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Hanns Swarzenski essay, 1942

Creator:
Swarzenski, Hanns, 1903-1985  Search this
Swarzenski, Hanns, 1903-1985  Search this
Theme:
Art Theory and Historiography  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)8506
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)210683
AAA_collcode_swarhann
Theme:
Art Theory and Historiography
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_210683

Oral history interview with Eleanor Sayre

Interviewee:
Sayre, Eleanor A.  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F.  Search this
Names:
Ashmolean Museum  Search this
Bryn Mawr College -- Students  Search this
Fogg Art Museum  Search this
Harvard University -- Students  Search this
Lyman Allyn Museum  Search this
Museo del Prado  Search this
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston  Search this
Rhode Island School of Design. Museum of Art  Search this
Yale University. Art Gallery  Search this
Ames, Winslow  Search this
Constable, W. G. (William George), 1887-1976  Search this
Edgell, George Harold, b. 1887  Search this
Forbes, Edward Waldo, 1873-1969  Search this
Goya, Francisco, 1746-1828  Search this
Hofer, Philip, 1898-1984  Search this
Karolik, Maxim  Search this
King, Georgiana Goddard, 1871-1939  Search this
Rathbone, Perry Townsend, 1911-2000  Search this
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, 1606-1669  Search this
Rosenberg, Jakob, 1893-  Search this
Rossiter, Henry P. (Henry Preston), b. 1885  Search this
Sachs, Paul J. (Paul Joseph), 1878-1965  Search this
Seybolt, George Crossan, 1914-1993  Search this
Sizer, Theodore, 1892-1967  Search this
Swarzenski, Hanns, 1903-1985  Search this
Washburn, Gordon B. (Gordon Bailey), 1904-1983  Search this
Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924  Search this
Extent:
213 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Place:
Philippines -- History -- Japanese occupation, 1942-1945
Spain -- History -- 1939-1975
Date:
1993 April 19-1997 January 10
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Eleanor Sayre conducted 1993 April 19-1997 January 10, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Sayre talks about her early childhood in Williamstown and Cambridge, Mass.; her family background; visits to the White House with her maternal grandfather, Woodrow Wilson; living abroad while her father was in government service in Bangkok, then Siam (now Thailand), Paris, and Switzerland, with extensive recollections of her brothers and schooling in Europe.
Attending Winsor School in Boston; her mother's death; her years at Bryn Mawr College, including her switch to art history from political science; Georgianna Goddard King as an influential teacher; an internship under Laura Dudley at the Fogg Art Museum's Print Room and the lasting effect of this experience.
Being a graduate student in fine arts at Harvard and the importance of Edward Forbes and Paul Sachs as teachers; her decision not to pursue a PhD; working with Jakob Rosenberg; helping to get young Jews out of Europe; her position as assistant for exhibitions at Yale University Art Gallery under Theodore Sizer; the trauma of her father's internment by the Japanese in the Philippines, where he was High Commissioner and his rescue; and her decision to turn down a military intelligence job in order to work with German Jewish refugees.
Her brief tenure at Lyman-Allyn Museum, Conn., under Winslow Ames; her years in the education department under Lydia "Ma" Powel at the Museum of Art of the Rhode Island School of Design with Gordon Washburn as director; and working closely with Heinrich Schwartz on prints and drawings.
The liberal tradition of her father's wealthy family; her father; being brought to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston by its curator of prints, Henry Rossiter and on the charming collector and benefactor, Maxim Karolik; MFA curator of paintings, William George Constable; and George Harold Edgell, MFA director.
The collector, Philip Hofer, who by putting his Goya proofs on loan at the MFA, led to Sayre's life-long study of the artist; her research on Goya in Spain; raising of a large sum from Boston businesses to purchase Hofer's prints for the MFA, and the MFA's eminence by the 1960s in Goya's graphic work; the disgusting repression of dissent in Franco-era Spain; Goya's passionate self-assertion, which is what principally attracted Sayre to his work, and his conceptual process and method of work.
Earlier years at the MFA, Boston, including the accessibility of the print department's study rooms; Edwin J. Hipkiss, curator of American decorative arts; the Christmas poetry and prints exhibitions designed as profound learning experiences for a broad public; and being chosen as successor to Rossiter; and further comments on Maxim Karolik.
W.G. Russell Allen and other collectors who gave their collections to the MFA; her efforts to effectively present art to the broad public; her methods of appealing to the public coalescing at the MFA in 1989 with the "Goya and the Spirit of the Enlightenment" exhibition; and an exhibition of the work of Beatrix Potter.
Spain under the dictator, Francisco Franco; her first study in Spain of Goya's drawings and her urging the Prado Museum to conserve its drawings; the Prado's director, F. Sanchez-Canton; her research on prostitution at the Ministry of Justice; being decorated for her recommending the preservation of Goya's art and the marvelous private collections of Goya in Spain; and her obsession with interpreting the meaning of Goya's work.
The MFA, Boston, under the directorship of Perry Rathbone, who wanted many more people involved than had his predecessor, George Harold Edgell, who ran it like a Boston Brahmin Club; Rathbone's accomplishments; his downfall and that of his assistant (and curator of European decorative arts and sculpture) Hanns Swarzenski in bringing a so-called Raphael into this country by irregular means, which led to Rathbone and Swarzenski's firing by George Seybolt, the trustee president; Rathbone's reluctance to hire women curators and Sayre's finally becoming curator of prints and drawings in 1967; her philosophy as curator; on Hanns and Brigitte Swarzenski as dear friends; her exchange of positions with the curator of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, where she put their valuable but neglected print collection in order.
The exhibition and catalog, "Rembrandt: Experimental Etcher," (1969) in collaboration with the Pierpont Morgan Library; general views on exhibitions; co-authoring the exhibition catalog "Goya and the Spiris of Enlightenment" (1989); her contributions to Goya research; her current research and writing on Goya's Capaprichos print series; and her satisfaction in having spent her career in art museums.
Biographical / Historical:
Eleanor A. Sayre (1916-2001) was a curator and art historian from Boston, Mass.
General:
Originally recorded on 8 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 15 digital wav files. Duration is 11 hrs., 21 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.
Occupation:
Art historians -- Interviews  Search this
Printmakers  Search this
Topic:
Jewish refugees -- Germany  Search this
Museum curators -- Massachusetts -- Boston -- Interviews  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Germany -- Refugees  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.sayre93
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-sayre93

Hanns Swarzenski essay

Creator:
Swarzenski, Hanns, 1903-1985  Search this
Extent:
1 Item ((on partial microfilm reel))
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1942
Scope and Contents:
Swarzenski's "The art museum is in the doghouse," an annotated essay commenting upon Sanford Low's pamphlet, THE MUSEUM AS A SOCIAL INSTRUMENT.
Biographical / Historical:
Art historian; West Germany.
Provenance:
Donated 1978 by Hanns Swarzenski.
Restrictions:
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.
Occupation:
Art historians -- Germany (West)  Search this
Function:
Art museums
Identifier:
AAA.swarhann
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-swarhann

Perry Townsend Rathbone papers

Creator:
Rathbone, Perry Townsend, 1911-2000  Search this
Names:
Allied Forces. Supreme Headquarters. Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Section  Search this
Christie, Manson & Woods International Inc.  Search this
City Art Museum of St. Louis  Search this
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston  Search this
Beckmann, Max, 1884-1950  Search this
Faison, S. Lane (Samson Lane), 1907-2006  Search this
Gonzalez, Xavier, 1898-1993  Search this
Howe, Thomas Carr, 1904-1994  Search this
Moore, Lamont  Search this
Parkhurst, Charles  Search this
Ritchie, Andrew Carnduff  Search this
Sabersky, Jane, 1911-1983  Search this
Stout, George L. (George Leslie)  Search this
Swarzenski, Hanns, 1903-1985  Search this
Valentin, Curt, 1902-1954  Search this
Valentiner, Wilhelm Reinhold, 1880-1958  Search this
Willard, Marian, 1904-  Search this
Wittmann, Otto, 1911-2001  Search this
Extent:
4.3 Linear feet (5 boxes, 1 OV)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Transcripts
Photographs
Interviews
Date:
1929-1985
Summary:
The papers of museum director Perry Townsend Rathbone measure 4.3 linear feet and date from 1929 to 1985. The papers document Rathbone's career as museum director of the City Art Museum of St. Louis and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and his later work with Christie's New York office. Found within the papers are biographical materials, correspondence with friends and colleagues, writings, professional and project files, printed materials, and photographs, mostly of exhibitions.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of museum director Perry Townsend Rathbone measure 4.3 linear feet and date from 1929 to 1985. The papers document Rathbone's career as museum director of the City Art Museum of St. Louis and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and his later work with Christie's New York office. Found within the papers are biographical materials, correspondence with friends and colleagues, writings, professional and project files, printed materials, and photographs, mostly of exhibitions.

Biographical materials contain curriculum vitae, biographical sketches, citations for honorary degrees and for Rathbone's appointment as Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor, a passport, a transcript of an interview with Rathbone and articles written by others about Rathbone, including one by S. Lane Faison.

Correspondence is with Rathbone's friends and colleagues. Notable correspondents include Max Beckmann, Xavier Gonzalez, Hanns Swarzenski, Curt Valentin, Jane Sabersky, William R. Valentiner, and Marian Willard, among others. Rathbone knew several art historians and conservators who served in the U.S. Army as members of the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Section, also known as the Monuments Men. Correspondence with these colleagues is arranged together as a subseries and includes correspondence with S. Lane Faison, Thomas Carr Howe, Lamont Moore, Charles Parkhurst, Andrew Ritchie, George Leslie Stout, and Otto Wittman. Most of the correspondence with other Monuments Men is post World War II.

Writings by Rathbone consist of student papers, typescript drafts of articles and entries for exhibition catalogs, notes and notebooks from European trips, and lectures.

Professional files encompass a range of documents related to Rathbone's museum directorships, projects, travels and professional affiliations. The folders about his work at the City Art Museum of St. Louis and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston include correspondence, reports, meeting minutes, press releases and notes. There are also folders on specific projects such as the renovation of the historic Dederer-Blodgett House and Rathbone's membership on various art commissions and committees. Also found within this series are correspondence, notebooks, receipts, itineraries and vouchers for Rathbone's business trips to Europe and other locations while working for the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Printed materials include news clippings, articles, press releases, a few art magazines and exhibition catalogues, and invitations to events. There are also black and white photographs of exhibitions, including a Max Beckmann exhibit, and a few images of Rathbone.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 6 series.

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1930-1982 (0.1 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1940-1985 (1.1 linear feet; Box 1-2)

Series 3: Writings, 1929-1967 (0.8 linear feet; Box 2)

Series 4: Professional Files, 1938-1984 (2 linear feet; Box 2-4, OV 6)

Series 5: Printed Materials, 1954-1975 (0.2 linear feet; Box 4-5, OV 6)

Series 6: Photographs, 1936-1972 (0.1 linear feet; Box 5)
Biographical / Historical:
Perry Townsend Rathbone (1911-2000) was a prominent museum director who worked primarily in Boston and New York City. He was an early supporter of German Expressionism in America.

Rathbone was director of the City Art Museum of St. Louis from 1940-1955, moving on to direct the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston from 1954-1972, where he led a period of extensive reform. After retiring from the museum, he worked for one year for the Chase Manhattan Bank as an art consultant. Rathbone worked as director and senior vice president of Christies USA auction house from 1973-1987. After 1987, he continued working at Christies as a consultant.

Rathbone was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania on July 3, 1911 and grew up in New Rochelle, New York. He attended Harvard College, majoring in Art History and graduating in 1933. He then completed the graduate "museum course" taught by Professor Paul Sachs in 1934. The Paul Sachs museum course was famous for cultivating future directors at some of this country's most prestigious museums. After Harvard, Rathbone was appointed as curator of Alger House (later renamed the Grosse Pointe War Memorial), a branch of the Detroit Institute of Arts. Rathbone directed the ''Masterpieces of Art'' exhibit at the 1939 New York World's Fair. The success of the exhibit led to his appointment as director of the City Art Museum of St. Louis, Missouri in 1940 at the age of 29, making him the youngest American museum director at the time.

During World War II, Rathbone served in the U.S. Navy from late 1942-1945. He was a commissioned officer in charge of the Navy Art and Poster Section, Office of Public Relations in Washington, D.C. He supervised five Navy "combat artists," who painted naval battles and depicted the daily lives of soldiers. He also served as an officer in New Calcedonia. He separated from service as a Lieutenant Commander in late 1945. This collection does not contain records directly related to his military service. In 1945 Rathbone married Euretta de Cosson while on leave in Washington, D.C. They had three children together: Peter, Eliza, and Belinda.

Rathbone resumed his position as the director of the City Art Museum of St. Louis after the war. The Detroit Institute of Arts director William R. Valentiner introduced Rathbone to German Expressionism. Rathbone helped the German Expressionist painter Max Beckmann, labeled a ''degenerate artist'' by Hitler, and his wife immigrate to America and then arranged a teaching position for Beckmann at Washington University. Rathbone and Beckmann became close, and in 1948, Rathbone organized a Beckmann retrospective at the City Art Museum. Beckmann made a portrait of Rathbone and one of his wife Euretta. Rathbone gave the eulogy at Beckmann's funeral in 1950.

In 1955 Rathbone became the director of the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston. During his tenure there he expanded the museum by 80,000 square feet, doubled the staff, and oversaw the renovations of 57 of the Museum's 189 galleries. He mounted exhibitions of Rembrandt, Matisse, Modigliani, Cezanne, van Gogh and Courbet. The Boston Museum's first acquisitions of Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder, Constantine Brancusi, Paul Klee, Alberto Giacometti and other works by 20th-century artists occurred under Rathbone's directorship. Rathbone also served as curator of paintings and wrote the catalog essays for many of the museum's exhibitions. Working with Frances Weeks Hallowell, he established the first "Ladies Committee" for the museum, which substantially increased membership. He was appointed as Chevalier de L├ęgion d'Honneur by the French government in 1964.

In 1969, the Museum of Fine Arts purchased what was believed to be a Raphael portrait of Eleonora Gonzaga, 1505, from a Genoa art dealer. The work was meant to be the highlight of the museum's centennial celebration. However controversy arose when the Italian government alleged that the work was smuggled out of the country and the museum was forced to return the painting to the Italian government. The situation caused Rathbone to resign in 1972.

At the request of David Rockefeller, Rathbone became an art consultant to Chase Manhattan Bank for one year. In 1973, he became director of Christie's auction house in New York and senior vice president in 1977, working there until 1987, when he retired but still worked as a consultant.

Perry Townsend Rathbone died on January 22, 2000 at the age of 88.
Related Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds an oral history interview of Perry Townsend Rathbone conducted in 1975-1976 by Paul Cummings for the Archives of American Art's oral history program.
Provenance:
Perry Townsend Rathbone donated his paper to the Archives of American Art in 1977 and 1988.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Topic:
Museum directors -- Massachusetts -- Boston  Search this
Genre/Form:
Transcripts
Photographs
Interviews
Citation:
Perry Townsend Rathbone papers, 1929-1985. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.rathperr
See more items in:
Perry Townsend Rathbone papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-rathperr
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