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Oral history interview with Glen Kaufman

Interviewee:
Kaufman, Glen  Search this
Interviewer:
Shea, Josephine, 1958-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Cranbrook Academy of Art -- Faculty  Search this
Cranbrook Academy of Art -- Students  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Reserve Officers Training Corps  Search this
Allrich, Louise  Search this
Constantine, Mildred  Search this
Cook, Camille J.  Search this
Grotell, Maija  Search this
Johnston, Meda Parker  Search this
Lambert, Ed  Search this
Larsen, Jack Lenor  Search this
Liebes, Dorothy  Search this
McCutchen, Earl  Search this
Page, Charlene  Search this
Rossbach, Ed  Search this
Strengell, Marianne, 1909-1998  Search this
Thompson, Bill  Search this
Extent:
12 Items (Sound recording: 12 sound files (5 hr., 29 min.))
86 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Place:
Denmark -- description and travel
Europe -- description and travel
Illinois -- Chicago -- Description and Travel
India -- description and travel
Japan -- Description and Travel
Ohio -- Description and Travel
Date:
2008 January 22-February 23
Scope and Contents:
Oral history interview with Glen Kaufman conducted 2008 January 22 and February 23 by Josephine Shea, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America at Kaufman's home in Athens, Georgia.
Kaufman speaks of his childhood in Chicago; earning his B.A. in education in Wisconsin and meeting his wife; joining the ROTC and moving to Ohio; attending Cranbrook Academy of Art; living and studying in Denmark; traveling through Western Europe; working at the Liebes Studio in New York; teaching at Cranbrook for about 40 years; working in Japan; using metal leaf and wax in his art; moving from large to miniature textiles; his glove exhibition; visiting India; gallery exhibitions in Japan; the difference between university-trained artists and artisans; the impact of travel and international influences on his work; the art community in Kyoto; using Japanese dancers in his exhibitions; incorporating traditional Korean and Japanese materials and techniques into his work. Kaufman also recalls Charlene Page, Bill Thompson, Maija Grotell, Marianne Strengell, Dorothy Liebes, Jack Lenor Larsen, Meda Parker Johnston, Earl McCutchen, Ed Lambert, Mildred Constantine, Louise Allrich, Ed Rossbach, Camille Cook, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Glen Kaufman (1932- ) is a textile artist who lives and works in Athens, Georgia and Kyoto, Japan. Josephine Shea (1958- ) is curator of the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Detroit, Michigan.
General:
Originally recorded as 4 minidiscs as 12 digital sound files. Duration is 5 hr., 29 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:
For information on how to access this interview contact Reference Services.
Topic:
Art -- Japan -- Kyoto  Search this
Textile artists -- Georgia -- Athens  Search this
Textile artists -- Japan -- Kyoto  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.kaufma08
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-kaufma08

Elizabeth Gordon Papers

Creator:
Gordon, Elizabeth, 1906-2000  Search this
Names:
Claiborne, Craig  Search this
Gordon, Elizabeth, 1906-2000  Search this
Leach, Bernard  Search this
Extent:
3 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Periodicals
Photographs
Correspondence
Personal papers
Place:
Japan
Date:
1958-1987
Summary:
Papers, 1959-1987, of Elizabeth Gordon, editor of the periodical, House Beautiful from 1941-1964, mostly related to her research for the August and September 1960 issues of House Beautiful regarding the Japanese aesthetic concept of "shibui", and the subsequent travelling "shibui exhibition" from 1961-1964. Included are correspondence, some photocopies, 1959-1963; notes; drafts for articles and lectures; printed material including magazine and newspaper clippings, 1959-1987; 2 books, and exhibition announcements; drawings of paper and foil art; a photo album containing photos of exhibition installations; and photographs, slides, color transparencies, and lantern slides depicting people, sites, and objects reflecting the "shibui" aesthetic.
Scope and Contents:
The Elizabeth Gordon Papers measure 4.5 linear feet and span the years 1959-1987. The collection mainly documents Ms. Gordon's research for the August and September 1960 issues of House Beautiful regarding the Japanese aesthetic concept of "shibui", and the subsequent travelling "shibui exhibition" from 1961-1964. Included are correspondence, some photocopies, 1959-1963; research notes and materials; articles; lectures; printed material including magazine and newspaper clippings, 1959-1987; 2 books, and exhibition announcements; article materials; a photo album containing photos of exhibition installations; and photographs, slides, color transparencies, and lantern slides depicting people, sites, and objects reflecting the "shibui" aesthetic.
Arrangement note:
This collection is organized into eight series. 1. Biographical data, 2. Shibui research, 3. Shibui issues of, House Beautiful, 4. Correspondence, 5. Shibui promotion, 6. Exhibition files, 7. Printed materials, and 8. Photographs.
Biographical Information:
Born in Logansport, Indiana in 1906, Elizabeth Gordon served as editor of House Beautiful magazine 1941 to 1964. Ms. Gordon first became interested in Japanese aesthetics during the mid-1950s. As a result she began to read and study Japanese art, history and culture. In 1959, Gordon travelled to Japan with three staff people from, House Beautiful. In Kyoto she met Eiko Yuasa, a young woman then employed by the City of Kyoto to handle foreign V.I.P.s, who was assigned to assist Gordon during her stay there. It was Ms. Yuasa who, in the course of discussions of Japanese aesthetics, introduced the term "shibui." Around that term and its related concepts ("iki", "jimi", "hade") the theme for the issue began to crystallize. In August and September, 1960, House Beautiful, under the editorial control of Ms. Gordon, published two extremely popular issues devoted to the subject of "shibui". Due to the popularity of the issues, museum exhibits devoted to the concept of "shibui" travelled around the United States. Ms. Gordon died in Adamstown, Maryland in 2000.

Biographical Overview

1906 -- Born in Logansport, Indiana

1920s -- Attended the University of Chicago

1930s -- Moved to New York to work as a promotional copywriter for several newspapers

1930s -- Syndicated columnist on home maintenance for The New York Herald Tribune

1930s -- Editor at Good Housekeeping (here for 8 years)

1937 -- More House for your Money by Elizabeth Gordon and Dorothy Ducas published by W. Morrow and Company: New York.

1937 -- Married Carl Hafey Norcross

1939 -- Appointed editor of House Beautiful

1964 -- Left the magazine world

1972 -- Published a special issue on Scandinavian design and awarded the insignia of a knight, first class, in the Finnish Order of the Lion

1987 -- American Institute of Architects made her an honorary member

1988 -- Carl Hafey Norcross died

September 3, 2000 -- Died in Adamstown, MD

(The following biography of Elizabeth Gordon comes courtesy of curator Louise Cort. Written in consultation with Elizabeth Gordon, October 23, 1987)

The research papers, memoranda, magazines, books, photographs and color transparencies and other materials in this archives are related to the publication by Elizabeth Gordon (Mrs. Carl Norcross), editor of House Beautiful from 1941 to 1964 and creator of the August, 1960 issue of the magazine on the special theme of the Japanese aesthetic concept of "shibui". The "shibui issue" was followed by the September, 1960, issue of the same publication on the theme, "How to be shibui with American things." As a by-product of the issues, a "Shibui Exhibition" travelled to eleven museums in the United States during 1961-1964. Each exhibition was opened with a slide lecture by Elizabeth Gordon.

Miss Gordon first became curious about Japanese aesthetics in the mid-1950s when she began to see Japanese objects being displayed and used in the homes of Americans who had spent time in Japan during the Occupation and Japanese influence began to appear in wholesale showrooms of home furnishings manufacturers. It was clear that the time had come: she HAD to go to Japan!

She read for five years before going to Japan - history, social mores, art history. (Many of the books on Japan that she collected during this time have been presented to the library at the University of Maryland, College Park.)

An important bit of advice came from Alice Spaulding Bowen, owner of Pacifica, the highest quality shop of Asian antiquities in Honolulu, who told her, "Be sure to read, The Tale of Genji - then you'll understand everything."

She made her first trip to Japan in April, 1959, accompanied by three staff people from, House Beautiful. In Kyoto she met Eiko Yuasa, a young woman then employed by the City of Kyoto to handle foreign V.I.P.s, who was assigned to assist Miss Gordon during her stay there. It was Ms. Yuasa who, in the course of discussions of Japanese aesthetics, introduced the term "shibui." Around that term and its related concepts ("iki", "jimi", "hade") the theme for the issue began to crystallize.

Miss Gordon came home, planning to spend the summer researching "shibui" with the aid of the Japan Society. But she found virtually nothing written in English on the concept. So she returned to Japan in December, 1959 together with staff member Marion Gough, to dig deeper and to work out details and get better educated with Eiko Yuasa. One of their devices was to walk through department stores and discuss with sales personnel whether objects for sale were "shibui", or were "jimi" or "hade", and why. Between themselves, they did the same for the costumes of women they saw on the streets.

Lacking printed sources for information on "shibui", Miss Gordon sought out and interviewed experts, including Douglas Overton, head of the Japan Society in New York. In Japan in December, 1959, she met Yanagi Soetsu, founder of Japan's Folk Craft Movement and head of the Craft Museum in Tokyo (with an introduction from Tonomura Kichinosuke, head of the Craft Museum in Kurashiki). She met the chef Tsuji Kaichi, who was commissioned to write an article on "kaiseki" (that could not be used because of an inadequate English translation) and Frances Blakemore. She met several times with Bernard Leach and attended his lecture at Bonnier's while he was in New York in March, 1960. (He would later write a "fan letter" for the issue)

As the concept of "the shibui issue" began to take shape, a third trip in the spring of 1960 focused on photography - to produce the shooting script decided on the preceding December. This was executed by the noted photographer Ezra Stoller of Rye, New York, and John DeKoven Hill, House Beautiful's Editorial Director. (Mr. Hill worked with Frank Lloyd Wright except for the ten years that he was a member of the House Beautiful editorial staff)

Miss Gordon was back in Japan in Mid-August 1960 as the "shibui issue" was causing a sensation. Altogether she spent sixteen months in Japan.

As one of the experiences that influenced her strong interest in Japanese costumes and textiles, Miss Gordon remembers a spectacularly thorough exhibition at the Tokyo National Museum in Ueno on, 1200 Years of Japanese Costume. She saw it on the last day of its exhibition (possibly 1964).

The August 1960 issue sold out quickly. Copies of the magazine, which sold for fifty cents, were sold on the "black market" for ten dollars.

The publication of the August 1960 issue was followed by an unprecedented avalanche of "fan mail". Many department heads in colleges and universities, including the Harvard-Yenching Institute and the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (where Miss Gordon had worked as an undergraduate) wrote to comment on the issue. Many people in other fields of endeavor wrote: heads of firms concerned with interior design, landscape architecture, and related areas expressed their interest in the concept of "shibui" Other writers include Bernard Leach, Gertrude Natzler, Laura Gilpin, Mainbocher, the architect Yoshimura Junzo, the textile artist Marianne Strengell, Walter Kerr, Craig Claiborne, and Oliver Statler.

The "shibui issue" was followed immediately by the September issue dealing with the use of non-Japanese objects to express the concept of "shibui." (Miss Gordon convinced her advertisers, who had been skeptical about the potential success of the August issue, by promising the September issue dealing with American products.) Four American firms were involved in the production of an integrated line of paints, wallpaper, furniture and carpets expressive of the concept. Products were designed by the firms' designers following the clues offered by objects and fabrics purchased by Miss Gordon in Japan in December 1959 and spring 1960. Miss Gordon has expressed her dissatisfaction with the September issue, although public opinion was positive. She feels that some of the firms failed in the "shibui" project, though some "caught" the message: namely the paint company and the fabric/wallpaper company.

In response to strong public interest, the House Beautiful staff prepared a travelling exhibition to introduce the concept of "shibui" through a series of vignettes, mixing fabrics and objects, colors and textures. The museum installation was designed by John Hill of House Beautiful. Japan Air Lines underwrote shipping costs.

The exhibition began in Philadelphia in late 1961. Ezra Stoller was sent to photograph the installation in considerable detail at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts in January, 1962, so that his photographs cold serve as guidelines for installations at the other museums, which included the San Francisco Museum of Art (April 1962), the Newark Pubic Library, and the Honolulu Academy of Art. Miss Gordon presented a lecture on "shibui" at each of the museum installations.

In appreciation of her work to introduce Americans to the concept of "shibui", the city of Kyoto presented a bolt of especially "shibui" kimono fabric executed by a Living National Treasure textile artist. Miss Gordon eventually tailored the fabric into a dress and jacket. She received the 1961 Trail Blazer Award from the New York Chapter of the National Home Fashions League, Inc. In June, 1987, Miss Gordon was named an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects, with her introduction of the concept of "shibui" and her promotion of an understanding of other culture cited as her major contributions to American architecture.
Provenance:
Elizabeth Gordon donated her papers to the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives in 1988.
Elizabeth Gordon donated her papers to the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives in 1988.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
No restrictions on use.
Topic:
Interior decoration -- Periodicals  Search this
Landscape gardening  Search this
Art, Japanese  Search this
Aesthetics, Japanese  Search this
House funishings  Search this
Interior decoration  Search this
Museum exhibits  Search this
Interior decorators  Search this
Gardens -- Japan  Search this
Genre/Form:
Periodicals -- 1940-1970
Photographs
Correspondence
Personal papers -- 1950-2000
Citation:
The Elizabeth Gordon Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Elizabeth Gordon, 1988
Identifier:
FSA.A1988.03
See more items in:
Elizabeth Gordon Papers
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-fsa-a1988-03
Online Media:

Glen Kaufman papers

Creator:
Kaufman, Glen  Search this
Extent:
4.9 Linear feet
0.124 Gigabytes
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Travel diaries
Sketchbooks
Date:
1957-2011
Summary:
The papers of fiber artist and educator Glen Kaufman measure 4.9 linear feet and 0.124 GB and date from 1957-2011. The papers primarily document his travels and student work through biographical material, journals, printed materials, digital photographs and artwork. Included are 15 travel journals, two handwoven knotted pile rug samples, and two sketchbooks. An unprocessed addition of 3.8 linear feet donated in 2015 includes biographical material, professional correspondence, teaching files, photographs of Kaufman and works of art, works of art including sketches and weaving samples, and printed material.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of fiber artist and educator Glen Kaufman measure 4.9 linear feet and 0.124 GB and date from 1957-2011. The papers primarily document his travels and student work through biographical material, journals, printed materials, digital photographs and artwork. Included are 15 travel journals, two handwoven knotted pile rug samples, and two sketchbooks. An unprocessed addition of 3.8 linear feet donated in 2015 includes biographical material, professional correspondence, teaching files, photographs of Kaufman and works of art, works of art including sketches and weaving samples, and printed material.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 4 series.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1957-2011 (5 folders; Box 1, 0.124 GB; ER01)

Series 2: Travel Journals, 1987-1993 (0.4 linear feet; Boxes 1-2)

Series 3: Printed Material, 1976-2011 (5 folders; Box 2)

Series 4: Artwork, 1958-circa 1974 (0.4 linear feet; Boxes 2-3)

Series 5: Unprocessed Addition, circa 1957-2011 (3.8 linear feet; Boxes 4-9)
Biographical / Historical:
Glen Kaufman (1932- ) is a textile artist who lives and works in Athens, Georgia and Kyoto, Japan. He was also a Professor of Art at the University of Georgia, Athens from 1967-2008.

After graduating with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Kaufman went on to attend the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan and to obtain his MFA in 1959. The following year he attended the State School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen, Denmark on a Fulbright Grant.

In 1967 he began teaching fiber arts at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia where he continued teaching until 2008. In 1979 he traveled extensively throughout Asia and became enamored with Japan and their fiber arts traditions. By 1985 he was spending six months every year in Japan where he continued to work and show his art. His work from this time was heavily influenced by Japanese motifs such as the grid, which was predominately featured in his pieces. He continues to produce fiber art and display his work today in places such as the Lyndon House Arts Center in Athens, Georgia where he recently held an exhibition entitled "Kaunakes: Ghosts of Mesopotamia" in 2011.
Provenance:
The collection was donated by Glen Kaufman in 2012 and 2015.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Glen Kaufman papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Fiber artists -- Japan  Search this
Fiber artists -- Georgia  Search this
Genre/Form:
Travel diaries
Sketchbooks
Citation:
Glen Kaufman papers, 1957-2011. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.kaufglen
See more items in:
Glen Kaufman papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-kaufglen

Oral history interview with Glen Kaufman, 2008 January 22-February 23

Interviewee:
Kaufman, Glen, 1932-  Search this
Interviewer:
Shea, Josephine, 1958-  Search this
Subject:
Allrich, Louise  Search this
Constantine, Mildred  Search this
Cook, Camille J.  Search this
Grotell, Maija  Search this
Johnston, Meda Parker  Search this
Lambert, Ed  Search this
Larsen, Jack Lenor  Search this
Liebes, Dorothy  Search this
McCutchen, Earl  Search this
Page, Charlene  Search this
Rossbach, Ed  Search this
Strengell, Marianne  Search this
Thompson, Bill  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Cranbrook Academy of Art  Search this
Reserve Officers Training Corps  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Place:
Denmark -- description and travel
Europe -- description and travel
Illinois -- Chicago -- Description and travel
India -- description and travel
Japan -- Description and Travel
Ohio -- Description and travel
Topic:
Art -- Japan -- Kyoto  Search this
Textile artists -- Georgia -- Athens  Search this
Textile artists -- Japan -- Kyoto  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)16155
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)366203
AAA_collcode_kaufma08
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_366203
Online Media:

Glen Kaufman papers, 1957-2011

Creator:
Kaufman, Glen, 1932-  Search this
Type:
Travel diaries
Sketchbooks
Topic:
Fiber artists -- Japan  Search this
Fiber artists -- Georgia  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)16104
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)361915
AAA_collcode_kaufglen
Theme:
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_361915
Online Media:

色を奏でる

Author:
Shimura, Fukumi 1924-  Search this
Photographer:
Inoue, Takao 1940-  Search this
Translator:
Treyvaud, Matt  Search this
Author:
Container of (work): Shimura, Fukumi 1924- Essays Selections  Search this
Container of (work): Shimura, Fukumi 1924- Lives of plants  Search this
Subject:
Shimura, Fukumi 1924-  Search this
Physical description:
141 pages, 16 unnumbered leaves of plates : color illustrations ; 22 cm
Type:
Pictorial works
Essays
Place:
Japan
Date:
2019
Topic:
Textile designers  Search this
Textile artists  Search this
Textile crafts  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1106827

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