Oral history interview with Nathan Oliveira, 1978 Aug. 9-1981 Dec. 29

Oliveira, Nathan , b. 1928 d. 2010
Painter, Sculptor, Printmaker
Active in San Francisco, Calif.

Size: Transcript, 1978-1980 sessions: 92 p.
Transcript 1981 session: 28 p.

Format: Originally recorded on 3 sound tape reels and 2 sound cassettes. Reformated in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hrs., 39 min.

Collection Summary: An interview of Nathan Oliveira conducted 1978 Aug. 9-1981 Dec. 29, by Paul Karlstrom, for the Archives of American Art.

Oliveira speaks of his family background and ancestry; his childhood; his education; the development of his interest in art; working as a bookbinder; his inspirations from the old masters; studying with Max Beckmann and Otis Oldfield; his U.S. Army service; working with Richard Diebenkorn; getting established in galleries as a printmaker; teaching printmaking; his European travels; living in Illinois and its effect on his career; moving to California; and meeting and working with Martha Jackson. He recalls Billy Al Bengston, Ivan Albright, and Willem de Kooning, and discusses de Kooning's influence on him.

Oliveira also speaks of subject matter in his paintings, and his departure from and his later return to the human figure; the relationship between artist and model; the importance and persistence of the figurative tradition in American art; artists he admires. He recalls Keith Boyle and Frank Lobdell.

Biographical/Historical Note: Nathan Oliveira (1928-2010) was a painter, printmaker, and sculptor from Stanford, Calif.

These interviews are part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.

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.

How to Use this Interview

  • 1978-1980 session transcript: microfilm reel 3198 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
  • 1978-1980 session; transcript: Transcript available on microfilm.
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