Oral history interview with Mordi Gassner, 1982 Apr. 16
Sound recording: 3 sound files digital, wav file
Transcript: 24 pages
An interview with Mordi Gassner conducted 1982 Apr. 16, by Buck Pennington, for the Archives of American Art. Gassner speaks of growing up in Brooklyn, NY; attending Parsons Design School (then called New York School of Fine and Applied Art); opening a studio and designing signs for the Strand Theater; walking from El Paso, Texas to Phoenix to improve his eye condition; beginning work in Hollywood and working on set designs for Douglas Fairbanks and Cecille DeMille; moving back to New York to teach art in a Big Brother program; creating his mural, Mural Monument to Modern Culture; receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship and spending two years in Florence before returning to New York during the Depression; being invited to work back in Hollywood for Disney Studios and with Ernest Schoedsack only to have the films cancel production; his one-man show at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; his involvement with the Artists' Union and the American Artists' Congress; creating Op art during World War I, and later designing visual aids for the armed services during World War II; becoming the art director of ABC [American Broadcasting Corporation]; working later at the Metropolitan Opera as a scenic painter; moving to Drakes Branch, Virginia after his retirement.
Place of publication, production, or execution: United States
Citation: Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Mordi Gassner, 1982 Apr. 16. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Additional Forms: Transcript is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
Funding: Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Biography Note: Mordi Gassner (1899-1995) was a muralist, designer, educator of New York, N.Y. and Drake's Branch, Va.
Provenance: These interviews are 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 others.
Location Note: Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001