An interview of Ed Moulthrop conducted 2001 April 2-3, by Mary Douglas, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Moulthrop's home and studio, Atlanta, Georgia.
Moulthrop speaks of his childhood in Cleveland; his introduction to woodcarving at age 8; buying his first wood lathe in 1932 at age 16; studying architecture at Western Reserve University and sculpture with Victor Schreckengost; his architecture studies in graduate school at Princeton University; the rejection of crafts or "handmade things" in the 1930s; the use of craft in architecture; the beginning of the craft movement in 1965; the government invention of polyethylene glycol which allowed wood to dry without cracking; his process of soaking wood in polyethylene glycol; teaching architecture at Georgia Tech for ten years; his work with architectural firms in Atlanta and designing an addition to the Library of Congress; selling his first pieces at The Signature Shop & Gallery, in Atlanta, in 1970; the progression of the craft movement from clay, to glass, metal, then wood; the importance of the Albert LeCoff woodturning shop in Philadelphia and conferences sponsored by Coff in the mid-1970s; his full-time pursuit of woodturning in 1975; craft exhibitions at the Mint Museum, High Museum, and American Craft Museum; his exhibitions at Arrowmont; teaching woodturning to his son Philip; his scholarship to make watercolors at Fontainbleu; and his interest in design over technique. He also talks about the work of Bob Stocksdale; the qualities of different woods; major woodturning exhibitions at DIA, the Connell Gallery in Atlanta, and of the Mason collection; the necessity of dealers; galleries including The Hand and The Spirit, Heller Gallery, Gumps, and The Signature Shop & Gallery in Atlanta; woodturning as an American craft movement; the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright, Alvar Aalto, Frank Gehry; and the Greene Brothers; the strengths and limitations of wood; commissions for museums and corporations; his preference for ellipsoids (squashed spheres) and other shapes; his search for unusual woods, such as American Chestnut, Yellowwood, American Mahogany, and Box Elder; making his own tools and lathe; developing his own polish; his involvement with the Georgia Designer-Craftsmen with Jerry Chappell, Gary Noffke, and Ginny Ruffner; and his invention of the "Saturn Bowl" (a bowl with rings).
Biographical / Historical:
Ed Moulthrop (1916-2003) is a wood turner from Atlanta, Georgia. Mary Douglas (1956- ) is the curator at the Mint Museum of Craft and Design in Charlotte, N.C.
Originally recorded on 3 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hrs., 39 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.
Biographical materials, correspondence, files, notes, writings, art works, scrapbooks, photographs, and printed materials relating chiefly to Laurence E. Schmeckebier's academic career and to his publications.
Professional and personal correspondence with artists, publishers, art historians, museum curators, and students including Adolf Dehn, Philip Evergood, Walter Gropius, George Grosz, Rico Lebrun, Ivan Mestrovic, A. Henry Nordhausen, Jose Clemente Orozco, Anton Refregier, John Rood, Hudson Roysher, and Viktor Schreckengost. Extensive research files relating to published and unpublished writings on A. Henry Nordhausen, Ivan Mestrovic, Mexican art, urban art in Minnesota, German medieval art and other topics contain preparatory notes, drafts, correspondence and photographs of art. Additional files relate to Schmeckebier's academic career, and to the Syracuse University mural project. Also included are appraisals, royalty statements, undergraduate writings, a published Ph.D. dissertation, encyclopedia articles, book reviews, lecture notes, speeches, notes on wood sculpture, transcript of a Latin-American Studies Conference (1943), notes for a book on Boris Margo, and travel notebooks. Three scrapbooks, compiled by Mrs. Schmeckebier and Karen L. Bakke, contain correspondence, sketches, clippings and photographs dating back to Schmeckebier's childhood. There are also loose scrapbook pages from the 1930s; personal photographs; photographs of work; art work by students; and printed materials, including exhibition notices.
An addition of 0.2 linear feet donated 2016 includes an unpublished typescript (photocopy) circa 1982, of a new edition of Schmeckebier's book "John Steuart Curry's Pageant of America" (1943) and correspondence between Schmeckebier's daughter Xenia S. Sterling and Joseph S. Czestochowski, regarding the new edition, 1982-1988; and miscellany.
Biographical / Historical:
Laurence Eli Schmeckebier (1906-1984) was an art historian, educator, administrator, and sculptor in Syracure, New York and Cleveland, Ohio. Schmeckebier was Director and Professor of Art History at The Cleveland Institute of Art, 1946-1954 and Professor of Fine Arts, Dean of the School of Art, Syracuse University, 1954-1971. His publications include: "Handbook of Italian Renaissance Painting", "Modern Mexican Art", "John Steuart Curry's Pageant of America", "Art in Red Wing", "Ivan Mestrovic"' "Sculptor and Patriot", and "The Art of A. Henry Nordhausen".
Donated 1977 by Laurence Schmeckebier. The bulk of the collection was donated 1985-1986 by his children, Peter Schmeckebier, Nina S. Gardner, Xenia S. Sterling, and Marina S. Steinhouse. Additional material donated 2016 by Xenia Schmeckebier Sterling.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.