Set designer, Director, Dealer
Active in New York, N.Y.
Size: Transcript: 31 pages
Format: Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformated in 2010 as 1 digital wav file. Duration is 1 hrs., 6 min.
Collection Summary: An interview of Charles Alan conducted 1973 February 17, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art. Alan reminisces about his sister, Aline Saarinen. He touches upon her educational background; her work for "Art News" magazine and the "New York Times"; and research for her book, "The Proud Possessors," and an unpublished biography of Stanford White. He discusses Saarinen's television career with NBC News; and her relationships with Edgar Kaufman, Jr., Joseph Louchheim, John McAndrew, Elizabeth Shaw, Frank Stanton and others. Alan also comments on Eero Saarinen's personality, architectural projects, and work methods.
Biographical/Historical Note: Charles Alan (1908?-1975) was an art dealer from New York, New York. Attended Horace Mann School, graduating in 1924, and Yale School of Drama in 1925. Worked as a set designer for MGM and Warner Brothers. In 1930, became a theatrical set designer and director. After serving in the Army in World War II, he worked for Edith Halpert at the Downtown Gallery. In 1952, he opened the Charles Alan Gallery, specializing in contemporary art. Alan closed the gallery in 1970 to become a private dealer.
This interview is part of the Archives' 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.