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Found 19 Resources

Schindler's draftsmen

Archives of American Art
1 photographic print : b&w ; 21 x 26 cm.

Identification on verso (handwritten): Sullivan [L], Ester McCoy, Edward Lund, Vick Sautordu, Rodney Walker.

Oral History interview with Jim Nutt, 1979

Archives of American Art
Transcript 194 p.

An interview of Jim Nutt conducted 1979, by I. Michael Ranoff, for the Archives of American Art.

Oral history interview with Barbara Swan, 1973 June 13-1974 June 12

Archives of American Art
Transcript: 88 pages.

An interview of Barbara Swan conducted 1973 June 13-1974 June 12, by Robert Brown, for the Archives of American Art.

Oral history interview with John Wilde, 1979

Archives of American Art
Transcript: 95 pages

Transcript: 62 pages

An interview of John Wilde conducted 1979, by Michael Danoff, for the Archives of American Art.

Oral history interview with Charles R. Strong, 1998 March 14-30

Archives of American Art
Transcript: 58 pages.

An interview of Charles Strong conducted 1998 March 14 and 30, by Paul Karlstrom, for the Archives of American Art, in Karlstrom's home, San Francisco, California.

Strong discusses his background and early years growing up in Greeley, Colorado; his interest in California and abstract expressionism leading him to enroll at San Francisco Art Institute; his experience at SFAI, including teachers, students, and the independence to develop his own direction; New York vs. San Francisco styles and the myth of west coast abstraction imitating New York; his reasons for staying in California; main influences in his art; his admiration for the Old Master artists; the resolution of the conflict between control and intuition on his own work; the differences between northern and southern California abstraction, and the central role of Bay Area abstraction in the west; and his early work. The interview concludes with Strong's accounts of his approach and goals, his imagery, and his ongoing desires to get at what he sees as the "essence" of Abstract Expressionism.

Oral history interview with Federico Castellon, 1971 April 7-14

Archives of American Art
Transcript: 104 pages

An interview of Federico Castellon conducted 1971 April 7-14, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art. Castellon speaks of his childhood; his early interest in art; contact with Diego Rivera and the Weyhe Gallery in 1933; studying in Madrid and Paris; his involvement with the Spanish military; teaching at Columbia; traveling in Italy and in the Southwestern U.S.; making his first prints; his involvement with the Associated American Artists Gallery; printmaking methods and techniques; his publications; subject matter and surrealism in his work; his working routine; one-man exhibitions; collecting prints; other printmakers; aesthetics. He recalls Diego Rivera, Carl Zigrosser, Elizabeth Ames, Reeves Lowenthal, Sylvan Cole, Terry Dintenfass, Lawrence Fleischman, the Weyhe Gallery, and the Associated American Artists Gallery.

Oral history interview with Robert Motherwell, 1971 Nov. 24-1974 May 1

Archives of American Art
Transcript: 110 p.

Interview of Robert Motherwell, conducted by Paul Cummings for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, at the artist's home in Greenwich, Connecticut November 24, 1971 - May 1, 1974.

Motherwell speaks of his relationship with his parents; attending prep school; studying philosophy at Stanford University and Harvard University; his theory of automatism; European and American painters in post-war New York; teaching at Black Mountain College; teaching at Hunter College; his retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art and other exhibitions; his collages with Gauloise cigarette packages; the photograph The Irascibles; his membership in American Abstract Artists; his marriage to Helen Frankenthaler; his use of color and light in his paintings; spending summers in Provincetown, MA; beginning printmaking; playing poker; working with the art dealers Kootz, Janis, and Frank Lloyd of Marlborough; his series Elegy for the Spanish Civil War, Je t'aime, Beside the Sea, Open, and Lyric Suite. Motherwell also recalls Peggy Guggenheim, Marcel Duchamp, Meyer Shapiro, Betty Parsons, Sam Kootz, Frank O'Hara, Clement Greenberg, Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, Ad Reinhardt, Richard Lippold, Tanya Grosman, and others.

Oral history interview with Charles Henry Alston, 1968 October 19

Archives of American Art
Transcript: 25 pages

An interview of Charles Henry Alston conducted 1968 October 19, by Al Murray, for the Archives of American Art.

Alston speaks of his family background, early interest in art, and education at Columbia University; the social and cultural scene in Harlem in the late 1920s, and the street life there; coming into contact with some of the most important figures of the Harlem Renaissance; the differing problems faced by black and white artists; teaching; commercial art; figurative and abstract art. He recalls Romare Bearden and Robert Blackburn.

Oral history interview with Charles Burchfield, 1959 August 19

Archives of American Art
Transcript: 54 pages

Audio excerpt: 1 sound file (4 min. 24 sec.) : digital

An interview of Charles Burchfield conducted 1959 August 19, by John D. Morse, for the Archives of American Art.

Burchfield speaks of his studio on Clinton Street; his early training under Henry George Keller; copying the paintings of Charles Dana Gibson; working as a wallpaper designer for H.M. Birge and Co., in Buffalo, New York; his different styles; his watercolor technique; restoration and preservation of his watercolors; his paintings, including Black Iron, Crabbed Old Age, End of the Day, The House of Mystery, The Song of the Katidids, Winter, and others; his writings; his reading tastes and interest in music; European abstract artists; critics; and teaching. Also included is a footnote by Morse describing his day with Burchfield.

Oral history interview with Eugenie Gershoy, 1964 Oct. 15

Archives of American Art
Sound recordings: 1 sound tape reel ; 5 in.

Transcript: 29 p.

An interview of Eugenie Gershoy conducted 1964 Oct. 15, by Mary McChesney, for the Archives of American Art's New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project.

Gershoy speaks of her background and education; studying under John Flannagan at the Art Students League; working for the WPA Federal Art Project in New York City; sculptors she associated with; her involvement in protest demonstrations; her feelings about government support for the arts; and her post-FAP career.

Oral history interview with Charles Henry Alston, 1965 September 28

Archives of American Art
Transcript: 39 pages

An interview of Charles Alston conducted 1965 September 28, by Harlan Phillips, for the Archives of American Art's New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project.

Alston speaks of his work as an art director of a community camp and as director of a boys' club in Harlem; the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) and his involvement; the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) and his involvement in it; his membership in the Harlem Artists Guild; his contribution to WPA Federal Art Project murals at Harlem Hospital; mural versus easel painting; problems with the Artists Union; and camaraderie among FAP artists. He recalls Lou Block, Stuart Davis, Burgoyne Diller, Edith Halpert, Jacob Lawrence, Ernest Pachano, Aaron Ben Schmoo, and others, and describes his associations with musicians including Billie Holliday, Duke Ellington and Chick Webb.

Oral history interview with Jackie Ferrara, 2009 January 16-February 13

Archives of American Art
Sound recording: 3 sound files (5 hr., 12 min.) : digital, WMA files

Transcript 115 pages

An interview of Jackie Ferrara conducted 2009 January 16-February 13, by Avis Berman, for the Archives of American Art's U.S. General Services Administration, Design Excellence and the Arts oral history project, at the Ferrara's home, in New York, New York.

Ferrara speaks of growing up in Detroit, Michigan; her early interest in mathematics and its ever present role in her work; attending Michigan State University for one year; taking fashion drawing classes at Wayne State University and her supposed lack of drawing skills; an early interest in pottery and leather making; moving to New York City in 1951 on a night train from Detroit; working at the Henry Street Playhouse and its influential role on her art; her relationship with Robert Beauchamp and her friendship with many artists in Provincetown, Massachusetts; early works, including the cotton batting works and the rope works, most of which were destroyed; her dislike of traveling and her use of imagination for inspiration; participating in the performances and happenings of Claes Oldenburg; her friendship with Robert Smithson and his influence on her later works; working with Max Protetch; never teaching art because she herself did not attend art school; her creation process of her wood and stone pieces, including their conception in early drawings; having a positive attitude towards her pieces being rebuilt because of decay; quickly moving into public art in the late 1970s, early 1980s; living and working in the same loft in New York for over 40 years; the helpful role the women's movement played in her successful career though she did not participate; receiving art grants to enable her to work for a year or two without having to find an odd job to support herself; various public art projects around the country, how they came to be, creating the works and their significance to her. Ferrara also recalls Charlotte Tokayer, Don Ferrara, Alvin Nikolai, Richard Bellamy, Mary and Paul Frank, Miles and Barbara Forst, Sally Gross, Hans Hofmann, Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler, Nat Halprin, Lucas Samara, Letty Lou Eisenhauer, James Rosenquist, Marcia Marcus, Charles Addams, Eva Hesse, Frank Gallo, Tony DeLap, Dorothea Rockburne, Time Doyle, Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd, Carl Andre, Nancy Graves, Marty Greenbaum, Abe Sachs, Mel Bochner, Jan Groover, Alice Aycock, Alice Adams, Jackie Windsor, Scott Burton, Siah Armajani, Michelle Stuart, Lucy Lippard, Zaha Hadid, Max Hutcinson, Andrea Blum, and others.

Group of 3 Crayon Holders

National Museum of American History
An octagonal brass tube with a round handle has a slide that extends its length to 8-5/8". The handle unscrews and can be removed to function as 4-3/8" brass and steel dividers. The other end has an unnumbered one-inch scale divided to twelfths. The other two tubes are made of steel and have rings or sleeves that slide up and down to move the crayon and allow the user to grasp the crayon. The 6-1/4" crayon holder is not marked. The 5-1/16" crayon holder has a four-inch scale divided to 1/4" and numbered by ones from 1 to 4. Its top is engraved with a drawing of a bearded man. The dates of objects purchased with these writing instruments suggest they were made in the 18th century. Holders for wax crayons, chalk, or charcoal sticks were known in Europe by the 17th century and widespread by the 18th century. They were employed by artists and draftsmen. References: Maya Hambly, Drawing Instruments, 1580–1980 (London: Sotheby's Publications, 1988), 65–66; Jacob Simon, "The Artist's Porte-Crayon," National Portrait Gallery, London, http://www.npg.org.uk/research/programmes/artists-their-materials-and-suppliers/the-artists-porte-crayon.php.

Oliver Hardy

National Portrait Gallery
The skilled draftsmen of Walt Disney's studio in the 1930s studied art history and the physics of movement. Joe Grant, a "story man" at the studio, invented characters for the cartoons and drew carefully posed images for animation teams to imitate. His exquisitely rendered image of Oliver Hardy atop a look-alike pony was one of four model drawings for "Mickey's Polo Team," a Disney cartoon inspired by Hollywood's passion for the sport. Part of a popular comedy team with Stan Laurel, Hardy had graceful, genteel mannerisms, despite his bulk. Here, his artfully extended little fingers are mimicked by the dainty movement of his pony's feet. Grant developed both rotund creatures with clearly visible circular forms. Rounded shapes not only suited the subject, they were faster to draw and created a smoother flow of movement when animated.

The Children

Smithsonian American Art Museum
Two figures stare out a narrow window. The young girl cradles a large doll in her arms, protecting the doll’s chest with her hand. The doll is missing a head, arms, and feet. The larger, second figure is possibly an older brother, or perhaps her mother. The cramped space of this composition, made even more confined by the two horizontal planks across the window frame, creates a feeling of tension and claustrophobia. This powerful drawing distills the anxieties that many African Americans felt in pre-civil rights days.

Graphic Masters II: Highlights from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2009

History of the Indian Tribes of North America, vol. II

National Portrait Gallery
In the early 1820s Thomas L. McKenney (1785–1859) launched a massive project to preserve a record of Native Americans, resulting in the three-volume, folio-sized History of the Indian Tribes of North America. He commissioned artist Charles Bird King to paint tribal representatives visiting Washington, secured James Hall as an author, and hired Philadelphia lithographers to make the 120 hand-colored portraits. Because of the complexity of the project and insufficient financing, the principals went through multiple draftsmen, lithography companies, and publishers. James Hall (1793–1868) finally brought the project to completion early in 1844 with the fifth publisher. Although the text reflects racist prejudices of the day, the publication is a monumental achievement in portraiture.

Historia de las tribus indígenas de Norteamérica, vol. II, por Thomas L. McKenney y James Hall

A principios de la década de 1820, Thomas L. McKenney (1785–1859) inició un proyecto de gran escala para elaborar un registro de indígenas norteamericanos, el cual culminó en una publicación de tres volúmenes tamaño folio: Historia de las tribus indígenas de Norteamérica. McKenney encargó al artista Charles Bird King pintar a los representantes de las tribus que visitaran Washington, consiguió que James Hall escribiera los textos y contrató a varios litógrafos de Filadelfia para que reprodujeran los 120 retratos y los colorearan a mano. Dada la complejidad del proyecto y la falta de fondos, los dirigentes fueron pasando por diversos diseñadores, empresas de litografía y editoriales. James Hall (1793–1868) por fin llevó el proyecto a su término con la quinta editorial, a principios de 1844. Si bien el texto refleja los prejuicios racistas de su época, la publicación es un logro monumental en lo que al arte del retrato se refiere.

Publicado por Daniel Rice y James G. Clark, 1842

Galería Nacional de Retratos, Instituto Smithsonian, donación de Betty A. y Lloyd G. Schermer

Kidjel Ratio Cali-Pro Proportional Dividers

National Museum of American History
This metal instrument has two long arms and two short arms, all colored gold and arranged as in a pantograph. Needle points are bolted to both ends of the long arms. The arms are fixed at a desired distance with a thumbscrew on a central rod. Unlike a pantograph or standard proportional dividers, the instrument is not marked so that it may be set for a variety of proportional relationships and thus be used to create scale drawings at a variety of sizes. Instead, the inventor, Honolulu portrait artist Maurice Kidjel (1888–1976), designed the instrument so that it always preserved a ratio of 5.333 : 1. To create drawings in this "universal ratio," the user set the long needles at the width of the large part of the drawing and then turned the dividers over to use the short needles to make a small part of the drawing in proportion to the large part of the drawing. A large white cardboard box is marked in maroon on the top and both ends: THE KIDJEL RATIO (/) CALI-PRO. According to a mark on the bottom, the box was manufactured by Christian & Co., Inc., of North Hollywood, Calif. Cardboard and yellow foam inside the box provided support and cushioning to the dividers and related documentation. Kidjel and his business partner, Kenneth W. K. Young, began selling this device for $25.00 around 1960. According to the advertising flyer received with the object (MA.304213.04), the dividers were used only to lay out designs in the "universal ratio." However, Kidjel also believed that this ratio was the key to solving the three classic construction problems of Greek antiquity. His solutions, constructed with a compass and straight edge, appeared in the textbook distributed with the Cali-Pro (MA.304213.03). His work depended on a false definition of pi and thus is not mathematically valid. Nonetheless, Daniel Inouye read a tribute to Kidjel's ratio system into the U.S. Congressional Record on June 3, 1960. Although Kidjel's foray into mathematical proof was not successful, the dividers were relatively popular with draftsmen in the 1960s and 1970s. Kidjel was also widely respected as an artist, and his artwork was exhibited at the Smithsonian in June 1947. References: Maurice Kidjel, The Two Hours that Shook the Mathematical World (Hawaii Art Publishing Co., 1958); Maurice Kidjel and Kenneth W. K. Young, Challenging and Solving the "3 Impossibles" (Honolulu: Kidjel-Young Associates, [1961]); Advertisement for Kidjel Cali-Pro, Art Education 15, no. 4 (1962): 2; Maurice Kidjel, "Proportional Calipers" (U.S. Patent 3,226,835 issued January 4, 1966; UK Patent 1,039,636 issued August 17, 1966); Martin Gardner, "Mathematical Games," Scientific American 214 (June 1966): 116–122.

Uncle Tom Saving Eva

National Museum of American History
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe was published in 1852, quickly becoming the nation’s bestselling book. It features a spirited, religious-minded slave named Tom, who is sold downriver by his financially-strapped owner in Kentucky to a plantation in Louisiana. There, his Christian beliefs spread hope to his fellow slaves and enable him to endure the harsh beatings of his cruel master. He is ultimately whipped to death after refusing to reveal the location of two runaway slaves. Published after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, the novel targeted Northern audiences, arguing against the injustice of slavery and spurring the abolition movement into action. Although the bestselling novel of the 19th century, many American were exposed to Uncle Tom’s Cabin through play adaptations known as Tom shows. The immense popularity of both the novel and plays transformed Uncle Tom into a cultural phenomenon in America and Europe, and manufacturers quickly capitalized on the production of “Tomitudes,” everyday commodities that referenced scenes and characters from the novel. These included card games, jigsaw puzzles, chinaware, jars and vases, snuffboxes, ceramic figurines, and decorative prints. Although some of these Tomitudes employed racial stereotypes and the imagery of blackface minstrelsy, most chose to depict the enslaved characters of Beecher’s novel in a sympathetic light, often carrying an anti-slavery message.

The most popular depictions of Uncle Tom were those in which he was accompanied by the young white girl, Eva St. Clare. Representations of their companionship conveyed a message of racial bonding and celebrated the characters’ shared Christian faith. This colored print around 1853 depicts a scene from Chapter 14 of the novel, in which Tom rescues Eva after she has fallen from the deck of a riverboat into the waters of the Mississippi. The artist has chosen to focus on Tom’s strength and ability, sacrificing the realism of other figures. Eva, held tightly in Tom’s grasp, appears doll-like, and one of the men standing on the boat has been drawn awkwardly miniscule to create an illusion of depth. Tom grasps a rope that has been lowered by a man aboard the riverboat. In return for saving his daughter, Eva’s father purchases Tom and the slave moves in with the St. Clare family in their New Orleans home. There, he begins driving the family’s coach, but he quickly earns their confidence, eventually managing their finances.

Thomas W. Strong was a New York-based printer and wood engraver who began his career around 1840. His shop specialized in comic literature and he employed many talented cartoonists and draftsmen who would go on to work for Harper’s Weekly and Vanity Fair. This print was the third in a series by Strong of scenes from Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Fuller's Spiral Cylindrical Slide Rule

National Museum of American History
This rule consists of an outer wooden cylinder that slides up and down and rotates. Two brass rings lined with felt are inside this cylinder. The cylinder is covered with paper marked with a single spiral logarithmic scale graduated into 7250 parts and having a length, according to the maker, of 500 inches (nearly 42 feet). Inside the outer cylinder is a longer wooden cylinder, covered with paper marked with decimal, conversion, and sine tables. A solid mahogany handle is at one end. A third cylinder of brass is inside the instrument. A brass index is screwed to the top of the handle. A second, longer brass index is screwed to the mahogany base and marked with a scale of equal parts used in finding logarithms. The tables on the middle cylinder include: decimal equivalents of feet and inches in feet; decimal equivalents of quarter weights and pounds in hundredweights; decimal equivalents of ounces and pounds in fractions of a pound; decimal equivalents of pounds, shillings, and pence in fractions of a pound; decimal equivalents of pence in shillings; days of the year as a fraction of the year; decimal equivalents of subunits of an acre; properties of various metals and woods; decimal equivalents of minutes of a degree in degrees; the Birmingham wire gauge; various conversion factors (mostly for weights and measures); and natural sines. The outer, sliding cylinder is marked near the top: FULLERS SPIRAL SLIDE RULE. Near the bottom is marked: ENTD. STATS. HALL; STANLEY, Maker, LONDON. The bottom is stamped: 1099. The top of the long brass index is engraved: 1099 (/) 98. According to Wayne Feely, these numbers indicate the instrument has serial number 1099 and was made in 1898. The rule is in a rectangular mahogany case marked in script on the top: Calculator. A blue sticker attached to the inside lid of the case reads: DRAWING MATERIAL (/) FRED. A. SCHMIDT. WASHINGTON D.C. (/) 516 (/) 9TH ST. (/) BRANCH (/) 1722 (/) PA. AVE. (/) TRADE MARK (beneath a drawing of intertwined dividers, right-angled ruler, and French curve). The inside of the lid is also stamped: MADE IN GREAT BRITAIN. A yellow rectangular label is printed: To H.M. Government Science & Art Depnt. Council of India, Admiralty, &c. (/) MADE BY (/) W. F. STANLEY, (/) Optical, Philosophical & Mathematical (/) INSTRUMENT MANUFACTURER, (/) ENGINE DIVIDER, &c. (/) MATHEMATICAL DEPARTMENT, GREAT TURNSTILE, HOLBORN, W.C. George Fuller, professor of civil engineering at Queen's University in Belfast, Ireland, patented this instrument in 1878. The Stanley firm made about 14,000 Fuller's spiral slide rules over nearly one hundred years. According to Boyd's Directory of the District of Columbia, Fred A. Schmidt, vendor of draftsmen's supplies, moved from 504 9th Street N.W. to 516 9th Street, with a branch at 1722 Pennsylvania Avenue, between 1895 and 1900. According to the donor, this example came from the family of her first husband, Fred Robert Troll (1920–1971), a sanitary engineer who attended Columbia University. The original purchaser may have been his father, Frank Troll, or his uncle, who was an artist who traveled frequently. See also MA.311958, MA.316575, and MA.313751. References: William Ford Stanley, Mathematical Drawing and Measuring Instruments, 6th ed. (London: E. & F. N. Spon, 1888), 248–249; W. F. Stanley, Surveying and Leveling Instruments, 3rd ed. (London, 1901), 542–543; Wayne E. Feely, "The Fuller Spiral Scale Slide Rule," Chronicle of the Early American Industries Association 50, no. 3 (1997): 93–98.