989); President of the National Society of Mural Painters (1996-2000); member of the advisory board of the Steffen Thomas Museum and Archives, Buckhead, GA (1997- 2000s); and President of the Fine Arts Federation of New York (2003-2004). The National Academy of Design elected Jack Stewart an Academician in 1995.

Jack Stewart and Margot Schwarzhaupt, an artist, were married in 1947; they had one son, Brandon. Painter and arts administrator, Regina Serniak, became Jack Stewart's wife in 1976.

Jack Stewart died in New York City in 2005.
Related Materials:
Jack Stewart papers, 1926-2015, are located at Emory University Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.
Provenance:
Donated in 2010 by Regina Stewart, widow of Jack Stewart.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice. This collection is copyright restricted.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Arts administrators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Street art  Search this
Muralists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Mail art  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Graffiti art  Search this
Designers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Drawings
Sound recordings
Paintings
Sketchbooks
Interviews
Transcripts
Video recordings
Citation:
Jack Stewart papers, 1926-2010. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.stewjack
See more items in:
Jack Stewart papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw99c355e0c-59b2-47e7-ab80-c8ea7d8bf859
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-stewjack

Philip Stein papers regarding David Alfaro Siqueiros, 1933-2012

Creator:
Stein, Philip  Search this
Subject:
Siqueiros, David Alfaro  Search this
Type:
Photographs
Interviews
Video recordings
Motion pictures (visual works)
Topic:
Muralists -- Mexico  Search this
Muralists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)16219
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)368506
AAA_collcode_steiphil
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_368506
Online Media:

Buffie Johnson papers, circa 1920-2010

Creator:
Johnson, Buffie, 1912-2006  Search this
Type:
Photographs
Topic:
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women painters  Search this
Women muralists  Search this
Theme:
Women  Search this
Lives of American Artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)6887
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)209016
AAA_collcode_johnbuff
Theme:
Women
Lives of American Artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_209016
Online Media:

Buffie Johnson papers

Creator:
Johnson, Buffie  Search this
Extent:
3.4 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Date:
circa 1920-2010
Summary:
The papers of New York-based painter Buffie Johnson measure 3.4 linear feet and date from circa 1920-2010. While the collection is primarily composed of printed materials that document her career and exhibition history, a small amount of biographical material, correspondence, writings, exhibition and project files, and photographic material provide more in depth documentation of her personal and professional life.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of New York-based painter Buffie Johnson measure 3.4 linear feet and date from circa 1920-2010. While the collection is primarily composed of printed materials that document her career and exhibition history, a small amount of biographical material, correspondence, writings, exhibition and project files, and photographic material provide more in depth documentation of her personal and professional life.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as six series

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1940-2007 (3 folders; Box 1)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1950-2009 (0.2 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 3: Writings, circa 1960-1995 (3 folders; Box 1)

Series 4: Exhibition and Project Files, circa 1959-1995 (0.2 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 5: Printed Material, circa 1920-2010 (2.5 linear feet; Box 1-4, OV 5)

Series 6: Photographic Material, 1920-2006 (0.5 linear feet; Box 3-4)
Biographical / Historical:
Buffie Johnson (1912-2006) was a painter in New York. Born in New York City, Johnson studied art at the University of California, Los Angeles, and then traveled to Europe to study painting with Francis Picabia and Stanley William Hayter. Her first exhibition was in Paris in 1938, after which she showed extensively for more than sixty years in the United States and Europe. In 1959, Johnson was commissioned to paint an abstract mural for the Astor Theatre in New York. She was also known for imaginative restorations of her two Upper East Side homes, and for her friendships with prominent American writers and artists.
Related Materials:
Also found in the Archives of American Art are two oral history interviews with Buffie Johnson conducted by Paul Cummings in 1977 and Barbara Shikler in 1982.
Provenance:
Donated to Archives of American Art in 1972 and 1980 by Buffie Johnson and in 2016 by Johnson's daughter, Jenny Johnson Sykes.
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:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Muralists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women painters  Search this
Women muralists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Citation:
Buffie Johnson papers, circa 1920-2010. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.johnbuff
See more items in:
Buffie Johnson papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw93774a29f-0d58-40b8-9ee5-b9dc3f5fb262
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-johnbuff

Amy Jones papers

Creator:
Jones, Amy, 1899-1992  Search this
Names:
United States. Dept. of the Treasury. Section of Fine Arts  Search this
Extent:
3.5 Linear feet
2.9 Gigabytes
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Scrapbooks
Sound recordings
Video recordings
Interviews
Date:
circa 1930-2005
Summary:
The papers of painter, muralist, and educator Amy Jones measures 3.5 linear feet and 2.90 GB and date from 1910s-2015, with the bulk of the records dating between 1930s-1992. The papers document Jones' career through biographical material, several recorded interviews and talks, correspondence, subject files, printed and digital material, photographs, artwork, and scrapbooks.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of painter, muralist, and educator Amy Jones measures 3.5 linear feet and 2.90 GB and date from 1910s-2015, with the bulk of the records dating between 1930s-1992. The papers document Jones' career through biographical material, some recorded interviews and talks, correspondence, subject files, printed and digital material, photographs, artwork, and scrapbooks.

Biographical materials include awards and certificates, audio and video recordings from interviews and talks, resumes, inventories of works, membership cards, and writings. Correspondence pertains to Jones' dealings with galleries, museums, collectors, and also includes Christmas cards illustrated by Jones. Subject files include records of the sale and exhibition of her artwork; custodial history of her archive; project files; and some papers relating to her work as an art educator. Printed materials include newspaper and magazine clippings, exhibition announcements, catalogs, and posters, and publications that reproduced Jones' work. Photographs depict Jones as well as many of her watercolor landscapes, still lifes, and portraits. Artwork consists of loose sketches and drawings as well two sketchbooks. Scrapbooks contain correspondence, photographs, notes and sketches, contracts, expenses, and printed material documenting three of Jones' mural paintings between 1937-1941 as part of the U.S. Treasury Relief Art Project.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 7 series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1950s-2015 (Box 1; .5 linear feet, ER01; 2.90 GB)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1943-2000 (Box 1; 8 folders)

Series 3: Subject Files, 1941-1993 (Box 1-2; .6 linear feet)

Series 4: Printed Material, 1930s-1992 (Box 2-3; 1 linear feet)

Series 5: Photographs, 1910s, 1930s-1980s (Box 3; 9 folders)

Series 6: Artwork, circa 1930s-1980s (Box 3; 9 folders)

Series 7: Scrapbooks, 1935-1943, 1980 (Box 3-5; .6 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
Amy Jones (Frisbie) (1899-1992) was a painter, printmaker, sculptor, and art educator in New York.

After attending Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, New York, Jones studied under Xavier Gonzalez, Ben Wolf, and Anthony di Bona at the Pratt Institute. She left school early and moved to Buffalo, New York with her new husband, Blair Jones, and they had a daughter, Lucy. Jones continued to work on her art over the next few years designing Christmas cards and painting still lifes, portraits, and landscapes. Jones completed three murals between 1937-1941 for the U.S. Treasury Relief Art Project in Winsted, Connecticut; Painted Post, New York; and Scotia, New York. Jones established herself as a watercolorist in the U.S. and internationally by the 1940s. Her solo exhibitions include those held at Mount Holyoke College, Galleria Santo Stefano in Venice, Italy, a 10-year survey at New Britain Museum of American Art, and Katonah Gallery; and group exhibitions at National Gallery of Art, Corcoran Gallery, American Institute of Arts and Letters, and Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Her work may be found in the collections of the Ford Motor Company, Springfield College of Illinois, New Britain Museum of American Art, and the homes of many private collectors.
Provenance:
A portion of the collection was donated by Amy Jones in 1985, and the remainder was donated in 2015 by Lucy Jones Berk, Amy Jones' daughter.
Restrictions:
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Researchers interested in accessing born-digital records or audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Painters -- New York (State)  Search this
Muralists -- New York (State)  Search this
Printmakers -- New York (State)  Search this
Sculptors -- New York (State)  Search this
Educators -- New York (State)  Search this
Topic:
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women painters  Search this
Women muralists  Search this
Women printmakers  Search this
Women sculptors  Search this
Women educators  Search this
Genre/Form:
Scrapbooks
Sound recordings
Video recordings
Interviews
Citation:
Amy Jones papers, 1910s-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.joneamy
See more items in:
Amy Jones papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw95080e7e9-a352-45e2-b823-7d78b3cb5812
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-joneamy

Philip Stein papers regarding David Alfaro Siqueiros

Creator:
Stein, Philip, 1919-2009  Search this
Names:
Siqueiros, David Alfaro  Search this
Extent:
3.8 Linear feet
3.88 Gigabytes
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Photographs
Interviews
Video recordings
Motion pictures (visual works)
Date:
1933-2012
Summary:
The papers of muralist, writer, and activist Philip Stein regarding the Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros measure 3.8 linear feet and 3.88 GB and date from 1933 to 2012. The papers reflect Stein's relationship with Siqueiros as an art assistant and their shared commitment to leftist politics. Much of the material relates to Stein's book Siqueiros, His Life and Work (1994) and his first book The Mexican Murals (1984). Found are research materials, correspondence, interviews, printed and digital material, photographic materials, video and film recordings, writings about and by David Alfaro Siqueiros, and materials concerning Stein as a painter.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of muralist, writer, and activist Philip Stein regarding the Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros measure 3.8 linear feet and 3.88 GB and date from 1933 to 2012. The papers reflect Stein's relationship with Siqueiros as an art assistant and their shared commitment to leftist politics. Much of the material relates to Stein's book Siqueiros, His Life and Work (1994) and his first book The Mexican Murals (1984). Found are research materials, correspondence, interviews, printed and digital material, photographic materials, video and film recordings, writings about and by David Alfaro Siqueiros, and materials concerning Stein as a painter.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged in 7 series:

Missing Title

Series 1: Correspondence, 1934-2010 (0.3 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 2: Interviews, 1977-1994 (0.1 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 3: Writings, 1937-2006 (0.6 linear feet; Boxes 1-2, 0.021 GB; ER01)

Series 4: Subject Files and Research Files, 1933-2009 (0.6 linear feet;Boxes 2-3)

Series 5: Printed Material, 1949-2009 (0.7 linear feet; Boxes 2-3,5)

Series 6: Photographic Materials, 1933-2005 ( 0.5 linear Feet; Boxes 3-4, 0.011 GB; ER02)

Series 7: Sound, Video and Film Recorings, circa 1967-2012 (1.3 linear feet; Box 3, 4, FC 6-9, 3.85 GB; ER03-ER04)
Biographical / Historical:
Artist, author and political activist, Philip Stein (1919-2009), also called "Estano," lived and worked in New York City, Mexico, and Spain. Stein worked as an assistant to muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros. Both men were committed to the Mexican Mural School of new-realism, painting exterior murals rather than easel paintings so art could be public and directed to the masses.

Stein was born in Newark, New Jersey and was a mostly self-taught artist, occasionally studying at local art schools. He served in the armed forces during World War II as a meteorologist, seeing action throughout Europe. After the war, he moved to California to paint movie sets. In 1948, Stein and his wife Gertrude moved to Mexico where he studied art on the GI Bill at The School of Fine Arts of San Miguel de Allende. There he met Siqueiros, an ardent communist, who had attempted to assasinate Leon Trotsky. Stein worked with Siqueiros on several murals in Mexico until Siqueiros' death in 1974.

Between 1953 and 1993 Stein occasionally exhibited in Mexico, New York City and Spain. One of Stein's best known murals is at the Village Vanguard club in New York City. His biography of Siqueiros, Siqueiros, His Life and Work was published in 1994. Stein died at home in Manhattan in 2009 at age 90.
Provenance:
The Philip Stein papers regarding David Alfaro Siqueiros were donated to the Archives of American Art in 2015 by Anne Stein, daughter of Philip Stein.
Restrictions:
Use of original material requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Painters -- Mexico  Search this
Topic:
Muralists -- Mexico  Search this
Muralists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Interviews
Video recordings
Motion pictures (visual works)
Citation:
Philip Stein papers regarding David Alfaro Siqueiros, 1933-2012. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.steiphil
See more items in:
Philip Stein papers regarding David Alfaro Siqueiros
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw982ffa0fc-6a2b-47f1-808a-6e617c3d983c
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-steiphil
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Ethel Magafan, 1964 Nov. 5

Interviewee:
Magafan, Ethel, 1915 or 6-1993  Search this
Interviewer:
Trovato, Joseph S., 1912-1983  Search this
Subject:
Federal Art Project (N.Y.)  Search this
New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
Mural painting and decoration -- New York (State)  Search this
Muralists -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women muralists  Search this
Women painters  Search this
Theme:
New Deal  Search this
Women  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12460
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)213648
AAA_collcode_magafa64
Theme:
New Deal
Women
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_213648

Oral history interview with Ethel Magafan

Interviewee:
Magafan, Ethel, 1915 or 6-1993  Search this
Interviewer:
Trovato, Joseph S., 1912-1983  Search this
Creator:
New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project  Search this
Names:
Federal Art Project (N.Y.)  Search this
New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project  Search this
Extent:
8 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1964 Nov. 5
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Ethel Magafan conducted 1964 Nov. 5, by Joseph S. Trovato for the Archives of American Art.
Magafan speaks of her earliest associations with the WPA Federal Art Project; receiving commissions for murals in post offices and government buildings; subject matter of the murals she painted; her life in Woodstock, N.Y.; and her work methods.
Biographical / Historical:
Ethel Magafan (1915 or 6 -1993) was a mural painter in Woodstock, N.Y. Birthdate cited as both Oct. 10, 1916 and Aug. 10, 1915.
General:
Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformatted in 2010 as 1 digital wav files. Duration is 25 min.
Provenance:
Conducted as part of the Archives of American Art's New Deal and the Arts project, which includes over 400 interviews of artists, administrators, historians, and others involved with the federal government's art programs and the activities of the Farm Security Administration in the 1930s and early 1940s.
Restrictions:
Transcript: Patrons must use microfilm copy.
Topic:
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
Mural painting and decoration -- New York (State)  Search this
Muralists -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women muralists  Search this
Women painters  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.magafa64
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw99330bc74-067f-41cd-83d9-1a06d29d1bdf
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-magafa64
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Ted Gilien

Interviewee:
Gilien, Ted, 1914-1967  Search this
Interviewer:
McGlynn, Betty Hoag  Search this
Creator:
New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project  Search this
Names:
Federal Art Project (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project  Search this
Bocour, Leonard, 1910-1993  Search this
Levine, Jack, 1915-2010  Search this
Extent:
2 Sound tape reels (Sound recording, 3 in.)
67 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound tape reels
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1965 Mar. 3
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Ted Gilien conducted 1965 Mar. 3, by Betty Hoag, for the Archives of American Art. Gilien speaks of his background and education; getting on the WPA Federal Art Project; starting out as an assistant mural painter on Ellis Island; his military service in World War II as a combat artist; working in New York City and then in California after World War II; experimenting in screenwriting and novel writing; recurring themes in his paintings; his feelings about the FAP; art criticism; the politics of government support for the arts; camaraderie among artists during the WPA years. He recalls Leonard Bocour, James Dean, and Jack Levine.
Biographical / Historical:
Ted Gilien (1914-1967) was a painter and muralist in New York, N.Y. and Los Angeles, Calif.
General:
An unrelated interview of Charles White (3/9/65) conducted by B. Hoag is also on one tape.
An interview of F. J. Schwankovsky (3/1/65) conducted by B. Hoag is also on one tape.
Provenance:
This interview conducted as part of the Archives of American Art's New Deal and the Arts project, which includes over 400 interviews of artists, administrators, historians, and others involved with the federal government's art programs and the activities of the Farm Security Administration in the 1930s and early 1940s.
Restrictions:
This interview is open for research. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Topic:
Art and state  Search this
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
Art and war  Search this
Mural painting and decoration  Search this
Muralists -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Painters -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Muralists -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.gilien65
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9fc464c8e-b350-4f4f-8840-f7f2c6144164
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-gilien65
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Grace Greenwood

Interviewee:
Greenwood, Grace, 1905-  Search this
Interviewer:
Trovato, Joseph S., 1912-1983  Search this
Creator:
New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project  Search this
Names:
Federal Art Project  Search this
New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project  Search this
Treasury Relief Art Project  Search this
Extent:
1 Sound tape reel (Sound recording, 5 in.)
6 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound tape reels
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1965 Jan 29
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Grace Greenwood conducted 1965 Jan. 29, by Joseph Trovato, for the Archives of American Art New Deal and the Arts Project.
Greenwood speaks of her background and art education; her mural work before joining the Treasury Relief Art Project; working on a post office mural in Camden, New Jersey; participating in the WPA Federal Art Project's easel painting project; and her post-FAP career.
Biographical / Historical:
Grace A. Greenwood, (1905-), painter and mural painter of Woodstock, New York. Also went by Grace Greenwood Ames and Grace Crampton.
General:
An interview of Rollin Crampton conducted by J. Trovato is also on this tape.
Provenance:
This interview conducted as part of the Archives of American Art's New Deal and the Arts project, which includes over 400 interviews of artists, administrators, historians, and others involved with the federal government's art programs and the activities of the Farm Security Administration in the 1930s and early 1940s.
Restrictions:
This interview is open for research. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Occupation:
Painters -- New York (State)  Search this
Muralists -- New York (State)  Search this
Topic:
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
Mural painting and decoration  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women painters  Search this
Women muralists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.greenw65
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw91acb368e-f800-448e-8f25-c46a44d54586
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-greenw65
Online Media:

Ben Shahn papers

Creator:
Shahn, Ben, 1898-1969  Search this
Names:
Baskin, Leonard, 1922-2000  Search this
Delano, Jack  Search this
Evans, Walker, 1903-1975  Search this
Osborn, Robert Chesley, 1904-1994  Search this
Rivera, Diego, 1886-1957  Search this
Robbins, Jerome  Search this
Soyer, Raphael, 1899-1987  Search this
Extent:
25.1 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Motion pictures (visual works)
Sketchbooks
Video recordings
Drawings
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1879-1990
bulk 1933-1970
Summary:
The papers of social realist painter, photographer, printmaker, and teacher Ben Shahn (1898-1969) measure 25.1 linear feet and date from 1879-1990, with the bulk of the material dating from 1933-1970. The bulk of the collection consists of over 14 linear feet of incoming letters from artists, writers, colleagues, publishers, art organizations, galleries, and universities and colleges. Also found are biographical materials, project and source files, printed material, artwork by Shahn and others, photographs taken of and by Shahn, interview transcripts, sound recordings of interviews and a motion picture film.
Scope and Contents note:
The papers of social realist painter, photographer, illustrator, printmaker, and teacher Ben Shahn (1898-1969) measure 25.1 linear feet and date from 1879-1990, with the bulk of the material dating from 1933-1970. The bulk of the collection consists of over 14 linear feet of incoming letters from artists, writers, colleagues, publishers, art organizations, galleries, and universities and colleges. Also found are biographical materials, project and source files, printed material, artwork by Shahn and others, photographs taken of and by Shahn, interview transcripts, sound recordings of interviews and a motion picture film.

Biographical material and family records include a 1924 passport for Shahn and his first wife, Tillie, biographical sketches of Shahn, and award certificates received by him.

Letters are primarily written to Shahn from family members, artists, writers, colleagues, publishers, art organizations, galleries, and universities and colleges. Notable correspondents include Leonard Baskin, Alexander Calder, Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Joseph Hirsch, Leo Lionni, John Bartlow Martin, George and Marian Nakashima, Clifford Odets, Charles Olson, Robert Osborn, Diego Rivera, Jerome Robbins, Selden Rodman, James Thrall Soby, Raphael Soyer, and William Carlos Williams. A small number of scattered letters from Shahn can also be found throughout the series.

Project files document approximately twenty-one of Shahn's commissions, including murals for the community center at Jersey Homesteads, the Bronx Central Annex Post Office, the Social Security Building in Washington D.C. , and the William E. Grady Vocational High School. The files also document his involvement in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Roosevelt, in addition to projects for schools, temples and private homes.

Financial and legal records include consignment records, loan agreements, royalty statements and receipts for artwork sold.

Notes and writings are by Shahn and others including Alan Dugan, W. H. Ferry, Theodore Gusten, and John Bartlow Martin. They include lists of artwork, many of which are annotated.

Artwork includes a sketchbook and several unbound sketches and lettering by Shahn, in addition to drawings and prints by others including Shahn's children, Mario Casetta and Stefan Martin.

Source files contain printed material and photographs relating to topics depicted by Shahn in his artwork such as children, dams, farming, houses, industry, mines and miners, slums, war and workers. These files also contain scattered photographic prints by FSA and OWI photographers including Shahn, Jack Delano, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, Carl Mydans, Marion Post Wolcott, Arthur Rothstein, and John Vachon.

Printed material includes news clippings covering Shahn and his career as well as subjects of interest to Shahn. Also found are exhibition catalogs and announcements for exhibitions for Shahn and others, and reproductions of Shahn's artwork including publications illustrated by him.

Photographs are of Shahn, his family and friends and colleagues including Alexander Calder, Jerome Robbins, Charles Sheeler, David Smith and William Zorach. Also included are photographs taken by Shahn of New York City and for the FSA in the 1930s, as well as photographs of artwork by Shahn. Photographs by others include one photo each by Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee and Arthur Rothstein.

The collection also contains transcripts of eight radio, television and motion picture interviews of Shahn and a reel of 16mm motion picture film from the BBC-TV program "Monitor," in addition to sound recordings of interviews of Shahn by Tony Schwartz and Arlene Francis. Artifacts include a Christmas greeting in the form of a sock.
Arrangement note:
The collection is arranged as 12 series:

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical and Family Records, 1879-1984 (Box 1, OV 36; 0.2 linear ft.)

Series 2: Letters, 1929-1990 (Boxes 1-25, 35, 43, OVs 36-38; 14.5 linear ft.)

Series 3: Project Files, 1933-1975 (Boxes 25-26; OVs 36-37; 1.03 linear ft.)

Series 4: Financial and Legal Records, 1934-1988 (Boxes 26-27, 35; 0.81 linear ft.)

Series 5: Notes and Writings, circa 1933-1988 (Boxes 27-28, 43; 1.72 linear ft.)

Series 6: Artwork, circa 1930s-1965 (Boxes 28, 35; 11 folders)

Series 7: Source Files, circa 1900s-1960s (Boxes 28-30, 35; 1.81 linear ft.)

Series 8: Printed Material, 1912-1988 (Boxes 30-33, 35, OV 39; 3.22 linear ft.)

Series 9: Photographs, circa 1900-1969 (Boxes 33-35; 0.86 linear ft.)

Series 10: Interview Transcripts, 1943-1968 (Box 34; 0.25 linear ft.)

Series 11: Audio and Video Recordings, 1959-1968 (Box 34; 0.25 linear ft.)

Series 12: Artifacts, circa 1930s-circa 1960s (Box 34; 2 items)
Biographical/Historical note:
Ben Shahn (1898-1969) was a social realist painter, muralist, printmaker, photographer, illustrator, and educator who worked primarily in Brooklyn, New York and New Jersey. He was most active in the 1930s through the 1950s and worked on several federally funded arts projects, including the Farm Security Administration's photographic documentation project of rural America during the Depression.

Ben Shahn was born in Kovno, Lithuania and immigrated with his family to the United States in 1906 where he settled in Brooklyn, and later Roosevelt, New Jersey, after becoming a naturalized citizen in 1918.

Following an apprenticeship as a lithographer from 1913-1917, Shahn studied at New York University, the City College of New York, and the National Academy of Design from 1919-1922. He married Tillie Goldstein in 1922 and they had two children, Judith and Ezra.

Two years after Shahn's first solo exhibition at the Downtown Gallery in 1930, his Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti, a series of 23 gouaches about the Sacco and Vanzetti trial of the 1920s, was exhibited at the Downtown Gallery to critical and public acclaim. The exhibition marked the beginning of Shahn's reputation as one of the most important social realist painters in America. Shahn's commitment to social and political justice found a natural outlet in mural painting when, in 1933, he was hired to assist Diego Rivera on the labor and industry mural Man at the Crossroads, for New York City's Rockefeller Center. The mural was destroyed amid controversy in 1933 before it was completed, but Shahn had learned much about the art of fresco painting during the project and was inspired by the potential of the mural as a unique art form for presenting life's struggles and stories to a large public audience. Between 1933 and 1937 Shahn worked on various murals for other buildings, including New York's Central Park Casino (circa 1934) and Riker's Island Prison (1934), none of which saw completion. In 1937, however, the Farm Security Administration (FSA) commissioned Shahn to execute a mural for the Community Center in the town of Jersey Homesteads, later Roosevelt, New Jersey, which Shahn completed in 1938. Shahn settled in Jersey Homesteads the following year and remained there for the rest of his life. Other important mural commissions followed for the Bronx Central Post office (1939) and the Social Security Building in Washington DC (1942).

One of Shahn's assistants on the Jersey Homesteads mural was Bernarda Bryson, whom he had met in 1933 when she came to New York to interview Rivera about the Rockefeller Center mural controversy for an Ohio newspaper. Shahn and Bryson became lifetime companions and had three children, Susanna, Jonathan and Abigail, although they did not marry until shortly before Shahn's death in 1969. Shahn and Tillie Goldstein were divorced in 1944.

Shahn had enrolled with the federal Public Works of Art Project in 1934, and between 1935 and 1938 he and Bryson travelled across country as Shahn photographed poverty-stricken areas and documented rural life for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and the Resettlement Agency. Shahn's interest in photography developed in the early 1930s when, encouraged by his friendship with Walker Evans, he began photographing street scenes and people in New York City. He later used the images as the basis for many of his prints and paintings.

In 1942 Shahn began working for the Office of War Information (OWI) and was instructed to produce posters and pamphlets explaining to citizens the necessities of wartime, such as the need for secrecy and food rationing. Ultimately, only two of Shahn's posters were ever used; the rest were rejected as being too harsh for their intended audience. Shahn later worked for the Congress of Industrial Organization Political Action Committee (CIO-PAC), producing posters for the 1944 campaign to re-elect Roosevelt, who he believed in deeply. He was promoted to director of the CIO's Graphic Arts Division for the 1946 congressional campaign following Roosevelt's death, but that job ended when the election went poorly for the Democratic party.

Shahn returned increasingly to painting and a retrospective of his work was held at the Museum of Modern Art in 1947. He also became more active in academia as an accomplished writer, teacher and lecturer. He received honorary doctorates from Princeton University and Harvard University, and become the Charles Eliot Norton professor at Harvard in 1956. Shahn's Norton lectures were collected and published as the influential The Shape of Content in 1957. He also began to work as a commercial artist for a variety of companies and publications including CBS, Time, Harper's, and the Container Corporation of America. Shahn believed, however, that the artist's ideas and integrity must always be reflected in his commercial art. He refused to compromise on this point and was very selective in his choice of commercial commissions. Shahn illustrated many books and articles, designed sets for stage productions such as New York Export: Opus Jazz, choreographed by Jerome Robbins, and designed mural mosaics for synagogues, universities and private homes.

Since the 1930s Shahn had been represented by Edith Halpert at the Downtown Gallery, but his relationship with her was always contentious on the subject of payments Shahn received for commercial work, and became increasingly so as his income from such sources increased. Finally, in 1968, Shahn wrote to Halpert telling her that after ten years of "an accumulation of ill-feeling, discomfort and recrimination between us" he felt compelled to end their dealer-artist relationship.

By the time of Shahn's break with Halpert his health had begun to fail. He died of a heart attack following surgery in a New York City hospital on March 14, 1969.
Related Archival Materials note:
The Archives of American Art holds four oral history interviews with Ben Shahn: 1964 Apr. 14 interview conducted by Richard K. Doud for the Archives of American Art New Deal and the Arts Project in which Shahn speaks of his travels and work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and the American image as portrayed by FSA; 1965 Jan. 17 interview; 1965 Oct. 3. interview conducted by Harlan Phillips for the Archives of American Art New Deal and the Arts Project; and 1968 Sept. 27 interview conducted by Forrest Selvig. Most of these interviews have transcripts available online.

The Archives also holds the Bernarda Bryson Shahn papers, circa 1947-2005, and two oral history interviews with Bernarda Bryson Shahn: 1983 Apr. 29 and 1995 July 3.
Separated Materials note:
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming (reel N70-6) including addresses and essays by Shahn, seven royalty statements, and three letters from publishers. Many of the writings found on this reel were included in subsequent donations. All other lent material was returned to the lender and is not described in the collection container inventory.
Provenance:
The Ben Shahn papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in several installments between 1967-1991 by Shahn's widow, Bernarda Bryson Shahn who also lent materials for microfilming in 1969. Jean Shahn, Ben Shahn's daughter-in-law and estate representative, donated additional material in 2018 and 2021.
Restrictions:
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.

Researchers interested in accessing audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Painters -- New Jersey -- Roosevelt  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- Brooklyn  Search this
Photographers -- New York (State) -- Brooklyn  Search this
Photographers -- New Jersey -- Roosevelt  Search this
Printmakers -- New Jersey -- Roosevelt  Search this
Printmakers -- New York (State) -- Brooklyn  Search this
Educators -- New York (State) -- Brooklyn  Search this
Educators -- New Jersey -- Roosevelt  Search this
Muralists -- New York (State) -- Brooklyn  Search this
Muralists -- New Jersey -- Roosevelt  Search this
Topic:
Social realism  Search this
Genre/Form:
Motion pictures (visual works)
Sketchbooks
Video recordings
Drawings
Sound recordings
Interviews
Citation:
Ben Shahn papers, 1879-1990, bulk 1933-1970. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.shahben
See more items in:
Ben Shahn papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw983b06d9b-dd51-45bc-9b11-09b06a88f6c6
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-shahben
Online Media:

John White Alexander papers

Creator:
Alexander, John White, 1856-1915  Search this
Names:
MacDowell Club of New York  Search this
Abbey, Edwin Austin, 1852-1911  Search this
Alexander, Elizabeth A., d. 1947  Search this
Carnegie, Andrew, 1835-1919  Search this
Chase, William Merritt, 1849-1916  Search this
Gibson, Charles Dana, 1867-1944  Search this
James, Henry, 1843-1916  Search this
La Farge, John, 1835-1910  Search this
Levy, Florence N. (Florence Nightingale), 1870-1947  Search this
Millet, Francis Davis, 1846-1912  Search this
Remington, Frederic, 1861-1909  Search this
Stevenson, Robert Louis, 1850-1894  Search this
Whistler, James McNeill, 1834-1903  Search this
Extent:
11.9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Awards
Interviews
Photographs
Sketchbooks
Scrapbooks
Medals
Date:
1775-1968
bulk 1870-1915
Summary:
The papers of the painter, muralist, and illustrator John White Alexander measure 11.9 linear feet and date from 1775 to 1968, with the bulk of materials dating from 1870 to 1915. Papers document Alexander's artistic career and many connections to figures in the art world through biographical documentation, correspondence (some illustrated), writings, 14 sketchbooks, additonal artwork and loose sketches, scrapbooks, photographs, awards and medals, artifacts, and other records. Also found is a souvenir engraving of a Mark Twain self-portrait.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of the painter, muralist, and illustrator John White Alexander measure 11.9 linear feet and date from 1775 to 1968, with the bulk of materials dating from 1870 to 1915. Papers document Alexander's artistic career and many connections to figures in the art world through biographical documentation, correspondence (some illustrated), writings, 14 sketchbooks, additonal artwork and loose sketches, scrapbooks, photographs, awards and medals, artifacts, and other records. Also found is a souvenir engraving of a Mark Twain self-portrait.

Biographical Information includes multiple essays related to Alexander, his family, and others in his circle. Also found is an extensive oral history of Alexander's wife Elizabeth conducted in 1928. Correspondence includes letters written by Alexander to his family from New York and Europe at the start of his career, and later letters from fellow artists, art world leaders, and portrait sitters of Alexander's. Significant correspondents include Charles Dana Gibson, Florence Levy, Frederick Remington, Robert Louis Stevenson, Henry James, John La Farge, Francis Davis Millet, and Andrew Carnegie. Correspondence includes some small sketches as enclosures and illustrated letters.

Certificates and records related to Alexander's career are found in Associations and Memberships, Legal and Financial Records, and Notes and Writings, which contain documentation of Alexander's paintings and exhibitions. Scattered documentation of Alexander's memberships in various arts association exists for the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Academy in Rome, the National Academy of Design, the Onteora Club in New York, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Germany, the Ministère de L'Instruction Publique et des Beaux-Arts, the Union Internationale des Beaux Arts et des Lettres, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Notes and Writings include speeches written by Alexander, short stories and essays written by his wife, and articles by various authors about Alexander. Extensive documentation of the planning and construction of the Alexander Memorial Studio by the MacDowell Club is found, along with other awards, medals, and memorial resolutions adopted by arts organizations after Alexander's death.

Artwork includes fourteen sketchbooks with sketches related to Alexander's commercial illustration and cartooning, murals, paintings, and travels. Dozens of loose drawings and sketches are also found, along with two volumes and several dozen loose reproductions of artwork, among which are found fine prints by named printmakers. Many sketches are also interspersed throughout the correspondence. Eight Scrapbooks contain mostly clippings, but also scattered letters, exhbition catalogs, announcements, invitations, and photographs related to Alexander's career between 1877 and 1915. Additional Exhibition Catalogs and later clippings, as well as clippings related to the career of his wife and other subjects, are found in Printed Materials.

Photographs include many portraits of Alexander taken by accomplished photographers such as Zaida Ben-Yusuf, Aimé Dupont, Curtis Bell, Elizabeth Buehrmann, and several signed Miss Huggins, who may have been Estelle Huntington Huggins, a New York painter and photographer. Portraits of others include Alexander's friends William Merritt Chase and Edward Austin Abbey. Also found are photographs of groups, juries, family, friends, and studios in New York, Paris, and New Jersey, and a handful of scenic photographs of Polling, Bavaria, where Alexander had an early studio. A large number of photographs of works of art are found, many with annotations. Among the photographs of murals are a small collection of snapshots of the Carnegie Institute murals in progress. Miscellaneous artifacts include a palette, several printing plates, and an inscribed souvenir engraving of a self-portrait caricature of Mark Twain.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into 11 series. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Information, circa 1887-1968 (Box 1, OV 23; 0.1 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1870-1942 (Box 1; 0.7 linear feet)

Series 3: Associations and Memberships, circa 1897-1918 (Box 1; 2 folders)

Series 4: Legal and Financial Records, 1775, 1896-1923 (Box 1; 5 folders)

Series 5: Notes and Writings, circa 1875-1943 (Boxes 1-2; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 6: Awards and Memorials, circa 1870-1944 (Box 2, OV 24; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 7: Artwork, circa 1875-1915 (Boxes 2-3, 6, 14-16, OV 23; 1.5 linear feet)

Series 8: Scrapbooks, circa 1877-1915 (Boxes 17-22; 1.8 linear feet)

Series 9: Printed Materials, circa 1891-1945 (Boxes 3-4, OV 23; 1.5 linear feet)

Series 10: Photographs, circa 1870-1915 (Boxes 4-8, MGP 1-2, OV 25-43, RD 44-45; 4.2 linear feet)

Series 11: Artifacts, circa 1899-1915 (Box 6, artifact cabinet; 0.4 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
John White Alexander was born in 1856 in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania. He was orphaned at age five and taken in by relatives of limited means. When Alexander left school and began working at a telegraph company, the company's vice-president, former civil war Colonel Edward Jay Allen, took an interest in his welfare. Allen became his legal guardian, brought him into the Allen household, and saw that he finished Pittsburgh High School. At eighteen, he moved to New York City and was hired by Harper and Brothers as an office boy in the art department. He was soon promoted to apprentice illustrator under staff artists such as Edwin A. Abbey and Charles Reinhart. During his time at Harpers, Alexander was sent out on assignment to illustrate events such as the Philadelphia Centennial celebration in 1876 and the Pittsburgh Railroad Strike in 1877, which erupted in violence.

Alexander carefully saved money from his illustration work and traveled to Europe in 1877 for further art training. He first enrolled in the Royal Art Academy of Munich, Germany, but soon moved to the village of Polling, where a colony of American artists was at its peak in the late 1870s. Alexander established a painting studio there and stayed for about a year. Despite his absence from the Munich Academy, he won the medal of the drawing class for 1878, the first of many honors. While in Polling, he became acquainted with J. Frank Currier, Frank Duveneck, William Merritt Chase, and other regular visitors to the colony. He later shared a studio and taught a painting class in Florence with Duveneck and traveled to Venice, where he met James Abbott McNeill Whistler.

Alexander returned to New York in 1881 and resumed his commercial artwork for Harpers and Century. Harpers sent him down the Mississippi river to complete a series of sketches. He also began to receive commissions for portraits, and in the 1880s painted Charles Dewitt Bridgman, a daughter of one of the Harper brothers, Parke Godwin, Thurlow Weed, Walt Whitman, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Alexander met his wife Elizabeth, whose maiden name was also Alexander, through her father, James W. Alexander, who was sometimes mistaken for the artist. Elizabeth and John White Alexander married in 1887 and had a son, James, in 1888.

Alexander and his family sailed for France in 1890, where they became a part of the lively literary and artistic scene in Paris at the time. Among their many contacts there were Puvis de Chavannes, Auguste Rodin, and Whistler, who arrived in Paris shortly thereafter. Alexander absorbed the new aesthetic ideas around him such as those of the symbolists and the decorative style of art nouveau. Critics often note how such ideas are reflected in his boldly composed paintings of women from this period, who titles drew attention to the sensual and natural elements of the paintings. His first exhibition in Paris was three paintings at the Société Nationale des Beaux Arts in 1893, and by 1895 he has become a full member of the Société.

Independent and secession artist societies emerged throughout Europe during this period, and Alexander exhibited with several of them, including the Société Nouvelle in Paris, the Munich Secession, and the Vienna Secession. He was also elected an honorary member of the Royal Society of Belgian Artists and the Royal Society of British Painters in London. His exhibited works sold well, and his influence began to be felt back in the United States. Andrew Carnegie and John Beatty of the Carnegie Institute consulted closely with Alexander in the planning and execution of the first Carnegie International Exhibitions. Alexander also became active in supporting younger American artists who wanted to exhibit in Europe, a stance which resulted in his resignation from the Society of American Artists in Paris, which he felt had become a barrier to younger artists. His promotion of American art became an central aspect of his career for the remainder of his life, most visibly through his presidency of the National Academy of Design from 1909 until shortly before his death in 1915. He also served frequently on juries for high-profile exhibitions, and was a trustee at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, and the national Institute of Arts and Letters. Around 1912, he helped to form the School Art League in New York, which provided art instruction to high school students.

Alexander returned to the United States nearly every summer while based in Paris, and among his commissioned paintings were murals for the newly-constructed Library of Congress, completed around 1896. In 1901, the Alexanders returned to New York permanently. The demand for portraits continued, and he had his first solo exhibition at the Durand-Ruel Galleries in 1902. Around 1905 he received a commission for murals at the new Carnegie Institute building in Pittsburgh for the astounding sum of $175,000. He created 48 panels there through 1908. During this period, the Alexanders spent summers in Onteora, New York, where Alexander painted his well-known "Sunlight" paintings. There they became friends and collaborators with the actress Maude Adams, with Alexander designing lighting and stage sets, and Elizabeth Alexander designing costumes for Adams' productions such as Peter Pan, the Maid of Orleans, and Chanticleer. The couple became known for their "theatricals" or tableaux, staged at the MacDowell Club and elsewhere, and Elizabeth Alexander continued her design career when her husband died in 1915.

Alexander left several commissions unfinished upon his death at age 59, including murals in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Elizabeth Alexander held a memorial exhibition at Arden Galleries a few months after his death, and a larger memorial exhibition was held by the Carnegie Institute in 1916. Alexander won dozens of awards for artwork in his lifetime, including the Lippincott Prize at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1899, the Gold Medal of Honor at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900, the Gold Medal at the Panama Pacific Exposition of 1901, and the Medal of the First Class at the Carnegie Institute International Exhibition in 1911. In 1923, the Alexander Memorial Studio was built at the MacDowell colony in New Hampshire to honor his memory.
Provenance:
Papers were donated in 1978 and 1981 by Irina Reed, Alexander's granddaughter and in 2017 by Elizabeth Reed, Alexander's great grandaughter.
Restrictions:
Use of the original papers requires an appointment. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and not served to researchers.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Topic:
Muralists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Portrait painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Works of art  Search this
Portrait painting -- 20th century  Search this
Portrait painting -- 19th century  Search this
Illustrators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Portrait painting, American  Search this
Genre/Form:
Awards
Interviews
Photographs
Sketchbooks
Scrapbooks
Medals
Citation:
John White Alexander papers, 1775-1968, bulk 1870-1915. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.alexjohn
See more items in:
John White Alexander papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw917c89625-97e2-4dce-a5e6-4cbf6627b78e
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-alexjohn
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Louis Bouché

Interviewee:
Bouché, Louis, 1896-1969  Search this
Interviewer:
Morse, John D., 1906-  Search this
Names:
Armory Show (1913: New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Penguin Club (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Wanamaker Gallery of Modern Decorative Art  Search this
DuMond, Frank Vincent, 1865-1951  Search this
Romanowsky, Dimitri  Search this
Extent:
23 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1959 August 7
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Louis Bouché conducted on 1959 August 7, by John D. Morse, for the Archives of American Art.
Bouché speaks of his art education in France; painting trips to Brittany; studying at the Art Students League with Dimitri Romanovsky and Frank Vincent DuMond; the Armory Show, 1913; managing a gallery at Wanamaker's (the Wanamaker Gallery of Modern Decorative Art) in the 1920s; his technique and materials; teaching; the Penguin Club; his taste in books and music; and abstract expressionism.
Biographical / Historical:
Louis Bouché (1896-1969) was a painter and teacher in New York, New York.
General:
Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav file. Duration is 53 min.
Provenance:
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.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Occupation:
Art students -- France  Search this
Topic:
Abstract expressionism  Search this
Sculptors -- United States -- Interviews  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Muralists -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.bouche59
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9ebfa0e74-a7cd-45c8-862d-5e23c48e3a35
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-bouche59
Online Media:

Anton Refregier papers

Creator:
Refregier, Anton, 1905-  Search this
Names:
ACA Galleries  Search this
Bard College -- Faculty  Search this
Gosudarstvennyĭ Ėrmitazh (Russia)  Search this
National Council of American-Soviet Friendship (U.S.)  Search this
New York World's Fair (1939-1940 : New York, N.Y.)  Search this
United States. Works Progress Administration  Search this
Woodstock Artists Association (Woodstock, N.Y.)  Search this
World Peace Council  Search this
De Diego, Julio, 1900-  Search this
Dreyfuss, Henry, 1904-  Search this
Elisofon, Eliot  Search this
Evergood, Philip, 1901-1973  Search this
Fast, Howard, 1914-  Search this
Geddes, Norman Bel, 1893-1958  Search this
Greenwood, Marion, 1909-1970  Search this
Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971  Search this
Kuniyoshi, Yasuo, 1889-1953  Search this
Morley, Eugene, 1909-1953  Search this
O'Higgins, Pablo, 1904-  Search this
Packard, Emmy Lou, 1914-1998  Search this
Randall, Byron, 1918-1999  Search this
Refregier, Lila  Search this
Siqueiros, David Alfaro  Search this
Yavno, Max  Search this
Extent:
35.9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Travel diaries
Greeting cards
Interviews
Cartoons (working drawings)
Scrapbooks
Transcripts
Photographs
Diaries
Sketches
Place:
Chile
Soviet Union
Guatemala
Mexico
Date:
circa 1900-circa 1990
Summary:
The papers of Woodstock area painter, muralist, and designer, Anton Refregier (1905-1979) date from circa 1900 to circa 1990 and measure 35.9 linear feet. The collection records Refregier's early commercial work and murals for the Works Progress Adminstration (WPA) and documents his career through to the 1970s with records of commissions for many public and private buildings, exhibitions in the United States and abroad, teaching positions, essays and publications, and extensive travel, particularly to the Soviet Union and Mexico. The collection contains scattered biographical material, personal and business correspondence, notes and writings, 15 diaries and journals, mural and tapestry files, exhibition files, personal business records, printed material, 10 scrapbooks, artwork including sketches and cartoons for murals, and photographs of Refregier, his friends, family and travels.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Woodstock area painter, muralist, and designer, Anton Refregier (1905-1979) date from circa 1900 to circa 1990 and measure 35.9 linear feet. The collection records Refregier's early commercial work and murals for the Works Progress Adminstration (WPA) and documents his career through to the 1970s with records of commissions for many public and private buildings, exhibitions in the United States and abroad, teaching positions, essays and publications, and extensive travel, particularly to the Soviet Union and Mexico. The collection contains scattered biographical material, personal and business correspondence, notes and writings, diaries and journals, mural and tapestry files, exhibition files, personal business records, printed material, scrapbooks, artwork including sketches and cartoons for murals, and photographs of Refregier, his friends, family and travels.

Biographical material contains legal records such as Refregier's will and marriage and death records, passports, resume material and 2 interview transcripts.

Correspondence, both chronological and alphabetical, constitutes almost a third of the collection and documents all aspects of Refregier's career including his work for the WPA, private commissions, representation by ACA Galleries, his involvement with groups such as the Woodstock Artists Association and his teaching work for institutions such as Bard College. Also documented are his involvement with local political groups and international organizations such as the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship and the World Peace Council, and travels including visits to the Soviet Union. Notable correspondents include Henry Dreyfuss, Philip Evergood, Rockwell Kent, Emmy-Lou Packard, and Byron Randall. Correspondence also includes family letters written primarily by Refregier to Lila Refregier, in addition to greeting cards received by the Refregier family, many of which contain original arwork.

Writings are primarily by Refregier and include drafts of many essays and autobiographical writings, in addition to copies of published works including Natural Figure Drawing, An Artists Journey and Sketches of the Soviet Union.

The collection contains diaries and journals from 12 years in various formats including published and handmade day planners and typed and handwritten journal entries. They include sketches and primarily record travel and daily activities including specific projects such as the New York World's Fair mural (1938-1939).

Mural and Tapestry files document individual commissions bid on and/or completed by Refregier. The creation of the Rincon Annex Post Office mural and subsequent controversies over its subject matter are well-documented here, as are many of Refregier's commissions for banks, hospitals, hotels, shopping centers, and schools.

Exhibition files document at least 15 of Refregier's exhibitions, including his first one-man show at ACA Galleries (1942) and his exhibition of paintings at the Hermitage Museum (1967) in what was then Leningrad.

Personal business records contain addresses of contacts. Scattered records referencing market values for Refregier's work can be found throughout the series in records such as bills and receipts, financial notes and tax records.

Printed material provides extensive coverage of Refregier's entire career through announcements, invitations, catalogs, and news clippings. His interests in art, literature, music, theater and politics are also well-represented in these files.

The collection contains 10 scrapbooks, mostly in fragmented condition, which contain a mixture of photographs, sketches and other artwork, notes and fragments of writings, and printed material. The scrapbooks document a variety of subjects including Refregier's family life, travels to Guatemala and the Soviet Union, and the artist at work.

Artwork consists primarily of artwork by Refregier in the form of mural design sketches and cartoons in various media, including pencil, ink and pastel, in addition to 21 sketchbooks, many of which also contain journal entries and notes. Also found here are prints and reproductions of Refregier's "Peace card" block engravings for every year from 1950-1973, with the exception of 1970.

Photographs document all phases of Refregier's career and include family photographs dating from circa 1900, photos of Refregier in the studio including work for the WPA, Refregier and other artists and individuals at events and parties from the 1940s-1970s, travel snapshots probably taken in Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, and the Soviet Union, and photographs of artwork and installations. Individuals pictured include Julio de Diego, Marion Greenwood, Rockwell Kent, Pablo O'Higgins and David Siqueiros; also, a series of press photographs by Albert A. Freeman pictures Refregier with Howard Fast, Norman Bel Geddes, Marion Greenwood, John Kingsbury, Yasuo Kuniyoshi and Harry Stockwell. One photograph by Eliot Elisofon, 2 by Eugene Morley and 4 by Max Yavno can also be found here.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 11 series:

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1925-1980 (Box 1; 0.25 linear ft.)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1912-circa 1990s (Boxes 1-11, 36, OVs 38, 45; 10.2 linear ft.)

Series 3: Writings, circa 1930s-circa 1970s (Boxes 11-14, OV 45; 3.3 linear ft.)

Series 4: Diaries and Journals, 1923-1979 (Box 15; 0.6 linear ft.)

Series 5: Mural and Tapestry Files, circa 1930s-circa 1970s (Boxes 15-18, 36, OVs 38, 45, 46, RD 42; 3.65 linear ft.)

Series 6: Exhibition Files, 1942-1981 (Boxes 18-19; 0.6 linear ft.)

Series 7: Personal Business Records, 1920s-1980s (Boxes 19-20; 1.8 linear ft.)

Series 8: Printed Material, circa 1920s-1980s (Boxes 21-28, 36; 7.4 linear ft.)

Series 9: Scrapbooks, 1930s-1960s (Boxes 28, 37, BV 47; 1.1 linear ft.)

Series 10: Artwork, circa 1930s-circa 1970s (Boxes 28-30, 36, OVs 40, 41, RDs 42-44; 3.5 linear ft.)

Series 11: Photographic Material, ca. 1900-1980s (Boxes 31-35, 39; 4.5 linear ft.)
Biographical Note:
Russian-born Woodstock painter Anton Refregier (1905-1979) immigrated to the United States in 1920. Refregier was well-known for his sometimes controversial social realist murals for the WPA.

After an apprenticeship to the sculptor, Vasilief, in Paris, Anton Refregier attended the Rhode Island School of Design from 1920-1925 and studied with Hans Hofmann in Germany in 1927. He had his first one-man show at ACA Galleries in New York City in 1942 and settled in Woodstock, New York, with his wife, Lila, and three children Anton, Jr., Brigit and Aleksandre, where he became a prominent member of the artist community.

Refregier completed several social realist murals for the federal Works Progress Adminstration (WPA) program, including one at the New York Worlds Fair in 1939 and the controversial Rincon Annex Post Office mural in San Francisco begun in 1941. He also completed interior design installations for businesses such as the nightclub, Cafe Society Uptown, and the restaurant, The Cookery, in New York City. In addition to being an easel and mural painter Refregier worked in tapestry, mosaic, ceramic, and collage, and completed many commissions for hotels, banks, hospitals, restaurants, synagogues, supermarkets and deparment stores throughout the country.

Refregier taught at various institutions including Stanford University, the University of Arkansas, and Bard College and his publications inlcude Natural Figure Drawing (1948), An Artist's Journey (1965), and Sketches of the Soviet Union (1978). He traveled regularly to the Soviet Union to explore and exchange ideas about art and culture and as a representative of the World Peace Council.

Anton Refregier died in Moscow in October 1979 while visiting the Soviet Union. His work can be found in many museums including the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Related Material:
Also found in the Archives of American Art are an oral history interview with Anton Refregier, 1964, Nov. 5 by Joseph Trovato; and Papers regarding Anton Refregier mural controversy, 1953.
Provenance:
Donated 1983 by Lila Refregier, widow of Anton Refregier, and in 1992 by Brigit R. Sutton, Refregier's daughter.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
Authorization to quote or reproduce for purposes of publication requires written permission from Bridget R. Sutton via Bridget's son, Tim Sutton. Contact Reference Services for more information.
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Topic:
Tapestry  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Political clubs  Search this
Muralists -- New York -- Woodstock  Search this
Art -- Commissioning  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- Woodstock  Search this
Mural painting and decoration -- Archival resources -- 20th century  Search this
Designers -- New York (State)  Search this
Artists' studios -- Photographs  Search this
Genre/Form:
Travel diaries
Greeting cards
Interviews
Cartoons (working drawings)
Scrapbooks
Transcripts
Photographs
Diaries
Sketches
Citation:
Anton Refregier papers, circa 1900-circa 1990. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.refranto
See more items in:
Anton Refregier papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9545f99ed-0a65-4626-904d-8dda5c569fcf
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-refranto

Oral history interview with Buffie Johnson

Interviewee:
Johnson, Buffie  Search this
Interviewer:
Cummings, Paul  Search this
Names:
Hayter, Stanley William, 1901-1988  Search this
Hofmann, Hans, 1880-1966  Search this
Pollock, Jackson, 1912-1956  Search this
Putzel, Howard, 1898-1945  Search this
Rothko, Mark, 1903-1970  Search this
Smith, Tony, 1912-1980  Search this
Extent:
2 Sound tape reels (Sound recording, 5 in.)
140 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound tape reels
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1977 Nov. 22-1978 Jan. 23
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Buffie Johnson conducted 1977 Nov. 22-1978 Jan. 23, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art.
Johnson speaks of her childhood in New York City and Ducksbury, Mass.; her early encouragement in art; life in Paris and the European scene before World War II. She discusses gettting established as a painter, selling her early work, the change in her painting toward abstraction, her friendship with gallery owner Howard Putzel, painting a mural for a movie theater, her inspirations for painting and her interest in the women's movement. She recalls Tony Smith, Hans Hofmann, Stanley William Hayter, Mark Rothko, and Jackson Pollock.
Biographical / Historical:
Buffie Johnson (1912-2006) was a painter and muralist from New York, N.Y.
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.
Restrictions:
Transcript: Use requires an appointment.
Occupation:
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Muralists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Painting, Abstract -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Mural painting and decoration -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women painters  Search this
Women muralists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.johnso77
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw939e09048-eb0d-453d-8407-d295b4ef7c7e
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-johnso77
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Rockwell Kent

Interviewee:
Kent, Rockwell, 1882-1971  Search this
Interviewer:
Cummings, Paul  Search this
Names:
American Artists Group  Search this
Art Students League (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Armitage, Merle, 1893-1975  Search this
Chase, William Merritt, 1849-1916  Search this
Henri, Robert, 1865-1929  Search this
Miller, Kenneth Hayes, 1876-1952  Search this
Zigrosser, Carl, 1891-  Search this
Extent:
1 Sound tape reel (Sound recording: (3 hours 30 min.), 7 in.)
40 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound tape reels
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1969 Feb. 26-27
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Rockwell Kent conducted 1969 Feb. 26-27, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art. Kent speaks of his family background; his early interest and talent in art; studying painting with Robert Henri and William Merritt Chase; his early studies and work in architecture; Kenneth Hayes Miller as a teacher; experiences which influenced him and inspired him; his travels and explorations; his work in book design and illustration; mural commissions; the American Artists Group; his political life and public affairs. He recalls Merle Armitage and Carl Zigrosser.
Biographical / Historical:
In addition to being a successful painter, printmaker, illustrator, designer, and commercial artist, Kent pursued careers as a writer, professional lecturer, and dairy farmer. He travelled extensively, and was a political activist who supported the causes of organized labor, civil liberties, civil rights, anti-Fascism, and peace and friendship with the Soviet Union.
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.
Restrictions:
Transcript: Patrons must use microfilm copy.
Topic:
Book design  Search this
Illustration of books  Search this
Mural painting and decoration  Search this
Printmakers -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Illustrators -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Landscape painters -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Muralists -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.kent69
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw945e08dc3-ea19-4a00-9417-53bea9ad55f1
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-kent69

Henry Varnum Poor papers

Creator:
Poor, Henry Varnum, 1887-1970  Search this
Names:
Montross Gallery  Search this
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture  Search this
Benton, William, 1900-1973  Search this
Biddle, George, 1885-1973  Search this
Billing, Jules  Search this
Burchfield, Charles Ephraim, 1893-1967  Search this
Caniff, Milton Arthur, 1907-1988  Search this
Ciardi, John, 1916-  Search this
Czebotar, Theodore  Search this
Deming, MacDonald  Search this
Dickson, Harold E., 1900-  Search this
Dorn, Marion, 1896-1964  Search this
Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968  Search this
Esherick, Wharton  Search this
Evergood, Philip, 1901-1973  Search this
Garrett, Alice Warder  Search this
Houseman, John, 1902-1988  Search this
Marston, Muktuk  Search this
Meredith, Burgess, 1907-1997  Search this
Mumford, Lewis, 1895-1990  Search this
Padro, Isabel  Search this
Poor, Anne, 1918-  Search this
Poor, Bessie Breuer  Search this
Poor, Eva  Search this
Poor, Josephine Graham  Search this
Poor, Josephine Lydia  Search this
Poor, Peter  Search this
Sargent, Elizabeth S.  Search this
Smith, David, 1906-1965  Search this
Steinbeck, John, 1902-1968  Search this
Watson, Ernest William, 1884-1969  Search this
Extent:
12.9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sketches
Motion pictures (visual works)
Diaries
Prints
Photographs
Illustrations
Drawings
Watercolors
Sketchbooks
Date:
1873-2001
bulk 1904-1970
Summary:
The papers of Henry Varnum Poor measure 12.9 linear feet and date from 1873-2001, with the bulk from the period 1904-1970. Correspondence, writings, artwork, printed material and photographs document Poor's work as a painter, muralist, ceramic artist and potter, architect, designer, writer, war artist, educator and a co-founder of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Also found is extensive information about the design and construction of Crow House, his home in New City, New York, commissions for other architectural projects, and his personal life.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of Henry Varnum Poor measure 12.9 linear feet and date from 1873-2001, with the bulk from the period 1904-1970. Correspondence, writings, artwork, printed material and photographs document Poor's work as a painter, muralist, ceramic artist and potter, architect, designer, writer, war artist, educator and a co-founder of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Also found is extensive information about the design and construction of Crow House, his home in New City, New York, commissions for other architectural projects, and his personal life.

Henry Varnum Poor's correspondence documents his personal, family, and professional life. Correspondents include family and friends, among them George Biddle, Charles Burchfield, John Ciardi, Marion V. Dorn (who became his second wife), Philip Evergood, Lewis Mumford, John Steinbeck, David Smith, and Mrs. John Work (Alice) Garrett. Among other correspondents are galleries, museums, schools, organizations, fans, former students, and acquaintances from his military service and travels. Family correspondence consists of Henry's letters to his parents, letters to his parents written by his wife, and letters among other family members.

Among the writings by Henry Varnum Poor are manuscripts of his two published books, An Artist Sees Alaska and A Book of Pottery: From Mud to Immortality. as well as the text of "Painting is Being Talked to Death," published in the first issue of Reality: A Journal of Artists' Opinions, April 1953, and manuscripts of other articles. There are also film scripts, two journals, notes and notebooks, lists, speeches, and writings by others, including M. R. ("Muktuk") Marston's account of Poor rescuing an Eskimo, and Bessie Breuer Poor's recollections of The Montross Gallery.

Subject files include those on the Advisory Committee on Art, American Designers' Gallery, Inc., William Benton, Harold Dickson, Reality: A Journal of Artists' Opinions Sales, and War Posters. There are numerous administrative files for the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

Artwork by Henry Varnum Poor consists mainly of loose drawings and sketches and 45 sketchbooks of studies for paintings, murals, and pottery. There is work done in France, 1918-1919, and while working as a war correspondent in Alaska in 1943. There are commissioned illustrations and some intended for his monograph, A Book of Pottery: From Mud to Immortality. Also found are a small number of watercolors and prints. Work by other artists consist of Anne Poor's drawings of her father's hands used for the Lincoln figure in The Land Grant Frescoes and interior views of Crow House by Ernest Watson.

Documentation of Poor's architectural projects consists of drawings and prints relating to houses designed and built for Jules Billing, MacDonald Deming, John Houseman, Burgess Meredith, Isabel Padro, and Elizabeth S. Sargent. Also found is similar material for the new studio Poor built in 1957 on the grounds of Crow House.

Miscellaneous records include family memorabilia and two motion picture films, Painting a True Fresco, and The Land Grant Murals at Pennsylvania State College.

Printed material includes articles about or mentioning Poor, some of his pottery reference books, family history, a catalog of kilns, and the program of a 1949 Pennsylvania State College theater production titled Poor Mr. Varnum. Exhibition catalogs and announcements survive for some of Poor's shows; catalogs of other artists' shows include one for Theodore Czebotar containing an introductory statement by Henry Varnum Poor. Also found is a copy of The Army at War: A Graphic Record by American Artists, for which Poor served as an advisor. There are reproductions of illustrations for An Artist Sees Alaska and Ethan Frome, and two Associated American Artists greeting cards reproducing work by Poor.

Photographs are of Henry Varnum Poor's architectural work, artwork, people, places, and miscellaneous subjects. This series also contains negatives, slides, and transparencies. Images of architectural work include exterior and interior views of many projects; Poor's home, Crow House, predominates. Photographs of artwork by Poor are of drawings, fresco and ceramic tile murals, paintings, pottery and ceramic art. People appearing in photographs include Henry Varnum Poor, family members, friends, clients, juries, students, and various groups. Among the individuals portrayed are Milton Caniff, Marcel Duchamp, Wharton Esherick, M. R. ("Muktuk") Marston, and Burgess Meredith. Among the family members are Bessie Breuer Poor, Marion Dorn Poor, Anne Poor, Eva Poor, Josephine Graham Poor, Josephine Lydia Poor, Peter Poor, and unidentified relatives. Photographs of places include many illustrating village life in Alaska that were taken by Poor during World War II. Other places recorded are French and California landscapes, and family homes in Kansas. Miscellaneous subjects are exhibition installation views, scenes of Kentucky farms, and a photograph of Poor's notes on glazes.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 9 series:

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1919-1987 (0.2 linear feet; Box 1, OV 18)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1873-1985 (1.5 linear feet; Boxes 1-2)

Series 3: Writings and Notes, circa 1944-1974 (0.6 linear feet; Boxes 2-3)

Series 4: Subject Files, 1928-1975 (0.8 linear feet; Box 3, OV 23)

Series 5: Artwork, circa 1890s-circa 1961 (3.5 linear feet; Boxes 4-6, 9-10, OV 19-22)

Series 6: Architectural Projects, circa 1940-1966 (0.7 linear feet; Box 6, OV 24-26, RD 14-17)

Series 7: Miscellaneous Records, 1882-1967 (Boxes 6, 11, FC 30-31; 0.5 linear ft.)

Series 8: Printed Material, 1881-2001 (1.2 linear feet; Boxes 6-7, 11, OV 27-29)

Series 9: Photographs, 1893-1984 (2.3 linear feet; Boxes 7-8, 12-13)
Biographical Note:
Henry Varnum Poor (1888-1970), best known as a potter, ceramic artist, and a co-founder of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, was also an architect, painter, muralist, designer, educator, and writer who lived and worked in New City, New York.

A native of Chapman, Kansas, Henry Varnum Poor moved with his family to Kansas City when his grain merchant father became a member of the Kansas Board of Trade. From a young age he showed artistic talent and spent as much time as possible - including school hours - drawing. When a school supervisor suggested that Henry leave school to study at the Art Institute of Chicago, the family disagreed. Instead, he enrolled in the Kansas City Manual Training High School where he delighted in learning skills such as carpentry, forge work, and mechanical drawing. In 1905, he moved with his older brother and sister to Palo Alto, California and completed high school there. Because Poor was expected to join the family business, he enrolled at Stanford University as an economics major, but much to his father's disappointment and displeasure, soon left the economics department and became an art major.

Immediately after graduation in 1910, Poor and his major professor at Stanford, Arthur B. Clark, took a summer bicycling tour to look at art in London, France, Italy, and Holland. As Poor had saved enough money to remain in London after the summer was over, he enrolled in the Slade School of Art and also studied under Walter Sickert at the London County Council Night School. After seeing an exhibition of Post-Impressionism at the Grafton Galleries in London, Poor was so impressed that he went to Paris and enrolled in the Académie Julian. While in Paris, Poor met Clifford Addams, a former apprentice of Whistler; soon he was working in Addams' studio learning Whistler's palette and techniques.

In the fall of 1911, Poor returned to Stanford University's art department on a one-year teaching assignment. During that academic year, his first one-man show was held at the university's Old Studio gallery. He married Lena Wiltz and moved back to Kansas to manage the family farm and prepare for another exhibition. Their daughter, Josephine Lydia Poor, was born the following year. Poor returned to Stanford in September 1913 as assistant professor of graphic arts, remaining until the department closed three years later. During this period, Poor began to exhibit more frequently in group shows in other areas of the country, and had his first solo exhibition at a commercial gallery (Helgesen Gallery, San Francisco). In 1916, Poor joined the faculty of the San Francisco Art Association. He and his wife separated in 1917 and were divorced the following year. Poor began sharing his San Francisco studio with Marion Dorn.

During World War I, Poor was drafted into the U. S. Army, and in 1918 went to France with the 115th Regiment of Engineers. He spent his spare time drawing; soon officers were commissioning portraits, and Poor was appointed the regimental artist. He also served as an interpreter for his company. Discharged from the Army in early 1919, Poor spent the spring painting in Paris. He then returned to San Francisco and married Marion Dorn.

Once Poor realized that earning a living as a painter would be extremely difficult in California, he and his new wife moved to New York in the autumn of 1919. They were looking for a place to live when influential book and art dealer Mary Mowbray-Clarke of the Sunwise Turn Bookshop in Manhattan suggested New City in Rockland County, New York as good place for artists. In January of 1920, the Poors purchased property on South Mountain Road in New City. The skills he acquired at the Kansas City Manual Training High School were of immediate use as Poor designed and constructed "Crow House" with the assistance of a local teenager. Influenced by the farmhouses he had seen in France, it was made of local sandstone and featured steep gables, rough plaster, chestnut beams and floors, and incorporated many hand-crafted details. Poor designed and built most of their furniture, too. Before the end of the year, he and Marion were able to move into the house, though it remained a work in progress for many years. Additions were constructed. Over time, gardens were designed and planted, and outbuildings - a kiln and pottery, work room, garage, and new studio - appeared on the property.

In 1925, two years after his divorce from Marion Dorn, Poor married Bessie Freedman Breuer (1893-1975), an editor, short story writer, and novelist. Soon after, he adopted her young daughter, Anne (1918-2002), an artist who served as his assistant on many important mural commissions. Their son, Peter (b. 1926) became a television producer. Crow House remained in the family until its sale in 2006. In order to prevent its demolition, Crow House was then purchased by the neighboring town of Ramapo, New York in 2007.

Between 1935 and 1966 Poor designed and oversaw construction of a number of houses, several of them situated not far from Crow House on South Mountain Road. Poor's designs, noted for their simplicity, featured modern materials and incorporated his ceramic tiles. Among his important commissions were houses for Maxwell Anderson, Jules Billig, Milton Caniff, MacDonald Deming, and John Houseman.

Poor's first exhibition of paintings in New York City was at Kevorkian Galleries in 1920, and sales were so disappointing that he turned his attention to ceramics. His first pottery show, held at Bel Maison Gallery in Wanamaker's department store in 1921, was very successful. He quickly developed a wide reputation, participated in shows throughout the country, and won awards. He was a founder of the short-lived American Designers' Gallery, and the tile bathroom he showed at the group's first exposition was critically acclaimed. Poor was represented by Montross Gallery as both a painter and potter. When Montross Gallery closed upon its owner's death in 1932, Poor moved to the Frank K. M. Rehn Gallery.

Even though Poor's pottery and ceramic work was in the forefront, he continued to paint. His work was acquired by a number of museums, and the Limited Editions Club commissioned him to illustrate their republications of Ethan Frome, The Scarlet Letter, and The Call of the Wild.

Poor's first work in true fresco was shown in a 1932 mural exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Between 1935 and 1949 he was commissioned to produce several murals in fresco for Section of Fine Arts projects at the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior, The Land Grant Frescoes at Pennsylvania State College, and a mural for the Louisville Courier-Journal. Ceramic tile mural commissions included: the Klingenstein Pavilion, Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York City; Travelers Insurance Co., Boston; the Fresno Post Office, California; and Hillson Memorial Gallery, Deerfield Academy, Deerfield, Mass.

As a member of the War Artists' Unit, Poor was a "war correspondent" with the rank of major in World War II, and for several months in 1943 was stationed in Alaska. An Artist Sees Alaska, drawing on Poor's observations and experiences, was published in 1945. A Book of Pottery: From Mud to Immortality, his second book, was published in 1958. It remains a standard text on the subject. While on the faculty of Columbia University in the 1950s, Poor and other artists opposed to the growing influence of Abstract Expressionism formed the Reality Group with Poor the head of its editorial committee. Their magazine, Reality: A Journal of Artists' Opinions, first appeared in 1953 featuring "Painting is Being Talked to Death" by Poor as its lead article. Two more issues were published in 1954 and 1955.

Along with Willard Cummings, Sidney Simon, and Charles Cuttler, in 1946 Henry Varnum Poor helped to establish the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine. He served as its first president. Poor and his daughter, Anne, were active members of the Board of Trustees and were instructors for many years. The summer of 1961 was Henry Varnum Poor's last as a full-time teacher, though he continued to spend summers at Skowhegan.

Henry Varnum Poor exhibited widely and received many awards, among them prizes at the Carnegie Institute, Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Architectural League of New York. Poor was appointed to the United States Commission of Fine Arts by President Roosevelt in 1941 and served a five year term. He was elected a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1943. The National Academy of Design named him an Associate Artist in 1954 and an Academician in 1963. He became a trustee of the American Craftsman's Council in 1956. The work of Henry Vernum Poor is represented in the permanent collections of many American museums including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Addison Gallery of American Art, and Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts.

Henry Varnum Poor died at home in New City, New York, December 8, 1970.
Related Material:
An oral history interview with Henry Varnum Poor was conducted by Harlan Phillips for the Archives of American Art in 1964.
Provenance:
Gift of Henry Varnum Poor's son, Peter V. Poor, in 2007. A smaller portion was loaned to the Archives in 1973 by Anne Poor for microfilming and returned to the lender; this material was included in the 2007 gift.
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. Use of audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
War artists  Search this
Topic:
Architects -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
World War, 1914-1918  Search this
War posters  Search this
Educators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Pottery -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Designers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Ceramicists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Artists' studios  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Muralists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sketches
Motion pictures (visual works)
Diaries
Prints
Photographs
Illustrations
Drawings
Watercolors
Sketchbooks
Citation:
Henry Varnum Poor papers, 1873-2001, bulk 1904-1970. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.poorhenr
See more items in:
Henry Varnum Poor papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw96265d653-098f-4ccc-abed-0bc649c50516
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-poorhenr
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Ben Knott

Interviewee:
Knott, Ben  Search this
Interviewer:
Phillips, Harlan B. (Harlan Buddington), 1920-  Search this
Creator:
New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project  Search this
Names:
New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project  Search this
Extent:
1 Sound tape reel (Sound recordings: (45 min.), 7 in.)
14 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound tape reels
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1964 July 14
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Ben Knott conducted by Harlan Phillips on 1964 July 14 for the Archives of American Art New Deal and the Arts Project.
Needs summary
Biographical / Historical:
Mural painter, art administrator; New York, N.Y.
General:
Unrelated interviews of Lawrence W. Morris and Urban Neininger conducted by H. Phillips are also on this tape.
Provenance:
This interview conducted as part of the Archives of American Art's New Deal and the Arts project, which includes over 400 interviews of artists, administrators, historians, and others involved with the federal government's art programs and the activities of the Farm Security Administration in the 1930s and early 1940s.
Restrictions:
Use requires an appointment.
Topic:
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
Arts administrators -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Muralists -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.knott64
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw98e7b6494-71c4-493b-9ecf-f94e7d1c4bce
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-knott64
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Stuyvesant Van Veen, 1981 May 5-14

Interviewee:
Van Veen, Stuyvesant, 1910-1988  Search this
Interviewer:
Nathan, Emily S., 1907-1999  Search this
Subject:
Beckmann, Max  Search this
Benton, Thomas Hart  Search this
Boas, Franz  Search this
Kroll, Leon  Search this
Rich, Daniel Catton  Search this
Walker, Hudson D. (Hudson Dean)  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Drawing -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13341
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)212119
AAA_collcode_vanvee81
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_212119

Oral history interview with Clay Spohn, 1976 January 9-February 5

Interviewee:
Spohn, Clay Edgar, 1898-1977  Search this
Interviewer:
Cummings, Paul, 1933-1997  Search this
Subject:
Art Students League (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- Interviews  Search this
Art -- Philosophy  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)11671
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)213110
AAA_collcode_spohn76
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_213110
Online Media:

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