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Oral history interview with Merry Renk, 2001 January 18-19

Interviewee:
Renk, Merry, 1921-2012  Search this
Renk, Merry, 1921-2012  Search this
Interviewer:
Fisch, Arline M., 1931-  Search this
Subject:
Albers, Josef  Search this
Asawa, Ruth  Search this
Bates, Kenneth F. (Kenneth Francis)  Search this
Brancusi, Constantin  Search this
Brynner, Irena  Search this
Cunningham, Imogen  Search this
Curtis, Earle  Search this
De Patta, Margaret  Search this
Godfrey, Mary Jo Slick  Search this
Guermonprez, Trude  Search this
Hall, Doris.  Search this
Nordness, Lee  Search this
Oliver, Olive  Search this
Tawney, Lenore  Search this
Tajiri, Shinkichi  Search this
750 Studio  Search this
American Craft Council  Search this
Metal Arts Guild  Search this
Mobilia Gallery  Search this
Institute of Design (Chicago, Ill.)  Search this
School of Industrial Design (Trenton, N.J.)  Search this
University of California, Berkeley. Department of Art  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Type:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Topic:
Enamel and enameling  Search this
Enamelers -- California -- San Francisco -- Interviews  Search this
Jewelry making  Search this
Jewelers -- California -- San Francisco -- Interviews  Search this
Painters -- California -- San Francisco -- Interviews  Search this
Sculptors -- United States -- Interviews  Search this
Sculptors -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Theme:
Craft  Search this
Women  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)11961
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)227005
AAA_collcode_renk01
Theme:
Craft
Women
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_227005
Online Media:

Merry Renk papers, 1952-2000

Creator:
Renk, Merry, 1921-2012  Search this
Renk, Merry, 1921-2012  Search this
Subject:
Nichols, Alice W.  Search this
Armstrong, Roger  Search this
Daniel, Greta  Search this
Brown, Conrad  Search this
Webb, Aileen O.  Search this
Slivka, Rose  Search this
Soldner, Paul  Search this
Smith, Paul J.  Search this
Merritt, Francis Sumner  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Type:
Drawings
Video recordings
Topic:
Women artists  Search this
Theme:
Women  Search this
Lives of American Artists  Search this
Craft  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)6039
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)239420
AAA_collcode_renkmerr
Theme:
Women
Lives of American Artists
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_239420

Oral history interview with Merry Renk

Interviewee:
Renk, Merry, 1921-2012  Search this
Interviewer:
Fisch, Arline M.  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
750 Studio  Search this
American Craft Council  Search this
Institute of Design (Chicago, Ill.) -- Students  Search this
Metal Arts Guild  Search this
Mobilia Gallery  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
School of Industrial Design (Trenton, N.J.) -- Students  Search this
University of California, Berkeley. Department of Art -- Faculty  Search this
Albers, Josef  Search this
Asawa, Ruth  Search this
Bates, Kenneth F. (Kenneth Francis), 1904-1994  Search this
Brancusi, Constantin, 1876-1957  Search this
Brynner, Irena  Search this
Cunningham, Imogen, 1883-1976  Search this
Curtis, Earle  Search this
De Patta, Margaret, 1903-1964  Search this
Godfrey, Mary Jo Slick  Search this
Guermonprez, Trude, 1910-1976  Search this
Hall, Doris.  Search this
Nordness, Lee  Search this
Oliver, Olive  Search this
Tajiri, Shinkichi, 1923-2009  Search this
Tawney, Lenore  Search this
Extent:
49 Pages (Transcript)
1 Item (sound file (4 min. 15 sec.) Audio excerpt, digital)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Interviews
Sound recordings
Date:
2001 January 18-19
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Merry Renk conducted 2001 January 18-19, by Arline M. Fisch, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Renk's home and studio, San Francisco, California.
Renk speaks of her family background; growing up during the Depression; her father's creativity and encouragement; early inspiration from "the structure of nature"; attending the School of Industrial Arts in Trenton, N.J., and later the Institute of Design in Chicago; student life at the Institute of Design; establishing a studio and gallery, 750 Studio, at 750 North Dearborn, in Chicago, in 1947, with two other students, Mary Jo Slick [Godfrey] and Olive [Bunny] Oliver; managing 750 Studio and organizing exhibitions of Harry Callahan, Henry Miller, Lazlo Maholy-Nagy, Warren and Ethel MacKenzie, Doris Hall, and others; working with enamels; early "primitive" spirals; decision to be a jeweler; the importance of the "wearability" of jewelry; moving to San Francisco in 1948; living in Paris, 1950-1951; relationship with Shinkichi Tajiri; visiting Constantin Brancusi; traveling with Lenore Tawney through Spain and Morocco; settling in San Francisco; friendship with sculptor and neighbor Ruth Asawa; learning about Josef Albers from Asawa, resulting in experiments with folded metal; meeting her second husband, potter Earle Curtis on Halloween 1954; purchasing and remodeling their home; teaching part-time at the University of California, Berkeley and in workshops; her children, Baunnie and Sandra; managing motherhood and jewelry making in a two-artist household; drawing as a form of inventory; the influence of Lee Nordness; learning the plique-à-jour technique of enameling through trial and error; early influence of Doris Hall's work; working with wire; use of natural forms and interlocking forms; the process of making Wedding Crown (1968) for the exhibition Objects USA; making wedding crowns for her daughters; her shift from non-objective art to portraiture and symbolic imagery in the early 1970s; making large-scale sculpture in 1974, then "drifting back" to jewelry; importance of working independently; her "memory paintings" in the 1980s; evolution of her name from Mary Ruth Gibbs to Merry Renk Curtis (married Stanley Renk in 1941); her involvement with local guilds such as the Metal Arts Guild of San Francisco and national organizations such as the American Craft Council (ACC); lack of critical writing about her work; the value of exhibitions; various pieces in museum collections; early ACC conferences; her long friendship with photographer Imogen Cunningham; posing for Cunningham; becoming an ACC fellow; her jewelry tools; the process of painting compared to jewelry making. She also mentions Kenneth Bates, Trude Guermonprez, Irena Brynner, the Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and her mentor Margaret de Patta.
Biographical / Historical:
Merry Renk (1921-2012) was a jeweler, painter, and sculptor from San Francisco, California. Arline M. Fisch (1931-) is a metalsmith from San Diego, California.
General:
Originally recorded on 3 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hr., 9 min.
Provenance:
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.
Topic:
Enamel and enameling  Search this
Enamelers -- California -- San Francisco -- Interviews  Search this
Jewelry making  Search this
Jewelers -- California -- San Francisco -- Interviews  Search this
Painters -- California -- San Francisco -- Interviews  Search this
Sculptors -- United States -- Interviews  Search this
Sculptors -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.renk01
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-renk01

Merry Renk papers

Creator:
Renk, Merry, 1921-2012  Search this
Names:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Armstrong, Roger  Search this
Brown, Conrad  Search this
Daniel, Greta  Search this
Merritt, Francis Sumner, 1913-2000  Search this
Nichols, Alice W.  Search this
Slivka, Rose  Search this
Smith, Paul J.  Search this
Soldner, Paul  Search this
Webb, Aileen O.  Search this
Extent:
1.3 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Drawings
Video recordings
Date:
1952-2000
Scope and Contents:
Correspondence, printed maerials, drawings, writings, and a VHS video.
Biographical / Historical:
Metalsmith, jeweler, painter; San Francisco, Calif.; b. 1921.
Provenance:
Donated 2003 and 2004 by Merry Renk as a part of the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America.
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.
Occupation:
Painters -- California -- San Francisco  Search this
Jewelers -- California -- San Francisco  Search this
Enamelers -- California -- San Francisco  Search this
Topic:
Women artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Drawings
Video recordings
Identifier:
AAA.renkmerr
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-renkmerr

Interview with Merry Renk

Interviewer:
Lauria, Jo  Search this
Names:
De Patta, Margaret, 1903-1964  Search this
Renk, Merry, 1921-2012  Search this
Extent:
1 Item
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Interviews
Sound recordings
Date:
April 28, 2012
Scope and Contents:
An interview with San Francisco goldsmith Imogene "Tex" Gieling conducted by Jo Lauria, April 28, 2012 for her article on jeweler and designer Margaret De Patta, "Margaret De Patta: Pioneer of Modern Studio," in Ornament magazine, September 2012 issue.
Biographical / Historical:
Jo Lauria (1954- ) is a curator and arts writer from Sherman Oaks, California.
General:
Also found on both SD cards is an interview of Imogene "Tex" Gieling conducted 2012 April 28, by Jo Lauria, for the Archives of American Art.
Provenance:
Donated 2014 by Jo Lauria.
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.
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Identifier:
AAA.laurjo
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-laurjo

Oral history interview with Imogene "Tex" Gieling

Interviewee:
Gieling, Imogene, 1923-  Search this
Interviewer:
Lauria, Jo  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Moholy-Nagy, László, 1895-1946  Search this
Renk, Merry, 1921-2012  Search this
Extent:
4 Items (sound discs (3 hr., 49 min.), digital, 2 5/8 in.)
3 Items (3 sound files (1 hr., 43 min.))
79 Pages (Transcript)
Culture:
Jewelry making  Search this
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2008 November 21 and 2012 April 28
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Imogene "Tex" Gieling conducted 2008 November 21 and 2012 April 28, by Jo Lauria, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Gieling's home, in San Fransisco, California.
Biographical / Historical:
Imogene "Tex" Gieling (1923- ) is a metal artist who founded the metals department at the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco State University. Gieling lives and works in San Francisco, California.
General:
Originally recorded on 4 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 8 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hr., 49 min.
Originally recorded as 3 digital sound files. Duration is 1 hr., 49 min.
Provenance:
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.
Restrictions:
This transcript is open for research. Access to the entire recording is restricted. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Topic:
Metal-workers -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.gielin08
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-gielin08

Oral history interview with Irena Brynner

Interviewee:
Brynner, Irena  Search this
Interviewer:
Fisch, Arline M.  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Craft Students League -- Faculty  Search this
Metal Arts Guild  Search this
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) -- Faculty  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Renwick Gallery  Search this
Society of North American Goldsmiths  Search this
Bergman, Franz  Search this
Campbell, David Robert, 1907-1963  Search this
Daniels, Grete  Search this
De Patta, Margaret, 1903-1964  Search this
Faber, Aaron  Search this
Jensen, Georg Arthur, 1866-1935  Search this
Jeremias, Trudy  Search this
Renk, Merry, 1921-2012  Search this
Resnikoff, Florence Lisa Herman  Search this
Rosene, Caroline Gleick, 1907-  Search this
Stackpole, Ralph, 1885-1973  Search this
Winston, Robert, 1915-  Search this
Extent:
67 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2001 April 26-27
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Irena Brynner conducted 2001 April 26-27, by Arline M. Fisch, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Brynner's home and studio, New York, New York.
Brynner speaks of her childhood in Vladivostok in Primorski Krai, Russia; her artistic family including her cousin Yul Brynner; fleeing from Russia to Darian (on the southern tip of the Liaotung peninsula, in the Kwantung Leased Territory of Manchuria); her art studies in Lausanne, Switzerland; her father's illness during World War II; moving with her mother to San Francisco in 1946; her studies with Ralph Stackpole and Franz Bergman in San Francisco; her relationship with architect Frank Merwin; teaching art in Catholic schools in San Francisco; her decision to make jewelry after seeing Claire Falkenstein's sculpture; working as an apprentice to Caroline Rosene and Franz Bergman; forming the Metal Arts Guild with Bob Winston, Merry Renk, Florence Resnikoff, Margaret De Patta, and others; and introducing forging and three-dimensional jewelry in the Metal Arts Guild. She also talks about her move to New York City in 1957; acting as her own agent; "open-air art shows" in San Francisco; her first show at Walker & Eberling; starting her own shop; teaching at the Craft Students League and at MoMA's Institute of Modern Art, at Victor D'Amico's invitation, circa 1962; her friendships with students and clients; her book, "Jewelry as an Art Form" (New York : Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1979) and its influence; learning to work with a Henes water welder; the treatment of women artists in America; her move to Geneva, Switzerland, in 1972, and the difficulties of starting a shop there; and her return to New York and reestablishing her career in the United States. Brynner also discusses her interest in singing, her voice lessons, her public performances of Russian classical music, and her health.
She comments on the intuitive development of her jewelry; the influence of Margaret De Patta; learning wax techniques from Bob Winston at Mills College; her progression from geometric to organic forms; her large-scale sculpture; her invention of "wrap-around earrings"; her use of niobium in the 1980s; drawing inspiration from Antonio Gaudi, Alberto Jaccometti, and others; involvement with the community of artists in the San Francisco Bay Area; the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG); craft periodicals; her exhibitions at the Little Gallery of the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, the Musée de l'horlogerie et de l'émaillerie in Geneva, the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C., and others; her work in museum collections; serving as a juror; and writing her memoir. Brynner recalls Georg Jensen, Grete Daniels, Trudy Jeremias, Aaron Faber, David Campbell, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Irena Brynner (1917-2003) was a jeweler from New York, New York. Arline M. Fisch (1931- ) is a metalsmith from San Diego, California.
General:
Originally recorded on 4 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 7 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hr., 41 min.
Provenance:
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.
Topic:
Women artists  Search this
Sculptors -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Jewelers -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.brynne01
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-brynne01

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