Interview of Gardner Cox conducted by Robert F. Brown for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, in Boston, MA, from March 19-July 8.
Cox speaks of his childhood friends, his parents' artistic leanings, his early painting instructors, his education at Harvard, his training and early career in architecture; his portraits of socialites and Democratic party notables, and describes his sketches and their relationship to his portraits. He also recalls Amy Lowell, R.H. Ives Gammell, Charles Webster Hawthorne, Frank Shay, John Frazier, Aldro Hibbard, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Gardner Cox (1906-1988) was a painter from Boston, Massachusetts.
Originally recorded on 2 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 3 digital wav file. Duration is 4 hr., 14 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 others.
Painters -- Massachusetts -- Boston -- Interviews Search this
Biographical material, correspondence, business records, extensive portrait files, sketches and drawings, notes and writings, art works, subject files, printed materials, photographs, audio-visual material and palette samples relate chiefly to Cox's career as a portrait painter.
Included are: short biographical sketches, a résumé, and membership cards; correspondence, primarily with the gallery Portraits, Inc. and with sitters; early letters of recommendation and letters from Austin Stevens, who painted Cox's portrait; contracts, insurance records, leases, frame invoices, and extensive income tax records; ten cassette tapes and transcript of an interview conducted by Phoebe Barnes Driver; notebooks, notes and writings, including a biographical sketch of Edward W. Forbes, a transcription of a portrait dedication, invitation lists; notebooks; appointment calendars; sketchbooks and loose sketches.
Also included are extensive portrait files of sitters containing correspondence, invoices; some contain photographs. Sitters include Dean Acheson, Judge Bailey Aldrich, Hamilton Fish Armstrong, Dean George Baker, Ann Banks, Talcot M. Banks, Barry Bingham, Sr., Eleanor Bowman, Justice William Joseph Brennan, Jr., Kingman Brewster, Jr., John Nicholas Brown, Orville H. Bullitt, William A.M. Burden and sons, J. B. CanantHammond E. Chaffetz, Secretary William T. Coleman, Abram T. Collier, Mary Crocker, Nathan Cummings, Justice R. Ammi Cutter, Dr. Francis de Marneffe, Dr. Derek Denny-Brown, Douglas Dillon, Gov. Michael S. Dukakis, Frederick M. Eaton, Daughter of Frederick M. Eaton, Dr. Frank Elliott, John Franklin Enders, Justice Felix Frankfurter, Robert Frost, Richard Glenn Gettell, Justice Arthur Goldberg, Honorable and Mrs. Gordon Gray, General Wallace M. Greene, Burton Grey, Najeeb E. Halaby, Justice John M. Harlan, Averell and Pamela Harriman, Judge William Hastie, Francis W. Hatch, Hatcher, Paul V. Hayden, Alfred Hayes, Ralph Helverson, Christian Herter, Hopkinson, V.P.H. Humphrey, R. Keith Kane, John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Rev. Kinsolving, Secretary Henry Kissinger, Henry Laughlin, Martina Lawrence, Lessing, Edward H. Levi, Wilmarth Sheldon Lewis, Lippman, Stacy Lloyd, Professor Louis Loss, Robert Lovett
Professor Edward Mason, Jean Mayer, Secretary Robert S. McNamara, Professor Donald H. Menzel, Hary Myers, Dr. Francis D. Moore, Maurice Needham, William Oates, John Lord O'Brian, Daniel H. O'Leary, Howard C. Peterson, Edwin H.B. Pratt, Norman S. Raab, R. Stewart Rauch, Herbert Read, Dr. Duncan Reid, Resor, Arthur Ross, Eugene V. Rostow, Dean Rusk, Dean Albert M. Sacks, Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger, Sally Scott, George C. Seybolt, Dr. Howard Sprague, Justice Potter Stewart, J. Statton, Lewis Toepfer, Marian Vaillant, Margaret Vaughan, Chief Justice Earl Warren, James Webb, Fred Weed, E. A. Weeks, Professor Fred L. Whipple, Justice Byron White, George M. White, Judge Raymond Wilkins, Michael Wiseman, Professor Arnold Wolfers, and Judge Charles Wyansky.
Also found are institution files relating to activities with the American Academy in Rome, Boston Arts Festival and its revival in 1985, Massachusetts Art Commission, St. Botolph Club, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and memorials to Samuel Morison, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and Robert Gould Shaw; exhibition files, containing correspondence, catalogs and announcements; and files relating to Cox's home and studio and the publication of LAWYERS PAINTED BY GARDNER COX. Also, clippings, invitations, announcements and printed material from clubs and other organizations; and photographs of Cox, his family, a bust of Cox, and many of his portraits.
ADDITION (UNMICROFILMED; ca. 12 ft.): Biographical material; correspondence; writings; notebooks; sketches and drawings; financial papers; photographs of portrait and non-portrait work; printed material; exhibition announcements; lists of work; posthumous inventory with photographs of selected work. The strength of this group lies in the abundance of studies for portraits, ranging from quick sketches in notebooks to studies of aspects of sitters to preliminary drawings, to photographs of his work, predominantly portraits but also including his paintings of forms abstracted from nature.
Biographical / Historical:
Portrait painter; Cambridge, Mass. Died 1988. Cox was a friend or acquaintance of many leading cultural figures in Boston and Cambridge, painted the portraits of many of them, and often developed friendly relations with his eminent sitters.
Papers on reels 4486-4494 were donated 1982-1985 by Gardner Cox and by his widow, Phyllis Byrnes Cox, 1989-1990. Additional papers received in 1998 from Cox's sons, James and Benjamin, and his daughter, Phyllis Koch.
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.