Oral history interview with Walter Erlebacher, 1991 Jan. 19

Erlebacher, Walter , b. 1933 d. 1991
Sculptor, Art teacher
Active in Philadelphia, Pa.

Size: Sound recording: 5 sound cassettes
Transcript: 297 p.

Collection Summary: An interview of Walter Erlebacher conducted 1991 Jan. 19, by Anne Hunter, for the Archives of American Art Philadelphia Project.

Erlebacher discusses his early years in Frankfurt, immigrating with his family to New York City in 1940; his education and early visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art; issues such as the Vietnam War and the resulting changes, multiculturalism; his interest in philosophy, Plato, mathematics and the golden section; his studies at Pratt, Alexander Kostellow and Ivan Rigby and the program they developed at Pratt; military service in Europe; returning to Pratt, his fellow students, and issues of representational art;

Eva Hesse; his shift to representational sculpture; his interest in anatomy which he taught himself and others in a private class; his friendship with other representational artists such as Philip Pearlstein, Alfred Leslie and Jack Beal; his use of mythology; Marcel Duchamp; exhibitions and his dislike of them; and a few major commissions including the Jesus in Philadelphia, the ARA commission, and the Jefferson Hospital commission he lost; Philadelphia as an art community and such controversies as the "Rocky" sculpture.

Biographical/Historical Note: Walter Erlebacher (1933-1991) was a sculptor and instructor from Philadelphia, Pa.

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

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

How to Use this Interview

  • Transcript: microfilm reel 4777 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
  • Transcript: Patrons must use microfilm copy.
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