Interview of Richard B.K. McLanathan, conducted by Robert F. Brown for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution in Phippsburg, Maine, on August 31, 1994.
McLanathan speaks of his parents and his childhood in Methuen, Massachusetts and then Andover, Massachusetts; the frequent presence of formidable aunts and uncles who entertained Episcopal bishops; attendance at a "dame school" there, then at classes given by a retired teacher at Phillips Academy, Andover; the trauma of one year at Phillips Academy with its large classes and severe teachers; the effects his father's ruin in the financial crash of 1929 had on his family; attendance at Choate (graduated 1934) and Harvard College (graduated 1938) on scholarships; his several years teaching in Manhattan at a small private school and marriage (1942) to Jane Fuller, a prominent designer of knitwear; his disqualification from the military because of flat feet and his teaching in night schools as a form of alternative service; and his matriculation (1943) as a graduate student in fine arts at Harvard. McLanathan also recalls Chandler Post, Arthur Pope, Paul Sachs, Edward Forbes, and Arthur Kingsley Porter, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Richard B.K. McLanathan (1916-1998) was an art historian, administrator, and writer. McLanathan received a Ph.D from Harvard in 1951. Ass't Curator of Paintings, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1946-1948, and Secretary, 1949-1956; Director, Museum of Art, Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, 1957-1962; Curator of the Art Exhibit of the American National Exhibition, Moscow, Russia, 1959; New York State Council on the Arts,1960-1964; Director, American Association for Museums, 1976-1978; author of numerous publications on art.
Originally recorded on 2 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 3 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 52 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. Additional interview sessions are planned.