Oral history interview with Gertrude Herdle Moore and Isabel Herdle, 1979 July 27

Moore, Gertrude Herdle , b. 1896 d. 1993
Arts administrator
Active in Rochester, N.Y

Size: Transcript: 55 p.

Format: Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformated in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 53 min.

Collection Summary: An interview of Gertrude Herdle Moore and Isabel Herdle conducted 1979 July 27, by Robert F. Brown.

Moore and Herdle discuss the development of the Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, N.Y. under their father, George Herdle; creation of the first national ceramic exhibition; ethnic art exhibitions in the 1920s; nurturing a balanced acquisition program; and the significance of arts and crafts from the Finger Lakes region of New York state.

Biographical/Historical Note: Gertrude Herdle Moore (1896-1993) and Isabel Herdle are daughters of George Herdle (1868-1922), first director of the Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, N.Y., 1913-1922.

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.

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.

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Interview Transcript

This transcript is in the public domain and may be used without permission. Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Gertrude Herdle Moore and Isabel Herdle, 1979 July 27, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Interview with Gertrude Herdle Moore and Isabel Herdle
Conducted by Robert F. Brown
At Rochester, NY
July 27, 1979

Preface

The following oral history transcript is the result of a tape-recorded interview with Gertrude Herdle Moore and Isabel Herdle on July 27, 1979. The interview took place in Rochester, NY, and was conducted by Robert F. Brown for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Lucy Harper and Marjorie B. Searl, both of the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, have reviewed the transcript and have made corrections and emendations. The reader should bear in mind that he or she is reading a transcript of spoken, rather than written, prose.  This is a rough transcription that may include typographical errors.

Interview

ROBERT F. BROWN: This is an interview with Mrs. Gertrude Herdle Moore and Isabel Herdle in the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, New York. This is July --

GERTRUDE HERDLE MOORE: Twenty-seventh.

MR. BROWN: Twenty-seventh, 1979. I'd like to begin by asking you, Mrs. Moore, about - your father was the director, the first director of the gallery, was he not?

MRS. MOORE: Yes. Yes, he was. And I entered the gallery and the work with him almost by accident. It was the - this was in 1918. And it had to do with the First World War. He had suddenly lost his secretary, who was administrating - to administer a program for feeding dry milk to Belgian babies.

MR. BROWN: Um-hm, um-hm.

MRS. MOORE: And was called very suddenly to the foreign service. And the gallery and he were without a secretary. I had just graduated - in fact, I had not yet graduated from the university in 1918, and was called into service immediately to be his secretary. And it was always intended that I was to go for further graduate work. But we could never find a point at which it was offered in any professional way. This antedated the important courses that later were developed at the Newark Museum and at Princeton.

MR. BROWN: And at Fogg.

MRS. MOORE: And at Fogg. And then much - and then later at New York University. There was nothing that I could go to. And I had been a major in art, as much as one could within a very limited offering in the field at the university.

MR. BROWN: Were they just general art history courses?

MRS. MOORE: General art history. And not even a survey course.

MR. BROWN: Had you traveled, though? Had you possibly looked at…?

MRS. MOORE: I had traveled. I had lived abroad as a child. But hadn't traveled until 1921, when I had studied – and then spent about three months in European museums.

MR. BROWN: Was your father's background in art his own? Or had he traveled?

MRS. MOORE: His background was as a painter. And I think really his angle as a creative artist had a great deal to do with his kind of fresh look at the materials with which an art museum worked in approaching its public and defining its purposes. He was an artist. He was for 22 years the president of the Rochester Art Club. And it's that institution which has to be looked at, I think, as the kind of trial ground for any institutional development.

The Rochester Art Club kept alive the need for an art museum in Rochester and stubbornly, over many years. And it became my father's chief goal when he was - had given almost 20 years to the office of president, to find a donor.

And that was a successfully - that search was successfully completed when he had induced Mrs. James Sibley Watson to make a memorial to her son of an art museum for Rochester, which was not to be given to the City of Rochester, however, but was to be given to the University of Rochester as trustee.

MR. BROWN: He felt the city shouldn't have it?

MRS. MOORE: He felt the city shouldn't have it. We were in a dire political mess at that time in Rochester. Rochester was dominated by a political boss. Party affiliation meant nothing at all. And it was just a very insecure situation in which to set up a permanent institution. University represented that security. So it was given to the university.

ISABEL HERDLE: May I add one thing?

MRS. MOORE: Please.

MR. BROWN: Yes.

MS. HERDLE: Remember it said "for the people of Rochester." So it - in the preliminary thing, it was one of the most important actions and purposes of the gallery was for the public museum, city museum, in Rochester.

MRS. MOORE: Yes, yes.

MS. HERDLE: As well as the university.

MRS. MOORE: Yes, um-hm.

MR. BROWN: And yet it was not to be administered by the city?

MS. HERDLE: No, no.

MRS. MOORE: No, no. That's right. No. And that, I think, throughout the whole gallery's history represents its rather unique place among American museums because it was owned by the university. But its chief public for which it was designed to work through exhibitions and educational programs and all that was the city of Rochester and its surrounding countryside. And the - which was also the source of its support. So that we were forced to stay very close to the people. And I think it was a very salutary thing, really.

Without endowment, we had to begin our first year with just support through memberships. And that's been the history and really the history of the financial struggle of the gallery, ever since. We - it's meant that we began with a group, a total of about 600 members when I took over the membership of the gallery.

MR. BROWN: In 1918.

MRS. MOORE: In 1918, which had to be enlarged because the program was so demanding. And we ended with nearly 7000 members in 1962.

MR. BROWN: But even that 600 members was quite a large membership, wasn't it?

MRS. MOORE: Yes. It was a stable membership, too, which is more.

MR. BROWN: Yeah. Yeah.

MRS. MOORE: But in many ways, it was not representative of the stratification of the public.

MR. BROWN: [Inaudible] You mean it was just simply the more affluent families, probably?

MRS. MOORE: Yes. Yes, um-hm. Although we did go down to a five-dollar-membership associates, our teachers and the lower, the ten-dollar membership comprised -

MS. HERDLE: What do we use the funds for that are collected from the membership? Are they for exhibition? For general purposes?

MRS. MOORE: For total support. There was no other --

MR. BROWN: And you weren't in a large building at that point, or were you?

MRS. MOORE: No. It was a small building.

MR. BROWN: Mrs. Watson -- when did that building come, the memorial to her son?

MRS. MOORE: That was built in 1913. And it was a two-story building with a central - on the main floor, a central hall with adjoining galleries just on - to east and west.

MS. HERDLE: There were four galleries, four exhibition galleries.

MRS. MOORE: Yes.

MR. BROWN: Well, that's the building - the older building.

MRS. MOORE: Yes, the older one.

MR. BROWN: So you did from 1913 on have a proper museum building.

MS. HERDLE: Yes.

MRS. MOORE: Yes. Oh yes, oh yes.

MR. BROWN: So that was paid for. The membership then went, as you said, for the various programs.

MRS. MOORE: For activities.

MR. BROWN: And activities.

MS. HERDLE: And there was a library in that building and a children's museum downstairs.

MRS. MOORE: Yes. Um-hm, um-hm.

MR. BROWN: Well, Mrs. Moore, you then trained under your father to some extent.

MRS. MOORE: I trained under my father and profited - I inherited some very valuable friendships from him, which I think describes my training almost completely. It was his friends among the art museum directors who kind of undertook training of me. It was a kind of apprentice system, although it was - I did not work under them. I just would spend months --

MS. HERDLE: Who were they?

MR. BROWN: Yeah, who were they?

MRS. MOORE: Robert Harshe, the Director of the Art Institute of Chicago.

MR. BROWN: Did you go out there and spend some time?

MRS. MOORE: Yes, um-hm. And several times a year to catch their significant program offerings and what to do with - in the presentation of a museum - of an exhibition.

MR. BROWN: What was he like [inaudible]?

MRS. MOORE: Robert Harshe?

MR. BROWN: Um-hm.

MRS. MOORE: Well, I think he was one of the great pioneers in setting forth the educational value of a museum's work. It was community oriented. And he had scholarship as well as being a creative artist.

MS. HERDLE: Oh, was he? I didn't realize that.

MRS. MOORE: Yes, he was, um-hm. He was one. George Stevens, the Director of the Toledo Museum, was another, probably the most helpful.

MS. HERDLE: How about Earle Rowe?

MR. BROWN: And George Stevens, you would spend more time with than [inaudible]?

MRS. MOORE: Yes, much, much more with him.

MR. BROWN: And what was he like [inaudible]?

MRS. MOORE: Well, George Stevens had been a newspaperman with a general cultural background. And he was the ideal person to popularize a museum's work. I think Toledo was outstanding, don't you? - as an example of a combination of wealth - they had the Libby millions, so that they could develop a collection according to a plan. But they had, most of all, really the problem of giving it to the city.

One of the problems was they were too wealthy. They didn't have to seek membership. And I know it was quite a concern of George Stevens.

MR. BROWN: And therefore, it's difficult to involve people if they didn't have to give a contribution.

MRS. MOORE: Yes.

MS. HERDLE: They didn't feel the responsibility, I suppose.

MR. BROWN: Whereas here, you said, with the five-dollar membership, you involved hundreds of people.

MRS. MOORE: Hundreds of people, um-hm. And then another person was L. Earle Rowe of the Providence Museum. And the other was Clyde Burroughs.

MR. BROWN: Who was?

MRS. MOORE: Clyde Burroughs of Detroit. And they were a very complete educational kind of sponsor group for me. And I represent that type of [inaudible].

MS. HERDLE: That was a marvelous opportunity for you, really.

MRS. MOORE: Together with, of course, the opportunity of working with my father, who was really a very exceptional person in his concept and philosophy, and in his experience. He was a person very much interested in understanding art, modern art movements at the time. It was the time of the great Armory Show.

MR. BROWN: Yes. What was his response to that? Did he show something of it here? Was there any effect?

MRS. MOORE: Oh, yes. And even before that - and it's a remarkably interesting date, I think. As President of the Rochester Art Club, he had sponsored for some years - I don't know how many - they had annual exhibitions, didn't they, of the -

MS. HERDLE: [Inaudible] contemporary.

MRS. MOORE: -- to which they invited other people from New York. And our father would go down to New York and invite people there. And one year he brought a collection of French impressionist paintings up, which he wanted, with the first opportunity in Rochester to have-

MS. HERDLE: That was 1908.

MRS. MOORE: 1908.

MS. HERDLE: Five years before the Armory Show.

MRS. MOORE: And he took on the responsibility of that, thinking that everybody in Rochester, of course, would come to see them because it made such a great impression on him. And he was going to charge 25 cents to cover the expenses of bringing them up. And people stayed away in droves. Nobody came.

MR. BROWN: Ouch.

MRS. MOORE: And I've been reading - there were editorials in the paper. There was one very good friend of the exhibition at that time, and said that Rochester shows just how backward it is and how uncultured it is, that they didn't come to see it.

MR. BROWN: These were - this was - these were French impressionists?

MRS. MOORE: Yes.

MR. BROWN: Then came the Armory Show, he saw even more advanced --

MRS. MOORE: Yes, yes.

MR. BROWN: Were some of those then brought up here and shown, some of those Europeans or some of the Americans who were drawing, like Arthur B. Davies?

MS. HERDLE: Oh, yes.

MRS. MOORE: Oh yes, oh yes. Um-hm. Robert Henri.

MS. HERDLE: And the Group of Eight.

MR. BROWN: Yes.

MS. HERDLE: And he gave Arthur Dove one of the first exhibitions, which is -

MRS. MOORE: And George Bellows had one of his first one-man shows in American museums in 1925.

MR. BROWN: Here?

MRS. MOORE: Here, um-hm.

MR. BROWN: Hm. Well, you said his philosophy and outlook was very influential on you. What was that philosophy, in a nutshell?

MRS. MOORE: Well, it was definitely to induce tolerance, as far as the people's attitude, to open their eyes and their minds. He had met such staunch prejudice, which was supported by a very ultra-conservative art school in Rochester. And it was all a very definite barrier against receptivity of anything modern. And so it was a constant effort.

And he did it through publicity, wrote most of the articles himself. He did it through lecturing. His Sunday afternoon lectures became an institution in Rochester. And then through just a constant contact with schoolchildren.

[A TELEPHONE RING TONE IS HEARD.]

[OFF THE RECORD]

MRS. MOORE: Yes. I think it was that exhibition of French impressionists that included Monet and Pissarro and Sisley. Even a Manet. It was a large, important group of - I think it represented the greatest barrier that he felt that he had, because people were - they were resistant. And it was a very costly thing. And his very energetic efforts really impressed Mrs. Watson. I think that was the first contact that she had with this President of the Rochester Art Club, who wanted an art museum for Rochester, don't you?

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm, um-hm. He always had to go to her to get the annual contribution that she made to the Rochester Art Club.

MR. BROWN: I see.

MS. HERDLE: So that she knew him through years of -

MRS. MOORE: Yes.

MR. BROWN: Well, but you were saying in 1908, when he showed these impressionists, most Rochester art patrons were collecting things even more conservative than that. They weren't interested even in the impressionists?

MS. HERDLE: Yes. Manet and Corot and that kind of -

MRS. MOORE: And the [inaudible]. Barbizon Bouguereau.

MR. BROWN: Sure.

MRS. MOORE: I mean, we know that many of these things have passed through the gallery collection since. The culture in the nineteenth century traveling collector brought back to Rochester.

MS. HERDLE: And there was some German, at that time contemporary. That would be the early part of the twentieth century, because we had quite a German population here. And they were collectors.

MRS. MOORE: And they were cultured German collectors.

MS. HERDLE: Cultured.

MR. BROWN: They were collectors. And they were collecting more contemporary or conservative?

MS. HERDLE: No, conservative.

MRS. MOORE: No.

MS. HERDLE: Conservative German, like Defregger and people like that. Not anything in the modern schools at all.

MR. BROWN: Well, Mrs. Moore, when came on, did you develop rather quickly certain preferences of your own in terms of --

MRS. MOORE: Yes, I did. Of course, I was not in charge of the exhibition program, as my responsibility was educational, to interpret to the public, and particularly, development of work with children. And I did that almost exclusively until my father's death in 1922. And then I did take over. And one of my first - well, I was also concerned with that problem of returning the paintings from the Panama Pacific Exposition in 1915, which were kept at the gallery for -

MS. HERDLE: The Luxembourg painting.

MRS. MOORE: Yes, the Luxembourg painting - for a considerable time. And we -

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm, um-hm. And there was an exhibition of Persian art, too, that came through from the San Francisco Exposition.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MR. BROWN: And they were held here for awhile?

[SIMULTANEOUS CONVERSATION]

MRS. MOORE: Yes.

MR. BROWN: Before being shipped back?

MS. HERDLE: Because the war broke out and they couldn't --

MR. BROWN: Sure. They were stranded here, so to speak.

MRS. MOORE: That was one. But my first exhibition project, which I initiated, was the circuiting of a large collection of George Bellow's work from the memorial exhibition, which the Metropolitan Museum gave to him in 1925, just after his death.

MR. BROWN: I see. You were in charge of [inaudible] this area alone or the whole country?

MS. HERDLE: Of the circuit.

MRS. MOORE: No, the whole country. And I had known Mr. and Mrs. Bellows. And I was invited by Mrs. Bellows to - well, really, develop the - an interest in the memorial exhibition of his work.

MR. BROWN: You say you knew her?

MRS. MOORE: I knew her, um-hm.

MR. BROWN: Yeah. You had known her - how had you known her?

MRS. MOORE: Yes. I met with her --

MR. BROWN: New York or --

MRS. MOORE: I had known - well, Mr. Bellows was a very dear friend of my father's. And I think that probably was why my - he was a kindly person. And I was a young person who needed contacts. And he helped me. I mean, I met Henri, for instance.

MR. BROWN: What was Henri like? Was he very --

MRS. MOORE: Oh, a wonderful person, yes. That was a very - almost a - a very close friendship with my father's.

MS. HERDLE: Didn't you sponsor an exhibition of Henri's work, too?

MRS. MOORE: Yes. We have an interesting letter from Henri in connection with that, which I will show you later. I mean, that's the kind of archival material I know you're interested in. The gallery owns this letter and it will have it. But I think --

MR. BROWN: When you were [inaudible] with the Bellows show, did you travel around the country or --

MRS. MOORE: No. I organized it. Then it opened here in Rochester. We - I selected, with Mrs. Bellows, a group. I've forgotten - about 30, I think there were of paintings, which would be representative of the range of his work.

MS. HERDLE: Did you have the Death of Edith Cavell in it?

MRS. MOORE: Yes, we did the Edith Cavell.

MS. HERDLE: You did?

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm. It was number 35 in the catalog, I remember.

MS. HERDLE: [Laughter]

MR. BROWN: I see you remember vividly.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MR. BROWN: Well, by then you had - people were coming to look at shows; is that right?

MRS. MOORE: Yes, yes, that's true.

MR. BROWN: Your father had finally gotten people to come, unlike 1908.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MR. BROWN: In 1925, people in the Rochester area were curious and were enthusiastic.

MRS. MOORE: Yes. He met very painful kind of opposition.

MS. HERDLE: Well, especially to the Bellows.

MRS. MOORE: Yes. And in 1925, when he had the first exhibition at Bellows, for instance, the -

MS. HERDLE: It must have been before that.

MRS. MOORE: The Death of - of course it was 19 -

MS. HERDLE: Must have been 1918 or 1919.

MRS. MOORE: It was. It was. I'm sorry. He died in 1925.

MS. HERDLE: Uh-huh.

MRS. MOORE: We had the Death of Edith Cavell.

MS. HERDLE: And the other painting that created so much of a - havoc with other people -

MRS. MOORE: The Return -

MS. HERDLE: The Return of the Dispossessed.

MR. BROWN: Why did these? Because they were too gruesome?

MRS. MOORE: Yes.

MS. HERDLE: Oh, they were - you know, Bellows was a very dramatic painter anyway. He was a newspaper painter, really.

MRS. MOORE: It was straight out of the war headlines, you know.

MR. BROWN: The reason was what? It was too gruesome for people here?

MRS. MOORE: Too gruesome. And of course, it many respects, it seemed an un-art subject because it dealt with death and with brutality and all the rest of it. And people reacted - most people reacted. And also, there was one person in the community who was violently opposed. And he was a person of great importance.

MS. HERDLE: The former mayor of Rochester.

MRS. MOORE: [Laughter] The former mayor of Rochester.

MR. BROWN: He was opposed to what?

MRS. MOORE: To Bellows and, particularly, to those two paintings. And he wanted our father to take the paintings down from the wall. And it got to be a really - a very serious thing that my father refused to because he said that they were probably the most - and done with great strength and great dramatic force and everybody should see them. They spoke their piece very forcefully.

And he was trying to get - I won't mention names. But the opponent tried to get the university to either force my father to resign or take the paintings down. And after a long hustle and hassle and various things, the president of the university came to our father and said, "I just really have one thing to ask of you. What is your opinion of Bellows as a painter?" And my father said, "I think he's one of the great figures of contemporary American art." And he said, "That's all I want to know." He said, "Just forget about this business. I'll take care of the man." And he did.

MR. BROWN: This was the clash, then, of culture with the remains of bossism [phonetic].

MRS. MOORE: [Laughter] Yeah.

MR. BROWN: The strong-arm.

MRS. MOORE: Yeah, almost.

MR. BROWN: Well, was this also about the time - I think you said to me before about 1918 or so that you began the sort of neighborhood programs, these workshops --

MRS. MOORE: The ethnic.

MR. BROWN: -- the so-called homelands or ethnics.

MRS. MOORE: Yes, yes.

MR. BROWN: They started right after the war?

MRS. MOORE: Yes, um-hm, um-hm. They marked the end of the war. It was one of the celebrations to show that peace had come.

MR. BROWN: Was to have - and these were exhibitions here in the Memorial Gallery?

MS. HERDLE: No, we didn't have the space for it.

MRS. MOORE: No.

MS. HERDLE: They were in a large public space.

MRS. MOORE: Exhibition hall.

MS. HERDLE: Exhibition buildings. Um-hm.

MRS. MOORE: Done in cooperation with the Rochester Chamber of Commerce. And then all - of course, we did - we drew upon many community organizations. And it was a very important recognition of their contributions to American culture, you see. And my father had - he had to work out a contact because it - we were then working, living under such a bad Americanization program that the second generation of these immigrant peoples were ashamed of the culture.

MR. BROWN: You mean by "bad Americanization," you mean it was putting down every other?

MRS. MOORE: It was putting down, yes.

MR. BROWN: Oh, I see. And they were -

[SIMULTANEOUS CONVERSATION]

MRS. MOORE: And this was about family experiences.

MS. HERDLE: [Inaudible]

MR. BROWN: I see. But your father felt that they should have some art from their homeland? They probably did bring things? He knew that they brought things.

MRS. MOORE: Yes. He knew that they had brought things. And the only way he could approach them at all was through the local priests, who had their confidence, of course. And when he was introduced to them by the priest, they were willing to listen to him.

And he said many a time, he just had to wait while they went down cellar, or went - always in some attic storage space to find the objects.

MS. HERDLE: Attic, um-hm.

MRS. MOORE: And then there were some remarkable revelations of things that had been brought over, but were not honored.

MR. BROWN: Huh.

MRS. MOORE: Twenty-five years later, my sister and I took the same working cards, exactly the same, of the same cards that represented the exhibition entries and went to the same doorsteps and found, in nearly every case, that they were on the parlor walls.

MR. BROWN: Oh, yeah?

MS. HERDLE: And they were very proud of the things there.

MRS. MOORE: [Inaudible]

MR. BROWN: Well, what were these? Often examples of traditional folk art?

MS. HERDLE: Weaving, yes.

MRS. MOORE: Yes, uh-huh.

MS. HERDLE: Weaving.

MR. BROWN: They would pass it on through - most of these people were peasants who had come to work in the --

MRS. MOORE: Well, they were lower class.

MR. BROWN: Yeah.

MS. HERDLE: There's no doubt about that. And they would - these were things that they had used in their farm homes - a wood carving, cups, and decorated spoons, and things like that.

MRS. MOORE: And there would be sometimes family treasures, like the Friesian clock, for instance, beautifully carved or painted case; furniture. There were some large items.

MS. HERDLE: You know, it's an interesting comment. I remember using those cards again after 25 years. And the Poles were still in the area of the city that they were when they were first contacted. The Italians had spread out a little bit more. The Germans had spread out completely over the whole community. But the Poles and the Lithuanians, and - let me see. What other - the Dutch were down in certain sections of Rochester, and they hadn't come out of that area. They weren't ghettos exactly. But they were happy in their own groups like that.

MR. BROWN: [Inaudible]

MRS. MOORE: Yes. Then were you beginning to get Near Eastern people, because we had to open a few new departments.

MS. HERDLE: Yes. That's right.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm. Syrian and Armenian that had all begun to come into the city.

MR. BROWN: You mean you opened it - art --

MRS. MOORE: In the exhibitions.

MR. BROWN: Was this an annual exhibition [inaudible]?

MRS. MOORE: No. Each year we tried to have a different nationality represented. And so I think we've covered the waterfront as far as national groups.

MR. BROWN: Yes. Well, this was in line with, as you said, the museum given for the people of Rochester, an extension of it.

MRS. MOORE: Yes, yes, yes.

MR. BROWN: You had worked with children.

MRS. MOORE: That's right.

MR. BROWN: You would work with these ethnic groups or nationalities, I suppose you'd call them now.

MRS. MOORE: Yes. And in the late 20s and early 30s, we were going down into the inner city, the core of the - well, many of the minority settlements, and taking classes down to them, mainly for after-school hours, and for the handicapped, working through school buildings and library buildings, wherever you could find space.

MS. HERDLE: And settlement houses, particularly.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm. That was done very early.

MS. HERDLE: In each case, remember, we had a very definite program of dances and music of the particular people that we were featuring that year.

MRS. MOORE: Well, this is going back to the -

MS. HERDLE: To the homelands business.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: And it wasn't just the art or the crafts of the people; it was the whole picture.

MR. BROWN: Ms. Herdle, how early were you involved now?

MS. HERDLE: Oh. I came on the scene - let me see - in 1932. I had graduated from university here. And once again, you couldn't specialize in fine arts. I think I had one course, a survey course, and another course in fine arts called Romanesque Fresco Painting of the Twelfth Century, which was the only two courses I had before I went to Fogg to get more graduate work.

MR. BROWN: So there was only one teacher?

MS. HERDLE: There was just two. There were just two at that time.

MR. BROWN: Two teachers?

MS. HERDLE: You couldn't major in it. So I am a history major.

MR. BROWN: But you had been aware through your sister [inaudible]?

MS. HERDLE: Oh yes. Oh yes. And the gallery was a part of my life from almost my beginning almost. And I went to school at East High School. It was right around the corner. The university was right here on the campus so that I was closely connected with the gallery all through those years.

And I just remember that when I graduated from college, I wasn't going to have anything to do with art at all. I was through - too much art in our family. So I took a business course and became a secretary at the university for two years in the registrar's office.

MR. BROWN: But you did stay here?

MS. HERDLE: I stayed on the campus, close to home

MR. BROWN: [Laughter]

MS. HERDLE: And then I went to Fogg.

MR. BROWN: What determined that?  Why did you decide that?

MS. HERDLE: Because they gave me a scholarship.

MR. BROWN: Ah.

MS. HERDLE: But there were only two places at that time that you really could go, to Newark, which more or less - maybe it isn't right to say this. But the idea was that they stressed more the crafts and the more general museum background. And Fogg stressed the so-called fine arts museum programs. So I decided to go to Radcliffe and take courses at the Fogg. And I was there for two years.

MR. BROWN: And you got there when, in [inaudible]?

MS. HERDLE: I got there 30 and 31, yes. Thirty and thirty-one.

MR. BROWN: And you were nominally registered through Radcliffe, then?

MS. HERDLE: Yes, um-hm.

MR. BROWN: Were there many women students in this program?

MS. HERDLE: Oh, yes. Many, many.

MR. BROWN: There were?

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm. And they were wonderfully prepared. I had terrible competition with, even the undergraduates because I had to go back and take survey courses. And I worked extremely hard because I had to take so many more courses than the other graduate students who were in the Fogg Museum training course. And that was the main course, which was taught by Paul Sachs, who was the co-director of the Fogg Museum at that time.

MR. BROWN: With Edward Forbes.

MS. HERDLE: With Edward Forbes.

MR. BROWN: Did you work closely with both of them then?

MS. HERDLE: Not so much with Forbes, but with Sachs, very definitely. And we had - we met twice a week in his home. And he was a wonderful introduction to the museum world. But it was terribly limited. You know, even the Fogg Museum was limited in its program at that time. It was all for the university community and for the art community in the university. They never had any idea of bringing the community, the town of Cambridge, into the museum at all.

I remember when they had concerts in the sunken part of the gallery, musical concerts, which were beautiful. And the students came. And I remember everybody was so annoyed that some of the townspeople came in. Now, imagine, just Cambridge people came in. And of course, that was just the opposite to what I was brought up, here in Rochester, at that time.

MR. BROWN: Yeah.

MS. HERDLE: So it was, in a way, a limited experience for me at Fogg.

MR. BROWN: But you did not like that?

MS. HERDLE: No, I did not.

MR. BROWN: Very precious and closed.

MS. HERDLE: Very, um-hm, um-hm. And that was the attitude of many of the instructors at that -

MR. BROWN: [Inaudible]?

MS. HERDLE: Yeah, yeah.

MR. BROWN: The scope of study was very limited, too, wasn't it? Renaissance?

MS. HERDLE: No, no. Now - I could - Oriental. I had a wonderful course with Langdon Warner. Medieval art with Conant [phonetic] and Post and classical art.

MR. BROWN: Um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: And -

MRS. MOORE: Italian art.

MR. BROWN: Kingsley Porter.

MS. HERDLE: Kingsley Porter, I had a special funny course with him.

MR. BROWN: Special?

MS. HERDLE: Working in his home with him. That was a wonderful experience. At that time, of course, they had great scholars at that - we're mentioning some of the fine names.

MR. BROWN: Yes. But mostly, were they fairly approachable, these professors, who were well-known, most of them?

MS. HERDLE: Yes. All of them were, I should say, except maybe two. Paul Sachs was not a lovable character. [Laughter] He was a very austere person. He would - I remember passing him in the hall at the Fogg Museum, and he would look at you with these steely eyes, you know, you'd just sort of crawl around. And yet he would do the kindest thing the next minute for you. He got me my first job, because he was determined that I was to go into museum work rather than to go on into the art teaching.

MR. BROWN: Why do you suppose he was?

MS. HERDLE: I really don't know. It was a toss-up at that time. I was given a Carnegie scholarship, which would have given me two years abroad. But that would have led, definitely, to a doctor's degree and into a teaching career. And I know Professor Chase was my special advisor at that time. And he said, "You've got to take it. It's just too much to give up." And Mr. Sachs said, "No, she can't go. She's going into the museum world. And I'm going to get the first job that comes along for her." And he did, which was at the de Young Museum in the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. So that's where I went.

MR. BROWN: So you started there?

MS. HERDLE: I started there.

MR. BROWN: This was what, in 32?

MS. HERDLE: This was in - no, this was - wait a minute. We've got our dates wrong.

MRS. MOORE: When did you get your masters?

MS. HERDLE: That must have been - I came back here in 32. And it was two years before that.

MR. BROWN: That you went to de Young?

MS. HERDLE: Yeah, um-hm.

MR. BROWN: What did you find at de Young? Was it anything like --

MS. HERDLE: Nothing like it is now. It was really an amazing place because it was full of things that had been brought over the continental divide. And anything that had been brought over, even a tin can, even a wash basin, was on view in that museum. And it was just an incredible thing.

MR. BROWN: [Inaudible]

MS. HERDLE: And the staff, the new staff was appointed at that time. And the new director was Rollins. Lloyd Rollins was the director, both of the de Young Museum and the Palace of the Legion of Honor. And he brought with him this group of Easterners. And there was a great deal of feeling against us by the townspeople. They didn't like these Easterners to come in. And especially when they saw that we were taking their beloved pots and pans out of the museum cases. [Laughter]

MRS. MOORE: [Laughter]

MR. BROWN: [Inaudible] Did you have a clear mandate to make it an art museum?

MS. HERDLE: We had - yes, we did, from the director. And I don't know how firm he was with his board of managers, or whatever it was called there, because he had his difficulties later on. But we decided that there should be a wing, at least three rooms, galleries devoted to this material, which was of local interest. But then the rest of it should be done in a more professional way.

And they had wonderful things even in their storage area that had never seen the light of day. And there was a wonderful collection of textiles, some beautiful Spanish-American painting, and some early seventeenth and eighteenth century furniture that was brought over, but was very nice - see, that kind of thing.

And we instigated exhibitions and a lecture program and all, which was --

MR. BROWN: But what was your job, mainly?

MS. HERDLE: My job was - I was brought out to do publicity work, newspaper articles, and do some lecturing. And I did quite a bit of lecturing at first. And then, one day, they were hanging an exhibition of photographs by Edward Weston. And they had arranged a half of the room. And I came along, and I said, "Wouldn't it be better if, instead of having all the photographs on one line and one space between them all, to group them and arrange them around subject matter?"

So I started on this wall on this side. And the director came in and said, "We've never done that. That can't be at all. You have to stop." And then a little man came in through the door. And he said, "Let's go on and let's see whether the people who are coming to the gallery look at this wall or that wall." And the little man was Edward Weston himself.

And they came in, and the people went directly over to this wall. [Laughter]

MR. BROWN: [Laughter]

MS. HERDLE: And after that, I did all the installation for the next year.

MR. BROWN: But you were - despite having finished your Fogg training, you went out there simply to do publicity?

MS. HERDLE: Yeah, um-hm.

MR. BROWN: I guess Mr. Rollins felt that was a desperate need.

MS. HERDLE: [Laughter]

MRS. MOORE: [Laughter]

MS. HERDLE: And it probably was.

MR. BROWN: He needed somebody who was trained, though in art history to do that?

IH? Yeah. But I think this was largely for the brochure. But I think all of us had other jobs to do when we got up there.

MR. BROWN: Sure. At that stage you had to all pitch in.

MS. HERDLE: Yeah. Definitely.

MRS. MOORE: Yes, um-hm.

MR. BROWN: But you became then the installations person after this? [Laughter]

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm, yes. [Inaudible] the de Young and the Palace of the Legion of Honor.

MR. BROWN: Was the Palace a separate sector, a separate -

MS. HERDLE: A whole new building.

MR. BROWN: New building?

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm. And a wonderful collection, too, of course. That was eighteenth century French painting and tapestries and decorative arts, wonderful furniture, and drawing - the eighteenth century drawings. And they had - both places had changing exhibitions, which I had to hang.

MR. BROWN: These were borrowed nationwide?

MS. HERDLE: Many of them were from - I think most of them were from the East. And there were some assembled there from collections. William Randolph Hearst - I had to go down there to get some drawings for an exhibition, I know, at one time, San Simeon. And other - there were wonderful collections, which I know now have come to the museum out there. The Mayberry collection is out there and the Brundage collection, and others.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MR. BROWN: Were those people quite timid about showing? Were they feeling fairly defensive, vis a vis the East? The patrons, the Hearsts, the Brundages?

MS. HERDLE: No, I think they were really very anxious to show them and to have other people and the general public because it was a public museum, both places.

MR. BROWN: Yes.

MS. HERDLE: And I think they wanted them to be -

MR. BROWN: Was there broad public support for that museum?

MS. HERDLE: It was - now, let me see. I think there were two different setups there. As I remember, the de Young Museum was a county museum and was supported by the county of San Francisco. And I think the Palace of the Legion of Honor was given to the county, but it was - it had its own endowment. But I know there was never a question about the program at the Palace of the Legion, because they had the funds for it. But the other had to be sanctioned and okayed by the county, and I don't know what it was now.

MR. BROWN: The county.

MS. HERDLE: The county, and I don't remember what it was now.

MR. BROWN: Well, why didn't you stay on there?

MS. HERDLE: Well, you'll have to ask her why I didn't stay on.

MRS. MOORE: Well, I was married that year.

MR. BROWN: What was this, 32 or so?

MRS. MOORE: 1932. And Mrs. Watson would not let me retire as director. And I couldn't possibly carry it on as a full-time job because it was demanding more and more. And so I came forth with the proposition that my sister be induced, if possible, to come back from Florida - from California.

MS. HERDLE: And she came.

MRS. MOORE: And you were having a little - what was this demand that you all be - what was that?

MS. HERDLE: No. Wait a minute. That's right.

MRS. MOORE: It's native California -

MS. HERDLE: It was a political situation.

MRS. MOORE: I don't know the background of it.

MS. HERDLE: I had not registered as a voter in the county of San Francisco.

MRS. MOORE: Was that it?

MS. HERDLE: Yeah. And that was evidently a terrible blot on my record. And I remember I was hauled up before the president of the board of the de Young Museum. His name was Fleishhacker. I think he was one of the sugar kings out there.

At any rate, he said that - he looked at my record and he said, "Well, why didn't you register?" And I said, "Well, I was too busy. It just never dawned on me to do that." And he was very much upset about it. I was feeling very annoyed at the powers that be at that time, too. So the offer from Rochester came at a very good time, for me.

MR. BROWN: Well, you said that Mrs. Watson was so very much on the scene. Was she very demanding? Was she easy to work with?

MRS. MOORE: She - it was a very personal relationship between us, which made things both easy and difficult. She was a person of very tolerant tastes, a very cultured, I think, breadth of tolerance and sensitivity - quite a remarkable person coming out of her upper-class type of education. But travel, and her own predilections had really given her a - I think an excellent background in the history of art and of interest in the contemporary movements.

MS. HERDLE: Was Mr. Watson as broadly based -

MRS. MOORE: No, no. His great interest was Medieval art.

MS. HERDLE: And Chinese art later on

MRS. MOORE: And Chinese later, um-hm. He had certain kind of, as he said, mental stoppages. He couldn't accept - he was deaf.

MR. BROWN: Um-hm.

MRS. MOORE: I will never forget taking him to a Picasso exhibition opening at Knoedler's one day. And he didn't understand it, and he didn't want to understand it. He said - he was deaf and I had to screech the explanation of -- it was -

MS. HERDLE: Picasso?

MRS. MOORE: Picasso's bone theory.

MS. HERDLE: Oh, that was hard. [Laughter]

MRS. MOORE: You know, that theory, it's a little hard to explain to an unwilling mind. [Laughter] And I think that describes Mr. Watson. But he had -

MS. HERDLE: The Matisse really was Mrs. Watson's interest.

MRS. MOORE: Yes.

MS. HERDLE: She acquired that herself.

MR. BROWN: But their son, then, was - one of the family was instrumental in Dial [phonetic] Magazine and [inaudible].

MRS. MOORE: Oh, yes. Oh, yes, yes.

MR. BROWN: It was very fine.

MRS. MOORE: Very - yeah.

MR. BROWN: So she was - if she wished to be - Mrs. Watson was - she could become very familiar with all of these contemporary movements.

MRS. MOORE: Well --

MR. BROWN: Were you beginning to get things given of a contemporary nature?

MRS. MOORE: Well, of course, that --

MR. BROWN: In the late 20s and early 30s?

MRS. MOORE: That was our problem always.

MR. BROWN: Sure.

MRS. MOORE: Because not until the early 30s did we have funds in hand through the Marion Stratton Gould gift to go out and choose and develop the collection along controlled lines. We had to accept whatever was offered.

MS. HERDLE: When did the Marin come? That was a gift. That was one of the first sort of modern art --

MRS. MOORE: That came from Sibley. But that was after the dispersal of the Dial collection.

MS. HERDLE: Uh-huh.

MRS. MOORE: That was one of the Dial paintings.

MR. BROWN: And that came when? In the 40s or so?

MRS. MOORE: Yes. It was in the 40s. [Note from editor: This was accessioned in 1925, no other piece matches this description.]

MR. BROWN: Yeah. Well, you said to me earlier - you did - that this was to be mainly an educational institution. And your acquisitions, until you began getting these gifts, you just attempted to create sort of a skeleton of art history.

MRS. MOORE: Yes, yes, yes.

MR. BROWN: You started to get representative examples of various eras, not necessarily the biggest names because you hadn't the funds to buy those.

MRS. MOORE: That's true. That's true. And also, we didn't have the freedom of choice, if it has to be done through two donors. But we very early made an acquisition plan, which was a visualization of our goal. This is a university museum. And it was to be used, educationally, on a number of different strata in local community life.

So we had to have a plan. And in accepting gifts, they were always put into the picture as kind of spots that would - that could be carried on. But it was really not until we had the Gould money.

MS. HERDLE: And that came in 1930, I think.

MRS. MOORE: 1930.

MR. BROWN: Uh-huh.

MRS. MOORE: And our first purchase was the El Greco.

MR. BROWN: Well, did you - till that point and afterward, when you came, Ms. Herdle, did you travel a bit and go to the dealers quite a lot?

MS. HERDLE: Yes, I did. Oh, yes.

MRS. MOORE: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. A great deal.

MS. HERDLE: We had wonderful relationships with the dealers. I think that made our exhibition problems easier, too, because we got wonderful loans from them.

MR. BROWN: Who were some that you worked most closely with?

MS. HERDLE: Knoedler's. Mr. Henschel, Mr. Davidson at Knoedler's.

MRS. MOORE: Mr. Williamson Davidson, particularly, at Knoedler's.

MR. BROWN: Yes, uh-huh.

MS. HERDLE: At Brummer Gallery, Mr. Joseph Brummer.

MR. BROWN: Yes, I've heard. Now, what was he like? He was - he had - through the 40s, he had - was a dealer, or something like that?

MS. HERDLE: Well, it was even before then because I went to him for my first exhibition that I assembled when I got here. That would be in the 30s, in 1932. He was a most remarkable little man.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: Very unprepossessing, as far as looks go. And with a strange kind of voice. It was almost a hoarse whisper that he spoke in all the time. But he had this great feeling for all periods of art. The first piece of pre-Columbian art that I saw was in his gallery. And he had brought - he was the first to introduce Brancusi here and -

MRS. MOORE: Lipchitz.

MS. HERDLE: Lipchitz.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: And yet his main thing was classical and Medieval art and Byzantine art.

MR. BROWN: Um-hm, um-hm, um-hm. So I thought.

MS. HERDLE: Yeah.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MR. BROWN: Did you have a loan through him, various things? Were the dealers saying in the early 30s they willingly loaned?

MRS. MOORE: Yes, oh, yes.

MS. HERDLE: Oh, yes, yes. And that meant withdrawing it from the New York sales market for a long time, too, which meant a great deal.

MRS. MOORE: But more than that, they thought of you when certain purchase opportunities came. And we were offered several things at almost sacrificial prices because they knew our situation. I think that was true of the Gilbert Stuarts, for example.

MS. HERDLE: It was, uh-huh. That was from Knoedler's.

MRS. MOORE: We bought them through a Mr. Davis -

MS. HERDLE: Davidson.

MR. BROWN: Davidson.

MRS. MOORE: Directly from the great-great-grandson of the sitter.

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm. I believe there's another "great" in there, too.

MRS. MOORE: Is there?

MS. HERDLE: [Laughter] Three of them.

MR. BROWN: This man was interested in Rochester's having them?

MRS. MOORE: Yes. And it was Mr. Davidson who had interested him in Rochester. And that's a very important silent kind of byproduct of [inaudible].

MS. HERDLE: And we mustn't forget Mr. Samuels of French and Company. And I think it meant something to the dealers to have the hand in assembling a collection for a museum, too.

MR. BROWN: Yes.

MS. HERDLE: I think it added to their prestige.

MR. BROWN: Sure, sure.

MS. HERDLE: And I think that was another reason why we had such very fine relations with him.

MRS. MOORE: Yes. And of course, we were -

MS. HERDLE: We got our tapestries from -

MRS. MOORE: Yes.

MS. HERDLE: -- and most of our furniture from French and Company.

MRS. MOORE: We are particularly strong, and were out of all relationships strong at one time, in Medieval art.

MR. BROWN: How did that come about?

MRS. MOORE: Well, that was due, I think, very directly to the friendship with Mr. Brummer. He wanted - we were a teaching museum. That appealed to him. He was a very important connoisseur himself, you know. He'd been invited to be director of the Budapest Museum. I think he had more influence in building American museum collections than any other individual.

MS. HERDLE: Cleveland Museum. Worcester.

MRS. MOORE: Yes. He was trusted. He was a person who trusted his eye, and it was - he had been fondeur  to Rodin, you know, chief fondeur for a number of years. He knew substance and materials.

MS. HERDLE: That he knew. Take a piece of stone that came from France, for example. And he could almost locate the hillside it came from.

MR. BROWN: [Inaudible]

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: You know, it was just amazing because that kind of color and that kind of lichen on it and the kind of weathering that could only come from that one particular section.

MRS. MOORE: It was the physical integrity that was everything - I mean, you could always trust that that was the base. And if it had his approval, all of that was perfectly safe and secure. He didn't care very much for provenance records.

MS. HERDLE: I think, though, unfortunately.

MRS. MOORE: All the museums who have dealt with him --

MR. BROWN: You think that was unfortunate?

MS. HERDLE: Yes.

MRS. MOORE: He wasn't - he had no respect for facts, as they would be transferred, the provenance, history of a painting.

MR. BROWN: But that came back and boomeranged once in awhile?

MS. HERDLE: Oh. Well, when you wanted to find out exactly where your particular carving came from, of course, you would find that all he had on his card - "From the Southwest of France." [Laughter] And you'd go down to him and say, "Well, Mr. Brummer, where? Where did this come from?" And he'd say, "Well, maybe I have a record in my Paris office. I'll look it up sometime." And then he would never do it.

MR. BROWN: Ah.

MRS. MOORE: And after his death, we went to the Paris office to see if we could retrieve some of these facts that might be attached to the things in our collection. And we couldn't. They just weren't a part of his record.

MR. BROWN: Hm. How did he originally come by those? Did he ever discuss these things with you? Like, how did he - the remarkable painted capitol you have here.

MRS. MOORE: Yes, yes.

MR. BROWN: Did that come through him?

MS. HERDLE: Yes.

MRS. MOORE: Yes, it did.

MR. BROWN: But now, how had he gotten those? Through the second- or third-hand people in the region, and he never bothered to find out?

MS. HERDLE: I think we know exactly how - or one way that these came.

MRS. MOORE: One way.

MS. HERDLE: He knew the dealers in France; there's no doubt about that. But also, he said, "I'm going to tell you a secret," one time, "how I really get a hold of some of the finds, the really good finds that I have." He said, "I make use of the rabbit catcher in every one of the little villages because they are the ones that go out and find a stone that might have been put into an old wall, or something might have been in a gate or something that looks suspicion [sic]."

And any time there was a piece of carving or any stone that had a piece of carving on, they made a point of that. And then they would telephone the dealer in Paris. And then he would go over twice a year. And he would ferret these things out and ferret them in more ways than one. And he really got a line on many, many things that way.

MRS. MOORE: Well, it would be also coming to know the existence of ruined churches.

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm.

MRS. MOORE: So that he would - he found a great deal of things in their abandoned state. And he had the trust of the French government because he'd restore many sculptures to their bases. He would have this remarkable visual memory of things. And I know that when we went to the little village of Olney, for instance, we had - must have gone there twice, I don't remember. Once it was - remember the doorway? Just empty pedestals - they had been vandalized and taken. When we went back again, there were two or three of them standing. These sculptures - their sculptures had been found.

MR. BROWN: And returned through Mr. Brummer?

MRS. MOORE: And returned to them. And it was by gift of Mr. Brummer. So he was a very important agent that way.

MS. HERDLE: I don't think there's anybody that can take his place.

MRS. MOORE: No. I don't think so either.

MS. HERDLE: No one with that wealth of background.

MRS. MOORE: And of course --

MR. BROWN: And this was all through the 30s and in to his death - he was a major connection, particularly in terms of Medieval art, but other things as well?

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm, um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm. Coptic art, some modern things, as we mentioned - Brancusi.

MRS. MOORE: Oh, yes. And the High Renaissance.

MS. HERDLE: Uh-huh.

MRS. MOORE: It was - the collection is a great panorama of art history, really, that went up for sale, for auction, in three great sessions.

MR. BROWN: From when you got also, did you get a Brancusi from him?

MS. HERDLE: No, no.

MRS. MOORE: No, we didn't. We don't have a Brancusi.

MS. HERDLE: No, we don't.

MR. BROWN: And at that time, your board wouldn't have approved the purchase of one?

MS. HERDLE: Well, we just didn't have the funds for it because even then it was pretty high.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MR. BROWN: Speaking of - still in the 30s, and you talked about this more before with us. But in the WPA, you were a supervisor or director for this area?

MRS. MOORE: Well, I think they were called regional directors.

MR. BROWN: How were you able to wear that hat, too? You were also director here, that's with your sister assisting.

MRS. MOORE: Well, it was a very busy time. But it - I think my value there was knowing the key people who could do the work and wanted to do the work, because this was a relief project as well.

MR. BROWN: Um-hm.

MRS. MOORE: And we were very close to the artists. And it was a very important interrelationship that we could have through Mr. Eric Krause, who was the manager. And we devised programs that called upon sculptors and painters.

MS. HERDLE: And textile designers.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: Poster people.

MRS. MOORE: Based upon the type of creative skills that we had in this area.

MR. BROWN: And you knew about those because - we haven't even touched on it yet. But the art - the gallery also had annual exhibitions of area artists, right?

MRS. MOORE: Yes, yes.

MR. BROWN: And those began back in your father's day or even earlier?

MRS. MOORE: Well, that was part of --

MR. BROWN: The Rochester Art Club?

MRS. MOORE: -- the inherited relationship with the Rochester Art Club. And by unrecorded, unwritten agreement of - they were to have an exhibition each year in the art gallery. And they did. And it was an exhibition that was always based, of course, upon their membership.

MS. HERDLE: It wasn't a juried exhibition at first.

MRS. MOORE: It was—they had a committee of their own members, who always consulted as to whether they were paid up members

[SIMULTANEOUS CONVERSATION]

MR. BROWN: [Laughter]

MRS. MOORE: And that describes it. It was very confident work.

MR. BROWN: [Inaudible]

MRS. MOORE: Yes, um-hm. And I think the American Tonal School was probably the general characteristic of the type of expression.

MR. BROWN: You mean sort of focused on Twachtman?

MRS. MOORE: Yes. Well -

MS. HERDLE: Well, more that American naturalism.

MRS. MOORE: Yes. American naturalism, um-hm. Oh, I think that's true - Chauncey Ryder or Edward Redfield, any of that group.

MR. BROWN: Um-hm.

MRS. MOORE: And then one year I went to the - was invited to be on the jury of the Cleveland Museum, their great May show, which is the same kind of event, very much larger. And I saw in action there the kind of plan that I had wanted to inaugurate in Rochester. But with the close ties with the Rochester Art Club, we were restricted.

And so I came back from the Cleveland session and drew up a plan, presented it with real trepidation to the members of the art club, because it proposed that we have - that the art club lose its identity in the exhibition, that it be a juried show that would call upon art, then paintings, sculpture, prints, and the decorative arts submitted for jury judgment. And it was resisted.

MR. BROWN: And that was just accepted, or it wasn't?

MS. HERDLE: I think they did have their own exhibition. And then you often, the same time, had this other.

MRS. MOORE: It was still called the Rochester Art Club, but they admitted others and submitted even their own work to a jury.

MR. BROWN: These were held here because --

MRS. MOORE: They were [inaudible] at the gallery.

MR. BROWN: By right or because they were people who more or less founded the museum?

MRS. MOORE: Well, that was always the acknowledged fact, that they had been responsible, to a large extent.

MR. BROWN: You came back with this idea they were going to have a jury show.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MR. BROWN: And it wasn't simply confined to club members.

MRS. MOORE: And it was not to be called the Rochester Art Club.

MS. HERDLE: [Inaudible]

MR. BROWN: Did they have to be people --

MRS. MOORE: It was to be called the Finger Lakes Exhibition.

MR. BROWN: Oh. So you had [inaudible] to be a regional?

MRS. MOORE: Yes, yes.

MR. BROWN: Artists drawn from the region?

MRS. MOORE: That expanded to - was it 19 counties, finally?

MS. HERDLE: Nineteen counties.

MRS. MOORE: I think in Rochester, um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: And it was also not just paintings. The crafts got in, too, very early, which was very nice. It was a general --

MR. BROWN: Now, those were first exhibited separately? Were those craft exhibitions separate?

MRS. MOORE: No.

MS. HERDLE: No, they were part of this annual exhibition of Rochester and regional art and crafts.

MR. BROWN: I think you told me before that they were exhibited through the Mechanics Institute, which is now Rochester Institute of Technology, that they had a role in the exhibition of crafts? Or am I wrong?

MRS. MOORE: You're wrong.

MR. BROWN: Okay.

MRS. MOORE: They had representation on our board.

MR. BROWN: I see. They weren't the prime --

MS. HERDLE: No, but later on they also - now, when did they come?

MR. BROWN: Oh, that's something later.

MS. HERDLE: The school for arts and crafts came much later.

MR. BROWN: Oh, that's something later.

MS. HERDLE: Then they really did have an input.

[SIMULTANEOUS CONVERSATION]

MR. BROWN: Sure. And so that was a mix of crafts and fine arts.

MRS. MOORE: Yes.

MR. BROWN: And it was a jury. Were the juries usually drawn from around the country? Did you try to get --

MRS. MOORE: Not local people, no.

MS. HERDLE: But mostly from the East, because it just - it was limited budget, you see.

MR. BROWN: Sure.

MS. HERDLE: So I think mostly from New York. You always tried to get a teacher --

MRS. MOORE: We had [inaudible]. We had Morris Kantor- I can't remember - Joseph Hirsch.

MR. BROWN: This began in 1927, I think.

MRS. MOORE: 1927.

MR. BROWN: The out-of-town juries. And what sort of response did you have?

MRS. MOORE: Very good.

MR. BROWN: From the art club? Were they?[Laughter]

MRS. MOORE: [Laughter]

MR. BROWN: They went along with it?

MRS. MOORE: They went along with it. And it was a piece of salesmanship that had to be - had to do it because it was - I think their attitude was excellent. But they had to be won to it.

MR. BROWN: And how did they do that?

MRS. MOORE: Well, I remember - I had to do it because I was the only one who had the idea. I went to their meeting, several evening meetings, and answered the questions. And it was - I think it was a very real instance of open-mindedness and having a gallery point of view.

MS. HERDLE: Well, these are very progressive people.

MRS. MOORE: The art club did not represent the whole - in the art club at that time, too, so that you did - we did - you did have supporters in the membership of the art club.

MS. HERDLE: Yes, yes.

MRS. MOORE: And I think one way they answered their own criticism with the other members, who were less receptive of the idea, was to have another annual exhibition each year, too, that was not held at the gallery.

MR. BROWN: Oh.

MS. HERDLE: Which that was part of our plan then.

MR. BROWN: That would be an outlet for the ones -

MS. HERDLE: Yes, yes.

MRS. MOORE: Yes. And that was it. But now they have a juried show. And they have a nonmembers jury.

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm.

MR. BROWN: Oh, and these things continue. They have their own.

MS. HERDLE: We have one up here right now, their annual exhibition up here.

MR. BROWN: Um-hm. But you have it here now.

MS. HERDLE: We have it here. And then they have another one, but they don't call it their annual exhibition. It's another, fall exhibition or spring exhibition, that kind of thing. They have it at other places, like Nazareth Art Academy.

MR. BROWN: Can we hold just a minute?

MRS. MOORE: Yep.

MR. BROWN: We were talking about craft exhibitions. And I know that you pioneered in ceramic.

MRS. MOORE: The ceramic, um-hm.

MR. BROWN: How did those get underway here? How did that come about?

MRS. MOORE: Well, I did it again with Cleveland connections. It was a very strong group of ceramists in Cleveland, as you know.

MR. BROWN: In Cleveland? Who were some of them at that time? Do you recall?

MRS. MOORE: Well, I can't remember their names.

MS. HERDLE: Wayland Gregory was one.

MR. BROWN: Wayland Gregory?

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm.

MRS. MOORE: I could easily find out. They were - Wayland Gregory, and the Scheiers were another important.

MS. HERDLE: Someone by the name of Frasier.

MRS. MOORE: Uh-huh, uh-huh, it was. I know it. I can't remember his --

MR. BROWN: It was their help you --

MRS. MOORE: With their help - I mean, they helped me with the forming of a list. And it was countrywide, a large group from California, a very large event. We had it for two years. And then Anna -

MS. HERDLE: Olmsted?

MR. BROWN: Olmsted, yeah.

MRS. MOORE: Olmsted. We couldn't afford it the third year. It was getting - it had grown so. Anna came and said, "I think I can get help from the Syracuse, China Onondaga pottery.

MR. BROWN: Pottery.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm. And it's help that I didn't have at hand at all. And so I gave her all the lists, and she just carried on. I hope Anna remembers that, not that I want credit. But I mean, that was actually the historical beginning.

MS. HERDLE: Was there another reason why Syracuse had an interest in ceramics? Who was Robineau?

MRS. MOORE: Yes, but that was - they had --

MS. HERDLE: She was a teacher of ceramics?

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm. Adelaide Robineau was one of the pioneer Americans.

MS. HERDLE: Adelaide, they always mention that in any history of American ceramics.

MR. BROWN: But you were the first to develop a national pottery show.

MRS. MOORE: Well, the national view of pottery in America had just not been done.

MR. BROWN: You don't know why? How did you happen to get the idea? Did the people in Cleveland said you ought to try it?

MRS. MOORE: No, I'm just impressed with what I had seen in Cleveland. It was a very strong group of pottery.

MS. HERDLE: Did they have a national school?

MRS. MOORE: No, no, no.

MS. HERDLE: Just their own people?

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm. And then I went to Columbus, Ohio. And they had a very strong department, University of - Ohio State University. That was another.

MR. BROWN: So you surmised that they're - if these places are strong, that countrywide, there must be other strong centers.

MRS. MOORE: Yes.

MR. BROWN: And you found that there were?

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm. Well, I worked on it for several years, really, I mean preparing for this.

MR. BROWN: The first one was in the late 20s, probably, something like that?

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm. We could look it up.

MR. BROWN: Yeah.

MRS. MOORE: I just have forgotten to do it. I will look it up and let you know.

MR. BROWN: Um-hm. So you got those underway. And then you began the - well, you didn't begin - the national jewelry exhibition.

MRS. MOORE: Yes.

MR. BROWN: So you picked up on the second one.

MS. HERDLE: The second one.

MR. BROWN: The first was down in West Virginia.

MRS. MOORE: West Virginia - Huntington.

MR. BROWN: And was this after you had come Miss Herdle?

MS. HERDLE: Yes.

MR. BROWN: This was in the 30s?

MS. HERDLE: I was later than that. I think it was in the 40s. I'm quite sure it was.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: And we largely got in on this because the director of the Huntington Museum used to be at the gallery here, Tom Tibbs. And we - and also, there are lots of Rochester people represented in that show, in Huntington, West Virginia. And he said, "I can't do it this year. Would there be any interest in having it in Rochester." And we said, "Of course, there would be."

So we got the - all over the firm, they made belts --

MR. BROWN: Hickok?

MS. HERDLE: Hickok, Hickok to sponsor it. And they sponsored the cost of the exhibition and a very good catalog that was done at the time. And Tom helped us any way he could. And that went on tour for a whole year after that. We just did it once. I think it was - there was another national ceramic, but I don't know where that was. I mean, national jewelry, which I don't know what it was.

MRS. MOORE: Grace McCann Morley was our judge, wasn't she?

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm.

MRS. MOORE: Do you know who she was?

MR. BROWN: This was well before - no, I don't.

MRS. MOORE: Well, she's now - she was the director of - you have to name it, in San Francisco. What was that? Which museum was she director of?

MS. HERDLE: The museum of - the San Francisco Museum of Art, which was devoted to modern things. And I - that was built after I left, so I had never seen it.

MRS. MOORE: And then -

MS. HERDLE: And then she was sent to India, wasn't she?

MRS. MOORE: Then became director of the New Delhi Museum - a very, very important person.

MR. BROWN: And she was your judge?

MS. HERDLE: She was one of the judges, because we also had the great Goldsmith person, Paul something

MRS. MOORE: From Cleveland.

MR. BROWN: Miller?

MS. HERDLE: Miller, yeah.

MRS. MOORE: Paul Miller.

MS. HERDLE: Paul Miller.

MRS. MOORE: That's right.

MR. BROWN: But these national shows - this was just at the time, then, that Mrs. Webb was starting the school for American craftsman, the American Craftsman's Council.

MRS. MOORE: That's right.

MR. BROWN: But you were doing these things then at the first - the ceramics in the late 20s. This was the forties before things were getting underway nationally.

MRS. MOORE: Yes. Well, that's true.

MR. BROWN: You were rather exceptional, then, among museums, to be doing --

MRS. MOORE: I think so.

MS. HERDLE: I think so. [Inaudible]

MR. BROWN: Plus you had Finger Lakes going every year, which included crafts.

MRS. MOORE: That's right. And we had the very close cooperation of the craftsmen, remember? They stayed - we were here until quarter to five one morning.

MS. HERDLE: All night, putting it together.

MRS. MOORE: Packing that ceramic exhibition for the road. They were just so devoted to the care of the objects because they were starting on a year's trip, you know.

MR. BROWN: You mean many of the craftsmen were there?

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm.

MRS. MOORE: Ronny Pearson - Ronny worked until five o'clock that morning, I remember.

MS. HERDLE: That was the jewelry, not for the ceramics.

MRS. MOORE: No, that was jewelry.

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm.

MR. BROWN: But did this - then, did all these shows - well, let's take the Finger Lakes exhibition. Did you get the feeling that they had a tremendous effect in terms of bringing more artists into the region? Were they encouraged by the fact that there was this steady exhibition?

MS. HERDLE: Oh, I think that they were. Don't you think they had a great influence?

MRS. MOORE: Oh, yes, I do, decidedly.

MS. HERDLE: Definitely.

MR. BROWN: Were there many artists when you began this in this region? Say, in the late 20s, early 30s?

MRS. MOORE: No, and there certainly - there weren't many craftsmen. I think that developed largely because of what the School for American Craftsmen brought out here and brought other people into the area.

MR. BROWN: I see. About what time?

MRS. MOORE: Well, they were there, but they weren't of the quality or the number that --

MR. BROWN: But when you had that pottery show, that was well before the school, wasn't it?

MRS. MOORE: That's right.

MR. BROWN: And the same with the jewelry. That's before the school came, is that right?

MRS. MOORE: No, no.

MS. HERDLE: No, no, no. They had Tage Frid and all of them.

MR. BROWN: They had already --

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: Uh-huh.

MR. BROWN: But now, the industry here, it's a high technological industry, isn't it, in the Rochester area?

MRS. MOORE: Yes.

MR. BROWN: Did that have as one effect – a great interest on the part of the public in crafts, in skill? Do you think? Did that give you sort of a --

MS. HERDLE: I should imagine it did, but I don't think we ever actually looked into it to see whether it had that effect.

MRS. MOORE: Well, there were a number of amateur craftsmen working. And they were in our classes. That was developed in our own workshop classes here. Remember, we taught, you know, about the school that we still have.

MR. BROWN: The school here at the gallery?

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: Yeah. But they weren't - well --

MR. BROWN: But that school - maybe we should say a little bit about them. That was something that you developed?

MRS. MOORE: Yes.

MS. HERDLE: It really began - it was one of the first things that you did at the gallery.

MRS. MOORE: One of the very first things. Well, yes, it happened in a very small way.

MS. HERDLE: [Inaudible]

MRS. MOORE: I did weekly, what, art appreciation talks for children. And they - we couldn't get them to go home. And this is actually the beginning. And I saw it was an opportunity to put them to work. I mean, drawing space - the talk of the day, and things like that.

MR. BROWN: And, Mrs. Moore, so you began the teaching?

MRS. MOORE: I began teaching. [Laughter]

MR. BROWN: And [inaudible].

MRS. MOORE: And had to get - we had a group of - a committee of mothers who collected the materials. It didn't cost the gallery anything - couldn't possibly start anything new.

MS. HERDLE: Was it also later on, though, that because that was one of the most popular things of membership - offerings of membership?

MRS. MOORE: Oh, yes, oh, yes. Well, then it became a very -

MS. HERDLE: then it became

MR. BROWN: You mean, through membership you were entitled to -

MS. HERDLE: Uh-huh.

MRS. MOORE: To have your children come.

MR. BROWN: Oh, children?

MRS. MOORE: Children.

MS. HERDLE: It began mostly for children at the beginning.

MRS. MOORE: At the beginning it was.

MR. BROWN: Then as you continued --

MRS. MOORE: This began in the 20s.

MR. BROWN: You continued then through the years as a particularly children's --

MRS. MOORE: And then little by little it began to have teenagers. And then it had young adults. And then it was a general - and we had over 700 in the creative workshop classes here. I think an average of about 22 classes a week.

MR. BROWN: My. And you had paid staff by then?

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm. Oh, yes. Oh, yes.

MR. BROWN: This was when, by the 60s or the early 60s or so, you had --

MRS. MOORE: This was - oh, it was in the 50s that we had even that many. We had - it was painting, drawing, sculpture, both additive sculpture, I mean, and - we were able to cast into bronze as well. And carving, both in stone and wood; printmaking; and then weaving - and we even took on modern dance. This was for young people. So it was - it's been a very continuing program. It's still in existence, you know. I don't know the statistics now; I really don't.

But it - the emphasis was always understanding art through doing it, not professional accomplishment so much as the experiencing of art. I mean, that was the reason why we went into it. And it was not a school. We wanted to keep it very definitely not a school - something based in an art gallery with works of art about. And I think that's --

MR. BROWN: You mean by "school," something with a --

MRS. MOORE: No matriculation or -

MS. HERDLE: It wasn't a professional school.

MRS. MOORE: Or even credits.

MS. HERDLE: No credits for it.

MR. BROWN: And yet, could people spend quite a bit of time here? Were there a number of courses they could take over the years if they wished to stick with it?

MS. HERDLE: Oh, yes.

MRS. MOORE: Yes. We developed then the beginners and advanced courses.

MR. BROWN: Did a number of people go on from there into careers?

MRS. MOORE: A number of people did.

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm.

MRS. MOORE: And we were very anxious. Well, a number of them were fed right into the School for American Craftsmen, which was an excellent opportunity.

MR. BROWN: Which came about 1950 or so?

MRS. MOORE: Yes, um-hm. We had some very good ceramists going to that school. But many won scholarships. Children would get scholarships to good art schools in the country.

MS. HERDLE: It really solved a problem because there was a need for that kind of thing. There was this professional art school in Rochester, the School for American Craftsmen, and that kind of thing. And then there were the kind of amateur things that the YMCA and the YWCA and some church groups would do. But that wasn't enough for the people who had a serious interest, but didn't want to develop into that too much. And the gallery classes really just met their needs.

MRS. MOORE: It was a workshop. We kept always avoiding calling it a school. It was a workshop.

MR. BROWN: Yeah.

MRS. MOORE: That was the - to explore your skills, if you had them, and to discover whether you had them and to do it in a creative atmosphere.

MS. HERDLE: It was probably the most popular privilege of membership for years and years and years. Now, I'm not so sure it is now.

MRS. MOORE: I don't know the numbers. I think it's still going on very actively.

MS. HERDLE: I don't know the numbers at all. Still going on.

MR. BROWN: But during those years, until the School for American Craftsmen came, there wasn't an art school in town, was there?

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: Yes, there was.

MR. BROWN: There was?

MRS. MOORE: A very early art school.

MS. HERDLE: At Mechanics Institute, at RIT.

MR. BROWN: At RIT?

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm.

MR. BROWN: And when the school came here in 1950, it merged with that school?

MRS. MOORE: With that school.

MS. HERDLE: Well, it didn't actually merge. I think the School for American Craftsmen was distinct from the art school.

MRS. MOORE: That's true. Harold Brennan was the dean of it.

MS. HERDLE: And there was some feeling between the two, yes.

MRS. MOORE: And then he became the dean of the whole art school.

MR. BROWN: I see.

MS. HERDLE: The dean of the whole business. I don't think there was a --

MRS. MOORE: There was a gradual melding.

MR. BROWN: Did you - was there quite an effect when the School for American Craftsmen came here? Did you notice?

MRS. MOORE: Oh, yes.

MR. BROWN: Was there a quickening of professionalism?

MRS. MOORE: Oh, yes.

MS. HERDLE: Oh, yes, yes, yes.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MR. BROWN: Because it brought in those forms?

MRS. MOORE: It became a really very active crafts center.

MS. HERDLE: And not only crafts, because many of them were also painters.

MR. BROWN: Yes, I'm going back to that.

MS. HERDLE: Yes.

MR. BROWN: With American painting -

MS. HERDLE: Like Franz Wildenhain, who is also a painter.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm, um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: And I think one of the first things was an award that he got in a Finger Lakes show for his painting on his ceramic things.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm, um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: And there were others, too.

MR. BROWN: Do you recall, why did the school come here, the School for American Craftsmen? Was it - did it think that Rochester would be a particularly receptive community or --

MRS. MOORE: I don't think we know that.

MS. HERDLE: I really don't know.

MRS. MOORE: I don't think I -

MS. HERDLE: Where were they? They were at -

MRS. MOORE: At Alfred.

MS. HERDLE: Yeah.

MRS. MOORE: No, first of all -

MS. HERDLE: First at Dartmouth.

MRS. MOORE: Dartmouth, um-hm.

MR. BROWN: Only briefly at Alfred and then they came here.

MRS. MOORE: And they wanted institutional -

MS. HERDLE: Academic --

MRS. MOORE: Connection.

MS. HERDLE: Connection.

MRS. MOORE: Academic - very definitely. I understand that they went to University of Rochester, too. And we would have welcomed them very much. But we couldn't undertake it. We didn't have the space.

MR. BROWN: Where did they quarter when they came here, the School for American Craftsmen?

MS. HERDLE: Oh, the school. Well, they were at RIT. And they had a separate building, which was an old house down in the old Third Ward where the school was. And I think that was the Reynolds building down there. But it was terribly inadequate. They had limited space. And I don't think any of them had individual studios, as they have now.

And our space was equally limited. I think we had two classrooms for all these 700 people to work in. That was going night and day, after schools, during the day for the adults, and after school for the children, and Saturdays and Sundays for the children, and evenings for the adults. It was jammed.

MRS. MOORE: But that's greatly expanded now, of course. We have the whole lower floor of that big building over there.

MR. BROWN: Um-hm.

MRS. MOORE: Well, that is one, the craft - encouragement of the crafts.

MR. BROWN: Well, there were other aspects of exhibitions.

MS. HERDLE: Yeah, also --

MR. BROWN: You talked about --

MRS. MOORE: Yes.

MR. BROWN: Say, you know, post-World War II, we never really talked about that.

MRS. MOORE: Yes, um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: You also had an interest in - connection with local industry. We had exhibitions of photography long before it was popular to have exhibitions of photography. We had the [Rochester] International Salon of Photography.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: And that goes back to, when? The 20s, too, doesn't it?

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm, 20s.

MR. BROWN: Now, that was one you developed here, the International Salon?

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm.

MRS. MOORE: It was so particularly characteristic of Rochester. And we did it with local photographers, many of them people of international standing.

MS. HERDLE: But it was an international exhibition. We got things from China and Japan - from all over.

MRS. MOORE: Oh, yes, oh, yes.

MR. BROWN: And that was mainly through Kodak's being here, do you suppose?

MRS. MOORE: Well, it was Kodak personnel, not Kodak at all. They had - I don't think they did anything in the way of subsidizing, did they?

MS. HERDLE: No, they didn't.

MRS. MOORE: No. It was just because it was a very important segment of interest in the community.

MR. BROWN: Did you - were you the one who initiated it? Did you have the idea or you were talking with these people?

[SIMULTANEOUS CONVERSATION]

MS. HERDLE: Well, I think there was another museum. Was it Toronto?

MRS. MOORE: [Inaudible] Toronto Art Gallery had an exhibition of photography, too. And there was one in--out in the Midwest someplace that also had national shows, international shows of photography.

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm.

MRS. MOORE: And I don't know whether we got the idea from them or whether this - these people here in Rochester who exhibited in those other shows said that we should have one here, and it should be very outstanding because this was the photographic center, supposedly, of the world at that time.

And it's been - I remember that it was always the most popular show that we ever had at the gallery.

MR. BROWN: Was it? You had large crowds?

MRS. MOORE: Thousands came. Yes, yes, because everybody was connected with it. Either they owned stock in Eastman Kodak or they were actually on the payroll of Eastman Kodak.

MR. BROWN: So you'd get workers, too?

MRS. MOORE: Most definitely.

MS. HERDLE: Oh, yes.

MRS. MOORE: Oh, yes, definitely. We'd bring in an entirely different group that wouldn't come in any other time.

MR. BROWN: How large were the shows? Were there several hundred photographs?

MRS. MOORE: Oh, yes. They had a juror--jury for different classifications.

MR. BROWN: And this began in the 20s?

MRS. MOORE: Yeah.

MR. BROWN: And who were some of the jurors? Are there people that are pretty well known in photography?

MRS. MOORE: Well, we should do some collecting of names because they were some of the great photographers of that time.

MS. HERDLE: I know they went to New York for them. They went to Toronto for them, and Chicago.

MRS. MOORE: Oh, yes, yes.

MS. HERDLE: But I don't remember the names.

MRS. MOORE: I really don't -

MS. HERDLE: It wasn't - I don't think they're on the level as – Steichen,

[SIMULTANEOUS CONVERSATION]

MRS. MOORE: [Inaudible] was one of the important ones.

MS. HERDLE: Who?

MRS. MOORE: Keighley, K-e-i-g-h-l-e-y, l-y.

MS. HERDLE: I don't remember him.

MRS. MOORE: Still a very honored name.

MR. BROWN: Did these salons continue for many years?

MRS. MOORE: Yes. In fact, regularly, until when?

MS. HERDLE: Oh, we should have looked into this. They're still going on, but not here. I should say that, for a time, they were very, very important. And then there was a more expressionistic, a more experimental type of photography that developed, which was not represented in what was called the salon type, that was a much more conservative kind.

MR. BROWN: You're talking now about maybe the 40s or 50s? The change came?

MS. HERDLE: I'm talking about the 60s.

MR. BROWN: The 60s?

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: And little by little, this seemed - the salons that we sponsored became the traditional.

MRS. MOORE: The conservative.

MS. HERDLE: Conservative, and less experimental, although in a way, we were less interested in having them.

MR. BROWN: Um. Yeah. It was just sort of a holding action.

MS. HERDLE: Yes.

MRS. MOORE: Yes. That's right.

MS. HERDLE: Because it was an important part of the Rochester community and it meant a lot to have the people come here. But against that was the fact that we were not getting the more experimental people.

MR. BROWN: They were staying away from here.

MS. HERDLE: And then also, Eastman House came.

MRS. MOORE: Yes.

MR. BROWN: Yes.

MS. HERDLE: And that was their field.

MRS. MOORE: But we had - I remember. The importance of this was the fact that it was a world view. And the - for instance, the Japanese group always was large and exciting abstract material. They would be, I think, the first national group in the exhibition personnel who would opt for, not what they called pictorial photography. This was really expressionism.

MS. HERDLE: They were beautiful ones.

MRS. MOORE: Beautiful. Superb.

MR. BROWN: When did they begin? Maybe in the 50s or so?

MS. HERDLE: They began - yes, early 50s.

MRS. MOORE: I think so, um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: And even during the war years we had them. And the entries came in from behind the Iron Curtain as well. And they - I think the entry fee was a dollar. And we'd get these funny, rolled-up little dollars that would come in that evidently they had been hoarding away from Rumania, Hungary, and Germany. It was a very strong German group, and they were excellent.

MR. BROWN: Even during the war?

MS. HERDLE: During the war, believe it or not, they came in. [Laughter]

MRS. MOORE: There was no interruptions.

MS. HERDLE: No.

MRS. MOORE: Really. That was one thing. But I think we were always interested in presenting the state of contemporary art in America. And often, that was done in a big kind of survey exhibition. But then we had a number of special topical exhibitions of thematic things that I think should be mentioned because they were - a lot of scholarly effort was put on them, like the one called “Focus,” remember?

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm.

MR. BROWN: What was that about?

MS. HERDLE: That was the idea of – no, that wasn't the title - “In Focus,” wasn't it?

MRS. MOORE: “In Focus,” it was called.

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm. The theme of realism of absolute reduction of the visual thing on into a painting. And we went back to very early times and brought it down to contemporary times, and it was a very interesting show, which we gathered. We had difficulty in having that kind of a show because our budget was so terribly limited. I think it was limited to about 4000 dollars during those times, and you just couldn't do very much in a national show.

MR. BROWN: What about sharing the show? Was this when, in the 1950s?

MRS. MOORE: It would be in the - yeah.

MR. BROWN: And it was a little before museums began sharing shows?

MRS. MOORE: That's right, yes, yes.

MR. BROWN: So that it would begin and end here. You had to – initiate and originate..

MS. HERDLE: Yes.

MRS. MOORE: You had to do the whole thing. And you couldn't get important things for extended loans.

MR. BROWN: No?

MRS. MOORE: That was another reason.

MR. BROWN: But earlier, you could?

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MR. BROWN: Because you did The Met and The Museum of Modern Art lend things?

MRS. MOORE: Yes.

MS. HERDLE: Well, they used to have circuit exhibitions, too.

MRS. MOORE: Yes, it's true.

MR. BROWN: But they didn't [inaudible] mid- or late-50s, those were a thing of the past, weren't they?

MS. HERDLE: Yes. Well, we never did have them from the Met. But we did have them from the Museum of Modern Art.

MRS. MOORE: Many.

MS. HERDLE: Into the 60s.

MRS. MOORE: Many. I know it. And we did an exhibition on the artists' signature.

MS. HERDLE: “Signed in Paint,” it was called.

MRS. MOORE: “Signed in Paint.”

MS. HERDLE: Just the way the artist-

MRS. MOORE: Which was the characteristic brushstroke, the handling of paint as substance, material.

MS. HERDLE: That was fun to do.

MRS. MOORE: And that was combined with magnification of the brushstroke and a lot of x-ray records of the hidden brushstrokes of masterpieces. It was a very interesting exhibition.

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm.

MRS. MOORE: Another was the development of landscape painting. We had some -

MS. HERDLE: Yeah.

MRS. MOORE: Very early times.

MS. HERDLE: And the way the landscape was developed in the East as versus the West - that was another show that we did.

MRS. MOORE: That we did with -

MS. HERDLE: Utica.

MRS. MOORE: Utica, that's right. And another one called “Rebels in Art,” which was - covered about three centuries, always the rebellious innovator.

MS. HERDLE: And it was from that show that we bought the El Greco.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm. Those were theme exhibitions.

MR. BROWN: That was when?

MS. HERDLE: That was in the 30s.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MR. BROWN: And the El Greco was one of the most - the first important painting -

MRS. MOORE: Painting that we had.

MR. BROWN: European painting. Did you - have you seen over the years, since the 30s or 20s, the changing audience for such exhibitions as you're just speaking of?

MRS. MOORE: Oh, I think that is --

MR. BROWN: Is it a greater audience now, or --

MRS. MOORE: Well, it's a more diverse audience, very much. I mean, in my experience.

MS. HERDLE: It's a better informed audience, too.

MRS. MOORE: Much better, um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: I think they know more.

MR. BROWN: Well, now, for example, who would come to the pioneer national ceramics show? Mostly artists and a few of the wealthy people locally? Or quite a different audience? Did many of the working men come?

MRS. MOORE: Not very many of the working men would come to that.

MS. HERDLE: No, no, no. But they did come to shows like - we did another thing on good and bad design, when we actually went in the department stores and picked things that were of good design and bad design and showed them here. And then they took the test at the end to see whether their choice was good or not, and why it was or wasn't. And we got loads of people.

MRS. MOORE: [Inaudible] good design. I remember the introductory gallery.

MS. HERDLE: Yeah. What was meant by good design.

MRS. MOORE: The appropriateness to the purpose, to the use, to the function.

MS. HERDLE: I'll never forget when we had to bring back the bad designs, the lamps, to Edwards. [Laughter] We bought - the worst thing was this - the lamp base was in the form of skull.

MRS. MOORE: You could get it either in black or white. And the eyes would open and the light came through that thing. [Laughter]

MR. BROWN: [Laughter]

MS. HERDLE: Of course, we didn't put the name of the store, the source that we got the bad design from. But when we got a good design, we put the name of the store there. But we had to bring it back, of course. No one would want that. And the clerk said, "Oh my god, there it's coming in again." [Laughter]

MR. BROWN: [Laughter]

MRS. MOORE: [Laughter]

MS. HERDLE: But also, the good design came from Edwards, too.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: Remember that really beautiful lamp that they could buy for 20 dollars - no, it was less than that - 15, I think. They had to hire - I mean, they had to put in an order for 100 more lamps.

MR. BROWN: My.

MS. HERDLE: Good one. [Laughter]

MR. BROWN: So it helped.

MS. HERDLE: It helped.

MR. BROWN: It was potentially very sensitive, dealing with these things.

MRS. MOORE: You set up the principles of good design. And that's the thing.

MR. BROWN: Was this in the 30s or so, prior to [inaudible]?

MS. HERDLE: No, that was in the 40s.

MR. BROWN: And for this, you get a lot of men who are coming in?

MS. HERDLE: Oh, yes, yes. And a lot of debate, that they didn't agree with our choice of things.

MR. BROWN: But you didn't mind?

MS. HERDLE: We didn't mind, no.

MRS. MOORE: I remember having a whole group of what made a good button.

MR. BROWN: Um-hm.

MRS. MOORE: And the button that wouldn't button because it had four-square corners, and that sort of thing. But just appropriateness to function - and then another was appropriateness to material. I mean, not try to -

MS. HERDLE: Do something else.

MRS. MOORE: -- to add or conceal, but just let be - let it be an honest use of materials, another thing. We had about eight principles.

MS. HERDLE: And then we boiled that exhibition down to a small - I think several small exhibits, which we sent out to the schools afterwards, so that that had a lasting effect, long after the show was over here at the gallery. But I think there was an entirely different crowd that would come up for that kind of thing.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MR. BROWN: Well, by the 1960s, did things change very much by then? Because, Mrs. Moore, you were here till mid --

MRS. MOORE: Till 62, I was here.

MR. BROWN: And you were here several -

MS. HERDLE: Till 72.

MR. BROWN: Yeah.

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: You mean in the type of people that came?

MR. BROWN: Well, the type of people, the type of exhibitions, the enlargement of this building.

MS. HERDLE: That made a big, big difference, yes.

MRS. MOORE: Oh, yes.

MR. BROWN: And that was what, mid-60s, early 60s?

MS. HERDLE: In 66, I think it was.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm, um-hm. And it was a younger crowd. I mean, it had really become a popular interest.

MS. HERDLE: And it became a sort of community center, too. I mean, you'd come in here in the morning and mothers would be here with their children, just to come in for a bit and out. And that was, of course, before we had to put an entrance admission fee. And that made a big difference. That really cut our attendance drastically. They just - they couldn't afford it. But the opening of the new gallery made an immense --

MR. BROWN: How did that come about, the new gallery? Was that through both of your efforts, partly? People that you knew over the years?

MRS. MOORE: Well, it was such an obvious pressure of space that it became more and more obvious and undeniable, the fact that we had to have more space. But I think it was actually --

MS. HERDLE: It was a capital fund drive, wasn't it?

MRS. MOORE: - spearheaded by the capital fund drive.

MR. BROWN: How did that get started, through you?

MRS. MOORE: It was through membership.

MS. HERDLE: No, I think it was really a little later than that because - wasn't it Harris came about that time? You left in 62. And this opened in 66. So I think really -

MRS. MOORE: You mean this last building?

MR. BROWN: Yes.

MRS. MOORE: Because we've had two different periods of expansion.

MR. BROWN: But Harris Prior came when, 62 or 3?

MRS. MOORE: Sixty-two.

MS. HERDLE: Sixty-two.

MR. BROWN: And you served as his curator or -

MS. HERDLE: I was assistant director. He had two assistant directors, Langdon Clay  for education, and I was for exhibition and collections. And I think the campaign for it was in 64. And I've forgotten how much we raised. We didn't quite make it, but almost.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm, that time, um-hm.

MR. BROWN: Did Prior bring in a different orientation, do you think, from what you had, Mrs. Moore?

MRS. MOORE: I don't think so. I think there has been surprising continuity. And that goes back to my father. I'm not taking credit for that. I think he set up the image of the thing in the city. I mean, it's a much overworked word; I don't mean it. But the - just the meaning of the gallery in - to Rochester. And I think that's -

MS. HERDLE: And Harris was well aware of the gallery, too, because he would come down - well, he always came down for the opening of our Finger Lakes show. And he came down for our open house many times, which was a free-for-all for all the gallery members. And he, I think, did that at Utica for a time, too, later.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MR. BROWN: This was - he was when he was in Utica that he came here?

MS. HERDLE: He was still the director.

MR. BROWN: And then he would come here?

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm, um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: Yeah. And he would come down for any number of things like this. He also came down as a lecturer.

MR. BROWN: Had you felt that the - do you feel that the gallery is continuing then to serve the people and yet have this affiliation with the university?

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: Yes.

MR. BROWN: And that one does not impinge on the other, particularly?

MS. HERDLE: I think we've been forced to sort of play up the community angle because we need our membership for support and for -

MR. BROWN: Yes. Well, and back in all our discussion today, you've been stressing exhibitions and things that are now almost outreach.

MS. HERDLE: Lectures and stuff, yeah, um-hm, um-hm.

MR. BROWN: As opposed to, say, the more of the Fogg Museum orientation.

MRS. MOORE: Yes, yes.

MR. BROWN: Or that is, the Memorial Gallery as used by the University of Rochester students.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MR. BROWN: But I suppose they are.

MRS. MOORE: It is, but not as much as we would like to have them. Of course, there's a geographical element here. They're too far away to get down here, between classes, for example. If it's not on the campus of the university, it's too far removed.

MR. BROWN: The university used to be very close didn't it.

MS. HERDLE: Yes, right here. Right here.

MRS. MOORE: This was university property, the old.

MS. HERDLE: Um-hm.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: And we used to have all the history of art classes here at the gallery.

MR. BROWN: Yes.

MS. HERDLE: Which made a big difference.

MRS. MOORE: And I think the development of our collection has had the university needs in mind, very definitely.

MS. HERDLE: Always.

MRS. MOORE: Very - in quality and in coverage of the whole - of the history of art.

MS. HERDLE: Well, they've always been on our board.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MR. BROWN: Now, in your - yes, in your development of the collection, you mentioned earlier, you make a sort of a skeletal art history.

MS. HERDLE: Yes.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MR. BROWN: Do you feel that through the years you were able to, once in awhile, perhaps fairly often, get first-class things, despite your limited resources? What are some of those that you feel that you have?

MRS. MOORE: Yes. Yes. We were. I remember making out the accession plan.

MR. BROWN: Yeah.

MRS. MOORE: And just going into realms of complete idealism. I mean, nothing but the dream world when you'd put down Babylonian reliefs.

Ms. Herdle: Out of the blue

MR. BROWN: Sure.

MRS. MOORE: The Assyrian sculpture. And we'd debate. We were doing this with the university department as well. Well, why not put it down? We need it for teaching purposes. And then suddenly, things would be fulfilled. I mean, we were able to get an Assyrian relief. This was through Mr. Brummer, again, because Cleveland had just been given a very important whole series, and it was releasing this one, and Brummer thought it was better in quality than the big ones that they were taking.

MR. BROWN: Yeah.

MRS. MOORE: And that is one example of the kind of unbelievable expectation that just came to be. Isn't that true?

MS. HERDLE: That's true.

MRS. MOORE: In a number of ways.

MR. BROWN: This happened time and again, did it?

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MR. BROWN: So therefore, you reckon you do have a number of first-class examples?

MS. HERDLE: I think we're strong in Medieval art, as you mentioned before.

MR. BROWN: Yes.

MS. HERDLE: I think the Doubting Thomas Capital is an excellent example. I don't think there's a finer one of that kind in the country, really.

MRS. MOORE: The Metropolitan [Museum of Art] gave it very real emphasis in their exhibition, “The Year 1200.”

MR. BROWN: What about the mourning figures at Cleveland? Were you in the market for those at the time they came or?

MRS. MOORE: No. We weren't. We weren't.

MS. HERDLE: No.

MRS. MOORE: Aren't they beautiful?

MS. HERDLE: They're wonderful.

MRS. MOORE: Yes. Oh, I think Cleveland is -

MS. HERDLE: Cleveland's collection, I think, is the finest in the country.

MRS. MOORE: Their quality - just consistent quality.

MR. BROWN: In Medieval.

MRS. MOORE: Yes.

MS. HERDLE: No, and in other divisions, as well.

MRS. MOORE: Many others. No, I think William Milliken was a - don't you have great respect for William Milliken's scholarship?

MR. BROWN: Um-hm. Did you work closely with him over the years at one time or another?

MRS. MOORE: I did. I sort of trained under him for awhile, too. He was just another one of the tutors that I had. And I knew him very well, and was taught - I remember being taken upstairs. Did you ever see the room above his office?

MR. BROWN: No.

MRS. MOORE: That's where he conferred with - communed with things that he had under consideration. And just being introduced by him to The Proverbs. This was the painting of the French bishop. Do you know the one I mean, fifteenth century?

MS. HERDLE: No, I don't. In their collection?

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm. Now, that's the kind of specific training that meant a great deal, because he'd bring out the problems, what was unestablished about it, what had to be determined before it became a museum consideration, and what documentation you had to begin with. And then going to the physical examination and the stylistic identity, because this had no provenance, no name at all. The stylistic placement of it - those were all basic problems [inaudible].

MS. HERDLE: They had one big advantage that we, unfortunately, never had, that the question of funds was never a drawback.

MRS. MOORE: No. No.

MR. BROWN: But they still - even though they made a mistake, they could buy something else -

MRS. MOORE: Yes, that's right.

MR. BROWN: Nevertheless, they still wanted to be right the first time.

MS. HERDLE: Oh, yes.

MRS. MOORE: That's right.

MR. BROWN: And that's what you learned.

MRS. MOORE: That's what you learned.

MR. BROWN: How long were you with him?

MRS. MOORE: Well, it was broken times. I mean, I'd go and I'd - when something important was up for consideration.

MR. BROWN: He would call you and you would go up to watch him go through this process?

MRS. MOORE: Well, yes. And I'm just wondering. That was much more in connection with when he would - I would be out there for other reasons. And he'd say, "Now, this is something I think you'd be - I think would help a great deal because I'm making up my own mind about this." And you just happened upon these important, significant times. It wasn't planned. But it accumulated to a great deal of very important introductory experience for me.

I very much wish that I had had more of a background in the history of art. I mean, I just had to piece it together myself through travel and a great deal of study.

MS. HERDLE: That's the best way of doing it, I think.

MR. BROWN: But Ms. Herdle, on the other hand, you at the Fogg did have a chance to -

MRS. MOORE: Well, she had the wherewithal-

MS. HERDLE: I'm just thinking how much of the program - in fact, one day a week was just devoted to identification of objects. And Mr. Sachs would bring in a whole - maybe four or five things and without any identification of them at all.

MRS. MOORE: [Inaudible]

MS. HERDLE: And you'd have to - he would call on one person: "Now, analyze this for me." And that meant, first of all, do you like this thing? What period does it represent? Is it - where would you go for a source material on it? What scholar would you connect, would you write to? How would you treat it? How would it fit into a collection? And it was horrific if you were called upon. And you were called upon at least once every two weeks to do this. But it was wonderful training.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MR. BROWN: Sure.

MS. HERDLE: Because you had to test your eye.

MRS. MOORE: It's testing your application of your knowledge.

MS. HERDLE: Yeah.

MR. BROWN: Because you were going to have to do that -

MS. HERDLE: You had to do that, definitely. Um-hm.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm. We did a great deal of educational traveling. When we would buy a piece that had insufficient documentation, we'd spend a whole summer, often, didn't we?

MS. HERDLE: And sometimes you'd find it, and sometimes you wouldn't.

MRS. MOORE: Tracing.

MR. BROWN: You mean you would have bought it already?

MS. HERDLE: Yeah.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: Oh, we couldn't part with it.

MRS. MOORE: [Laughter]

MS. HERDLE: Well --

MR. BROWN: Yeah, but you'd know where it was from -

MRS. MOORE: The quality was assured, but you needed to know more about it.

MR. BROWN: Yes.

MRS. MOORE: And I think that kind of field research is awfully important.

MR. BROWN: Where are you talking about would this take place?

MRS. MOORE: France.

MS. HERDLE: France, particularly.

MRS. MOORE: For instance, the twelfth century angel, which is in the north wall of the fountain court upstairs came from Brummer. And without any, any description at all, we started out in the Archive in Paris, thinking that we could probably find the façade for the missing sculpture. [Laughter]

MS. HERDLE: We had hopes, anyway.

MR. BROWN: Photographic [inaudible]?

MRS. MOORE: Yes.

MS. HERDLE: Yes.

MRS. MOORE: And then we realized, of course, we had all of your Fogg notes because you had studied with Kingsley Porter and which school of Romanesque sculpture it represented.

MS. HERDLE: Stylistically, that pointed to one area.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm, yes.

MR. BROWN: Did you have photographs, too, from that - those courses you had - university prints?

MS. HERDLE: Yes. And also, I remember --

MRS. MOORE: Which we ordered from the Archive, too, many - still many of them.

MS. HERDLE: Have them in the archives, um-hm.

MRS. MOORE: But it was - the very interesting question was, what part on the façade of a church would this angel play? And we came into some very interesting sort of choice of roles. One would be that she was a - she would be attendant on the risen Christ, holding up the mandorla  that surrounded him, the almond-shaped mandorla. Or she would be that wonderful sort of transition which you saw on many of them, particularly - well, Ruffeck [phonetic] [Ruffec?] is the one I'm thinking of specially, where an angel is, as ours is, looking up - looking down and pointing up.

MS. HERDLE: Pointing up.

MRS. MOORE: She's looking down at a - usually, a whole zone of sculptures. This happened, oh, in dozens and dozens of twelfth century early churches.

MS. HERDLE: It was typical of this area.

MRS. MOORE: She'd be looking down at a group of either the 24 elders or the 12 apostles, pointing up with her hand - pointing their attention to the risen Christ, the vision of Isaiah.

MR. BROWN: The risen Christ?

MRS. MOORE: And we just had to work it out. We found, to our satisfaction which school she'd --

MS. HERDLE: We think we found the church, too. But that will probably never be proved.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: But stylistically, from the point of view of the material, we chipped off a little bit, the wall there.

MRS. MOORE: Even the kind of lichen that grew on the stone.

MR. BROWN: This was from a [inaudible] church that seemed to be in the area where that style was known?

MRS. MOORE: Yeah, um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: Uh-huh. And the only part, the façade of the church, the west façade of the church is gone completely, where ours was, probably. And the only part that shows sculptures is one of the side walls of the transept. And that has the same, almost the same type of figure that we have - same size, same quality, same folds, and that kind of thing. And where the eyes got put in and where the hair is cut in -

MRS. MOORE: The pattern of the hem of the folds is very important.

MS. HERDLE: The curved area.

MRS. MOORE: It's always stylistically done.

MS. HERDLE: But there are no records.

MR. BROWN: Yeah. Yeah.

MRS. MOORE: No. Probably will never be able to --

MR. BROWN: Now, when you came - when you got an actual sculpture like that, did you try to put it in a context here, suggest to the viewer as part of the transept or part of the --

MRS. MOORE: Yes.

MS. HERDLE: Yes.

MRS. MOORE: We've done that up there.

MS. HERDLE: We've done that up there.

MRS. MOORE: Is it still that way?

MS. HERDLE: I'm sure it is.

MRS. MOORE: I didn't know if it had.

MR. BROWN: You knew these were fragments. You knew that many of them didn't even have provenance.

MRS. MOORE: No.

MR. BROWN: But you did want to do what you could through your research and suggest where it might have been.

MRS. MOORE: Yes. That's right.

MR. BROWN: By one means or another to place this.

MS. HERDLE: And you could, in the relationship.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MR. BROWN: In the gallery here?

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm. And then, of course, you point it out on the label as much as you can, without too much text, you know.

MR. BROWN: Did you like, prefer brief labels or labels that were quite descriptive?

MRS. MOORE: We like two kinds of labels - the individual object, which would answer the question of, What is it?

MS. HERDLE: And the date.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm, and the date.

MS. HERDLE: And the material and all that. But then below that, then you can have a much fuller description of how it relates -

MRS. MOORE: A master label, if people wanted to go into it in greater depth.

MS. HERDLE: And iconography

MRS. MOORE: I think that's the ideal way. I don't know whether that was Harris's way. Yes, it was.

MS. HERDLE: Was it? Yes, I think it was. But I don't know whether it's there now because I really haven't looked at the labels upstairs. [Laughter]

MR. BROWN: [Laughter]

MS. HERDLE: It might not be.

MRS. MOORE: Well, I think John differed from that.

MS. HERDLE: Yeah. He didn't want any long labels on at all.

MRS. MOORE: No, which made us very unhappy because it was just withholding information that people want to have. And you're not forcing it on them.

MS. HERDLE: No. They could pass on.

MRS. MOORE: They don't have to read it.

MR. BROWN: Yeah. Yeah. Maybe it's the anti-clutter, the visual thing.

MS. HERDLE: Could be.

MRS. MOORE: Yes. Yes. Well, I can understand that.

MS. HERDLE: Because the disturbing element in a label is, you can't help it because it's a different color and texture and all the rest of it.

MR. BROWN: Well, now you're speaking of things of the 70s right almost to the present. Are you both periodically involved in consulting? Called upon here at the Memorial Gallery?

MS. HERDLE: Well, I'm still on the staff at the gallery.

MRS. MOORE: Still on the staff, uh-huh.

MS. HERDLE: I still have a salary, and I'm supposedly due here one day a week. And sometimes I do some lecturing, and I install the lending and sales gallery. So keeping my hand in that, still.

MRS. MOORE: And do research.

MS. HERDLE: And do research on things. And we're also doing it – for the last how many months? We've been working with Betsy Brayer on the history of the gallery.

MR. BROWN: Do you feel that's very important to set down, don't you?

MS. HERDLE: Yeah.

MR. BROWN: Because you feel it's been a very important gallery?

MRS. MOORE: I don't think it's so important. But it's --

MS. HERDLE: I think it is. I think any record should be - you don't have to use it.

MRS. MOORE: No.

MS. HERDLE: But it should be there.

MR. BROWN: But you look at it at the gallery, don't you? Do you think its - what do you think its role - where will it fit, the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, in American art history? Why don't each of you give your --

MRS. MOORE: Well, I don't think we should be too glib, or quick in answering because it's a very serious speculation.

MS. HERDLE: In the whole history of art in America?

MR. BROWN: Well, not the whole [Laughter].

MRS. MOORE: [Laughter]

MS. HERDLE: [Laughter] I think just because we're typical of a lot of Americans that I think it is important that you have an active art center, someplace that suits a community and the various elements in the community, and yet is a storage area for works of art that can be preserved.

I remember when I was in Mr. Sachs's class one of the questions at the end of the term was, What was the most important thing that happened in the art world that year? And this was in 1932 - no, 30, it was. And I wrote down - that was the year that the Marion Stratton Gould Fund came to the gallery. So I said that was the most important thing because a small museum finally had the chance to buy and to assemble a collection. And that was the year that - oh, the Winslow collection came to the Boston Museum.

MRS. MOORE: Um-hm.

MS. HERDLE: Chinese art came to the Fogg Museum. And there was a great collection that came to the Metropolitan. I've forgotten what it was. And so, the next day Mr. Sachs, and the next time we met, went through them - by god, he was reading mine. And I got - just - he said, "No. That was most important. A small museum really takes its place in the American scene."

MR. BROWN: In your opinion, it has.

MS. HERDLE: [Laughter] It has.

[END OF INTERVIEW]


This transcript is in the public domain and may be used without permission. Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Gertrude Herdle Moore and Isabel Herdle, 1979 July 27, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.