An interview with Paul H. Nitze conducted 1996 Apr. 30, by Liza Kirwin and Richard Wattenmaker, for the Archives of American Art's Oral History Program, at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of The Johns Hopkins University, in Washington, D.C.
Nitze mainly recalls his acquaintance with Alexander Calder and Isamu Noguchi. He discusses meeting Calder in Berlin, Germany at the opening of a Calder exhibition in 1929; how Calder moved to Nitze's Berlin pension and they "became pals" that first day; their plans to bicycle to Russia with other friends; sharing an apartment with Calder in New York City; a performance of the Circus there and how "everybody loved him"; and Calder's courtship and marriage to Louisa James. Nitze talks about meeting Noguchi through Sidney Spivak and how Noguchi made a bronze head of Nitze as re-payment for his support; and Noguchi's "instinct for making things acceptable to the modern art world." He also discusses his early desire to be an art dealer and pursuing that career in Paris until he realized that "the whole profession was a bunch of crooks"; his own art collection and how, at age 15, he bought two paintings by Austrian Hans Grüss, and later acquired works by Degas, Van Gogh, and Monet.
Biographical / Historical:
Paul H. Nitze (1907-2004) is a statesman, author, art patron, and collector from Washington, D.C.
Originally recorded on 1 sound cassette. Reformatted in 2010 as 1 digital wav file. Duration is 44 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.
This transcript is open for research. Access to the entire audio recording is restricted. Contact Reference Services for more information.
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Letter from Erle Loran, Berkeley, Calif., to "Mr. Wattenmaker," Toronto, thanking him for sending "the magnificent catalogue of your Puvis de Chavannes exhibition. I realize how much we have forgotten about Puvis and how far reaching his influence on modern french painting was." He mentions Puvis' influence on Seurat and Cézanne, and congratulates Wattenmaker on "a very important piece of scholarship."
Biographical / Historical:
Loran (1905-1999) was a painter, writer, teacher at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of "Cézanne's Compositions: Analysis of his Form, With Diagrams and Photographs of his Motifs" (1943-1963). In 1976, Richard J. Wattenmaker was Chief Curator, Art Gallery of Ontario, in Toronto, where he curated the exhibition "Puvis de Chavannes and the Modern Tradition," October 24-November 30, 1975.
Donated 2000 by Richard J. Wattenmaker.
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