Horowitz, Raymond J.
Active in New York, N.Y.
Sound recording: 3 sound cassettes (4 hrs. 30 min.) : analog.
Transcript 56 p.
Collection Summary: An interview of Raymond Horowitz conducted 2004 Oct.20-Nov. 5, by Avis Berman, for the Archives of American Art, in New York, N.Y.
Horowitz speaks of his privileged childhood in New York; the effects of the Depression on his familys finances; attending Columbia University for Law and the anti-Semitism he faced there; his ingratiation into art appreciation through Meyer Shapiro; employment under then-New York City comptroller Joseph McGoldrick; the formation of his law practice; and his marriage to his wife, Margaret Goldenberg. Horowitz also mentions his involvement in left-wing political movements; how he managed relationships with different dealers; his experiences with misattributed artworks and forgeries, particularly his luck in avoiding them; the hobbies of himself and his wife; how he avoids relationships with the artists of his works; sharing information with other collectors; the economics of donating artworks and the subsequent tax breaks;
the importance of credit in art purchasing; how he and Margaret conferred on purchases; their affinity for Chase; his habits on lending to exhibitions; the differences between the management of the Metropolitan Museum and the National Gallery; his summer homes in East Hampton and Provincetown; the problems with contemporary art scholarship; and the importance of dealers in affirming the interest in American art. Horowitz spends most of the interview reflecting upon others in the art world whom he has met. He recalls Ira Spanierman, Dan and Rita Fraad, Charles Merill Mount, Victor Spark, Abraham Adler, Nicolai Cikovsky, Phillipe de Montebello, Theodore Stebbins, Jack Levine, Daniel Terra, Joseph Hirshhorn, Norman Hirschl, John Canaday, Doris and Harry Rubin, Paul Mellon, Bill Gerdts, Paul Magriel, Bernard Meyers, and many others.
Biographical/Historical Note: Interviewee Raymond Horowitz (1916-2005) was a collector from New York, N.Y. Avis Berman is an art historian from New York, N.Y.
This interview is 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 administrators.
Funding for this interview provided by the New Land Foundation.
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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Also in the Archives
- Oral history interview with Raymond J. Horowitz, 1973 Jan. 17
- Raymond and Margaret Horowitz papers, 1903-2007, bulk 1960-2007
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 Raymond J. Horowitz, 2004 Oct. 20-Nov. 5, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Interview with Raymond Horowitz
Conducted by Avis Berman
At his apartment on Fifth Avenue in New York, NY
October 20, 29, and November 5, 2004
October 29, 2004 session
November 5, 2004 session
The following oral history transcript is the result of a tape-recorded interview with Raymond Horowitz on October 20, 29, and november 5, 2004. The interview took place at his apartment on Fifth Avenue in New York, NY, and was conducted by Avis Berman for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Funding for this interview provided by the New Land Foundation.
The reader should bear in mind that he or she is reading a transcript of spoken, rather than written, prose.
AVIS BERMAN: Avis Berman, interviewing Raymond J. Horowitz for the Archives of American Art History Program, October 20th, 2004, in his apartment on Fifth Avenue. And would you begin by stating your full name and date of birth?
RAYMOND HOROWITZ: Raymond J. Horowitz, and the date of birth is May 7, 1916.
MS. BERMAN: My goodness, so you must be drinking monkey glands. From looking at you, I wouldn't have known. Now, would you begin by telling me about your family background, including your mother's maiden name?
MR. HOROWITZ: My mother's maiden name-
MS. BERMAN: Her name, actually.
MR. HOROWITZ: Her name was Sadie Freiman. My father is-was Israel S. Horowitz. I don't know when he was born, but he became a doctor. I believe he was born in Russia, came here as a very young toddler, and in due course graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons and became a doctor at the beginning of the 20th Century.
MS. BERMAN: That's extraordinary.
MR. HOROWITZ: And, my mother, I don't know her date of birth either. I don't remember. I was actually trying to ascertain these facts for other reasons. And she was one of five children. Her father came over as an immigrant in this conventional rags to riches story, which began as a peddler and ended up a multimillionaire in the woolen business, making a fortune at the time of World War I selling the cloth to the government for uniforms. However, during the course of the Depression, my father and mother lost all their money in the stock market, even though we had, by reason of the riches of the families, the respective families, I had a quite privileged youth. We had a chauffeur, a governess, we had a cultural home, not the visual arts, but the accent was on music. My mother enjoyed and knew something about music. She took me to the opera and we had musicales at home. I remember Eugene Normandy coming to the house, and other noted musicians on their way up to extraordinary fame and glamour. So, it was a comfortable background until the jolt came when the Depression set in. By that time, I had entered Columbia College, which was a great intellectual experience for me. That's a long answer to my mother's maiden name.
MS. BERMAN: That's perfect. Let me spell Freiman.
MR. HOROWITZ: F-r-e-i-m-a-n.
MS. BERMAN: Okay. So, did you-when you were a rich, pampered child, where did the family live?
MR. HOROWITZ: We lived in Harlem, which was then a place quite different from the Harlem of post-World War I, and then we moved after that to West End Avenue, Park Avenue, and then when the bad times came, I really don't remember.
MS. BERMAN: So, but your family had to move?
MR. HOROWITZ: We had to. We enjoyed a comfortable life in Harlem at 110th Street and Seventh Avenue on the edge of the park. That's what I recall most clearly. And, when we-when I went to Columbia, we lived at that time at 49 East 96th Street in a splendid apartment. It's just coming back to me this instant, an extraordinary apartment, two-story living room. I liked that apartment very much, come to think of it.
MS. BERMAN: Well, psychologically, what was the effect of the stock market crash on you?
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, one thing I remember was one of my uncles visiting my mother and saying, "Remember Sam, well, he jumped out of the window today." And he would keep up that litany week after week, and it didn't make much of an impression because after a while it became kind of a joke. And, so, Uncle Manny is going to tell us that another friend of ours committed suicide today. It didn't really make any impression until things really impacted me, I guess, when I started to go to college in 1936, and I was 20 years old then. I think it was sharply brought in on me that we had quite another way of life instead of this plethora of privilege. We had to really tighten our belts, and it got-even though I was able to live at Columbia College, thanks to my parents, wanted to give me a cherished and nourished education by having me live at the dorms, I was quite aware of the deprivation that we had endured, and continued to endure for a long time.
MS. BERMAN: Did you have brothers or sisters?
MR. HOROWITZ: I have one sister, who is married. She's a few years younger than I am. She's still around. And, I'm not in the best of health, and she takes good care of me every once and a while. She turns up here, and reads to me, or whatever. She's-actually, we didn't see much of each other for long periods of time because she was married to the most boring man I've ever encountered. And I really couldn't stand him. I wanted to give him a bad cigar so he should leave, but I finally just took the bull by the horns, as they say, and stopped seeing them because I couldn't endure this man. However, she's quite intelligent and interesting. She had been a principal of a high school, and she went to the board of education headquarters and became quite an important actor there. And then she suddenly retired, couldn't stand the corruption and the general atmosphere in the Brooklyn headquarters of the educational system in New York. Anyway, she's still around and, as I say, she's quite helpful to me from time to time.
MS. BERMAN: What is her first name?
MR. HOROWITZ: Edith. Her last name is King. Her husband was a dentist. You know my sentiments about him.
MS. BERMAN: Right. Okay. Did your father have to go either back to work or work in a different job, or could he get a job?
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, my father had a flourishing practice, and then he contracted a very disfiguring disease, and the practice dwindled. But he continued to practice medicine until he died. He was a gastroenterologist, and had quite a successful practice, largely on Park Avenue where he had a large office with many nurses. But, as I say, he contracted this monstrous disease, and his practice dwindled and when he finally died we lived somewhere on West End Avenue, as I recall. It was a big comedown for him, but it was one of those terrible misfortunes that incurs in life.
MS. BERMAN: One of the reasons I was probing this is that later on, we'll get into this, that you had talked about in the beginning of collecting, you said you had a Depression mentality, but, again, you had this-
MR. HOROWITZ: Privileged background, but it was inescapable. Everyone who lived at that time was aware of the powerful, enormous impact of the Depression on everything and anything. And no matter what your background had been, especially in my case when you had a sudden, rather sudden change of circumstances, from wealth to being poor, or modest, or however you characterize it, it was inescapable that you, for the rest of your life, you are aware of this powerful influence, and it certainly manifested itself in the collective.
MS. BERMAN: Before the crash, were you a spoiled young boy?
MR. HOROWITZ: I was kind of spoiled because of my parents' behavior, which I didn't particularly endorse. They would serve me first at the dinner table, for instance, before they served my sister, and I resented it. I said, this isn't right, you know, please make sure Edith gets-and they persisted in favoring me. And I couldn't understand why intelligent people would prefer, I guess it's in some tradition or other that you favored the firstborn, or you favored the male descendents rather than female, I don't know what. But it hurt me that they performed this way. And I was uncomfortable being obviously preferred over my sister. That's interesting, I hadn't thought of this for a hundred years.
MS. BERMAN: That's the point of something like this. It's an oral history about you. The collection and all, too, but it's the influences that go into things. And what about the politics in the home, or your parents' political beliefs?
MR. HOROWITZ: I'm not aware of any.
MS. BERMAN: Or social beliefs.
MR. HOROWITZ: I'm not aware of anything that my parents did or had in the way of politics, or speculation. But, I became quite a quote, "progressive," or however you want to call it. And, I became very left. I think the young people in those days were largely quote, "progressive." I remember marching in the May Day Parades, being quite passionate about various political causes, and being a little intemperate. I remember my father was quite concerned. One May Day I came back, I had had a few beers with the fellows, and came home, and I was a little tipsy. And I looked up at the ceiling at this two-floor residence we had on East 96th Street, and I said to him, yelled out, "I can't see." My father was very concerned that I had been drinking wood alcohol, or something poisonous like that. It was only a temporary aberration, of course, but it also comes to mind. I was, as I say, interested in progressive causes, and most of Columbia College, and my compatriots at City College were likewise left wing. I did visit Harvard from time to time. I had a couple of pals up there. And I was shocked at the difference. There they were reading the sports pages, and being quite indolent, in contrast to how we behaved at Columbia. I had gone to Harvard to visit with the political science professors, particularly Professor MacElwaine [Phonetic], who was then one of the leading, but then obscure, professors in that field, which had engaged my interest for a long time.
MS. BERMAN: What field is that?
MR. HOROWITZ: Government, political science, and when I concluded my college career in 1936, I had wanted to be a teacher at a university in that field. But I was told by the dean, who I had become friendly with, Harry Carman, that it would be very difficult for a Jew to have a post at the Columbia faculty. He said the only Jewish members of the faculty were in the philosophy department, and he had to put Louis Hacker, then a very noted artist-not art-history, historian, in the economics department because he couldn't get him into the history department. But he said that if I went to law school, they would accept a law degree as the equivalent of a Ph.D., and if the atmosphere changed, they would accept me on the faculty at that time. Of course, when I went to law school, I liked the materials very much. I ceased to want to be a historian, and decided to become a lawyer. So, that's a quick and brief story, but it really-I vacillated between many pursuits before I settled on being a lawyer, journalist, publisher, God knows what, but the typical experience of a young, ardent, semi-intellectual, whatever. It was rather heady days. Those were, as Harold Korman said, the fervent years. And the overwhelming, overriding concept was that everything and anything was possible. None of us had a dime, not literally, but we never had any real money, but it nonetheless did not deter us. We just had the world in front of us, and we had no doubt that-although I never had any illusions that I would have any money or anything like that, but that I would be successful in other ways. I never thought of money, of being wanting money, that was never my objective.
MS. BERMAN: I just want to clear something up, with Columbia, were you there for four years?
MR. HOROWITZ: I was at Columbia College for four years, and at Columbia Law School following that for three years. So, I was at Columbia for a total of seven years.
MS. BERMAN: And the first four years, did you enter it in 1932?
MR. HOROWITZ: I entered in 1932.
MS. BERMAN: At age 16 or so?
MR. HOROWITZ: Sixteen, or something like that. And, I guess I was pretty young at the time, but most of the other people were young. At that time, there was a quota in effect, and there were only 10 percent of Jewish kids allowed in those days. It's hard to believe now at a time when deans and directors and presidents of universities are populated in so many instances by Jewish educators, or whatever, that there was a time when this was a virtual ghetto, but that was the feeling and the facts at that time.
MS. BERMAN: So, you were not surprised to hear that Jews couldn't get in the history department, or that you would-
MR. HOROWITZ: No, I was quite accustomed to the ghettoization that was going on at the time, and the anti-Semitic bias on many fronts. I had encountered it. Again, I'm thinking for the first time in many, many years of a dreadful experience I had on the very first day in Columbia when, because I failed to be attracted by the sales talk to buy a book really for the seniors, not for the freshman, being taunted by some anti-Semitic remark the very first day I was at Columbia. So I was exposed to this virulent, poisonous atmosphere from the very outset. But I shrugged it off. I guess I remembered these many years later as a searing experience at the time, but it didn't really change me. And my father had, before I entered Columbia, had suggested that perhaps I should change my name as a way of at least getting into the front door, or past the front door, because my name was unmistakably Jewish at a time of anti-Semitic behavior. And for some reason, which I can't identify, I resisted. I said, no, no. My father said that if I want to change my name, this is the time to do it, because if I change my name afterwards, everyone would know that I changed my name, and it wouldn't be of any advantage. But here was a chance to start a new life, as it were, or a new phase of life that people would not be as aware of the change of name if I did it before I entered college rather than later in life. But, as I said, I instantly rejected the notion, and I've stuck with this unmistakable Jewish identification all these years.
MS. BERMAN: Weren't there are all sorts of people who changed their name and then felt very ambivalent about it later, not guilty, but it taunts at them, like Frank Gehry.
MR. HOROWITZ: Frank Gehry, born Goldberg. But in my own life, various lawyers who worked for me or became my partners, who it was very funny, even though they had changed their names before entering law school, I knew that they had changed their name. I knew that Shore was Schwartz, and et cetera. So, it's really not very successful, even if you'd done what my father suggested. Somehow, these people knew it, and identified you nonetheless, and not necessarily at the outset, but in due course.
MS. BERMAN: So, had you experienced anti-Semitism much before Columbia?
MR. HOROWITZ: No. I wasn't aware of it at all. I mean, I knew it existed, it as an abstract notion. It only became the real thing, as I said, on that first day when someone taunted me with an anti-Semitic remark. Then I became sorely aware of it.
MS. BERMAN: So, did you major in history?
MR. HOROWITZ: History and government. Although, in those days, and I don't know if it's still an option, if you took the examination in a required course-and there were quite a few required courses-you were excused from attending that course. And I did this at the end of my sophomore year-this is also something which is just occurring to me, thanks to you, Avis, because no one has asked these questions before. As I said, we had-at that time the college had a practice of excusing you from attending the course if you took the examination which was given at the end of that course, and if you passed it you were excused from attending it. And I decided, for reasons that are elusive now, to achieve all the required courses that remained to be attended. And I did it. So I-in the last two years of Columbia I was on my own. I didn't have to go to any classes, because I had achieved everything. And I could have gone to law school at the end of the third year, and gotten my degree after attending law school for one year, which a number of my fellow classmates did, but somehow I had the feeling, because I woke up intellectually at Columbia-although it had begun in high school to some extent, but it really occurred during college, I wanted to have a genuine liberal arts education. And I followed the practice in the last two years of attending the classes that I wanted to attend, and a few seminars that I liked very much. And one of the things that I found myself enjoying were the lectures of Meyer Shapiro, even then a noted art historian. And I was dazzled by his brilliance, and I became quite interested the whole field of art and art history, because of the accident of attending his classes. He was riveting. His intelligence extended to every field of human endeavor, and he brought home to me that when you look at art you have to bring all the resources of the world into play. You had to be interested in philosophy, economics, history, government, in addition to the history of art, because it was essential if you wanted to ascertain the meaning and the importance and the effect of art, you had to bring all these resources to bear. Unhappily today, many art historians are not interested in the object at all, they're interested only in the social implications, which is only one of the aspects that Shapiro accented. But, that's another story. The essence for me was that I had an exhilarating experience in art, and in art history, as a result of attending Mr. Shapiro's lectures. I even, after I graduated from Columbia, I followed him to the New School for Social Research where he lectured from time to time on various aspects of modern art. I guess I remember his lectures on Degas and others who were then rather obscure to the general public. But, he was a wonderful experience. I never knew him personally. I just sat there among the group of students and was bedazzled by his extraordinary intelligence, and breadth of learning.
MS. BERMAN: Was he lecturing on medieval art, or Romanesque, or was it modern?
MR. HOROWITZ: He lectured on a lot of stuff, but the lectures that interested me the most were on Impressionism and post-Impressionism, although I knew that he lectured on many aspects of art, medieval art, contemporary art. And he had written also-though I'm mixing up his writings, which might have been afterwards, but I knew he knew everything about everything in art. But, as I said, my predilection was for Impressionism and post-Impressionism.
MS. BERMAN: Even then.
MR. HOROWITZ: Yes.
MS. BERMAN: I guess the art history department was allowed to have some Jews, to say the least, somehow as an exception.
MR. HOROWITZ: That's right.
MS. BERMAN: Okay. Did you-what high school did you attend?
MR. HOROWITZ: I attended Dewitt Clinton High School, then in the Bronx, and I had to take the subway, which was a totally different subway then than now. It was quite free of violence, and danger. I had one experience in high school which woke me up to a certain extent. I had a teacher named Stone, I don't remember what subject he was allegedly teaching, which we paid no attention to whatsoever. We just would get together and he would talk to us about politics, and things that were going on in the world. And for the first time he made available to the students low priced subscriptions to magazines such as The Nation, and The New Republic, and that seemed to have stuck with me. At least it woke me up to a certain extent. I remember now, again, it stimulates a recollection that hadn't occurred to me in a long time. When I got to know my wife, we weren't married right away, but when the first anniversary of her birthday came around I gave her as a present a subscription to The Nation and The New Republican, and of course she was aghast. Here I thought that I was doing her a great favor, and she thought I was out absolutely of my mind. Of course, she was not the slightest bit interested in these magazines. She would have preferred a nightgown or perfume, or some other thing.
MS. BERMAN: Yes, it was not a romantic gift.
MR. HOROWITZ: No, and I didn't realize, I thought that-in any event, it changed in due course. But, it's interesting for me to recall now how preoccupied I was with progressive causes, to the extent that I did this rather dopey thing, which in recollect was pretty dopey.
MS. BERMAN: Well, you were young, and that's part of it, to be passionate about a lot of things. Now, during these seven years, the four years and then law school, did you have a part-time job or have to support yourself in any way?
MR. HOROWITZ: I would-I didn't have a part-time job, but I worked in the summer, and one summer was particularly interesting to me. I worked as a bushel man for a clothing chain, that is one step lower than a salesman. You brought the clothes to the salesman. This was a low priced product in those days, a suit, as I recall, was $17. And the people who bought them, of course, were in the lower end of the economic spectrum. And I remember several times where I would help the salesman adjust the suit to the purchasers, that this poor individual who couldn't afford more than $17 for a suit, and it probably lasted many years, would give me a dollar. I was aware that these poor people lived such impoverished lives that any kindness was overwhelming to them. And to give me a dollar as a tip when it meant a large sacrifice for them was quite astonishing to me. And I didn't know whether to accept it, and I felt that ultimately I had to accept it. It was a strange feeling. Then in law school I had some part-time employment, by helping one or more of the professors, they were all writing casebooks or articles or whatever. And they all needed someone to do the scrub work, check on citations, or various things of no intellectual importance, but are necessary corroboration of just plain data that was an accompaniment of an article, or footnotes, rather, to an article. And I learned a valuable lesson, come to think of it. My mother at one point during my sophomore year, second year at law school, had become quite ill, and it was touch and go whether she would survive. She was in Mount Sinai Hospital, and it was a bad time for me because I was quite attached to her, and concerned. And I spent a lot of time, with the result that I did not fulfill my assignment for Professor Lewellen [Phonetic], who was then a star at the law school whom I was working on his casebook in the field of sales, which is an aspect of the law of contracts. And I came to him and I said, "Professor Lewellen, I regret I wasn't able to fulfill the assignment, because my mother was deathly ill, and I had to spend a lot of time with her." He said, "That's no excuse, and you're fired." And I was shocked. He subsequently took back the firing, but he said, in life there are no excuses. If you have to do something for a client he doesn't give a fig for the excuse. He expects you to deliver and whether your mother is dying or whatever, he couldn't care less. You've got to step up and do the job. And I realized that the law was an exacting profession. You had to literally do what Professor Lewellen had instructed me to do. So I really never forgot that. It was a searing experience, but I little expected that he would be so blunt as to fire me. I thought he'd be tolerant, and understanding, it's okay buddy. Not a bit, and it made a great impression on me for the rest of my life.
MS. BERMAN: It also could be, although you were telling the truth, you know how it is about students, they're always killing off relatives at exam and other times, so sometimes-
MR. HOROWITZ: That never occurred to me.
MS. BERMAN: So what kind of law were you interested in at that time?
MR. HOROWITZ: I was interested in various phases of the law. I was not interested particularly in procedural aspects, I was interested in more gutsy issues. But, truth to say, I was-I never had the intellectual interest in juris prudence that I had had as a young person interested in art history. Not art history so much as history in general, and political science in general. Although, I was really interested in art history, as well. As I say, I was interested in a broad range of subjects in the law, but I wasn't deeply interested in any one particular field, come to think of it. As I say, I didn't care for the-you had courses in civil procedure and things like that, and I was kind of bored by that. One intellectually demanding course is constitutional law, the law of evidence, given by Professors Wakler [Phonetic] and Michael, turned into a philosophical examination, rather than an excursion into rules that governed the trial of a criminal case, or even a civil case. That interested me, even though I wasn't terribly good at it. Actually, the law school experience was not like the college experience. After the first year, which was very intense, I kind of coasted and read the notes of my predecessors, and spent a lot of time with Margaret, who I met in the second year. She had a roadster, and we would kind of goof off during the time I was supposed to be in class. I attended very little of the classes in the second and third year, because it was easy to read the notes of my friends who had preceded me. And I would take the exam.
MS. BERMAN: I don't know if this would have occurred to you at the time, could you have conceivably considered becoming an art historian?
MR. HOROWITZ: No, I never thought that I would be an art historian. As I say, I had nurtured the hope that I would become a professor of history or government but that dissolved and I never had any-although, I must say, now that it also occurs to me, after I graduated from law school I did teach at NYU for a couple of years. I taught in their ancillary program, not for students, but in their general studies department. I taught government, or some aspect of government, for a couple of years. But, then I decided that it was impossible, at least for me, not impossible for everyone, but for me to be both a practitioner and a teacher, because I had to spend 10 hours for every lecture hour. And I couldn't tolerate the thought of repeating a lecture year in and year out.
MS. BERMAN: Now in terms of-when you went into practice as a lawyer, did you go on your own, or did you go in with-
MR. HOROWITZ: I had a strange introduction to the practice. I wanted to be part of the New Deal legal machinery, but I wasn't successful. We had spent our honeymoon actually looking for a job in Washington, and I wanted to be in the Department of Justice. I was only offered a chance to be in the Department of Interior, and that didn't suit me. And I was mulling it over, and an opportunity came where I could make some money helping McGoldrick, who was then the comptroller of the City of New York, who was himself a brilliant young man. He had been a full professor at Columbia at age 28. He was a real genius, and he was writing a book that was underwritten by some foundation on philosophical notions of due process at the municipal level. It had a terrible title, Building Regulation in New York City. I took the job knowing that it was not in the mainstream of legal practice, because I was, I must say, rather calculating, which is not my nature. I thought that if I became close to McGoldrick, which happened actually, I would have a shot at becoming an assistant corporation counsel for the City of New York, which at that time was the second best law firm in the country, the first being the Department of Justice. The second was the Corporation Counsel for the City of New York under LaGuardia. I worked on the book, and in fact really wrote the book, and as a reward McGoldrick made me a co-author. The other co-author was Seymour Gravart [Phonetic] who was counsel at the time. He kind of resented the fact that here I was being paid a salary and became, instead of an anonymous contributor, a co-author of the book, but McGoldrick forced him. And I guess in 1944 the book was published, and I was literally co-author. It turned out that my calculation did prove to be sound, and I became the youngest, I guess, assistant corporation counsel at the time, because many mentors had told me just serve a couple of years. And I was very fortunate, because I rotated among many departments, or several departments at the Corporation Counsel's office, and got an experience that couldn't be duplicated in any law firm, where traditionally young scholars were-had to be exposed to scud work for many years, and didn't have an exposure to many fields, as I had, in the Corporation Counsel's office. I had trial experience, I had appellate experience, and I ended up as the assistant head of one of the administrative departments. That had been the subject of the book, administrative law, so it was fortunate that I had exposure to administrative law in practice, whereas I dealt with it as a theoretical matter. The notions of due process, and whatever, which were the real subject of the book which had this odious title, and probably sold about 12 copies as a result, was something that I could really dig my teeth into when I became a practicing lawyer. I had various other similar-not so much small excursions into practice while I was doing this other job, but not meaningful. I responded to the suggestions of my numerous friends that I leave the Corporation Counsel's after a couple of years, because they said that I-
MR. HOROWITZ: - a member of a big firm, a so-called white shoe firm. I just didn't enjoy the-not that I could have done it easily, but I didn't even try and as a result of some connection with one of the judges I got this rather good position. Anyway, I forgot what the original question was.
MS. BERMAN: No, no, that's okay. I kind of wanted to do the history of your law practice. So you went into private practice in about?
MR. HOROWITZ: I was assistant corporation counsel, I guess in 1941 to '43, and at that time I went into private practice, and stayed in private practice. Although, during the war I had been rejected for physical reasons for the service, but I became a consultant to various agencies of the federal government during the war. But, McGoldrick had been defeated as an aspirant for the mayoralty, and although he had been offered all sorts of lucrative positions by various law firms, and would have taken me along, he had a very aggressive and ambitious wife. And she succeeded in turning him into a self-styled rainmaker, which turned out not to be the case. So he went and started a law firm, McGoldrick & Sedwick [Phonetic] and it turned out to be an absolute dud at attracting business. And we struggled along--
MS. BERMAN: We're beginning again. So you were in-McGoldrick did not succeed in becoming mayor of New York and attempted to become a rainmaker, which didn't work, and that's where we were.
MR. HOROWITZ: In due course, I became a partner in this fledgling little firm, and we plugged along. And as I said, plugged along. A lot of things did not materialize, but I myself began to attract some business, and there came a time when-and I'm skipping a lot of years. When I became pretty successful at attracting clients myself, and still as a partner in the McGoldrick law firm, but there came a time when one of my partners, whom I had brought into the firm, actually, and who had been in a white shoe firm as an associate, couldn't become partner. He and I had a disagreement, not about the percentage of profits that we would each receive, but he had started nosing into my clients. He was very smart, a very brilliant lawyer, and he thought that he had better judgment that me in certain respects, and he wanted to assert himself with clients I had originated. And I took a dim view of that, and ultimately we split up. And it was not the most agreeable of-we decided that we would not go public with this disagreement, but that we would each have a lawyer, and we would try to arrive at some kind of an agreement. And I ended up having to pay him some amount of money, which wasn't too great. But, we had dissolved it. By that time our lease had expired, and I had an old friend named Irving Moscowitz [Phonetic], who had a very successful little law firm. And although I hadn't-if I had really thought it out in retrospect, I may have made a huge mistake. I did not join, or even seek other opportunities with the larger outfits, which conceivably I could have merged with. I merged with Irving's firm. And I was scrupulous in the way I left the firm. I did not seek to make sure that my major clients would follow me. I followed the austere rules of the profession, and did not tell them about the break until it had actually occurred, and then pursued them. They, of course, stayed with me in the new firm. And I stayed there for some 15 years or thereabouts. We were then located on Park Avenue and 52nd Street, whereas before that, in all the previous years we were down on Wall Street. But, I enjoyed the midtown address. I enjoyed the practice, too, because I was very fortunate, I made a lot of money at the time. But, I wasn't a kid anymore. I enjoyed the practice because one of my clients, a man named Dan Fraad, who subsequently became an important person in my art activities, would sometimes ask me, "Don't tell me," -or tell me, rather, "don't tell me what my legal rights are, tell me what's fair." And this was an extraordinary experience, because most of my other clients would scrap for $5. You know, I'd have to break my head to get them that kind of advantage in a private squabble. And private squabbles didn't interest me much, although I had my share of them. I rather enjoyed putting deals together, and I did lots of deals. And that I enjoyed very much, because it took a lot of ingenuity. I don't like to use the word creativity except with artists. But, you had to stretch your mind. You had to structure deals, in many cases do the impossible. And I enjoyed that very much, and also the idea of creating capital value. As the result of a deal there would be a pipeline or some other addition to the economic architecture of the day. It made more sense than who would succeed with respect to X dollars. I had a thriving practice with fighting brothers. At one time I must have represented eight warring brothers, and it got to be such that I could write the script, when they would call the police. And it got to be a big bore, because it was so predictable. But, it was part of the whole process. I say that business didn't interest me, although from time to time we were quite successful in pulling off something unpredictable, and as a result of which your client would end up with the spoils of war. It didn't really interest me, but it was something you did. And I guess that I was not interested particularly, thinking back about the juris prudential aspect of the law. I was interested, because I was a practitioner, in the practice of the law, which was quite different from my orientation as an aspiring professor. Here I was interested in the logistics really of the lawyering, rather than the philosophical underpinnings, which continues to interest me, but not passionately. Although I hate the word passion. Everyone in the collecting field was quote, "passionate." I'm suffering from passionate fatigue. I don't think it's accurate that you have to be passionate. In fact, I think it's a disadvantage. But, it still continues to be the coin of the realm in assessing various collecting, particularly of contemporary art. That's another subject.
MS. BERMAN: I'm just writing this down. You think it's bad to be passionate?
MR. HOROWITZ: I think it's a misnomer. I think you have to be drawn to-in a very irresistible way, but I think if you're passionate you're doing yourself a disservice. I think the last thing you need is to be passionate about a painting. You have to be able, after you're drawn to it irresistibly, to assess the different elements about it, and that's the antithesis of passion. You have to feel something about its meaning. You have to feel composition, et cetera, et cetera, and all the rest of it. And if you're obsessed with the object to the exclusion of dealing with the particulars of the object or its ramifications, which is the result of passion, then you're going to go awry, it seems to me. So I haven't ever ventilated this notion, nor am I about to, but it just seems to me that the word is a misnomer. But, that's a diversion.
MS. BERMAN: Right. I think you're saying it has to be-when you're deciding to buy something, you may have a visceral response in the beginning, but you have to examine it intellectually.
MR. HOROWITZ: That's putting it in a very succinct way.
MS. BERMAN: When you were working for the city did you come across, or have any encounters with LaGuardia or some of the other storied politicians at that time?
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, I had a couple of brief excursions with-meetings with the mayor, and he turned out to be the most profane man I ever have encountered. And he was a showman from-with everybody. I was fortunate in working on some of the crazy cases he instigated: the burlesque case, which resulted in shutting down burlesque. I played an important, but behind the scenes role. I wrote the briefs. The racing papers case, he tried to put the racing papers out of business. And we had told the mayor that this was a First Amendment case, we couldn't possibly win it. We might win it in a lower court, because the judge was fixed or something, but we would never prevail on appeal. He nonetheless told us to go ahead. We got licked at the lower court, which was bad news, it was a dopey thing to do. And other cases, photographs in nightclubs, all these crazy cases that he started I worked on. And it was kind of fun. We worked sometimes 72 hours at a stretch. I would go to the bar association call for a secretary and dictate briefs through the night and day. And we were showing cause every minute. I had a case, Willy Chandler [Phonetic], who was corporation counsel at one time during the period I was there, was a rather well known lawyer, socialite, and member of the Astor family, very patrician. I had prevailed upon him to argue a case at the lower court. Normally, the corporation counsel himself does not do this, he lets younger people in the chain of command handle this, but I prevailed upon him. I said, this is an important case involving pensions for police officers who shouldn't be rewarded with pensions if they did bad things. And he reluctantly agreed to argue this case, which was in Brooklyn, before a judge. And he had a very famous opponent, very famous at the time, I forget his name now, who was representing the police department, not the department, but the captain of police that we had caught doing this bad thing. And I kept after Willy Chandler to be prepared, and he kept pushing me off, and pushing me off, and I didn't have a chance. Finally he said, the day the argument came, and I hadn't had a chance in all these months that preceded it to brief him on the subject. He said, "You'll talk to me in the cab going over the bridge." I said, "What?" I said, well, okay, that's it. So I started to-in the cab going over to Brooklyn I started to talk to him about the law and the case, and I started to say-there were five cases, I've forgotten the details, the case before us-he said, "Don't tell me about the cases against us, tell me only about the cases for us." And I told him, and the consequence was, to my amazement, he got up, he spoke for an hour. He was absolutely brilliant, he was incredibly brilliant. He had no preparation, and he was able to do this masterful job. And it was quite an impression. I thought he was just a society lawyer, who was incapable of this kind of thing. And it was another important lesson. I don't know what it taught me, but it was a striking demonstration or something or other. Of course, we won the case, and it was very gratifying, but I was kind of sheepish. This guy had, without any preparation from me, I had struggled for a long time to put a compelling case together, and he did this amazingly good job. Those were the great years. I didn't have anything in private practice to rival the excitement and the joy that I got from the corporation counsel years. I had another kind of-as I said, when I put deals together I had a kind of exhilaration, followed by a letdown, of course. But, it didn't compare to the excitement I had doing these crazy cases that LaGuardia had dreamed up.
MS. BERMAN: You put most of Reginald Marsh's subject matter out of business. How about someone like Dewey, did you come across him?
MR. HOROWITZ: No, not really. I came across him on the telephone. At one time he offered McGoldrick a job as the rent commissioner, or something like that. And I was on the phone when Dewey was talking to Joe, and I was mentioning to Joe, get something from him, this is the most unglamorous, disagreeable, worst job in the world. You can't satisfy the landlords, you can't satisfy the tenants. Anyone who takes this job is crazy, and if you take it you've got to get some big reward. And McGoldrick was such a nice man, he didn't ask for a thing. He said, "Yes, yes, Tom." I was on the other end. I was going nuts. That was my exposure to Tom Dewey.
MS. BERMAN: Was there any other important New York politician we might talk about? What about the Roosevelts, Ms. Roosevelt, anyone?
MR. HOROWITZ: No, I was never exposed to them, or to any of the significant figures who turned up in New York.
MS. BERMAN: Just to make this a little clearer for readers, and for the tape. When you say business deals, what kind of law were you specializing in?
MR. HOROWITZ: Corporate law.
MS. BERMAN: Corporate law, but you didn't do like divorce or any of that?
MR. HOROWITZ: No, I did some little divorce work, because in the course of a career you represent companies, and companies have executives, and executives have wives, and sometimes they get divorced, and they come to you, because they know you. I handled several divorces, but also for several writers I represented. I liked writers, not as clients, because they couldn't pay any money, but I enjoyed their company. But, I soon decided that I wasn't really geared up for the divorce, and the private squabbles. People would come to me and say that they were civilized, or whatever, and they would get-they wanted an amicable split-up. And I said, "Look, if it's so amicable then you can work it out. When you're at each other's throats then you can come to me." And I realized that I was not geared for this practice.
MS. BERMAN: How about estates and trusts, did you do that?
MR. HOROWITZ: I did quite a bit of estates and trusts before I had joined the firm with my friend Irving Moscowitz. Actually, the little firm that I went to following the corporation counsel concentrated on trusts and estates, and I did a lot of that stuff. And we had some strange cases, that is the surrogate in Queens County was taking one of our clients to task because he made too much money. He was a trustee of an estate which was kind of small, and he'd turned in into-because he traded virtually every day, he had made it into a giant trust fund. And the surrogate, I was amazed that he was getting cross, because you're not supposed to be doing that. You're not supposed to be trading every day. I had to kind of coddle the judge to get him to agree that this was okay. And it was very difficult. What was perplexing is if you're too successful you can be wrong, too. So that was another strange lesson. I also had an experience with politicians who appointed special guardians. I would write the report, they wouldn't do a thing, not lift a finger, and they'd get five-figure fees. It was a racket. Anyway, it was fun, too. And I thought that there would be philosophical problems of principle and interest in the practice of trusts and estates, but again it turned out to be on a more practical level you had to deal with crazy problems like the one I just mentioned.
MS. BERMAN: So, I think we're now, just because I think we're into the 1950s, I want to stop and I want to bring Margaret into the story. So, I want you to tell me Margaret's full name, maiden name, and everything, and date of birth. And we're going to start with her family.
MR. HOROWITZ: Her date of birth is January 23, 1915. She's slightly older than I. And she went to NYU, and got a Baccalaureate degree there. She subsequently went and got a master's degree from Teacher's College at Fordham University in literature. And she was not a student, not interested particularly. She was quite attractive, and she would get by because the professors liked her. Actually, she had a long affair with a guy named Bernard Meyers [Phonetic] who was then NYU's answer to Meyer Shapiro. He was the art historian at NYU, and he also had an encyclopedic mind, and subsequently became the editor of all sorts of encyclopedias, and the author of many books. But she didn't absorb much about art from Bernard. We subsequently became good friends, and he even became a client of mine. I didn't make any real money from him. So, she had credentials. She never taught. She never worked, as a matter of fact. She wasn't an intellectual.
MS. BERMAN: But she got a master's degree.
MR. HOROWITZ: She got a master's degree.
MS. BERMAN: Was there a reason for doing that?
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, I guess her parents had said, you ought to become a-you ought to be allowed to earn your living in some respectable way, and maybe you should get the credentials of being a teacher. But, as I say, she may have worked one day, but as far as I know, she never worked as a teacher, despite the fact that she could have, because she had the degree. We had met on a banana boat, of all places. One of our mutual friends was going to Mexico on a banana boat, even though he was very-his family was very rich. He was an aspiring writer, and he was determined to live on very little, and et cetera, et cetera, all of which was a joke, because his parents were very rich. And in due course he also became a client. He owned department stores. Anyway, she was seeing him off, and I was seeing him off, and I fell for her immediately. And I went with two of my friends, one of whom was Charles Frankel [Phonetic], who became a noted professor of philosophy at Columbia, and another chum of mine. And both of them secretly also pursued Margaret, and, of course, she was flirty and attractive, but I told them stay away. Anyway, it was love at first sight for me, and in due course we became quite friendly, although she continued to date other men for quite a while. Then we became steady friends, and we got married in 1940. I forgot already. We were married 64 years, it must be 1940. And it happened in the typical way. It was she who said, let's get married. It was on a Monday, and we got married on Saturday at the Carlyle Hotel. And, as I say, we were quite attached to each other by then, but she was the one who said, let's get serious and get married. And, I gulped again, and I said, oh, that sounds great. Anyway, it took her less than a week to get married, and there we were. And I guess I was on my way to becoming a successful lawyer, and we were interested in art because of my exposure to Meyer Shapiro, and her exposure to Bernie Meyers. And what we did in our free time was go to galleries and we went to all the-mainly contemporary art. I remember going to Betty Parsons in the early days, and seeing Jackson Pollack in the late '40s, I guess, Charles Egan, dealers who have left the scene a long time ago, Curt Valentine was especially meaningful, seeing European, German expressionist painters. And the museums, but we never had the thought that we would become collectors. As a matter of fact, I thought that it was not a meritorious thing.
MS. BERMAN: Well, in those early days, did you have anything on your walls?
MR. HOROWITZ: We bought some junky stuff, inexpensive, by non-not well-known people. They were kind of meaningless, but that wasn't right away, but later on just decoration more than art. We had been in the late '40s, early '50s, we summered in Provincetown, and we got to know many artists. We had been friendly, very friendly, actually, with Joseph Hirsch, then a Social Realist painter. We had gotten to know him because Margaret took Judy, our daughter, our only child actually, to the park. We lived at that time on West 67th Street, which was an exceptional part of the city. It was Greenwich Village uptown. It was a wonderful place. We were very fortunate in having several apartments on that street. And in the course of time, because Margaret took Judy to the playground and Ruth Hirsch took her kids to the same playground, that we got to be friends, and good friends. And because of my relationship with Joe, I got to know many of the artists, and several collectors, who also summered in Provincetown. But the artists we got to know were nice people and interesting people, but they weren't the best artists. And the best artists we didn't know, when they were punk people, for the most part. So it taught me later on that if you're interested in the artist, you'd better not know them. Although there was a spirited controversy about that between John Canaday and Tom Hess at one time at the Museum of Modern Art, and we were then friendly with John, and we sided with him, but that's another story. Anyway, the Provincetown experience proved stimulating in the sense that we had a greater exposure to painters, and to art, than we could have had simply as onlookers and casual attendees at galleries and museums. So, it heightened our interest in art, and we bought several of these mediocre paintings from artists because we wanted to really do them favors or something.
MS. BERMAN: Did you have anything by Hirsch?
MR. HOROWITZ: I had lots of things, but in the course of time we gave them all away.
MS. BERMAN: Did you like them while you were getting them?
MR. HOROWITZ: Oh, I liked Hirsch's stuff enormously. But, he was torn between the success that the abstract, nonrepresentational painters were achieving and their effects on the craft of painting, and his own. And we would have many talks in the park where he would ventilate his frustrations. But he was a kind of an impenetrable guy. There was kind of a wall between real intimacy and his basic beliefs. He was very gifted in many respects. He was a gifted musician. He could have been a professional musician instead of an artist. He was a quite gifted writer. And he was a rather exceptional, but little eccentric guy. He ultimately divorced Ruth and married one of his models. He was-I liked him a lot, although he did me a great favor once. He gave me a complimentary subscription to the Daily Worker, which put me on the Black List with J. Edgar Hoover, I guess. But I couldn't do anything about it, he just did it.
MS. BERMAN: So, you were on-
MR. HOROWITZ: Unwittingly, I became a-
MS. BERMAN: On the FBI file?
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, I guess automatically anyone who had a subscription to the Worker became suspect. Anyway, I thanked Joe a lot, and I laughed about it.
MS. BERMAN: You may have been on there from the '30s if you were in any activities, or signed any petitions.
MR. HOROWITZ: Oh, I'm sure I signed enough petitions, I was on the list anyway. I marched in enough parades. I was not a communist, but certainly close to being one, anyway.
MS. BERMAN: Who were the other artists Joe Hirsch introduced you to?
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, Kuniyoshi and others. The old ACA stable.
MS. BERMAN: So, maybe you met Raphael Soyer-
MR. HOROWITZ: All those people. I would like and I tried to get Nick Sokofsky, who was then at the National Gallery, to do a show of the best of the Social Realist painters. I remember Soyer did a marvelous painting, a group portrait of "Amish [to Atkins?]," a wonderful painting. There were other similar good examples of that kind of art.
MS. BERMAN: Well, you know, his father was-I don't know if you ever met his father, but he was very much in that group.
MR. HOROWITZ: Really, I didn't know that.
MS. BERMAN: Yes, the Social Realist. And maybe why he's not interested, it could be a reaction formation. He grew up with it. He probably-now, I have no idea because I don't know him well, but he could have been a real red diaper baby, because they were all very, very-all that group was extremely left. And Raphael's wife, Rebecca, always was a Communist, and she didn't quit until 1954.
MR. HOROWITZ: Wow. Bob Fostmey [Phonetic] was also a publicly identified left winger, but I always thought his paintings were self-destructive. He made these figures so glamorous that you couldn't feel sorry for them. But he was also a good friend. But he had an enormous force and he would say, "Hi ya, Ray," and he would give me a pat on the back that sent me reeling. But he liked Margaret a lot, and we had lots of fun. I hadn't thought of this in a long time.
MS. BERMAN: I just want to go back just with Margaret, what was Margaret's maiden name?
MR. HOROWITZ: Margaret's maiden name was Margaret Goldenberg [Phonetic], and her father owned garages, at one time many garages. However, at the time when we got to know each other, like each other, love each other, he was down to about two or something.
MS. BERMAN: So, did she come from a wealthy background?
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, they were well to do, they also suffered during the Depression. And the family was not-I mean, it was a rather large family. My father had brothers and sisters, come to think of it. But Pete Goldenberg, her father, died at a very young age, in his 60s, was a very nice guy, jovial, and very likeable fellow. We liked each other very much. Her mother I couldn't stand, and neither could Margaret. And later on in life, I was designated, because they couldn't stand each other, I would go down to Miami Beach where she was living, spend a few days with her, and have an early dinner, like at 4:30 and it took her off Margaret's hands, because they were literally fighting from the minute they saw each other. And I was the poor schlub that had to take over from time to time.
MS. BERMAN: What was the mother's name?
MR. HOROWITZ: Her mother was Celia Klein, K-L-E-I-N. They were unmistakable Hungarians, and that meant a lot in those days. It means less today. But they were supposed to be mercurial, and quick tempered, and all that. And, in fact, they were.
MS. BERMAN: Were Margaret and her mother alike, is that why they didn't like each other?
MR. HOROWITZ: I don't know why. I think they did like each other, but they couldn't express their feelings. They were cats and dogs.
MS. BERMAN: When was your daughter born?
MR. HOROWITZ: She was born a couple of years after we were married, and her name is Judith Babcock [Phonetic]. She's actually 61, although she looks much younger. She's here at the moment. She lives in California, although she's now in the process of moving back to New York. She was married to a very nice young man, even though she married a non-Jewish person, who I didn't like at the moment particularly when she got married, because he lacked ambition. But after I got to know him, I thought he was a prince. And he had a wonderful saint-like quality, and he was killed in an automobile accident out in California with Judy at his side. And it was a devastating moment for her. I talked to her psychiatrist or a psychiatrist who remarked to me that the most devastating thing for a mate is for the other mate to commit suicide, and the next worst thing was to see the mate killed in front of her, which was the case with Judy. And, I told her at the time that I would see that she had a happier life, and she's been a financial drain on me since. And I sometimes regret the promise I made to her, because she's very extravagant. But on the whole, she's a darling and she's impossible. But that's another story.
MS. BERMAN: Now, is she interested in art at all?
MR. HOROWITZ: She was an art consultant for a while, and very good at it. But, I realized that if you sell time, you've got to leverage it. You can't sell time alone and be successful. But she tried it and she was very good. She did offices, and banks, and things like that, papered the walls with reproductions, good art, mediocre art, whatever- But there came a time when she had certain personal problems, which defeated her, even then, in her line of work. And she debrided herself, I think, when she got married and stopped being an art consultant, and turned out to other matters. You know, California really doesn't belong to the United States, it's all by itself, and she got some cuckoo pursuits that I really can't identify as serious. But she made small amounts of money and spent lots of time with these crazy occupations. And then when Phil, her husband, was killed, it was a devastating moment for her, and a sad moment for me, because I had gotten to like Phillip very much. I flew out there that very next day, and I was astonished, there was a memorial service for him a few days after that, and there were hundreds of people who turned up. I don't know hundreds of people. Here they had gone to California not long before, not too long, I mean some years, but not forever, and Judy got 400 letters. It astonished me that he had such a following because he had had the effect on people that he had on me. He was such a saintly character. Anyway-
MS. BERMAN: Because, what I was going to ask you was, is that in regard to Judy, when you would be in the office, and Margaret would be going to galleries, I realize a lot of times Judy would be at school, but I wondered if she was kind of taken on some of your collecting forays, or she absorbed it, or had an interest, or even helping to catalog it, or if that became a family activity?
MR. HOROWITZ: No. No, no. She knew all the paintings we acquired, knew a good deal about them, knew about the artists, but she wasn't deeply interested in it. One of those things, she was familiar with it, but she wasn't really deeply interested. And she certainly didn't contribute to the collection or the catalogs, or shared our profound interest in this part of the world. Although, she was an art consultant, as I say, and a good one because she apparently did a good job for her various clients when she was active in this field. But she has no interest and had no interest in resuming it afterwards, and after an interval, well she stopped.
MS. BERMAN: So, did she go to college around here?
MR. HOROWITZ: She went first to Wisconsin. She had gone to Felix's Ethical Culture, and we had knocked our brains out to get her in. And it was the worst thing we could have done, it turned out, because she was in a class with super-achieving kids, and she was just an average kid. And she developed low self-esteem because her friends and fellow classmates were so brilliant. We didn't know, and didn't think of this consequence.
MS. BERMAN: Raymond Horowitz for the Archives of American Art Oral History Project on October 29th, 2004, in his apartment in New York City. And this is our second session. And I will jump out of order because you began to say something when we were off tape that I thought was interesting, and you were thinking about the one painting you wish you had had, and I wanted to discuss that.
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, a hundred years ago, I don't remember the exact year, Mr. Hanley's [Phonetic] widow offered all his American paintings, I think possibly all his paintings, for sale through Wildenstein. And I had yearned for one of the paintings in their collection called Ten Cent Breakfast by Theodore Robinson. And it was a portrait of four artists, I forget at the moment who the four were, but it was a most memorable painting. And I had thought that the best way to go about this was to get one of the dealers to approach Mrs. Hanley directly and try to buy it either directly from her or through the dealer. And I picked Norman Hirschl. It turned out-of Hirschl & Adler. By then, I guess, I was a pretty good client of the firm, and Norman was known for being a great salesman, although he was not known as a connoisseur. But I figured if he had an objective, he would accomplish it. Little did I know that he was very unreliable, and I doubt that he did anything on by behalf. But, in any event, I failed to get it, and I learned later, if I had used Jean Shore [Phonetic], it would have been a done deal right away, and for a modest sum. She didn't give a hoot. And it finally ended up in the Denver museum. I have not been able to get to Denver to see it, but I'm hopeful that in a week or two I'll see it in Baltimore. There is an exhibition of Robinson's work in Giverny where the "Ten Cent Breakfast" was actually painted from life, I presume, at an exhibition curated by Sonja Johnson [Phonetic] at the Baltimore Museum of Fine Art. And I'm going to Baltimore for the sole reason to see that exhibition. I will have some ancillary benefits from the visit, but that's another story.
MS. BERMAN: Who are Mr. and Mrs. Hanley?
MR. HOROWITZ: Hanley was a fellow who manufactured brick, as I understand, but he was a fervent collector of art. He lived somewhere in Pennsylvania, but he acquired quite an outstanding collection from time to time, and it was exhibited at Wildenstein, and I was knocked for a loop by many of his French paintings, and certainly by numerous American paintings. But the one I-as I say, and this was several years before he died, he had made the news because he'd married a hula-hula dancer, some kind of an exotic dancer. And that made the papers, because he was kind of a rough and ready type, and he was a millionaire, but not of the aristocratic kind of millionaires. And I guess when he married this belly-she was a belly dancer, that's right. There was a lot of fun stories about the marriage of this fellow and the belly dancer who didn't know a blooming thing about art, and that's why I thought I would have a good chance of getting the Robinson. But, as I say, I picked the wrong agent to accomplish the objective. But it still, all these many years, sticks in my mind as the single most desirable painting that eluded me. Incidentally, I was not a very good buyer privately. There's another story. I wanted a Cecilia Beaux rather early in the collecting, and there were absolutely no Beauxs on the market. And I asked Bill Gerdts, who was then-and had left the Newark Museum where he was the curator, and was teaching at CUNY. I don't know whether he was at Coker [Phonetic] or not at that time, but in any event, I asked him whether he knew of the whereabouts of any privately held Cecilia Beaux. And he said that to the best of his recollection there was one in Tyringham, Massachusetts owned by some relative of the Gilder [Phonetic] family who was close to Beaux or related to Beaux, whatever. And, in due course, I went to Tyringham and saw this young lady, and loved the Beaux which was called "Dorothea in the Woods." And then, I looked at it, she wasn't sure she was going to sell it, and then she did some time later, and this was in the '60s, I think, she said she decided to sell it. And so, I came up again. In a total disarming way, she asked me what it was worth. And, you know, I was taken aback. I frankly didn't have any strategy for acquiring it, that shows how green I was in these affairs. And she asked me what it was worth. And I gulped and I said what I thought it was worth. And she said she would sell it for that price, and I thereupon bought it. And I realized a moment later that if I had said a much lower price, or tipped off a dealer to get it, I would have ended up with the painting for a half or a third of what I suggested. So I then and there decided that I was a very poor buyer on my own, and I should have asked Iris Vaneman [Phonetic], or some other hardnosed dealer to do the deal for me. In any event, that was my, I think, my first and only foray into the wild, wooly game of dealing directly with other owners.
MS. BERMAN: Well, at least you got it, unlike-I don't quite understand why Norman Hershel did not get the picture.
MR. HOROWITZ: Neither do I. It's still a mystery to me all these years later, and because I was so close to the firm, I never pushed Norman for an explanation of why we didn't end up with the picture, or even some explanation of what he had done or not done. I figured the whole thing turned out to be a waste of time, and a misguided effort on my part.
MS. BERMAN: Well, it is strange, because I also wouldn't have normally thought of Gene Fraad in relation to Robinson either.
MR. HOROWITZ: Gene could be in relation to anything, and I found out later that he was instrumental in moving some of the pictures from the Miami collection to other owners. That's the only reason, he was a very astute merchant, in addition to being an excellent scholar, and first-rate human being.
MS. BERMAN: Just, we mentioned that the prints of your late lovely friends, the Fraads, Daniel and Rita, at the beginning of the auction. Is there any-is there anything in the Fraad's collection that you would just love to own?
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, there-you may be familiar with probably their most famous picture, which is a Sargent, a work by Sargent called "Fiesta," which shows four people lying on the ground, and it's a beautiful lyric picture. It was actually not Dan Fraad's taste, it was our taste, Margaret and I. And we had-I don't know whether we actually found it, or we saw it at the same time that Dan saw it. But, in any event, it was quote, "our" picture rather than Dan's, who had a much stronger taste, and a different outlook on painting. He liked the vigorous, forceful kind of painting, and we liked the more lyric. And he was rather disinterested in the painting. And, he didn't want to buy it. And we could understand why. And we would have bought it in an instant if we had the money. We didn't remotely have the money at that time. And he dithered about it, and finally Margaret said, "Look, you must buy it. You absolutely must buy it. It's our picture, but we can't afford it, and you must have it. That's it." And she was very persuasive, and Rita piled on, I think, but it was Margaret who really cowed Dan into buying it. Of course, it's now the premier picture in their collection. It will be on the cover, I understand, of the Sotheby Sale Catalog, et cetera, et cetera. But, that's the-I think that's the only time that our respective tastes overlapped, and it would have been, of course, injurious to our friendship if there had been many occasions when we liked the same painting, and we could afford it and they obviously could afford it. But, luckily, those moments didn't occur. And we had, as I say, these quite different tastes, so that Dan and I would go together to various dealers. I would urge him, or dissuade him, or what-he always made up his own mind, I don't want any misunderstanding about that. He couldn't be swayed by anybody. But, we would cheerfully go to all the galleries together, and we never were rivals about a particular painting. We always had such strikingly different tastes that it was easy to accompany him on his-he didn't go as frequently as we did to the galleries because he lived for the most part, I mean for the most part, in Westchester, although he did have a flat in New York. So, on the weekends, which were the prime time for us to visit most of the galleries, he was in Scarsdale. However, we did sneak off from time to time during the week and go to various dealers. He liked to visit Babcock. Carmen Delesio [Phonetic] at the time was the owner of Babcock, and Carmen had a lot of very good pictures. I didn't really know that much at the time. It was probably in the late '50s or mid '50s, I guess, or late '50s, that I started to accompany Dan to Delesio. And at the time, I had been much more interested in abstract expressionism, and a number of contemporary painters. And I wasn't yet that knowledgeable about American painting. Occasionally, when I accompanied Dan to the gallery, Carmen would show me a Twachtman, I thought the name was so exotic at the time, or a Whistler, and I passed them all by. Jumping ahead, I would have liked to have known what I knew later at that early time, because Carmen had all these wonderful paintings, which in recollection, I knew I could have been quite eager to buy, and to buy because the prices were very reasonable, and the work was so meritorious. But, as I say, I was green at the time, and uninterested in historical American art. And so I missed that great opportunity by six years or so. I don't know how we got off on that-
MS. BERMAN: Oh, no, it's not off. Those are the sorts of things I would be asking you. Just another, going back briefly to the Fraads, Rita did buy-there's a Sargent watercolor too that they did buy a little bit more in that area.
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, the Sargent watercolor actually came through me. I had been through a kind of niche dealer named Nicholson [phonetic], and I saw two watercolors by Sargent, and recommended that Dan buy this Spanish barracks watercolor, which I actually preferred of the two. I was a schmuck, I think, to have offered him the best. That's another, I guess that's the only other instance where I freely put my own interest aside for Dan's, because I could easily afford it, it wasn't much money. And I took the other one, which I must confess later turned out to be dubious. It was probably the work of that forger, I forget his name, Charles Merrill Mount.
MS. BERMAN: Did you ever meet him?
MR. HOROWITZ: I not only met him, but he was here several times at the apartment, and we were even on his list to get his various letters and things. And when he got into deep trouble, we continued to be on his list, and I was fearful that I would really get into a lot of Dutch because of the association with him. He was a notorious psychopath, I guess, and he was making all sorts of absurd claims. And we actually, when we tried to get a wonderful painting by Sargent called Roses, and we went to England to meet Ms. Ormond who owned it, she had told us that she had gotten a Christmas card from Mr. Merrill Mount, where he had substituted his face for Sargent's face in a portrait done by Sargent, which showed the depth of his pathology. He thought he was Sargent in some mysterious way.
MS. BERMAN: He thought he was Gilbert Stuart too.
MR. HOROWITZ: And then he thought he was other painters, Gilbert Stuart. And I say, curiously enough, he was quite a good scholar. He had written a book about Monet which was quite good. The Sargent book, of course, was not good at all, but it was a-he was a curious mixture. We bought, I think, one drawing from him or through him. And Mr. McGiven [Phonetic], who was then an authority, even then in the '60s, on Sargent, he had written a book called Sargent's Boston, as I recall. He came to see it and he said, instantly, this is a fake. And as soon as we could, we got rid of it. I forgot how we-I think we sent it to the [farm?], or something, which has a collection of fakes. That was a way of unloading a fake. We didn't want to put it back on the market. We also, I guess what it brings to mind, there was a rather famous portrait called A Self Portrait by William Merritt Chase, which had been bought by Dr. John McDonough [Phonetic], who was then a pretty good collector. He came from Youngstown, Ohio, and he was a strong buyer of American painting. And he bought this self portrait by Chase which had been appraised by various scholars. In fact, the critic on the West Coast, I forget his name, had priced as one of the best self portraits in America. It turned out, I forget the guy's name, it will come to me, because he was a well-known scholar and had published a lot of stuff.
MS. BERMAN: You mean Alfred Frankenstein?
MR. HOROWITZ: Frankenstein, yes. That's correct. And, he had put it in a book, Self Portraits, or something. It turned out, of course, after McDonough bought it that it was not done by Chase, but by a student of Chase, and I forget her name. Anyway, it was a beautiful painting, wonderful painting. And McDonough consigned it to auction, and we assumed that he would buy it, even though it was not by Chase because it was such a good painting. So, we bought it for a fraction of what it had brought at earlier auctions, but we promptly gave it to the Met, because we didn't want it to get back on the market as a Chase because it was signed Chase, and it wasn't a Chase. And we thought that if, in due course, we sold it, or even had given it away to any one but the Met or the National Gallery, it would return to the market as a Chase. But it was such a wonderful painting. Anyway, it's in safe hands as a-Lily something or other-anyway, a very good painter in her own right. It's a wonderful painting, and we're delighted that the Met has it.
MS. BERMAN: Also that you were able to identify it.
MR. HOROWITZ: Yes. Well, there's a scholar who is dead now named-my memory is just terrible.
MS. BERMAN: You're doing splendidly, don't worry.
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, this fine scholar turned up the evidence that it was not by Chase, but by this other student of Chase.
MS. BERMAN: It's not Lillian Wescott Hale, is it?
MR. HOROWITZ: No, no.
MS. BERMAN: That would be unlikely.
MR. HOROWITZ: Anyway, it will also come to me.
MS. BERMAN: You said, Lily, I can't think of-I can only think of Lily Martin Spencer, which is not correct, and Lillian Wescott Hale.
MR. HOROWITZ: We have a wonderful drawing by Lillian Wescott Hale.
MS. BERMAN: So, what did you do with your Sargent watercolor that you believed to be by Mount?
MR. HOROWITZ: I don't know.
MS. BERMAN: Did you ever find out if it really was by Sargent, or you got it through Mount?
MR. HOROWITZ: No. I got it through Nicholson, who had been the source, we found out later on also, of Fiesta. Abe Adler had seen it at Nicholson and bought it probably double or triple the price, because Abe had a great sense of the market. I remember he bought two Winslow Homer's from another dealer, and he doubled the price, same days, and sold them within a few days. He had an uncanny feel for the market. Even then, Homers were not-everyone thinks that in the old days everything was $2 or something. It was crazy because the good things were even then expensive in current terms. It seems like nothing nowadays, but in those days, $25-35-70,000 was a lot of money. And Abe had priced these watercolors at $75,000, which was a lot of dough at the time in the '60s. Anyway, how did I get off on that?
MS. BERMAN: Because of Charles Merrill Mount. Well, he was-he's still alive, evidently.
MR. HOROWITZ: I think he's still alive. He's probably locked up somewhere.
MS. BERMAN: He's only got one kidney. And also, the reason he was such a nuisance is he used to act as his own lawyer, in filing these nuisance suits all the time.
MR. HOROWITZ: He filed these crazy cases.
MS. BERMAN: Well, you know, he sued his mother.
MR. HOROWITZ: I didn't know that.
MS. BERMAN: Well, you know, his real name is something like Sherman Schwartz [Phonetic], or Sherman Suchau [Phonetic], one or the other. And his mother let out his real name. He had changed it legally to Charles. She let out what his real name was. So, he actually sued his mother.
MR. HOROWITZ: For what?
MS. BERMAN: I have no idea.
MR. HOROWITZ: I didn't matter, I guess, he just sued to sue.
MS. BERMAN: He just did it. I know two people who were working-David Goodrich was sued by him, and David should write a book about it, but he's waiting until Mount is dead so he won't be sued again. Anyway, I just-you know what, there were a couple of things from last week when I was listening that I want to clear up, and then we'll go on, we'll go back to the collective vein that we were in. Just on housekeeping, because we were doing biography on both you and Margaret. Did Margaret have any brothers or sisters?
MR. HOROWITZ: No. She's an only child.
MS. BERMAN: And then, this is something I wanted to clear up, because I think this is a mistaken impression. We were kind of laughing because you were saying that Margaret hadn't taught, she had these degrees. And so, I wanted to know before the art came along what were her interests, shall we say, what sorts of things was she interested in?
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, she was moderately interested in the art because it's one of the things we did on weekends. But she was also interested in literature. She was interested in-and we went to the theater a great deal. We went to the theater virtually every week, at least once a week. We saw virtually everything on Broadway. There was no particular off Broadway at the time. But we were, as I recall, rather devoted followers of the theater. And it was one of the things we did when we were courting. And then when we got married we lived on-shortly after we got married, we-I've forgotten exactly where we lived, but after a rather brief period, we lived up 67th Street West, which was Greenwich Village Uptown, and it was a very stimulating neighborhood.
MS. BERMAN: Stuart Davis lived there.
MR. HOROWITZ: And a lot of artists lived there. And it was also a politically active community. So it was a very gemutlich and favorable atmosphere for us to live these formative years in. We would go to the Hotel des Artist for dinner or whatever, and you'd see Leon Crowe or other painters. It was a wonderful neighborhood, but the point was that it was easy to get to Broadway from there, and we sometimes would walk from the theater back to home in the clement weather. I don't know why I remember that, but anyway.
MS. BERMAN: Because I asked you. Now I just want to touch on-because you-some of the other painters you have met, living artists, you mentioned Joe Hirsch and we talked about that. You had told me once I think on the phone, I guess you knew Jack Levine?
MR. HOROWITZ: I knew Jack Levine, and he was a rather strange-he is a strange bird. In the early days of our collection we asked him-you know, we liked him, and we asked him over-just naturally, he came up alone and he looked around and he looked around. And Margaret in her way, inimitable way, asked him what he liked best. And he identified as his premier choice the smallest fragment in the whole collection, a little wispy thing by Glackens. So we knew then he wasn't about to praise one of our favorite objects. And it turns out, we got to know him, he was absolutely frothing at the mouth when you suggested that you liked de Kooning or some abstract painter. He was vehement in his dislike of abstract expressionism. And it was kind of amusing. But, he was enormously educated and knowing about the history of painting. He was really a scholar in addition to being a painter. And we enjoyed his observations about Italian painting, and other historical paintings. Also, Joe Hirsch had a fabulous knowledge. We had encountered Jack in Venice on one occasion, and he was truly extraordinary. He went to obscure churches and identified Italian paintings. It was rather unusual, I think, for painters to be that scholarly, that knowledgeable. And we were absolutely bowled over by Jack's tremendous knowledge of historical art, and delighted that we knew him. We've drifted apart in recent years, and we really haven't seen him in quite some time. But, we do have these wonderful memories of him, and I'm glad you sparked that recollection, because I had quite forgotten it.
MS. BERMAN: Well, which leads me to you were telling me, and I guess it was through Jack Levine somehow you met Edward Hopper, so I'd like you to tell me about that.
MR. HOROWITZ: No, it was through Joe Hirsch.
MS. BERMAN: Joe Hirsch, okay.
MR. HOROWITZ: And on one occasion, I forgot exactly what the genesis of this was, but Joe had invited Margaret and me to spend an evening with Hopper and his wife, Joe, he was then married-was he married to Ruth, I forgot. Joe had divorced at one point, and married one of his models. I think this was early in the game. In any event, we moseyed around a little bit, and we ended up at a place called McGinnis [Phonetic], which is long since out of business.
MS. BERMAN: So this was in Manhattan?
MR. HOROWITZ: This was in Manhattan. And this was a kind of low-priced, mass media-not mass media-anyway, it wasn't a fashionable place. It was on Broadway. It catered to tourists, people of limited means. You could have a roast beef sandwich for 99 cents.
MS. BERMAN: It was a Hopper place to go. That would be-he would go to places like that.
MR. HOROWITZ: And Joe came from a rather wealthy family, and was always pretty well off, but he adapted himself to Hopper, who apparently liked these kinds of places. Anyway, we spent a long time there and Hopper didn't say a single word during the dinner. And then I think we went to Joe's place, which was around the corner from where we lived. And still Hopper didn't say a single word. And Joe kept talking-Joe's wife kept talking ceaselessly throughout the evening. And it was one of the most unnerving nights I've ever been through, because to see this wonderful painter, even then he was a towering figure in American art, not say a single word was just terrifying. His wife kept rattling away with nonsense, and she couldn't be stopped, even though Joe Hirsch tried to stop her from time to time. As they say, my surviving recollection of that was of being so unnerved by it. Subsequently, a couple of years later, we did meet Hopper under certain other circumstances, and it became clear to me that he was quite valuable when it came to other painters, because we met on the cape. He and Jack Levine were talking about printing some images, and they were going at it. I don't know how we got there. I'm just at a loss to remember. But, I do remember clearly being together with Hopper and Jack Levine, and they were busy with the press, talking animatedly about the process that they were both engaged in, namely pulling the press over the lithograph. And it occurred to me that good artists really didn't like to talk to lay people, because they spoke a different language, and they were very pleased to talk to their peers. Hopper was so animated with Jack Levine, that he was totally different from the night that we were together. So you saw that he was really bored to death with laymen, and couldn't wait to get rid of them. Whereas, with other painters he felt totally at home, and they spoke the same language, understood what they were about. It convinced me that I should not know the painters.
MS. BERMAN: I would guess when you're talking about this animated-I bet Joe wasn't there.
MR. HOROWITZ: That's right. She was not present.
MS. BERMAN: Number one. And number two, as you say, it was artists working together. Hopper wasn't printing by then. He never made any prints that late. So Jack was doing a series of prints, and Hopper must have been involved and talking to him about it. I know Hopper's prints enough, the last print he made was 1928, unless he made something for fun and destroyed it when you saw this. But, that's interesting. But, she was very destructive in a lot of ways. I suppose she was the only person for him, but they just-
MR. HOROWITZ: Like cats and dogs.
MS. BERMAN: Exactly. Now, also up on the cape, did you ever-here is someone who had a version of the kind of work you were interested in. How about Edward Dickinson, did you ever run across him?
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, we met him several times, but I'm using the word met in the sense of encountered. And once we wanted to go to his place, and we saw signs, beware of the dog, and we knew he didn't have a dog, so it was a clear signal that he didn't want to see anybody. So we didn't try to force ourselves on him. But, even then I thought he was a wonderful painter. And it was a quite different aesthetic than ours. But, I regarded him as a master, a wonderful painter and couldn't understand why he wasn't then regarded as a wonderful painter. I think Lloyd Goodrich at Gano [Phonetic] is about to do his volume on Dickinson, his iconographic study. But, you asked about whether I knew him. I met him several times. It was easy in those days, if you wanted to meet other painters in Provincetown, but we didn't really know him.
MS. BERMAN: I just wanted to ask one more question about the Fraad's collection, since you knew them so well. They disposed of the collection, I guess some things probably went to Smith, but did they talk, or did Rita talk to you about the decision mainly to sell, or to-
MR. HOROWITZ: I'm in an awkward position, because I also was Dan's lawyer. And he did tell me certain things, and I'm not sure that I'm ethically allowed to-
MS. BERMAN: Okay, that's okay, because it's always-you always wonder the thinking behind a collection.
MR. HOROWITZ: I know precisely what he wanted, but I don't think I'm freely permitted to talk about it.
MS. BERMAN: I hope at some time, at some point, when you ever can, for history, it would be possible. Let's go on to issues that you have mentioned in other interviews. And I'm really going to-again, I'm trying to ask-not ask things that have been covered already by others, which is why I'm not going to go into the story of giving the drawings to the Fraads, and then starting up and then getting-one comment that you had made is that collectors all used to share information, and now they don't. When you say that would you elaborate, what kind of information? And who are the collectors that information was being shared among, besides, say, you and the Fraads?
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, there wasn't a large group of people at the time, but there was the Potemkins. Arthur auctioned to a limited extent, because he was secretive himself for a good deal of the time. I'm trying to think.
MS. BERMAN: What about Daniel Terra?
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, Dan Terra was here and many times would be a problem. He would always try to get Margaret alone and try to buy something from us, using her. He thought of her as a better target than me. And, of course, she wouldn't sell him anything.
MS. BERMAN: I think he underestimated her, thinking that she would be an easy target.
MR. HOROWITZ: She was much tougher than I was. In any event, Terra was around. What am I thinking, there were a lot of others.
MS. BERMAN: Paul Magriel.
MR. HOROWITZ: Paul Magriel was probably the first collector-he later turned out to be a "marchand amateur," but we were very impressed with him. And I once timidly asked him, "Is there anything for sale in your collection," because we were interested in the very beginning in getting drawings. And he said, "Well," so he said, "but come over and have a look." So we came over and we bought about six things from his collection. And he later said, "You creamed me." And, of course, it turned out we had bought nothing but lemons. And it was a great learning experience, because soon after we bought them we unloaded them on the market, because they were all rather second rate or third. But we were so bedazzled by meeting Paul, who later became a very good friend, that we bought these lemons. Then we progressed in our relationship, and we did buy a couple of things of great merit from him. And the Fraads bought from him, as well. The Fraads bought, I think, at one swoop, eight or ten things from his collection. And Paul was rather strange. He said, "Get them out right away. I don't care when you pay me, but get these out of the house." Both Dan and I looked and said, this guy is crazy. So we literally had to arrange, then and there, to get these eight or ten drawings or prints, I forget which, out of the house instantly. And Dan had the resources to pick up the phone or whatever and get some trucker to come by. Paul was pathological about getting the stuff out. And I guess it was his nature to have one collection after another. He never made any money, because he took the money that he made on selling one collection to buy the next collection. At one time, of course, he had the greatest collection of American still life paintings, which were on view, as I recall, at Wildenstein. If he had kept that he would have been a very rich man. But, he never had the temperament to keep anything for very long. But, he was a wonderful friend. When we were in East Hampton for many years, he and Babs, his companion Babs Simpson [Phonetic], he would come by every week on Saturday afternoon and we would talk for an hour so. Then he would quite mysteriously drive off. But we did share many, many years of wonderful talk. I would rather characterize it as schmoozing, or whatever, rather than deep talk. But, we did talk about art in general. We didn't concentrate on American art necessarily, because we had seen, or made it our business to see many other exhibitions in the New York area and outside New York, and Paul likewise. So we had lots of things to talk about, in addition to American art. But, we did enjoy him, even though he was kind of erratic. But he was always amusing and it was much fun to be with him. Isn't that funny. I can't think of the other collectors.
MS. BERMAN: There were the Ganzes, too.
MR. HOROWITZ: The Ganzes they had a different aesthetic. They had started out in a rather mixed way, but before they concentrated on the 19th Century pre-Impressionist work. But, we became very good friends. We had gone together, I don't know, in the early '70s to Santa Barbara to see a Hassam exhibition. And I don't know why the Ganzes-I guess at that time they must have had a Hassam. In any event, we both went together, both couples, and since then we became very fast friends, and we did trade information. It was very easy to trade information with someone whose field of interest was quite different than ours. So if we picked up information concerning the artists whom they liked, we certainly would trade it with them, and they did likewise. Another collector who was not in our field, but who also-he had an interest, a deep interest in Sargent, was David Daniels, who was a wonderful collector. He was the scion, Daniels of the Archer Daniels family. And he had quite a substantial amount of money at the time and he was going to assemble a collection and give it all to Minneapolis. They had a wonderful curator at the time. And once we found a Sargent that we didn't like, a Sargent watercolor, we called up David and he bought it in a second. And he also brought to our attention a portrait of Theodore Robinson by Kenyan Cox, which we bought immediately. So it was that kind of relationship between collectors at the time. And we would kind of all meet at the end of the day at Roy Davis'-who was then more or less a private dealer, but a dealer nonetheless, and notably a framer. He framed for Robert Lehman and for Paul Mellon. And although he was not yet known to the general population as a first rate framer, he was known by the cognoscenti. And we all went there at the end of the day on Saturday and sometimes Larry Fleischman who, of course, was also a "marchand amateur" it turned out, although he was much more of a professional I think than an amateur. He had the courage to buy something and have Ursula Madeleine and sell it a few days later to Wildenstein, or the reverse. And I was frequently, with respect to the dealers, how can you do business with this guy when you know he's not going to keep the painting, he's buying it to resell it at a profit?
MR. HOROWITZ: very selective dealer-Rikia [Phonetic] bought the work-(curses unable to recall name)-
MS. BERMAN: The person interested, you said, was Michael, Michael St. Clair?
MR. HOROWITZ: Mike St. Clair, who at that time owned Babcock, did care a lot about who bought the painting. He became-I don't know-I think one of the reasons we became clients of different firms, or preferred clients, rather, was that we never bothered, we didn't give the dealer a hard time. Some collectors like Joe Hirschhorn at the time, would drive the dealers crazy because he would say, "Look, line up these six pictures-which I like -and what's the price of all six? What's the price of this one? What's the price of three?" So the dealer got crazy doing this exercise with Joe, who was a very agreeable fellow, but a tough businessman. But we were different, we said, give us your best price, and we'll either take it or walk away. So it was an easy experience for them to deal with us. And I think as a consequence Mike St. Clair, who we knew only professionally, he guarded his privacy very carefully, even though we got to like him very much, we could never get close to him. And he was a source of some wisdom, not as much as Antoinette Kraushaar, but it was a good experience to go there because he did have some wonderful material from time-to-time. And it was a good experience.
MS. BERMAN: We were just talking-I think we were finishing up about Michael St. Clair and Babcock.
MR. HOROWITZ: I mentioned Antoinette Kraushaar, which brings to mind the role of the dealers, which I don't think has been sufficiently emphasized by the scholars, because the dealers had more to do with hands-on painting, I think, than the scholars at different museums. I may be wrong in this. But, I don't know that the dealers know all that much, but they were exposed to all this material in ways that the scholars were not. And Antoinette was a source of a lot of information, which she gave freely. We would turn up at her gallery every Saturday without fail because first of all we loved her as a person, and I think she liked us. She was canny in the sense that-and she knew we would turn up. She would have something on the-
MS. BERMAN: The easel?
MR. HOROWITZ: Yes, the easel that she thought might catch our eye. It rarely did, and it was transparent what she was up to. But, nonetheless she was very giving, and sometimes we would say, "Well, we are interested in this or that painter." Incidentally, we never followed the practice of wanting to have a historical collection or filling in gaps. It bored the hell out of us. But, we had a predilection for particular artists, and she would unstintingly say, well, this or that dealer is likely to have that and that painter's work. And she'd freely mentioned competitors, without any concern whatever. And we even got to see her in her apartment. And there came a time when she offered to sell us, privately, one or more Prendergasts-she knew all these artists. Actually she had been painted by Luks as a young girl. Luks, incidentally, I thought was a clunky painter, and we never wanted anything by him. We had one Luks, which we bought from Goldenberg-not from Goldenberg, I forget. Anyway-but we never bought any by Luks, anything of consequence. Abe Bablin [Phonetic] was a very agreeable dealer whom we got to know very well. He would show us his entire inventory and tell us what the prices were if we wanted it. I only asked the prices on paintings which we might like to own. But Irving Mitchell sometimes turned up at the same time we did, and would join us in looking at the inventory, would ask the price of everything, whether or not he was-and I thought that was terrible, and I couldn't understand why Abe would tell him. It later turned out that Abe and he were partners on all sorts of things-he would find, or Abe would find, and they would share the cost and the profits. I don't know. Abe was a very funny guy in a sense, but he had a merchant's mind, and he was very able to make a buck. But we liked each other, and as I say-and he did this unusual thing, which no other dealer did, in showing us his entire inventory-not his entire inventory. For instance, they bought the Henmeyer [Phonetic] estate. And there were hundreds of items which were not ready for presentation. But, whatever was on deck for presenting to clients would be made available to us, and we got a wonderful education in that regard. Although it's interesting, everyone said that in those years there were chances to buy the work of Cole and the others of a previous era in American art at quite comfortable prices. We never found at Abe's that there were good examples of the Hudson River School, and sometimes we would bring Dan along in the thought that he might respond to what Abe had. And he never responded either. So it may be that the stuff that was available was mainly in Boston, at Vose and other places. We even went to-I even went to Vose, because when we were summering in Provincetown, you then flew from New York to Boston, and took the little puddle jumper plane to Provincetown. But, sometimes I would stop off at Boston and go to see Vose in the expectation I would find a great discovery there. And it turned out that Art Vose, whom I liked a lot, simply didn't understand us, and I never bought anything, except the Sargent watercolor, Siesta, which the circumstances were very funny. I guess he had sent me a black and white photo of it. And this was on a weekend, I was not in Boston, I was somewhere else, in New York or in Provincetown, I don't remember. I said, "Gee, I'd like to see that in the flesh." So-I said, I'll make it my business to come by on Monday. He said, "You can't wait until Monday." I said, "What do you mean?" He said, "Well, there are a lot of people standing in line for this." He says, "You've got to make up your mind this weekend." I said, "There's no way I can get to Boston." I said, "Describe the picture to me. Is it vivid?" He said, "It's not vivid, it's rich." [They Laugh] I said, "It's rich? I'll take it"-sight unseen. I hadn't seen it. It turned out, of course, to be a great trophy, and a wonderful painting in the flesh. But, it was extraordinary, the first time I ever bought something without seeing it.
MS. BERMAN: What made you decide you could do that, because you felt Vose would be upright or-?
MR. HOROWITZ: I felt he could be reliable, and I guess there's a streak in me that likes to shoot crap every once in a while. I had done that a couple of times, once with Iris Vaneman [Phonetic] who showed me a painting that was all black. It turned out it was a Twachtman, Waterfall, and he said he thought it would clean up, but the price was so ridiculously low, that I bought it. It's a dealer's risk, but I'll buy it anyway. Of course, it turned out to be a beauty. It ended up we gave it to Newark, I don't know why we gave it to Newark, we were crazy. But, that's another story. Margaret had run into Bill Gerdts, who was then in Newark, the curator in Newark-and he said to Margaret, you own a lot of Twachtman, we don't have any Twachtman, you ought to give us one of yours. Afterwards Margaret told me what her encounter with Bill was. I said, that's ridiculous, what does one thing have to do with another? And she nagged me and nagged me until finally I said, "All right, we'll give it to them." So we gave the Twachtman to Newark. And in those days I was very scrupulous-I guess I was always scrupulous-but that was way over the line. Of course, I wanted-there was a benefit to giving things away, you got a tax deduction. So you wanted to maximize the tax. On the other hand, I wanted to be totally correct. So I said, who is the authority on Twachtman, the only one is Harold Mitch, but-Harold's executive, but that's another story. Harold was very document-oriented, not eye-oriented. And he had to have documentation. So I figured I'd get too low an estimate from Harold. And also, Bob Vose was an authority also on Twachtman, so I paid his expenses to come down to New York to look at the painting that we had given to Newark. And I said, "Can you give us $10,000?" He said, "No, only $8000," and he was very firm. Of course, it's worth many hundreds of thousands of dollars, I'd like to buy it back for $8000. In any event, in those days-and I guess I continued to be scrupulous. I always used Christy's or Sotheby's afterwards because they had the most current knowledge when I gave things away. But, how did I get off on that?
MS. BERMAN: Let me figure this out. It's fine, because it's all related. You had bought this picture from Ira that was all black, and things that you kind of did-
MR. HOROWITZ: There came a time when Perry Rathbone was between his engagements as director at Boston and his subsequent affiliation with an auction house, and he was dealing privately. I asked Perry for a John White Alexander, which he never turned up. I guess I was wrong in wanting a John White Alexander who had a different aesthetic than what we particularly liked. But one day Perry called me at home, early in the morning, and he said, I have a Bunker here, which I'd like you to see. So I jumped up-he was staying at the Regency Hotel-it was about 8:30 in the morning, some ridiculous time, and I saw this painting, it was virtually all black, like I'd seen at Ira's. I said, hey, Perry, this is crazy. I gotta to send this to my conservator.
[Interruption to tape.]
MS. BERMAN: You were talking about Perry and his black Foker [Phonetic], that story.
MR. HOROWITZ: I said, Jean, both the Museum of Modern Art was allowed to have a private practice. It has to see this. Again, it's a dealer's risk, not a collector's risk. He said, "Well, I'm sorry, you've got to make up your mind." I said, "Why?" He said, "Those are the facts." So I thought for a minute and I said, "Well, I had this useful experience with Ira. I'll shoot crap." It was a lot of money, and I was dopey. Usually Margaret and I had to agree, and this is one of the better few times I had gone ahead on my own. And I said, "Okay, you've got to deal." And I swiftly had it sent over, because in those days you could get truckers to do all sorts of handsprings. And they swiftly went over to through Jean [?], and she said, "It's going to turn out beautifully, and it's a gorgeous picture, and you'll love it." I was so relieved.
MS. BERMAN: Which Bunker is that?
MR. HOROWITZ: It's the big Bunker, called Roadside Cottage. And it turned out to be a real winner. It has an inner light.
MS. BERMAN: So Margaret did not read you the riot act?
MR. HOROWITZ: No, she was so pleased. It turned out also to be my daughter's single favorite painting in the collection. And I recently told her that I was changing my will and not giving it to her, and she to this day reminds me, almost every month, that I'm a mean son of a gun to deprive her of her favorite painting. I said it just costs too much in taxes to will it to you, which she doesn't understand-anyway. I just a few days ago decided not to give it to her, because the consequences were borne on me. Any way-
MS. BERMAN: We were talking about being forced to buy on impulse.
MR. HOROWITZ: Which is very rare for us to do. We had to be drawn instantly to the object, but then when you reflect on it, and consider its merit on aesthetic grounds, and sometimes we would reject the painting, even though we had been drawn to it instantly, although, I cannot recall specific instances of that. I know there were. On the other hand, there were other times when we were drawn to it and stayed drawn to it after analyzing the different aspects of the painting. There were times, though-and I remember also it was very painful for me, not painful for Margaret, to give up a certain Robinson which we had, for a Hassam, [inaudible]. I knew in financial terms that the swap was quite beneficial, in money terms, but I really felt the big attraction to the Robinson. And to this day, many years later, I am of two minds-everyone said I scored a great victory in the exchange of Isle of Shoals, which we've given to the National Gallery. It actually is a marvelous painting, it's worth many millions of dollars. It's been widely exhibited. But the Robinson is not that valuable, of course, yet, I figure in time it will be. And I'm reminded that I was at a seminar in California, and I had told one of the people on the panel along with me, was John Breenwald [Phonetic], the eminent, noted scholar of Impressionism, and I said that we were very influenced-because he had asked me what we liked, et cetera, and this was when the panel was taking a break or whatever, and I said I was greatly influenced by the Robinson at the Met, "Bird's Eye View of Giverny, Green Water Key? I think yours is better." This is the painting that I swapped for the Hassam I was startled because I didn't think it was better. But he said it was like the one at Chicago, which it is. But I know it is a wonderful picture, not that it was better or worse than the one at the Met, but I loved it. It's now in the Teller [Phonetic] Collection, and he was the one who paid a lot of money for the Hassam, but we ended up with-the way the swap occurred. And it was Stuart Feld, who in those days was first one of the associate curators at the Met of American Art, and subsequently a dealer at Hirschl & Adler. I had actually arranged the marriages of Stuart and Hirschl & Adler, because I was-without telling tales out of school -I was a lawyer for Hirschl & Adler, and I was a very good friend of Stuart. And I thought when Stuart indicated he wanted to leave the Met, or he may have been pushed, I don't know, no one ever knows the facts. He would like to go into being a dealer, I suggested he and Abe Adler get together and they swiftly liked each other. It turned out later that it got to be a ding-dong, but everything that Stuart did turned out to be a ding-dong at one time or another. Even though we were very close friends, and I had been instrumental in making the most decisive move that he ever made, we became for a while not such good friends. Now, we're very good friends again. He's a little bit meshugenah. Anyway, we like each other again, now. Stuart is very attentive to Margaret in her illness, and we see each other. But, now, I hadn't really filled out the scene. I had to go back and see the other collectors, because it wasn't a feeling I had, since we never had any overlapping tastes, we could fairly trade information, we traded information about prices, about artists, about exhibitions, about scholars, about everything in the current scene. I understand that today it's the reverse. It's so delicate that these zillionaire collectors don't even disclose their names to the dealer, they have numbers. And I'm number 35, or I'm number 42, so that even the dealers' tape, if it's ever discovered by some rogue or another, they'll never reveal the identity of the buyer of this work of art who paid $30-40 million. What differences does it make if you've got all these billions, whether you pay $10 million or $20 million for a painting that's worth $2 million. It's all stage money or something. I don't know.
MS. BERMAN: That will happen with the Fraad auction, all those people will be-
MR. HOROWITZ: It could very well be. But they want anonymity, and if they can't have anonymity, they won't buy, even though they like it. That's the terrible truth about it. And the concept that you do not know who the collectors are. I mean, there's much speculation that Bill Gates is buying, that Paul Allen is buying, but beyond that, you don't know who the other collectors in Seattle or on the West Coast are really buying. And the consequence is that you don't have a free relationship with other collectors, which was the case-I mean, even though Manoukian was another dealer in sheep's clothing-we could talk to Dick, and we shared many confidences with Dick. I don't know, he was such an easy-going fellow, that even though he was not really a pristine collector-we knew everything was for sale at one time or another-we liked him and we talked about everything when we saw him. He was a strikingly busy guy, and when you saw him in Detroit he would be looking at the ticker, he's talking to you, dictating to the-it was a joke. He was doing 17 things at once. But he was engaging and we liked him a lot. We could let our hair down.
MS. BERMAN: Well, also, as you say, it seems the only area of overlap with you and most people would have been Prendergast.
MR. HOROWITZ: Yes. That's true or Sargent. But Sargent has such a varied output that there were Sargents that we liked that other-like the time when we freely gave the Sargent watercolor to David Daniels because it wasn't our taste.
MS. BERMAN: Also Sargent was so prolific that really for a long time there was always another Sargent coming along.
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, that wasn't true. After the Fraad's first Sargent, I said, this is going to bring out a lot of-it didn't happen. It just didn't happen. There were a number of Sargent watercolors that were kicking around with the niche dealer, by the name I forget, but there weren't many Sargents for years. Subsequently, the Venetian Sargents that the Fraads had came up, and we thought it was our turn. But Abe sold it to the Fraads. That was the one time I gulped a little bit. Abe obviously thought it was to his advantage to sell it to Dan because Dan paid the next day, and it took me a year usually to pay for something. So, it was a no-brainer for him to sell it to Dan.
MS. BERMAN: Well, that's an interesting thing is that the practice also of installment buying, you had no problem, that was established.
MR. HOROWITZ: You didn't need cash, you needed credit, which drew a big laugh. I used the expression in Washington at some talk. The reason I didn't understand, because it's accurate, we never paid right away, the dealers were content to wait six months or whatever, really a rather a long time. And today you've got to pay before, you've got to give them certified checks, all that nonsense. It was quite different in the old days when we were buying two-three things a week. They were very pleased to make the sale, even though the payment was delayed. Needless to say, everyone did get paid ultimately.
MS. BERMAN: Well, let's also talk-some of your area of interest is, or I don't know if you're exactly alone, but even when I started to come into the art world, American Impressionism was not called that. There wasn't even any name for it.
MR. HOROWITZ: That's correct. We were pioneers in an unwitting way. We didn't deliberately set out to do this, but we were drawn to it, and we, I guess, were pioneers in the rediscovery and the reevaluation of American Impressionism. Which, as you say, didn't even have a name.
MS. BERMAN: Well, it was rather pejorative. I can remember it was called the Genteel Tradition, which really makes it sound whimpy. I mean, it's kind of-
MR. HOROWITZ: Downgraded.
MS. BERMAN: Exactly. And that was all, I used painters of the Genteel Tradition, that's what it used to be called. So, I don't know how it got switched to American Impressionism, which is perfectly acceptable. I mean, obviously, Bill wrote that book. But I don't know who or how the term came about.
MR. HOROWITZ: We don't know either. Even though the dealers, as I say, had this material, they weren't that absorbed in it. I mean, I bought a painting, or we bought a painting from Hirschl & Adler of Robinson, which Abe had said, a New England landscape. He didn't bother to look at anything. He made up the title. I said to myself after we got the painting, "Under no circumstances could this be New England." I went to the Frick Library, where I used to go frequently, and I checked the photos they had, and it turned out to be an important painting of Giverny, not far from being a New England landscape. Now, if Abe had known that, he probably would have priced it quite substantially more than he did as "New England Landscape." So, it was interesting that they had the material, but they didn't identify it properly. And Victor Spark, also from whom we bought, who was a private dealer. You had to go to his place on Park Avenue, we have to make an appointment with him, if you could make the appointment. And he turned out to have a lot of stuff, but if you asked him who the previous owner was, he wouldn't, he'd say, "I don't know," or "I wouldn't tell you, or whatever." And once I bought a Tarbell, big Tarbell, and he said to me, "Well, I paid $300 for it." I said, "Victor, I don't care if you paid $300 or $3,000, or $3, I'm only interested if it's worth what you're asking now. So, God bless you, I hope you make a lot of money." He said, "Look, if I didn't pay anything for the painting, I would raise the price every year if I didn't sell it. If I paid a lot of money for the painting, I have to sell it right away because I didn't want to tie up a lot of money." I said, "Gee, these dealers, they get you crazy if you think just the reverse." But, anyway, we did buy the Tarbell. And, subsequently-this is a funny story-we had put it on loan for many, many years to the Met. And, we were contented. The Met liked it. And one day-I used to visit the Met frequently, virtually every week, not only to look at American painting, but sometimes just to see a Velasquez or Degas. But, in any event, I went to the American Wing and didn't see the Tarbell. I called up Barbara Weinberg, and said, "Where is the Tarbell." She said, "It's in the patron's lounge." The patron's lounge? I says, "Why didn't you talk to me about it?" "Well, I took it for granted you're a big friend of the Met." I said, "I do care." I decided if they didn't think that highly of it, and Margaret thought it was too big for the apartment, I was going to sell it, and I swiftly did sell it for a lot of money-and, I got back at the Met!
MS. BERMAN: [Laughs] Yes, they'll think twice. They'll consult you before they move something again out of the real collection. That's interesting. The National Gallery of Art, how did you arrive at the decision to give them the Isle of Shoals? Did they ask for that? Obviously, it also centered around the exhibition, but why did you decide that that particular picture would be going to the National Gallery?
MR. HOROWITZ: I don't recall the exact circumstances, except that I got to be very attached to the National Gallery. And I had gotten to the National Gallery through John Wilmerding, who was a great friend of mine, who had been a curator, deputy director, and then Carter Brown, who was transparently insincere-[They laugh]-but was nonetheless engaging. And we got to be pals. I got very attached to the National Gallery because, unlike the Met, it had a human face, and it was a warm place to be at, to go to. And I became sufficiently involved with them, so I became a member of the Collector's Committee, and then subsequently Trustee's Council, where I still am. You have six-year terms, and you are rotated. I liked Rusty very much, and I liked Nick Sokofsky very much, and I don't remember precisely when or when we decided. I guess, when thinking about it, Nick Sokofsky had a place in Southampton. When Nick and Sara would go to their place in August, and we would always arrange to meet at least once or twice during that time, because we were in East Hampton in those years. I don't know, it must be now in 2004, must be 40 or more years since we first bought the place in East Hampton, which we sold in 1999 or 2000 when it was clear Margaret couldn't come. But, back to the Sokofskys. And on one or more occasions I said to Nick, you know, it would be a good idea if the Met did a reprise of our exhibition, 25 years later. They had done an exhibition of our collection in 1976. This was two years before the 25 years, so it would have been 1999 or thereabouts. And Nick said, "Well, what about the National Gallery doing it?" I said, "By reputation the National Gallery doesn't do it unless the collector makes a promise to give the whole blooming collection to the museum, which I'm not about to do." He said, "No, no, that's a misconception." I said, "Well, all right." So, the next thing I know is that Nick says, "You have the wrong idea about giving the whole collection, if you give one painting, it will be enough." So, I think that's how it occurred. So, we gave this painting, which is worth many millions of dollars now, and a partial promise to give to the museum, and frankly I'm delighted because I really love the museum. And I like everybody who is there, even though Nick Sokofsky is no longer there, I'm very pleased to be associated. I look forward to the meetings there. I don't understand it myself, because it's not the museum that started us, not the museum that we frequent as much, because of the distance, but I just feel much more warm about the National Gallery. And I intend, Margaret and I intend to give them as much as we can. Obviously, our main concern is our daughter, but to the extent that we have a preference, I think-but don't tell anybody, we prefer the National Gallery to the Met. I continue to work on Montebello that he should play a leadership role in American art, and maybe I'll try to do something before the lights go out, but I come back to liking the National Gallery. They've put on many more exhibitions of American art than the Met, I mean, including cabinet exhibitions that Nick curated of 30 or fewer paintings by a single artist, and I though they were immensely successful. I told the American people at the Met that they should try to do the same thing. I said, "You have one of the greatest American paintings in the Bingham, for instance. You've done little shows of Casper David Friedrich, you've shown four or five paintings, that was enough for a wonderful exhibition. Why don't you do the same thing with American painting?" It never struck a chord. I actually talked to Montebello once about these cabinet exhibitions, and his response was that it took as much effort to do one of those exhibitions as the effort involved in a huge retrospective. I thought that was inaccurate, and I believe it is inaccurate. But it's obvious that the Met didn't respond, and-
MS. BERMAN: Well, you know where they do them, which is not what we're talking about, they do that long gallery, they do the drawings and prints, but you're talking-they do that.
MR. HOROWITZ: I'm not talking about paintings in the loose sense which is loss of public view for the most part. I'm talking about putting it in a major installation, which the National Gallery did, and they were spectacular exhibitions.
MS. BERMAN: Well, they did, but this is something different, remember, they did the "Vermeer Art of Painting," and that was one room, it wasn't all Vermeer, but a number, that was wonderful.
MR. HOROWITZ: That was wonderful, yes.
MS. BERMAN: So, but you said that one remark I would like you to elaborate on, you said that the National Gallery had-the Met sort of didn't have a human face?
MR. HOROWITZ: Yes.
MS. BERMAN: What did you mean? Just because there are many people in the Met over there that we know, and who-
MR. HOROWITZ: I don't know. It's something about the feeling that they project. Rusty gives you the feeling, when he talks to you that you're the only one that he's interested in, and Nick was also-even though he was quite a strange guy, personally, I was immensely fond of him and still manage to try to see him every time I go to Washington-was also that way. And certainly Frank Kelly [Phonetic] is that way, and Ruth Fine [Phonetic]. Anybody you can name there is outgoing and warm and-
MS. BERMAN: I feel that their approachable, actually, even if you're not a collector.
MR. HOROWITZ: Exactly. Whereas Montebello quite decidedly gives you the impression that unless you're a big donor or a special friend, you're not in his circle and whatever, and I think he's a wonderful director. I think he saved the Met. I have nothing but praise. But he's a quite different guy if you're hanging around museums a lot than Rusty, and the staff. Barbara Weinberg may be a great scholar, but I don't think she's ever been to a dealer. And Nick would make it his business every month to visit all the dealers in New York, both to see what was on the market, also to get the scoop, and know who was doing what, and et cetera, et cetera, get all the gossip. I don't think the Met ever does that. And it seems to me that it's a great lack.
MS. BERMAN: Were you ever involved with the Boston Museum of Fine Art?
MR. HOROWITZ: A little bit, because I thought Stebbins was the greatest intelligence, although I think Betsy Gruen [Phonetic] is probably smarter, but I liked Ted, and Ted would go out of his way to talk to us about American painting. And also when we would go up to Boston to show us the stuff in the stacks, in storage, which was breathtaking. What Boston has that is not on view is unbelievable, just unbelievable. So, we are fond of Boston, and I like the other people there. The ladies who were curators, whose names don't come to mind very-but they're good friends of ours, and we go to Boston every time we can.
MS. BERMAN: Carol Troyen and Erica Hirshler.
MR. HOROWITZ: Yes. Erica and Carol, and I think they're good friends of ours. I think we enjoy them. I think they enjoy us. We embrace each other every time we see each other, and we don't go there enough, frankly. And now that it becomes difficult for me to fly because the doctors say I should have oxygen if I get over 10,000 feet, it means taking the train, and that's a little burdensome. But we frequently go to Boston on our own just to see the current exhibition. We went to see the-we went to Andover several times.
MS. BERMAN: Oh, the Addison.
MR. HOROWITZ: Addison, yeah. And also the one at the-the one Stanley works-
MS. BERMAN: The New Britton Museum.
MR. HOROWITZ: The New Briton Museum, wonderful things. We would go there on our own from time-to-time. We enjoyed all the museums. We never did get to Cannagel Harry [Phonetic], where we wanted to go, but we went to-and there was a Twachtman opening at, I guess, Iris Vaneman [Phonetic], Harry Merch [Phonetic] and I were the only New Yorkers that went to Cleveland to attend the opening. But I went all over the place to see exhibitions-these are coming to mind.
MS. BERMAN: You were dedicated, and I'm sure you went to the Phillips, and to Baltimore, and everywhere else.
MR. HOROWITZ: Oh, yes, yes. I just recently went to Baltimore and Doreen Bolger is now the director. She used to be at the Met. And I hadn't seen her for quite some time. I was there to be at Johns Hopkins for medical reasons. And I'm going next month, this is now still October, but next month, November 12th, I have a date with Doreen to see her, the exhibition that Sonja Johnson [Phonetic] curated of the Robinson "Giverny" And I'm looking forward with great anticipation to that visit because I'm sure to see Ten Cent Breakfast again.
MS. BERMAN: That is pretty much where we started this conversation, and I don't know how you're doing, we can quit, or we can go on a little bit more.
MR. HOROWITZ: I think we'll quit.
MS. BERMAN: Okay, fine. That will be all for today.
[SESSION #3, NOVEMBER 5, 2004]
MS. BERMAN: [In progress] American Art Oral History Program on November 5th, 2004, in his home in Manhattan. And, going back, again, I took some notes from the last taping, and we didn't talk about-we had mentioned Provincetown, but you had a house in East Hampton for some time.
MR. HOROWITZ: We had a house in East Hampton for a long time. I guess now it would be like 40 years or more. And, we enjoyed it, but when my wife became ill, and it was apparent she couldn't use it, I offered it to our daughter who lives in California, and she declined, so then we sold it. But we stayed there for more than 30-odd years, 35, I don't remember precisely when we first moved there. But we did stay there for quite a while, and as I may have mentioned, the artists that we liked were not very good painters, and the good painters we didn't like. So, I ended up not knowing the Hans Hofmans and the Motherwells, and people like that, and knowing the ACA crowd of painters who frequented Provincetown in those years. We did not have a house there. We rented, but we spent several summers there. I've forgotten how many. And it was very enjoyable as far as I was concerned because I loved the Portuguese bread, which I couldn't get anywhere else.
MS. BERMAN: Well, I was wondering if you had come there through an artist or an art contact?
MR. HOROWITZ: We had come there through, I think I mentioned, Joseph Hirsch, the artist.
MS. BERMAN: To East Hampton?
MR. HOROWITZ: Oh, to East Hampton, no. Not East Hampton, no.
MS. BERMAN: That's what-
MR. HOROWITZ: I'm sorry.
MS. BERMAN: That's okay.
MR. HOROWITZ: I'm lingering on Provincetown and the Portuguese bread, which I miss. How we came to East Hampton is a strange story. We went one weekend to Montauk to go fishing with some friends, and on the way up, of course, we passed through East Hampton. And I said, this is so idyllic, and so beautiful, let's switch our allegiance from-at that point, we were going to Westport for the summers-and let's come here, and it was just as simple as that. And we rented a house for the first year and the second year, and then in the third year we bought a place. But it was a long time ago, and we didn't have any artistic origination or any artist friends who was the contact that led us to come to East Hampton. It was just the beauty of the environs.
MS. BERMAN: So, it wasn't through another collector or an artist?
MR. HOROWITZ: No, not that I can recall.
MS. BERMAN: Well, also-when did you-was that the mid-'60s, or 1970? When did you start going to East Hampton?
MR. HOROWITZ: It must have been in the '60s at some point, I don't know whether it was the early or the mid.
MS. BERMAN: Well, I guess what I was trying to angle out of you, is that I wondered if Chase had anything to do with going there?
MR. HOROWITZ: No. We visited the museum in Southampton, the Parrish many, many times, and Margaret once, to my dismay, offered the then curator-I forget his name, long, long ago-$10,000 to buy a Chase that the museum owned that was laughable, of course, but typical of Margaret, because he was not very-well, I don't want to mention his name or anything like that. But he seriously considered the proposal for a while. I thought that it was kind of nuts altogether, but typical of Margaret. We did visit, and I even lectured there once, I guess, I don't remember-it's now/not coming back to me. We went through a driving rainstorm for me to lecture there on Impressionists and art collecting, et cetera. But, there was no Chase connection at the very outset, despite our admiration for this artist whose artistic merits, I think, even now are not yet fully appreciated. They're different exhibitions, or rather exhibitions showing various aspects of this painter, but no one has done a thorough penetrating, thoughtful evaluation of this painter, which I think is long overdue. What happens, I guess, in the museum world is, if someone does an exhibition, it precludes any other museum doing a retrospective for the next umpteen years. And Henry Art Museum in Seattle did a Chase exhibition about 20-odd years ago, and I guess this has discouraged other museums from doing a wonderful job which, as I say, should have been done by now on this wonderful painter.
MS. BERMAN: Let me play devil's advocate here, because there certainly have been-the Brooklyn Museum had one, and there have been group shows with Chase, maybe the paintings are in condition that the lenders don't want to lend too often.
MR. HOROWITZ: That could very well be, because now in the 21st Century, collectors after 9/11 particularly, are very reluctant to lend. And it becomes increasingly formidable to assemble a representative group of any painter's work. But I think it's doable over time, and I don't think you need a zillion paintings. And I think many of the exhibitions, in fact, are too large, and have too much second-rate material. I don't want to name names, or indicate which exhibitions, even recent ones which have this liability, but there are too many. So, I think you could do a Chase show which would illuminate different aspects of his work without making it a massive exhibition, which tends to be the proclivity of museum people, and yet there would be a revelatory exhibition. There are very few works, for instance, that deal with his Holland period, there are very few works that deal with his huge and wonderful, in many aspects, portraits, and watercolors. We have a watercolor which we are lending now to the Berry-Hill exhibition, which is going to be on view soon, and in our home it's hung pretty high, and I don't get a chance to look at it closely on my daily review of the paintings. But I did have occasion to take it down when we lent it- when we had to ship it over to the gallery for some purpose or other, and I was startled by the striking beauty of the painting, which I hadn't looked at closely for a long time. And the watercolors, certainly, of Chase have not been seriously considered for a long time. This watercolor, I think, was actually exhibited many years ago at the Huntington Hartford Museum. At a time-this is a long time ago, in the '60s, when it was very difficult to find Chases, and of course now there are hundreds of them which have come to light and which are on view at museums or at private collections. But in those days, there were very few. I forgot the name of the person who put this together. She was Margaret Mallory's companion, and she had been a dealer. I wish I could recall the name. We had a brief friendship with her. She was a very nice lady. But I've forgotten her name. She was the one who told me that she had a hell of a job finding Chases in this country and putting together that earlier exhibition of Chase's work.
MS. BERMAN: Was that because the family was holding so many of them?
MR. HOROWITZ: I don't-I can't explain it. I thought, for instance, that after a couple of Sargents were sold that the market would be flooded by Sargents, who was a very prolific painter. It didn't turn out to be the case until quite a few years after that. There must be an explanation, but I don't know what it is for Chase not appearing on the market, Sargent not appearing on the market.
MS. BERMAN: I want to ask you about if you have a policy toward lending, because people must ask you all the time, so how do you make your decisions?
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, it's quite simple actually. We will not refuse-although may have refused inadvertently-to lend to any retrospective show of a single artist. If there's a Twachtman show, or whatever, or a Hassam show, or whatever, we will lend to it. If, however, there's a potpourri exhibition of paintings at the seashore, or something like that, we will decline to lend unless we have a strong attachment to the curator or the museum importunes us to lend. But, basically, we don't lend to these randomly organized exhibitions which supposedly represent one aspect of numerous artists of whatever. We don't believe in it, and we don't think it's usually a serious enterprise, and we accordingly don't lend. There are exceptions, I guess, to this, although I can't think of any at the moment.
MS. BERMAN: So, just probing this a little. When you say you don't believe in like a theme show you don't believe in?
MR. HOROWITZ: I don't believe in it.
MS. BERMAN: Why is that? I think this is interesting, so I want to kind of get the thought process.
MR. HOROWITZ: I can't identify the theoretical notions behind this resistance or this opposition to theme shows, but I don't think it concentrates on the objects but tries to reveal some literary notion or philosophic notion, and I think that's only one aspect of the painterliness of artists, and I guess that's the main reason I object to it. I think there is too much concern now about one particular or two particular themes running through an artists work, and I just don't believe in it.
MS. BERMAN: What about, for example, something-now it's been done-but what if there were an important exhibition of, say, the Ten, or something in a group in which say, Chase, or someone belonged to?
MR. HOROWITZ: I guess there are valid exceptions to my view, and I would be sorely tempted if there were an exhibition of the Ten, even though it's a not official construct, although historical fact, I would probably lend even though I generally would oppose that kind of exhibition.
MS. BERMAN: Well, in that case, also, if they were spotlighting certain exhibitions shown at a certain time-you know, something like the Eight-they only showed once-?
MR. HOROWITZ: If one of our paintings actually was exhibited at the time, but usually it's not that. They say, this is a collection of the Eight, but we can't find the actual Henri that was exhibited in that year, so we'll take yours, or whatever, and that is not the real thing. Now, if they say, one of your paintings was, in fact, in the exhibition in 19-blip, and we'd like to take that, that's one thing. It's another if they don't have the identical painting and they say they'll put something comparable in, it's not quite the same thing.
MS. BERMAN: So, you really do like shows, really one-artist shows.
MR. HOROWITZ: I think that it's hard to refuse that. We don't-look, let's place it. Collectors don't like to lend in the first place. [Laughs] In the second place, they can't refuse a serious, scholarly exhibition which coincides with their worldview about exhibitions. So, it's a question of lending against your real desires not to lend. And you tend to make reasons valid or invalid for not lending: the place doesn't have good enough climate control or some other whiz bang theory. But we've lent freely over the years so many times, I can't-and it's a pain in the neck. I mean, we don't have a curator or a secretary. I've got to do all this goddamn work myself. I've got to fill out the forms, I've got to argue with the institution about their insurance clause, and et cetera, et cetera-do all the paperwork, sometimes it's quite irritating, and people don't realize all the nitty-gritty of this lending business-it comes to mind now.
MS. BERMAN: So, once you were out in Long Island, I mean, were you interested in finding sites where, say, Hassam or Chase painted, or was that a pursuit that interested you?
MR. HOROWITZ: Not particularly. We did, of course, visit the house that Chase lived in. We went to the studio, none of which have any historic-let me put it this way, none of which are shrines in the sense there's no trust that's like the Churches, Frederick Churches place.
MS. BERMAN: Olana.
MR. HOROWITZ: Olana. There is some effort made by the curator of the museum, or the director, rather, to get the funding to buy Chase's house, but that fell apart very quickly. I think some effort was made by some collectors to gather funds for buying Chase's studio, but that also didn't get very far.
MS. BERMAN: Even then, I'm sure the land was too valuable.
MR. HOROWITZ: The land was too valuable even then, because this goes back, I think, to the '70s. I think that's the explanation for it.
MS. BERMAN: All right. Let me see. So, when you were in East Hampton, I mean, did you, even though you weren't buying, were you interested in mixing with any of the artists or people there?
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, we had learned this lesson in Provincetown, so we didn't seek out the artists in East Hampton. We did go to the artist beach, which was-so Gottlieb and a few other contemporary artists. We didn't get to meet de Kooning until many years later, long after he had become famous, and recognized as one of the leaders, if not the leading light, in his Expressionist. And he was an immensely thoughtful man, and it was a very rich experience for us to meet him. Of course, he was a-I met him through his lawyer, Lee Eastman, who we were friendly with, quite friendly. And Lee told us at one time that de Kooning got a statement from AT&T saying-mentioning something, and he told Lee, "Look, I can't pay this bill of $26-odd thousand," and Lee said, "That's not a bill, that's a check for your dividends." These people were quite remote from the nuts and bolts of reality. Except I had met Rothko in Provincetown, and he struck me as being quite knowledgeable about the hard facts of a painter's life, but I could be wrong. I just met him glancingly. I didn't particularly enjoy meeting the artists. That was a kind of nice thing, but it wasn't terribly important in our lives. I learned early in the game that they truly weren't interested in talking to laypeople. And the exceptions that John Quinn had reflected on were not really true in my case, because we were basically not interested in living painters. And I guess that the collectors of contemporary art had a quite different view. So, I really can't speak for them, but speaking for myself, we were, obviously, interested only in artists that were deceased, and the idea of talking to Sol Wilson, or some other ACA club mate, or whatever, didn't appeal to us.
MS. BERMAN: Were any artists interested in coming to see your collection to really study how some other good painters had done it?
MR. HOROWITZ: Did I mention Jack Levine [Phonetic] coming?
MS. BERMAN: You had mentioned it. We had talked about you kind of meeting him, and about his knowledge of painting, but I didn't know if he had-
MR. HOROWITZ: He had come here and he saw all the stuff. This was a long time ago. And, he picked-Margaret was quite impetuous, asked him-
MS. BERMAN: Right, which is the favorite.
MR. HOROWITZ: The favorite, and he picked the most trifling thing we had in the whole-which we don't have anymore, a little Glackens drawing which was cut out of a larger sheet. So, it kind of showed what his real feelings were about this kind of art. Anyway-
MS. BERMAN: Did you have any art out in East Hampton at all?
MR. HOROWITZ: The only thing we keep in East Hampton, because the weather was so horrendous for serious works of art, that we kept only Winslow Homer woodcuts. We had many of them strewn around the place, maybe 25 or so, a lot, because they were very inexpensive at the time, except for Snap the Whip, which we paid some not serious money, but in the hundreds of dollars. The others cost usually nothing. The frames were much more expensive than the works themselves. But, that's the stuff we kept. We might have kept a few of the things we bought in Provincetown, which were not serious, Byron Browne or stuff like that.
MS. BERMAN: Indeed, aside from the Winslow Homer woodcuts, and you have a few Whistler lithographs, you didn't go much into prints, to my knowledge?
MR. HOROWITZ: No, that's true. Late in the game I decided, more than Margaret did, to try to acquire good prints by the artisan we had examples of in oil. And because it's a different kind of pursuit, we weren't particularly equipped for it. That is we went for a Twachtman, after we bought it we brought to the curator of prints at the Metropolitan, and he said, "This is a posthumous work," and I said, "My god." I'm interested in the image, and this print business is all together different. You've got to worry about marks and dates, et cetera, et cetera. I'm bored with that. It's like collecting stamps. But, nonetheless we continued with it, and we hung it in one of the bathrooms in the apartment, the second bathroom or whatever. We had gotten work by Twachtman, we got an authentic Twachtman done in his lifetime. We got a Hassam. We got many of them. But there came a time when there was a leak from above, and it hit the bathroom and I got scared about the safety of the prints. And the bathroom was demolished completely, and just became a showplace for the prints. When this occurred we were kind of discouraged, but when the leak was discovered on the 17th floor, we were on the 11th, I had a sense of comfort again. But then several years later we had another leak from way above us, and then I said, this is ridiculous to have all this concern about. So we sold the collection back to Hirschl & Adler, which was the source of most of the prints. And they promptly sold it to the collectors of-we sold it for exactly what we paid for it. We never thought of making any money on the prints. And they sold it to the collectors-the name eludes me for the moment-I should remember. They were collectors of American prints or contemporary prints.
MS. BERMAN: David and Neva Williams [Phonetic]? David and Neva Williams?
MR. HOROWITZ: Right, the Williams, whom I knew obviously from the Metropolitan, and they're very nice collectors, although a little bit mysterious. David, at one point was actually a trustee, but he was on the committee that I was chairman of, and still am chairman of the committee at the Met, for many years. But, the print venture lasted some years, but it was never a determined pursuit on our part. For instance, we wanted The White Kimono by Hassam, we didn't want the more famous one of the house in East Hampton. We wanted particular prints by particular artists, and it took a long time to acquire a good example. We had been offered, for instance, a number of versions of The White Kimono, and the condition or whatever of a few of them wasn't up to our standards, so we declined. We had to wait-as I say, its a different aesthetic all together than collecting paintings. And we weren't very good at it. We had actually, I guess, started earlier with Japanese prints because it gave us an excuse when we were in Europe to buy something. You couldn't buy an American painting for the love of money in Europe. Although a Robinson watercolor night scene had been acquired by Bernard Black [Phonetic] in France, which was unusual. And one of our recent, or fairly recent purchases was also acquired in France. But, basically this was a dealer's pursuit, not a collector's pursuit. And the Japanese prints gave us an excuse, as I say, to buy something that was beautiful. But after a few years, more than a few years I guess, of this kind of venture I decided that although we could buy an American painting in the dark in Wisconsin, we couldn't buy a Japanese print unless we went to the best dealers in Paris or London. And after a while I got discouraged and I said, "Gee whiz, you might as well collect postage stamps." And again, we sold all of the Japanese prints to a Swiss client of mine for exactly what we had paid for them. We kept two examples which we'll leave to our daughter, just as a memento or whatever. But, we had a raft of them, and I decided it was not for us. At more-or-less the same time or maybe earlier we collected Chinese porcelains for the same reason, and we offered the whole collection to the Met. And the curator came over to the apartment, looked over everything, and selected one of the smallest objects, a transition, a little teacup or whatever, I've forgotten, and I was astonished. I don't remember whether it was a he or she, said, "We have hundreds, maybe thousands in storage, we don't need any more of this blue and white stuff." So you rarely see it, or you see some of it. And they actually put our little-it was a scent cup, that's right -on view. It was on view for many, many years. I haven't seen it recently. But, for a long, long time our transition scent cup was on-anyway, ridiculous. We still have-we gave a number to Israel, and we parted with some, and we still have, I don't know, 50 or 60 Chinese porcelains, which really are decoration and not a serious thing for us any more. But, again, it was the pressure of dealing with only the best dealers, because there are so many fakes and dubious things on the market. And we had the feeling if we went to Tee Lew [Phonetic] or Caro [Phonetic] or Bluette [Phonetic] you wouldn't be taken for a ride, but, there were various theories, too, where you needed the mark of the period, you didn't, and all that stuff. I was just attracted to the quality of the cobalt, and the color, the rich color of the painting on the porcelains. But after al, you didn't know the language, you didn't know the history that well of the objects, and also serious Chinese collectors like Sackler would deride-they'd dismiss it as merchandise, son-of-a-gun, merchandise. But, in any event, we gave is up some years ago because, again, I was convinced that I couldn't without the efforts of serious scholars or serious dealers, assemble a top-flight collection on my own. Margaret wasn't terribly interested. She was interested in the decorative aspects, but not in the scholarly aspect of the porcelain. Her own taste was more to the English. And we do have some of it, now that I remember, hidden away in some closet or another, some of the 18th Century stuff that she liked. Now that I'm remembering, I wasn't terribly interested in that, and at one point she liked snuff bottles, or snuff whatever it is, anything. And it drove me crazy. We spent a lot of time in London looking for these damned things. And I thought they weren't-they didn't have any artistic merit, particularly. I was an irritant to her, and she irritated me also.
MS. BERMAN: Well-
MR. HOROWITZ: I hadn't thought of that in 100 years, my god.
MS. BERMAN: Well, it's interesting, because certainly the Japanese prints and the Chinese porcelains would have been what the artists you collected-it was in sync with what they were inspired by. So, it was kind of a natural side light.
MR. HOROWITZ: Come to think of it, yes. You're right. I hadn't thought of it, frankly, in those terms. But, you're quite correct.
MS. BERMAN: And it would have decoratively, it would have gone well-and since they were looking at the same sort of thing. And I guess this is the time to ask you, did you ever think about making a foray into sculpture? That would have been certainly very inexpensive then.
MR. HOROWITZ: That would have been-well, unhappily we had not a good experience. We were friends with the Slatkins, Charles and Regina, they were basically scholars and not particularly dealers, and they had some, in addition to French paintings, and also French drawings, they had some sculpture. And I can't remember-my memory, as I told you at the outset is shot, and I can't remember the name of this sculptor. We got off on the wrong foot. We bought this-let me point out that I was quite familiar with American sculpture and I hated it. I thought it was terrible, until Flanagan came along, and that wasn't our aesthetic. So American sculpture didn't interest us. So I said, if we could collect sculpture it will not be American, it will be some other kind, French, German, Italian, I don't know, not American. We didn't have a good experience with the first piece we bought from Slatkin. I wish I could remember-a well known academic sculptor at the time of Rodin, more-or-less. Anyway, we got off on the wrong foot, and I said to myself after a while, we don't really have an eye for this, and we'd better quit. So I don't know-we swapped it with a friend or something, I don't know. We don't have any sculpture. I bought a little piece of nonsense sculpture from Bernie Black [Phonetic], just for the office, I don't know, just for laughs or something. We never became collectors of sculpture, which would have been natural, I guess.
MS. BERMAN: There were certain, like Gaudins, obviously, or Vessey Potter Vano [Phonetic], or some of these other, you know-
MR. HOROWITZ: Saint-Gaudens was the only one who tempted us from time-to-time, but-and I guess we had a chance in the early years to buy some reliefs by Eakins at Knoedler, I come to think of it, and I was briefly tempted. I would visit Knoedler from time-to-time, because it was not far from my office. I would sneak away at lunchtime and go there. Margaret didn't accompany me because it was always a spontaneous affair which at the last minute I would decide to abbreviate the lunch hour or whatever and run over to Knoedler. So I did see these reliefs, I don't think I saw Saint-Gaudens there, but I was aware of Saint-Gaudens. I was never really tempted, I don't know why. But, the rest of the American sculptors bore the hell out of me. I know this is not a very patriotic-[They Laugh]-or not a good thing for collectors of American art to say or do, but so be it. I think the stuff at the open court at the Met is just ridiculous.
MS. BERMAN: Oh, the American wing?
MR. HOROWITZ: Yes, the American wing. Some of the American sculpture is for the birds. But, the Saint-Gaudens, of course, is a quite different affair.
MS. BERMAN: In the beginning, I'd not so much say we're talking about Chase or Sargent, but at the time let's talk about a couple of lesser known artists, say, like Robert Bloom [Phonetic], or say at the time Robert Vonneir [Phonetic], Pothast [Phonetic], how did you find out about these artists? Was there anything you could read? I know what the art books were like. There might be one line in them. So how did you learn about them on a scholarly basis?
MR. HOROWITZ: It was through the dealers, not the museum people or the scholars even, but the dealers had examples, good, not so good, but it was really the dealers, and you have to, in retrospect, give the dealers a lot of credit because they were the ones who unearthed the painters who later on became so valuable or attractive, or what have you. They didn't always know what they were doing. But, they nonetheless were responsible for unearthing Pothath [sp] who was a very obscure painter even then, and still now, not so popular. Robert Vonner was a rarity. The Robert Vonner we had was in the window at Graham for many months, and everyone admired it, but no one would buy it, because, "Vonner, who the devil is he?" Finally when we bought it, Jimmy Graham [Phonetic] was delighted. They were the ones who-as I say, the dealers were far ahead of everybody else, and they deserve really to be-whether they did it deliberately or whatever-they were the ones who found the objects and put them on the market. That's how we became acquainted basically with Robinson and Twachtman and Vonner, and Pothath and Chase.
MS. BERMAN: I think that at the Whitney that Lloyd Goodrich and Jack Bauer had written about Twachtman and Robinson.
MR. HOROWITZ: Jack Bauer had written about several of these painters. Particularly he had written a monograph about Robinson, for instance. He did a Cassatt show, but he was virtually the only one. At the time Lloyd Goodrich had written about Winslow Homer, and Eakins, and Ryder, and also Dickenson, who has yet to come into his own. But, basically it was Bauer and Goodrich who-today it's an avalanche of stuff on American painting. I had lunch one day with-I think I may have mentioned before-with Harry Abrams who was a pal of ours, and he was a publisher of art books. And I said, "Harry, you ought to have a volume on Hassam, he was a very prolific painter, and he painted many beautiful things, and you could assemble enough to make it an interesting book." He said, "You couldn't sell it for love or money." This was in the '60s, I guess, or maybe the early '70s. Of course, today there are quite a few books on Hassam, which goes to show something or other. But, the fact of the matter is, coming back to the-there was very little scholarly work done on American artists, it's sad to say. It took a long time for this to come about.
MS. BERMAN: Let's talk about your relationship-how you evaluate Ron Pizano [Phonetic] as a scholar and in helping to bring about these changes, and as a museum director curator?
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, Ron Pizano, I tell you, there is a difference between people who do plodding work, finding obscure references, and I admired and like Ron enormously. But he had certain limitations. He wasn't penetrating in his analysis of Chase. And I think he was a very dedicated and wonderful person. I don't mean to say anything derogatory about him. He was a splendid person. And I enjoyed talking to him, enjoyed being with him, and he was an exceptional person. There's no question about it. And his companion, Fred Baker, is someone I like also, who is continuing the work on assembling the catalogue. But basically, I'm looking for scholars who do more than just find and make methodical observations about the work that they run across or have thrust upon them in assembling a catalogue raisonne. And there are very few of these people around, unhappily. Most are just methodical-unlike you. [They laugh] Anyway, let's not dwell on that.
MS. BERMAN: No, it's interesting because a lot of the great scholars went toward European art. Maybe it was part of the prejudice against American art that the first-class mind didn't want to be on what was perceived to be second-class material, I don't know. Certainly Barbara Novak was-
MR. HOROWITZ: Barbara Novak was an exception. Milton Brown, we discussed this, and his observation was that-and I don't think it's valid-but his observation was you couldn't make any money being an authority on Lawson or whatever, whereas you could make some dough if you were an authority on a second-rate Renaissance painter. I thought that was a little hokey, but it was nonetheless interesting. Milton is a very interesting guy, cigar-chomping kind of fellow. Blanch, I thought, was much more of a scholar than Milton, but that's another story.
MS. BERMAN: But, Milton could write. Milton
MR. HOROWITZ: terrible reflection on this fabled art historian. At the time he was virtually the only one, along with Barbara, I guess, who occupied a stellar position in the pantheon of American scholars. But, so be it.
MS. BERMAN: Now, it's true that-I mean, what we're looking for would be someone like Richard Offner [Phonetic] or John Rewald?
MR. HOROWITZ: Yes, I was thinking of Rewald particularly, because he was both a meticulous discoverer of talent, and yet had a penetrating mind. I may have mentioned we were on a panel once, and I enjoyed it very much.
MS. BERMAN: I admired him. If I could have written any book in art history it would have been History of Impressionism, I mean, not because he had the viewpoint, he had the observations, but he had also gone and met all the families, gathered all the documents, took the photographs. He was able to do everything, and English was his third language.
MR. HOROWITZ: That's absolutely accurate.
MS. BERMAN: He was astonishing.
MR. HOROWITZ: He was a fabulous guy to have done all this at really a rather young age, particularly. And I was kind of surprised to learn later that he'd advised the Whitneys, for instance, on their purchases and had recommended Winslow Homer, Bellows and other Americans to the Whitney.
MS. BERMAN: Well, for John A. Whitney, So Whopping [Phonetic], that great Whistler, and presumably the Robert Louis Stevenson Sargent. Really-I think you saw a lot-actually, just to digress about John Rewald, about 1949 or so he needed a place to live, and he came up and he rented like part of rooms on the old Nadelman's estate on Riverdale. So he saw-he wasn't interested in it, but-
MR. HOROWITZ: He knew.
MS. BERMAN: He knew all about it. He lived among all those Nadelman sculptures.
MR. HOROWITZ: Come to think of it, yes. Like Daniel Wildenstein, I guess, came to the States and immediately bought the Winslow Homer, never probably had heard of Homer, but he knew instantly the importance of Winslow Homer.
MS. BERMAN: Right. Would you like to discuss, in terms of the field and all, your relationship with Bill Gerdts-just because obviously he's a person important in your field?
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, we had known Bill from very early days, when he was at Newark. And we were friends, and had been friends for all these years. He also, as you know dedicated the book on Impressionism, American Impressionism, rather, to us. To a certain extent he says that we were important in his scholarly pursuit. We had been, I guess, pioneers in the rediscovering and reevaluation of American Impressionism. He, I think, hadn't been passionately interested in, at the outset, but then it later became a preoccupying interest for him. I think he's been known to say, although we haven't heard it-[They laugh]-that he credits us with some part in the development of his own interest. But, I also have some reservations about his style of art history, but I think in the end there's so much bogus stuff going on today that more and more you rely simply on the methodical work of people like Bill who discovers very good people in different parts of the country, and has a good eye, although he makes no pretense at judging works of art, and rarely does so. But in private, he does have decided views which we as friends learn about. But, I'm very fond of Bill and his wife Abbey, and we continue to be friends, and talk all the time.
MS. BERMAN: Well, I have to say whenever you meet a Gerdts student, the person is really well prepared and understands research and understands the factual-what is necessary to go on to something else. I have to say his students are excellent.
MR. HOROWITZ: They're well grounded in the traditional materials and work of scholars, but again, there's something missing. They don't have the penetrating-
MS. BERMAN: I think if you're that type, then you might not have him as your principle person, you would have someone else who would be more in that vein, because people who are good at documents would be involved with it. So you would pick someone with your own slant, I would assume.
MR. HOROWITZ: I hadn't thought about it, but I think you're quite correct. I don't know if there are people at the graduate faculty at CUNY-[laughs]-I don't think so.
MS. BERMAN: Right. Were you involved in any way, either as a donor or in any other sense, in helping really strengthen CUNY as a center of studies in American art?
MR. HOROWITZ: We always contributed modest amounts every year to CUNY. And it wasn't particularly CUNY, but I at one point had said that it would be interesting if I could assemble and have them meet, and-if I could assemble the scholars, people whom I liked-at the Century, and have a roundtable discussion. I did. I did that. I had Wilmerding. I tried to get Stebbins, he would have been ideal, but notoriously unreliable about things like this. I did have Wilmerding, Barbara Novak, Linda Furba [Phonetic] - who else? Annette Blagran [Phonetic], she was the only person who was not a-oh, my memory kills me-the hell of a nice guy from Yale, who did the Copley-
MS. BERMAN: Jules Prawn.
MR. HOROWITZ: Jules Prawn who was just-he was a senior fellow there, and he was looked up to by all the others. Who was from Rutgers, I've forgotten his name?
MS. BERMAN: Gee, the only one at Rutgers I know is Matthew Begel [Phonetic]. He comes along a little later.
MR. HOROWITZ: Yes, he comes later. And he was there too. And we would meet periodically-and did I mention Barbara Weinberg? Barbara Weinberg. And I had to have Jock Howard, even though he had the biggest absentee record, so it wasn't accidental. I had the feeling, because I was associated with the Met, I had to invite him, but enough of that. But, it was very interesting. That's the kind of thing I enjoyed more than just giving money to CUNY, and I thought it would be something that they would enjoy, the swapping experiences and views on exhibitions and painters, and whatever. It seemed to work, but there came a time, we had done it about seven, eight, ten years, I don't know, we kind of all gasped, and said that we found it more difficult to attend. I don't know why, it just petered out. But, it was a very interesting gathering for me-
MS. BERMAN: And these round tables would always be at the Century?
MR. HOROWITZ: At the Century, and we would have dinner, and we would talk through dinner and thereafter, and there would be drinks or whatever, and it was a very pleasant-
MS. BERMAN: It was convivial?
MR. HOROWITZ: Yes, I liked it very much.
MS. BERMAN: So, let me see, let me hit a few more things on the dealers here. You had just in passing mentioned Harold Milch [Phonetic] last week. And you said that he was-he had Twachtman, is that correct, you got the Twachtman from him?
MR. HOROWITZ: I'm not sure. No, we got the Twachtman from Iris Vaneman [Phonetic]. But, he was an authority on Twachtman, knew a great deal about him. We would visit him virtually every week, and I should have bought many things. We bought a Prendergast from him, and I don't know what else. He was, of course, preoccupied with documents, and he didn't have a real eye, but he had the papers, and if you wanted to know about a particular painting that his father had handled, he had the papers, and his archives were quite valuable. I don't mean in monetary terms, but-
MS. BERMAN: The archives got his papers?
MR. HOROWITZ: Yes. And he would regale us too much about his father all the time, and I got up to the eyeballs with his father, his father. And Harold was a very likable guy. I liked him a lot, although I couldn't stand all these-after a while I couldn't stand the repetitious tales he talked about his dad. But, he was-I should have bought more things. I was tempted by the House in the Harbor by Hassam, which ended up at the Potemkins, and I debated and debated about it, and I did it too long, because they made up their minds, and it vanished. He had paintings like that. He had actually had the Wedding March, which he had sold to Mrs. Ryan, who was not an American collector, when that became something that came on the American market, it was offered first to us, and I was a blooming idiot, I should have bought it. It was a lot of money at the time, but I could have handled it quite easily by exchange. But, at that time I had a ridiculous idea abut the collection, I didn't want to break it up. I said it has validity and virtue as a group, and I didn't want to tinker with it, and that was a dopey mistake because I could have improved it, and this was an example. I had a very valuable Sargent, or we had, which Margaret made me later on part with, and I said to myself, my god, I could have swapped the Sargent for the Robinson very easily because Jay Maroney who had control of the Robinson at the time, would have leaped at the-because he could have made more money with the Sargent than he could have with the Robinson. But, as I say, I had this dopey idea of keeping the collection intact, which later on I invalided and made several swaps, and made gifts, or whatever. However, every collector continues to make mistakes throughout his career, or their career. Of course, Margaret was an integral part of this, and if I've neglected to mention her enough I shouldn't because she absolutely had a fabulous eye, and she had rigorous standards. And she had the determination to go to all the dealers when I didn't have the time. So she was an indispensable partner. And as I said earlier, she was the critical one who had made this singular decision to stay with this field. So if I fail to give her credit enough, over the period of these talks, I should be reprimanded because we couldn't have done it without her.
MS. BERMAN: I don't know, I think there are a number of times, as you say, she was the one with the focus, and she was the one who went to Coecare [Phonetic] and talked to the delivery man. Also the fact that most of the time you did have to agree, so that was important. You also just mentioned in passing last time, Victor Spark?
MR. HOROWITZ: Victor Spark was rather intimidating in a sense. You had to make an appointment with him, you couldn't just drop in, as you could with virtually all the other dealers. You had to make an appointment, usually in the evening, and you went to his place at 1100 Park Avenue, and you had to kind of nudge him to get him to, oh yes, I do have a couple of Robinsons hanging around, or I have this, that, or the other thing. We should have bought everything, literally everything that he had because he was there and he had, obviously, sources that were incredible, whether they were itinerant pickers or other dealers or antiques people or whatever, they turned up wonderful examples. He never told us here he got things. He did make an interesting observation. I don't know whether I mentioned this. He said, if I paid $100 bucks for it, and I couldn't sell it, I would raise the price every year, if I paid $10,000 for it, or $50,000, or whatever, then I had to sell it right away. But, if I didn't have any money in it-I said, "Victor, I don't care what you paid for it, is it worth what you're asking for today." But, he was very proud of his conquests, he would say, "I paid $100 for this." I said, "Well, that's great, I couldn't care less whether you paid $100 or what you're asking." He was kind of an interesting guy. He obviously knew an enormous amount, but I think I mentioned he wasn't interested in the least in provenance, telling you where he got things. After a while that didn't bother me, although it bothered me at the outset, because we were quite interested in keeping good careful records and to the extent that we could, to get the provenance of a work. Not that we were concerned about its value, but because of its historical significance, we wanted to document the work to the extent that we could. And Victor and most of the other dealers couldn't care less. It was not until Stuart Feld entered the scene, I think, that you had that kind of emphasis on scholarship. And also I guess it was a practical matter, they paid nothing for various things, particularly works on paper, and for the life of them they couldn't recall or they couldn't ascertain the chain of ownership.
MS. BERMAN: There was on premium for them to go back and do research, and also there probably weren't any forgeries then, or so little that it didn't-
MR. HOROWITZ: No, there were actually-it's interesting to note that there were forgeries in Twachtman, and there were numerous forgeries, as you know, in Sargent. But, Twachtman surprised me because you didn't think that he was valuable enough in his lifetime for people to forge him. But, they did for some reason. And there were fake Hassams also. There were even one or two fake Robinsons, not too many. So there were fakes.
MS. BERMAN: But, were they contemporary works that someone had appended a signature to or were they out and out fakes?
MR. HOROWITZ: They were works obviously done at the same time, and they weren't obvious fakes, they were good fakes, by and large. And strangely enough, in some cases, like we bought a Metcalf, an early Metcalf, which had a dubious signature, and I sent it to the conservator, Jean Feld [Phonetic], with the Modern Museum, and she did a thorough job, and she cleaned the surface, and lo and behold underneath this fake signature was a real signature.
MS. BERMAN: A real Metcalf signature?
MR. HOROWITZ: A real Metcalf. [Laughs] We don't have it anymore.
MS. BERMAN: I was going to say, Metcalf actually has never been a favorite of mine, and I don't remember seeing any-do you have anything?
MR. HOROWITZ: No, we don't have that any more. It was a Venetian Metcalf. When we were collecting I went to Grand Central many times, and we could have bought all these Metcalfs which are on the market now for $300 a piece, now they go for all these wild amounts. I was only interested in early Metcalf. And at one time we did for quite a while, we had an early Metcalf, I guess I got it from Browne in New England. Anyway, it was a Metcalf done in England, early in his career, and I liked it very much. Margaret didn't care for it so much, but she liked it enough for us to acquire it. But there came a time when Paul Mellon came to our-I don't know if I mentioned this?
MS. BERMAN: Not to me, and it's not on the tape.
MR. HOROWITZ: Paul Mellon, whom we had gotten to know and liked very much, came to our apartment and he enjoyed himself. He made some extravagant remark to Margaret, which she believed, and I didn't admiring the collection. But, in any event, Margaret in her impulsive way-and this is abbreviating a very enjoyable visit which had other aspects which I could talk about, but would prefer not to. She asked him, do you dislike any painting in the collection? It never occurred to me to ask anybody. And he said, well, I like everything except the Metcalf. So unbeknownst to me, the next day she took the Metcalf to Stuart Feld and said, sell it right away. And she didn't consult me about it. But she regarded Mr. Mellon as the last word or something, and I thought it was nuts, because I liked the painting, regardless of his verdict. But, there it was-So we do have a small pastel by Metcalf, which is of very little consequence. I did want, as I say, an early work by him, but we couldn't find anything, even though I saw dozens and dozens of Metcalfs at Grand Central.
MS. BERMAN: Those New England landscapes?
MR. HOROWITZ: Excuse me?
MS. BERMAN: Those New England landscapes?
MR. HOROWITZ: Landscapes-[laughs]-they put you to sleep, they're calendar art.
MS. BERMAN: I guess that's all I've ever seen, so I find him to be very boring.
MR. HOROWITZ: But, in the early years he wasn't, he was very interesting. But, they don't turn up very easily. McDonna [Phonetic] had a beautiful Metcalf of New York, I think he got it at auction, but we missed it. Generally speaking he's kind of a boring painter.
MS. BERMAN: We should talk about the origination of how you met Warren Adelson and working with him, because that is such an important relationship.
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, I can't speak highly enough of Warren. He's an exceptional human being. He's just wonderful in every way. He's thoughtful, and we're great friends. It's one of the most warm and enduring relationships I've ever had in my life, and I can't speak highly enough. We met Warren quite accidentally. Everything in life that's important is always accidental, in my view. He had come to our apartment. He was then, at that time, still a dealer in Boston. And he had come with a Bunker, a little Bunker, unframed, came to our apartment and showed it to us. And, we turned it down, and a week later we went to Hirschl & Adler and we saw it framed, and it was like a different experience. And we bought it on the spot at twice the price that it was originally offered to us, which is normal. And that was how we met Warren. And since then, we've become wonderful friends, and I think he's an extraordinary person. Never mind being as a dealer, he's so straightforward, and reliable, and trustworthy, but he's been-I don't mind saying, when I had an attack of pneumonia in Paris a couple of years ago-the first of a series-and my daughter, who knew Warren-I had called my daughter because she was the only one whose number I remembered when I was in the hospital lying in whatever, the emergency room, the ER. And I called her because I wanted her to come over, but she was unable to come because she was also suffering some medical situation. But a few minutes later I got a call from Warren who said, it's not an option, I'm sending over one of my people, and you've got two tickets on the Concorde to come back in three days, or whenever you want. And it was just wonderful. And he sent over a wonderful little scholar, who worked for him, and she attended me for nine days when I was in the hospital. And it was typical of Warren who did this supremely generous and life-saving thing. It's typical of him.
MS. BERMAN: Are there other major works of art that you got through him that you would like to talk about in terms of the hunt or anything like that?
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, actually-we bought Twachtman we have, the big Twachtman. But he's occasionally, actually in recent years, if we ever sold things, we would sell to Warren. It wasn't that-he offered us various Sargents, all of which we should have bought. For one reason or another, I didn't respond or Margaret didn't respond, and we'd kick ourselves. So, it's not that we bought a lot of stuff, but the human relationship has been significant. Actually, we got a number of things through Mike St. Clair, who we knew very little. We certainly didn't know him personally. He kept to himself. He's very secretive, actually. He was obviously gay, but he pretended that he wasn't, all that dopiness. And he would never tell you where he went for summers, although you knew he went to Fire Island. It's silly. But one reason or another, we got various things from him, but we were more or less opportunistic collectors. We didn't want to fill gaps. We didn't feel we had to have a historical collection. We would react to things that turned up. We did have very decided preferences, I thought Luks was a clunky painter, I didn't like Arthur B. Davies particularly. Lawson we had one example, but it looks more like a Twachtman than a Lawson, et cetera. So, we would have these determined likes and dislikes, but we never said, well, we've got to find an X or a Y or a Z. We would be content to see what was turning up.
MS. BERMAN: Did you have any influence or talk to Warren about moving from Boston to New York to become a dealer?
MR. HOROWITZ: No. No. That happened for reasons which we don't know, or I don't know.
MS. BERMAN: I was just asking if you had discussed it with him, or anything like that. It seems to me it's very much a filial relationship, or it's turned into that.
MR. HOROWITZ: Yes, I think that's accurate.
MS. BERMAN: And also, you bought from St. Clair because that was the beginning of-I mean, I think it probably gets harder and harder to buy as you go along, because what you may or may not want to find is specific, or it isn't up to the standards of the rest of the collection, et cetera. So, after a while, the pace slows down, and the right dealer may come along, but you're less interested.
MR. HOROWITZ: Also, you know, Ted Stebbins made the observation to me a long time ago, he said, look, Monet painted 4,000 paintings, or whatever, Robinson did 400, and Twachtman even fewer, and a lot of them are already in museums, so there are very few good examples on the market. It became very difficult to find topflight examples of work of artists that we admired. I thought that Ted's observations were accurate.
MS. BERMAN: I'm just looking here on my notes. By the way, some of these notes are from the typed notes that Warren gave me, so he really did a very nice job of sending over sorts of things. So, when you say, did I tell you that, some of that you didn't-you told him, but I want to get it on the tape. So that's what I'm just reviewing here to make sure. There's a very funny Margaret story that seems to have to do with John Canaday and Chase-?
MR. HOROWITZ: Yes. We were, for some reason or other, I don't know, we were friends with John Canaday, who was then the chief art critic at the New York Times for quite a while. And he liked Margaret particularly. We swapped visits at the apartments and whatever. And we were quite friendly with him. And there was an announcement that he was going to do a lecture at the Met on William Merritt Chase. Of course, we were thrilled, and we thought it was wonderful. And came the appointed day, and we went to the Met, and we had made an arrangement to take John out for dinner after the lecture. I had made a reservation at Cafe des Artist, which was then a hang out with collectors and dealers not far from where we lived on 76th Street. Anyway, we went to the Met in anticipation of his lecture on William Merritt Chase, who was then quite a favorite of ours. And Canaday started by saying that he had started out liking Chase very much, but during the course of his study in preparation for this talk, he saw that his affection and admiration was misplaced, and he'd come to the conclusion that he did not like William Merritt Chase. And sitting next to her, I could see that Margaret blew a fuse, and the upshot was that she was determined never to talk to John again, and anyway she said, we're not going to dinner with him. I said, we cannot do that. We are committed. He didn't make any other plans, and I was beside myself. Harry and Doris Rubin were also friends of ours, and Doris was a collector of Robinson before anybody. I think her mother bought Robinson. Anyway, they were good friends of ours, and they also shared a great interest in American painting. They had been devoted clients of Harold Milch [Phonetic], and gotten wonderful examples of Robinson, Hassam and others, from Harold. In any event, they were also in the audience. I pleaded with Harry, I said, you must save my life, my crazy wife is disinclined to have dinner with-not disinclined, she refuses to have dinner with John. So, he said, we'll we have dinner at home, we've made elaborate plans to have dinner at home. I said, Harry, you've got to change, save my life, because it would be a scandal if we just turned him down. So, he said to Doris, who is a real angel. She's still around. Harry isn't. And Doris said, oh, let's, we'll do it. And they accompanied us. And Margaret sat at one end of the table, and John sat at the other, and she refused to have anything to do with Canaday and it was from that day on she would have nothing to do with Canaday.
MS. BERMAN: So, she did sit at the table?
MR. HOROWITZ: She sat at the table, and she didn't say one word to John, whom I liked, but that was the end of the relationship.
MS. BERMAN: I'm sure she made her iciness known.
MR. HOROWITZ: It was very evident.
MS. BERMAN: That would be interesting. So, how did he have the lecture? In other words, did he try to pick the worst Chases he could find, or were there good ones and he was saying he didn't like them?
MR. HOROWITZ: They were good ones that he didn't like. And I also shared her view to a large extent, although I wasn't vociferous. And certainly thought he should have bowed out of the lecture, actually. I thought, if his views changed so radically, it was wrong for him to be invited and asked to come to a lecture and turn out that it really wasn't an unbiased view, it was a very critical view. And if it had been advertised as such, it would have been one thing, but it wasn't. So, I thought he was wrong in doing the lecture under those auspices. But that was it.
MS. BERMAN: Absolutely. It was strange. Or he would explain it in a way that would make it interesting that you could argue with him.
MR. HOROWITZ: He was a very fine guy.
MS. BERMAN: It just is an anomaly here, but it is funny. She was passionate about it. Now, also I have on this list that Warren had sent me that you had mentioned Curt Valentin and the Willard Gallery, Marion Willard, and Catherine Viviano, and I'm just kind of interested if you had any interaction with them, because none of them would seem to have had the kind of work that you were-
MR. HOROWITZ: Curt Valentin was obviously a wonderful dealer. Didn't have any American, but I would go there, and didn't have a nickel. The exhibitions at the gallery were so interesting. And he was a teacher, he brought many American sensibilities to a level that was very high because of his exhibitions and his expertise. But I was a silent viewer, and didn't have the temerity to talk to him, because I didn't have a nickel. I was going around to all the-now who else was mentioned?
MS. BERMAN: Marion Willard.
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, I, from the very outset, I had admired Max Beckman, and she had some examples of Beckman, and I would go there frequently. As I say, I could have been tempted in various directions, certainly in the direction of Max Beckman, whom I regarded as a towering, wonderful painter. And that was the reason I went to Vivian because she, from time-to-time, would have examples. Of course, Curt Valentin had them, too. And, who else, I don't remember, but that was the reason why I went to these dealers. We went to see everything and, including, Betty Parsons at an early age. And I saw, I think I mentioned, I saw Jackson Pollack for the first time. So, we would, long before we were collectors, we visited galleries and to a large extent non-American or American contemporary.
MS. BERMAN: Let me also explore with you, this is just a little different, is that where you felt that Bellows did or didn't fit into the collection? I mean, obviously, you have this big portrait here, but-
MR. HOROWITZ: Also, there's an early Bellows, the "Swans in Central Park," and it was done in 1906. But he was more an expressionist painter, but I think a wonderful painter, and I think he's going to come into his own.
MS. BERMAN: Well, the Fraads, of course, had great Bellows, was that an influence in you in thinking about acquiring Bellows?
MR. HOROWITZ: No. I think it was the reverse. I don't want to reveal too much about my relationship with Dan and his collection because it would sound self-serving or whatever, but, in some instances, I brought Dan's attention to these Bellows. So, I always had an interest in Bellows. Dan responded very quickly to Bellows because he's a very strong painter, and Dan's predilection was to very strong, powerful paintings, and Bellows certainly had wonderful examples. But it was an independent judgment on our part about Bellows, actually. The second gift to Dan very early in the '50s, late '50s or early '60s, not later than 1960, certainly, was a Bellows drawing. So, we had an interest in Bellows from the very start. It wasn't that Dan influenced us, it was the other way around.
MS. BERMAN: Oh, no, that's good. I mean, I'm glad-don't think about it a being self-serving or modest or not. We just should establish that because their collection is so linked with it. I think that's an important thing.
MR. HOROWITZ: As I say, one of the fortuitous things was that our tastes were so different because we were such close friends that we would never have had that friendship if we were rivals in acquiring works. So, it was wonderful that we didn't have overlapping interests except for once and a while.
MS. BERMAN: I see. I'm pretty much done with my questions, unless there's something you feel I haven't brought up, or something else that you were thinking about?
MR. HOROWITZ: I don't think the dealers have had enough credit over the years in their formation of interest in this area of American art, not that they were conscious of it, but they were the ones, more than the museum people, more than the scholars, who found this material and made it available for other people to admire or purchase or giveaway, whatever. So, I think, and I want to make that clear. I am a little disappointed in the quality of the scholarship at the museums today. I think that the pendulum will swing toward the object again. There's too much concern about different aspects of painting, and not on the object itself.
MS. BERMAN: Economic, political, pseudo-Marxist-
MR. HOROWITZ: No, it's perfectly all right. Meyer Shapiro, one of my gods, certainly brought everything to bear on a work of art, and it's perfectly legitimate. But now there's an exclusion of the object. It's just all these other peripheral considerations that seem to dominate, and that puzzles me, and bothers me, too. But I think the pendulum will swing back. And there's evidence that there is a lot more scholarship, and it's got to turn around. There must be young people out there who can join your band of penetrating scholars, although they seem to be in short supply now.
MS. BERMAN: I think it's true the dealers, they always-good ones do the spade work. Do you find that the private dealers were better than the ones with the galleries in terms of that?
MR. HOROWITZ: Probably so. Victor Spark had more examples of this period, and he certainly was the foundation of the Karolik Collection, which was an immense gift to Boston, as we all know. And, the Sargents we got were from some very private dealer who was remotely related to Sargent. So, I think to a large extent that's true. However, in its heyday Hirschl & Adler was active in finding and promoting all sorts of American painting. Abe was notorious for going to another dealer and finding-he found two Homers at Maynard Walker, which I had seen over time. Abe had not gotten around to going until quite late in the day to Maynard, and he saw two Homers, two Bahamas Homers, that he liked very much. They were $35,000. He bought them immediately, brought them to the gallery, priced them at $70,000, twice the price he paid, and he sold them right away. Now, there were American dealers who knew the business side, and Abe was certainly one. Stuart Feld was another. But they also turned up wonderful things. And in his heyday Stuart turned up many, many Hudson River paintings of great quality, which didn't seem to interest us particularly, but we knew they were meritorious. But it's difficult to say the role that the private dealers played, but Victor Spark is a particularly good example of the role of private dealers. If my memory could go back to those last years, I could probably find others, but at the moment I-
MS. BERMAN: It's interesting that you mentioned Maynard Walker because there was someone who opened in the 1930s, and by the '60s or '70s, he'd been around enough that he'd seen painters, say, like Henri being forgotten, but he knew what one was, or he might have one, and not just-so a lot of these people were just kind of waiting for these artists to come back, or knew who they were, and had seen-
MR. HOROWITZ: Maynard Walker was particularly-I remember seeing an Eakins there. We were too green at the time to know that this was a-there was a fabulous Twachtman that he had-a barge-like-I mean we had several, which we don't have anymore. But he had wonderful examples, and we were too green to know what terrific paintings they were.
MS. BERMAN: When you say green, you mean you hadn't seen enough to know that you should grab this?
MR. HOROWITZ: That's right. Exactly. We were too inexperienced, and I find that collectors have to grow. Larry Fleischman is a notorious exception. He knew instantly he had to go for Homer, and Eakins, et cetera. But we had to laboriously go from $100 to $200 to $500 to $1,000 to thousands and gradually to discard things that we had been attracted to. So, it took a while for us to graduate to Maynard's taste, and we were not shrewd enough or educated enough. When I use the word "green" it means inexperienced, not up-anyway, you know.
MS. BERMAN: Very few people are born with the corrected, educated taste you have 30 years later, it would be unnatural.
MR. HOROWITZ: Well, as I say, there are exceptions. Larry was one of them.
[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 Raymond J. Horowitz, 2004 Oct. 20-Nov. 5, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.