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Oral history interview with Ben Cunningham, 1964 October 24

Cunningham, Ben, 1904-1975



Collection Information

Size: 58 Pages, Transcript

Format: Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hr., 8 min. Sound quality is poor.

Summary: An interview of Ben Cunningham conducted 1964 October 24, by Harlan Phillips for the Archives of American Art.
Cunningham speaks of his early career in San Francisco during the Depression; the art market there; working as a muralist in the Federal Art Project; political and media problems encountered by the project, including strikes by workers; the work of the Index of American Design in California; working on naval architecture during Work War II; and his philosophies about painting. He recalls Joseph Danysh, William Gaskin, and Hilaire Hiler.

Biographical/Historical Note

Ben Cunningham (1904-1975) was a painter, educator, and mural painter in New York, New York.


This interview conducted as part of the Archives of American Art's New Deal and the Arts project, which includes over 400 interviews of artists, administrators, historians, and others involved with the federal government's art programs and the activities of the Farm Security Administration in the 1930s and early 1940s.

Language Note

English .

How to Use This Collection

Transcript: 35mm microfilm reel 3418 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Transcript: Patrons must use microfilm copy.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Ben Cunningham, 1964 October 24. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.