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Oral history interview with Douglas S. Cramer, 2013 October 23-December 13

Cramer, Douglas S., 1931-

Collector, Producer


Collection Information

Size: 82 Pages Transcript

Format: Originally recorded as 4 sound files. Duration is 5 hr., 8 min.

Summary: An interview of Douglas S. Cramer conducted 2013 October 23-December 13, by Avis Berman, for the Archives of American Art, at Cramer's homes in Miami Beach, Florida and New York, New York.
Cramer speaks of growing up in Kentucky and Cincinnati; his mother's career as a writer and interior designer; his interest in collecting objects as a young boy; growing up under his parents and his family history; racism and prejudices in society and Hollywood; the impact of the Depression on his family; his early interest in theater and art; his involvement with Hollywood and production work; his early art and real estate purchases; his friendship since high school with Jim Dine; reactions from dealers and artists when selling artwork; his belief in the importance of artists' drawings; his college career and his desire to go to Princeton; his desire to live in New York City; working for Proctor & Gamble; his early foray into collecting; his first collection of 20th century works on paper; meeting Leo Castelli and Jasper Johns; guidance of Dan Melnick in collecting; living and collecting in California; his desire to own a Joseph Cornell box; his divorce from Joyce Haber and their California collection; buying from Leo Castelli; getting to know and collecting Julian Schnabel; getting a protrait painted by Schnabel; donating works of art to museums; art dealers and customer service; working on the Love Boat (series); Andy Warhol's involvement with the Love Boat; his involvement with the MOCA board; the creation of the Douglas Cramer Foundation; Batman (series) and Roy Lichtenstein; meeting, collecting, and friendship with Roy Lichtenstein; meeting, collecting, and friendship with Ellsworth Kelly; Andy Warhol's persona. Cramer also recalls Larry Gagosian, Jeffrey Deitch, Eli Broad, David Hockney, Jasper Johns, Margo Leavin, Dorothy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, Charles and Doris Saatchi, Paul Schimmel, Richard Serra, Marcia and Fred Weisman, and others.

Biographical/Historical Note

Douglas S. Cramer (1931- ) is an American television producer and contemporary art collector in New York, New York. Avis Berman (1949- ) is an art historian and author in New York, New York.


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.

How to Use This Collection

For information on how to access this interview contact Reference Services.

Authorization to quote or reproduce for purposes of publication requires written permission from Douglas S. Cramer.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Douglas S. Cramer, 2013 October 23-December 13. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.