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Oral history interview with Betty Parsons, 1969 June 4-9

Parsons, Betty, 1900-1982

Dealer, Painter, Gallery owner


Collection Information

Size: 44 Pages, Transcript

Format: Originally recorded on 1 sound tape reel. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hrs., 7 min.

Summary: An interview of Betty Parsons conducted 1969 June 4-9, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art. Parsons speaks of her family background; her years in Paris; living in California for four years; teaching sculpture and drawing; the Wakefield Gallery; the establishment of her own gallery, and some of her clients and artists; a pre-Columbian show at her gallery; the New York gallery scene; her own collection; her affiliation with Arshile Gorky and John Graham; the importance of The Club; and the influence of critics and art magazines. She recalls Kenzo Okada, Barnett Newman and Sidney Janis.

Biographical/Historical Note

Betty Parsons (1900-1982) was a painter and art dealer from New York, N.Y.


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.

Language Note

English .

How to Use This Collection

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Betty Parsons, 1969 June 4-9. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.