An interview of Marjorie Phillips conducted 1974 June 27, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art. Phillips speaks of the Art Students League; marriage to Duncan Phillips and starting a gallery in the family house, exhibitions, purchases of art work; forming the collection; influence of the Phillips Collection; her book Duncan Phillips and His Collection; and her own painting and exhibition.
Biographical / Historical:
Marjorie Phillips (1895-1985) was a painter and collector from Washington, D.C. Wife of Duncan Phillips. Social Security Death Index and the Phillips Collection website site her birth date as 1894.
Originally recorded on 1 sound tape. Reformatted in 2010 as 1 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 1 min.
This interview is part of the Archives' Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
Painters -- Washington (D.C.) -- Interviews Search this
The papers of cubist painter Karl Knaths measure 8.9 linear feet and date from 1890 to 1973, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1922 to 1971. The collection includes biographical material, personal and professional correspondence, four diaries, 22 notebooks and notes on theoretical color and compositional approaches to painting, published and draft copies of essays on art, miscellaneous printed material, 132 sketchbooks and other artwork.
Scope and Contents note:
The papers of cubist painter Karl Knaths measure 8.9 linear feet and date from 1890 to 1973, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1922 to 1971. The collection includes biographical material, personal and professional correspondence, four diaries, 22 notebooks and notes on theoretical color and compositional approaches to painting, published and draft copies of essays on art, miscellaneous printed material, and 132 sketchbooks and additional artwork.
Biographical material consists of a copy of Knaths's curriculum vitae, a press release, and miscellaneous personal financial records.
Correspondence in the collection documents Knaths's relationships with family, friends, and business associates after his move to Provincetown, Massachusetts in 1919. Notable correspondents include Duncan and Marjorie Phillips, artist Joseph Meierhans, and the gallery Paul Rosenberg and Co.
The papers include three of Knaths's personal diaries (1916-1919, 1948) and a diary written by F.A. Mehler in 1890. Additional writings include lecture notes from classes that Knaths both attended and taught; 22 notebooks that explore his interest in articulating a color and compositional theory of painting; loose notes on various artists, projects, and facets of painting; several of his completed essays on art, including "Decorative Material" and "Pictorial Analysis;" and a draft of his unpublished manuscript "Ornament and Glory." Writings by others include 15 lecture transcripts from courses taught by Hans Hofmann during the 1930s, Knaths's translations of essays by Piet Mondrian, Kazimir Malevitch, and Carl Einstein, and a biographical essay on Karl Knaths by Paul Mocsanyi.
Printed materials in the collection include clippings, exhibition catalogs, and programs related to Knaths's one-man exhibitions and group shows, and the books Syracuse University Centennial Collection of Art (1970) and Karl Knaths: Five Decades of Painting (1973).
The bulk of the collection consists of 132 sketchbooks and additional artwork. Sketchbooks date from the 1920s to the 1970s and document Knaths's early figurative and landscape studies and later explorations of cubist style and compositional experiments with color, line, and form. Additional artwork includes numerous color charts and diagrams that Knaths kept to inform his painting color palette; outlines of compositional works on both graphed and regular paper; loose pencil sketches and pastels of figures, landscapes, and compositional experiments; and finished paintings and prints.
The collection is arranged as 6 series:
Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1950s-1971 (Box 1, 8; 6 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1923-1971 (Box 1; .5 linear feet)
Series 3: Writings, 1890, 1916-1968 (Boxes 1-3, 8, OV 14, OV 19; 2 linear feet)
Series 4: Printed Material, circa 1920s-1973 (Box 3, OV 19; 10 folders)
Series 5: Sketchbooks, circa 1920s-1970s (Boxes 3-6, 9-13; 4.5 linear feet)
Series 6: Artwork, circa 1920s-1970s (Box 6, 13, OV 15-18, OV 20-22; 1.8 linear feet)
Karl Knaths (1891-1971), born Otto G. Knaths, lived and worked in Provincetown, Massachusetts and was known for his cubist style of painting.
Knaths was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago in his early twenties. The 1913 Armory Show provided his first major encounter with modernist art styles and the works of Paul Cezanne and Vincent Van Gogh. In 1919, Knaths moved to Provincetown and began to explore cubist perspectives in his own work, which drew much of its inspiration from the fishing culture and landscapes of his Cape Cod environs. Intellectually curious and drawn to art theory, Knaths recorded his thoughts on composition rules, color classifications, and the potential intersections between music, space, and color theory in notebooks, notes, and sketchbooks throughout his career.
The patronage of art collector Duncan Phillips led to Knaths's first one-man show at the Phillips Collection in 1929. The following year, he landed a solo show at New York's Daniel Gallery. Knaths joined the Works Progress Administration in 1934 and painted murals and other works for a year and a half. From 1938 to 1950, he also taught painting and art theory during a six week course held at the Phillips Art School, and was a guest lecturer at Black Mountain College, North Carolina (1944) and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine (1948). From 1945 to 1971, he was represented by the art gallery Paul Rosenberg and Co. Knaths died in 1971 in his home in Provincetown, at the age of 80.
Related Archival Materials note:
The Archives of American Art holds one oral history interview with Karl Knaths conducted by Dorothy Seckler in 1962; a transcript of a 1968 lecture delivered by Knaths at the Provincetown Art Association in Provincetown, Massachusetts; and a 1955 video recording documenting Knaths's Cape Cod influenced artwork, directed by Jack Calderwood.
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming (reel D81) including one sketchbook. Lent materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
In 1962, Karl Knaths lent the Archives of American Art a sketchbook and a selection of papers for microfilming. Upon Knath's death in 1972, these papers, excluding the sketchbook, along with additional materials, were willed to the Archives. His executor, Kenneth Desmarais, donated additional material from Knaths's estate in 1977 and 1980.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Correspondence of director Wilbur D. Peat. Many of the letters are from well-known artists of the 1920s and 1930s relating to their contributions to an exhibition of American paintings which Peat was assembling in 1932-1933. [Microfilm title: The Herron Museum of Art]
Correspondents include: Dewey Albinson, A. S. Baylinson, Wenona Day Bell, Thomas H. Benton, George Biddle, Peter Blume, Ernest Blumenschein, C. Curry Bohm, Adolphe Borie, George H. Borst, Robert Brackman, Samuel Brecher, Alexander Brook, Charles E. Burchfield, Varaldo J. Carian, Mrs. E. F. Carpenter, John Carroll, Nicolai Cikovsky, Antonio Cirino, Charles Val Clear, Max B. Cohen, John S. Curry, Randall Davey, Charles H. Davis, Edwin Dickinson, Paul Dougherty, Susan M. Eakins, Henry S. Eddy, Virginia B. Evans, Jerry Farnsworth, Ernest Fiene, John K. Fitzpatrick, John F. Folinsbee, Anton P. Fabrick, Charlotte Gailor, Daniel Garber, Robert F. Gilder, William J. Glackens, John R. Grabach, Charles T. Greener, Charles P. Gruppe,
Eugene Higgins, Edward Hopper, Bernard A. Hunger, Henry G. Keller, Fanny M. King, Georgina Klitgaard, Leon Kroll, Max Kuehne, Georges La Chance, Luigi Lucioni, Reginald Marsh, Henry E. Mattson, Henry Lee McFee, Miriam McKinnie, Clarence Millet, Ross E. Moffett, Francis Mora, Frederick Mulhaupt, Jerome Myers, Watson Nayland, Warren Newcombe, Waldo Peirce, Van Dearing Perrine, Robert Philipp, Abraham Phillips (Tromka), Majorie Phillips, Paul A. Plaschke, Edward Redfield, Doel Reed, Charles Rosen, Edward B. Rowan, Olive Rush, Chauncey Ryder, Eugene F. Savage, Henry Schnakenberg, Zoltan Sepeshy, Edward Sewall, Leopold Seyffert, Nan Sheets, Simka Simkhovitch, Clyde J. Singer, Judson Smith,
Eugene Speicher, Francis Speight, Maurice Sterne, Alfred Stieglitz (letter written on the back of Peat's letter to Georgia O'Keeffe and written for her), Elizabeth O'Neill Verner, Ferdinand E. Warren, Frederick Judd Waugh, Max Weber, Lois Wilcox, Arnold Wiltz, Grant Wood, and Harold Holmes Wrenn.
Biographical / Historical:
The John Herron Art Institute became the Indianapolis Museum of Art ca. 1969-1970. Peat was director 1929-1965.
Herron Museum of Art [microfilm title, reel D131]
Donated 1962 by the John Herron Museum of Art.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Correspondence files, arranged chronologically and alphabetically; gallery records; operational records; music program files; and exhibition files.
REELS 1929-1994: Correspondence, largely concerning the foundation, operation, and acquisitions of the museum; gallery records; music program files; and exhibition files.
REEL 1890: Correspondence with artist Augustus Vincent Tack.
REEL 1926: Correspondence with artists Arthur Dove and Alfred Stieglitz.
Biographical / Historical:
The Phillips Collection (estab. 1921) is an art museum in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1921 by collector and art connoisseur, Duncan Phillips, and his wife, Marjorie, upon opening his home to the public. Collection consists primarily of 19th and 20th century European and American art. In 1960 the Goh Annex was added to the original 1897 Georgian Revival house to expand the museums's exhibition space. The Goh annex was renovated in 1989.
The collection was microfilmed in 1979 by the Archives of American Art.
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
Authorization to quote or reproduce for the purposes of publication requires written permission from Karen Schneider, Librarian, the Phillips Collection. Contact Reference Services for more information.
An interview of Adele S. Brown and William H. Calfee conducted 1995 January 11, by Liza Kirwin, at Calfee's home in Chevy Chase, Maryland, for the Archives of American Art.
Brown and Calfee speak of their roles in Phillips Studio House. They recall Law Watkins, Karl Knaths, Duncan Phillips, Bernice Cross, Bob Gates, Marjorie Phillips, Alice Acheson, John Marin, George Groves, Harold West, Adelyn Breeskin, Kenneth Noland, Jack Tworkov, Caresse Crosby, Prentiss Taylor, and many others.
Biographical / Historical:
Brown, an art administrator in Washington, D.C., managed the sales gallery of the Phillips Studio House from 1933-1937. Calfee, a painter and sculptor, taught at the art school affiliated with Studio House from 1933 until it closed in 1945. Phillips Studio House, founded by C. Law Watkins, Associate Director of the Phillips Memorial Gallery, was both an art school and commercial gallery. It opened in November 1933, and closed in 1945 upon Watkins' death. In 1946 Calfee and a group of artists affiliated with the school were asked to form the first art department faculty at American University for which he served as its department head until 1954.
Originally recorded on 1 sound cassette. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 33 min.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.