Oral history interview with Roswell Weidner, 1989 July 20-27

Weidner, Roswell T. , b. 1911 d. 1999
Painter, Art teacher
Active in Philadelphia, Pa.

Size: Transcript 134 pages

Format: Originally recorded on 3 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hr.; 18 min.

Collection Summary: An interview of Roswell Weidner conducted 1989 July 20-27, by Marina Pacini, for the Archives of American Art Philadelphia Project. Weidner discusses his early life, education, and art training at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, first at the school at Chester Springs, and later at the main school in Philadelphia. He discusses the programs at both schools, and recalls some of the faculty members, including Roy Nuse, Albert Laessle, George Harding, Joseph Pierson, Francis Speight, Daniel Garber, and Henry McCarter. He discusses the courses, exhibitions, and the competitions for traveling scholarships. He also discusses his study at the Barnes Foundation with Violette De Mazia and Angelo Pinto. After leaving the Academy, he joined the National Youth Administration and then transferred to the WPA with the Museum Extension, the Painting Project and the Print Project. He speaks of his work for each of these programs, their administration, and some of the individuals involved including Dox Thrash. He recalls Mary Curran and the efforts made by Albert Barnes to have her removed as head of the Painting Project. Weidner discusses his fifty years as a teacher at the Academy, beginning in 1939, and the changes in the institution since then, including the introduction of printmaking, the growth of abstraction, the hiring of women and black instructors, and other changes. He speaks of his wife, Marilyn Kemp Weidner, a paper conservator, and the development of her practice, as well as his own future work.

Biographical/Historical Note: Roswell T. Weidner (1911-1999) was a painter and educator from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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

Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.

How to Use this Interview

  • Transcript: microfilm reel 4780 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
  • Transcript: Patrons must use microfilm copy.
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