Skip to main content

Oral history interview with George Earl Ortman, 1963 Sept. 19-Nov. 5

Ortman, George Earl, 1926-

Painter, Printmaker, Sculptor


Collection Information

Size: 211 Pages, Transcript

Format: Originally recorded on 4 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 52 min.

Summary: An interview of George Earl Ortman conducted 1963 Sept. 19-Nov. 5, by Richard Brown Baker, for the Archives of American Art.
Ortman speaks of critics' reviews of his work; his reactions to the early abstract expressionists; his family background and early experiences; his education; the California environment and its influence on him; his U.S. Navy service; the art scene in San Francisco in the 1940s; other artists he was acquainted with; coming to New York; influences on contemporary artists; pop art; establishing a reputation as a printmaker; studying under William Hayter; his time spent in France; development of his style; problems of making a living in art; his work in theatrical design; realism versus abstraction; his teaching career; exhibits he has had. He recalls Eleanor Ward, Howard Wise, Willem de Kooning, Nathan Oliveira, Gandy Brodie, Hans Hofmann, and Joan Mitchell.

Biographical/Historical Note

George Earl Ortman (1926- ) is a painter, sculptor, and printmaker from Bloomfield Hills, Mich.


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 .


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 Collection

Transcript: 35mm microfilm reel 3612 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 George Earl Ortman, 1963 Sept. 19-Nov. 5. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.