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Oral history interview with Guy and Genoi Pettit Maccoy, 1965 July 24

Maccoy, Guy C. (Guy Crittington), 1904-1981



Collection Information

Size: 40 Pages, Transcript

Format: Originally recorded on 2 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hrs., 22 min.

Summary: An interview of Guy and Genoi Pettit Maccoy conducted, 1965 July 24, by Betty Hoag, in Chatsworth, Calif., for the Archives of American Art New Deal and the Arts Project.

Biographical/Historical Note

Guy Maccoy (1904-1981) was a mural painter and painter. Genoi (1894-1982) was an illustrator, designer, and painter. Both were from Chattsworth, Calif.


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 .



The following oral history transcript is the result of a tape-recorded interview with Genoi Pettit and Guy Maccoy on June 24, 1965. The interview took place in Chatsworth, California, and was conducted by Betty Lochrie Hoag for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.


BETTY HOAG: This is Betty Lochrie Hoag on July 24, 1965 interviewing Mr. and Mrs. Guy Maccoy, that is spelled G-u-y M-a-c-c-o-y (in one word) and Mrs. Maccoy under the project was Genoi Pettit and it's G-e-n-o-i P-e-t-t-i-t (no "e" on the end). And Mr. and Mrs. Maccoy were on the project in New York, did some very interesting work, and I'm certainly looking forward to talking to them because of their project work and the work that they're still doing today. We're in Chatsworth, California, incidentally. As Mrs. Maccoy said just a few minutes ago, they took some notes when they were driving in the car the other day about other people on the Project when they were in New York and I think it would be nice to hear about those before we start talking about them. Would you like to tell me about them, or would you rather wait?

GUY MACCOY: Of course, you see, I don't really know what you intend to ask us by the people that we kept here on file were the people that were helpers on the projects, on the job that I had when I was in New York.

BETTY HOAG: Well then, let me do it my regular way and ask you about your lives, and bring them in when we come to it. I'll start with you, Mrs. Maccoy. Would you tell me when you were born, if you care to, and where, where you had your schooling . . . ?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: I'll tell you where I was born.

BETTY HOAG: All right.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: When is another . . . .

BETTY HOAG: A secret?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Yes. In Kansas City, Missouri.

BETTY HOAG: And Pettit was your maiden name, wasn't it?


BETTY HOAG: It's such a pretty name I thought maybe you'd taken it for painting purposes.


BETTY HOAG: Kansas City, Missouri. And did you go to school there?


BETTY HOAG: Did you specialize in art?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Yes. At the Kansas City Art Institute.

BETTY HOAG: Is that in Kansas City?


BETTY HOAG: Yes. In what field, particular work, did you specialize in?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: It was a general course there, drawing and painting. They didn't have any particular specialized course there.

BETTY HOAG: I know that . . . I saw a very beautiful wood block of yours a little while ago, a masonite block . . . .


BETTY HOAG: And I wondered if that had been your specialty . . . ?


BETTY HOAG: Prints or . . . ?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: No. Just all around drawing and painting. In Kansas City there's not much culture, it's just such a minor thing.

BETTY HOAG: But you went to the Art Institute.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Yes. But that was so little I wouldn't even put it in. I was only there a year, Guy, and I was a kid but . . . .

GUY MACCOY: At the League.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: And at the League.

GUY MACCOY: At the Art Students League in New York.

BETTY HOAG: I imagine that's where you met each other, wasn't it?

GUY MACCOY: No, we met at the Kansas City Art Institute.


GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: At the Art Students League, I guess I was there -- I was there four years.

BETTY HOAG: Four years, yes. You . . . .

GUY MACCOY: We started in '29 and were there until '33 -- after '33, that is, through '33. She studied with Matulka and Robinson -- Boardman Robinson, Yamatulka . . .


GUY MACCOY: . . . and Thomas Benton.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Vaclav Vytlacil. These are . . . .

BETTY HOAG: Wait a minute. I'm sorry, that Vac-----?

GUY MACCOY: Vaclav Vytlacil. I can't spell it the way they pronounce it.

BETTY HOAG: I can look it up later.



GUY MACCOY: Who else?

GUY MACCOY: That's all I studied with there.

GUY MACCOY: Weren't you a little while with Parsons? At Parsons under Bisstram?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Oh, yes. But that's . . . but not very much.

BETTY HOAG: Parsons Art Institute?

GUY MACCOY: Yes. I think these are important.

BETTY HOAG: Oh, I think it's very important.


GUY MACCOY: As a matter of fact . . . .

BETTY HOAG: Parsons is old Pratt, isn't it?

GUY MACCOY: Used to be called Pratt, yes.


GUY MACCOY: No, it isn't Pratt.

BETTY HOAG: It used to be Pratt.


BETTY HOAG: Oh, didn't it?


BETTY HOAG: I thought it was.

GUY MACCOY: No. Parsons never was Pratt. Parsons had a separate . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: It was a commercial school.

GUY MACCOY: It was part of a commercial school that had a branch in Paris and a branch here. But it was this same type of school; it was more or less a good design school, was considered a very good design school at that time.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: I didn't get too much out of it.

BETTY HOAG: Mrs. Maccoy, were you planning to do commercial work? Is that why you went there or . . . ?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Well, I did commercial work . . . .

BETTY HOAG: Did you?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Yes. I did commercial work in Kansas City and I worked . . . .

GUY MACCOY: She was extremely well paid and a good commercial . . . in fashion.

BETTY HOAG: Fashion illustration?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Fashion illustrating.

GUY MACCOY: And also, I guess, in the other fields.


BETTY HOAG: Did you do any book illustration?


GUY MACCOY: No. Not -- mostly -- what do you call it when you do other types of . . . ?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Oh well, that's part of straight commercial illustration. But I gave that up because they . . . everybody was trying to get me -- my teachers, everybody I came in contact with thought that I had too much talent to do that. Of course, after I gave it up, I never made much money.

BETTY HOAG: You probably enjoyed it a lot more, didn't you?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Yes. I did commercial work and was very unhappy with it because . . . .

GUY MACCOY: But she was extremely good at one of the tops in Kansas City. Also I think that . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: I took a course out here . . .

GUY MACCOY: Yes, I was going to say at UCLA.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: . . . at UCLA and in that, of course, I had design in different categories, in straight design, costume design and stage settings. I took up even ceramics; it all went in the course. I got a lot out of it. I mean it helped me along the way even though I never did anything with it. Oh yes, I took up a course of illustrating, too. At one time I thought I might go into children's books, too, but I never did except it was that ability that I was first called into the project for in the Index of Design. Ben Knotts asked for me . . .

BETTY HOAG: I didn't understand. Ben . . .?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Ben Knotts (K-n-o-t-t-s).

BETTY HOAG: Oh! Now this was in New York?


GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: That was in New York.

BETTY HOAG: Oh, good! You know, I'm just delighted because you're the first Index artist I've found. I have looked and looked; I have many from our area . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Well, I didn't do much on it; I just started with them.

BETTY HOAG: Oh, shoot!

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: I just, oh, well, it was . . . I was doing illustrations and Ben was doing the writing on it. He was compiling . . . .

GUY MACCOY: He was compiling the data and Genoi was doing the illustrations, and she was on it almost a year.


BETTY HOAG: I would think she'd be a natural for that; it must have been wonderful to have her ability.

GUY MACCOY: Yes, she did very . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Yes. . . . beautiful illustrations but they never finished the book because they called Ben into a different category and he became Mrs. McMahon's assistant on the Art Project. And then they called me in to help on one of the murals that Guy was working on because they were looking for someone that knew how to do egg tempera . . .

BETTY HOAG: Oh, isn't that interesting!

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: . . . and they couldn't find any; there were just none available at the time. There were artists there.

GUY MACCOY: I want to put this in the record, too, that . . .


GUY MACCOY: . . . after Genoi was removed from this illustrating of the Index of Design, a man by the name of Woolencheck took it over and, whatever he did with it, again. we don't know. But the same project was continued on under a man by the name of Woolencheck.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Oh, was it? I see.

BETTY HOAG: Before we leave it, I'd like to ask you a little about this. Was Ben Knotts writing any of these history-of-a-state projects?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: No. These things that I was doing were animal drawings and I never did that . . . .

BETTY HOAG: No historical costumes?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: No, I didn't, but it was all different types of animals.

BETTY HOAG: Indigenous to New York State?


BETTY HOAG: Well, I wonder why in the world they had those for Design?


BETTY HOAG: Isn't that strange?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: But it had all kinds of animals.

GUY MACCOY: And they were limited, some way limited, I think, in color because . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Yes, it was in three colors that I did . . . .

GUY MACCOY: It was in three colors and they were just beautiful, the ones she did were just terrific.

BETTY HOAG: Were they tempera or watercolor?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Well, I did them in watercolor.

GUY MACCOY: I think so, yes.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Because they weren't large, they were small drawings.

GUY MACCOY: Have you saved photographs of any of them, or any extra ones?



BETTY HOAG: Oh, isn't that too bad!

GUY MACCOY: We have photographs of much of the work that's been done in this area but there were no photographs taken . . . .

BETTY HOAG: I believe the Smithsonian has the originals of all the Index work, and it would be fascinating if they would put them on exhibit or something sometime, wouldn't it?

GUY MACCOY: Yes, it would be. Of course, there must be an enormous amount.

BETTY HOAG: Yes. A lot of it that was never published, like yours.

GUY MACCOY: That's right. There were so many areas in which the changing policies and also the personnel was always involved.

BETTY HOAG: Conflict.

GUY MACCOY: Quite a shifting in personnel and you'd no more than get involved in one and it was very difficult to carry it to completion, although I had no trouble in this respect and it was only in the higher-ups the personnel got . . . .

BETTY HOAG: Mrs. Maccoy, was that what happened in the Index, or do you remember, or know?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: I didn't know because I was so involved in these drawings and I didn't get involved. Ben would just tell me what to do and I would do it. And then they called me on to the mural project. You see, I had studied mural design under Benton when I was with him. But that wasn't the part, it was the egg tempera which I learned from him also when I worked with him and . . . .

BETTY HOAG: Excuse me. You were an assistant to Mr. Maccoy. Is that right?


GUY MACCOY: Yes, at this job. At this job.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: At this job, and then on another job, to.

BETTY HOAG: What was the other one? Oh, the other one was his.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: His job was at the Brooklyn Museum that we did.

BETTY HOAG: We'll talk about that later when we get him to this point and do you together. And what was the other one you assisted on?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: At the Girls' Industrial High School in Brooklyn. Didn't they change that name, Guy, the Girls' Industrial High School, to something else?

GUY MACCOY: No, that's what they changed it to.


BETTY HOAG: Mr. Maccoy, had you designed that mural also?


BETTY HOAG: Mrs. Maccoy, did you assist anyone else on the Project?


BETTY HOAG: Was that the last thing you did at that time of the Project work?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: I only worked on two things. One was the Brooklyn Museum and one was the Girls' Industrial High School. The Brooklyn Museum was how many years, Guy?

GUY MACCOY: I think two and a half. I'm not sure about that.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: And the Girls' Industrial High School? About the same?

GUY MACCOY: About the same, yes.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: It was a large . . . .

GUY MACCOY: Yes. This was the last project.

BETTY HOAG: Was this just before the war, or did you stop for personal reasons?

GUY MACCOY: This was just before the war and we did stop for personal reasons.

BETTY HOAG: Why don't I just carry you on together from that time, then. Did you go on . . . you were married on the project?

BETTY HOAG: Oh, good!

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: That's the Girls' Industrial High School one. There were two panels -- one on either side of the room; one was on silk and one was on wool.

BETTY HOAG: Silk and wool!

GUY MACCOY: No. The subject was . . . .

BETTY HOAG: Oh! I thought I'd learned a new mural here.

GUY MACCOY: The subject was women, the history of women in the silk industry and the history of women in the woolen industry, and the reason for this was because we specialized in textiles.

BETTY HOAG: I see. They must have loved the murals.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: It was fabulous, really.

GUY MACCOY: It was one of our best murals although it was never really completed under Genoi's or my supervision. It was . . . .

BETTY HOAG: Oh, it wasn't?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: They took Guy off . . . .

GUY MACCOY: Later on, and other people finished up the last panel of the wool.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: We finished this panel, Guy, complete.

GUY MACCOY: And the last panel was almost complete before the Project.

BETTY HOAG: That's silk that you completed?


BETTY HOAG: It's very beautiful. That . . . maybe it's because it's Chinese but it reminds me a little of Mr. Wright's mural in the library at Santa Monica.

GUY MACCOY: Yes, it does. It's probably because of the subject matter, also because of the fact that we were very fond . . . you know, we have been very fond of Wright's . . . .

BETTY HOAG: Oh! Did you know of him at that time?

GUY MACCOY: No, we only knew him through . . . and I also knew him in New York, but only for a short time. He was there for a short time.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: We met him several times.

GUY MACCOY: But we knew of him and we also knew his work long before we knew him.

BETTY HOAG: The treatment of the trees and the clouds is a little like it. Very lovely. And then the war came along. Maybe I should from there on take it with you because very probably Mrs. Maccoy was going along if she was like me and most women.

GUY MACCOY: All right. All right. And you can . . . Genoi can . . . .

BETTY HOAG: Come in on it.



GUY MACCOY: I think it probably . . . I should tell you I was put on the Project very early in 1933, the later part of 1833-34.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Before it was the WPA Project?

GUY MACCOY: Well, you know it changed its name many times, and you have . . . .

BETTY HOAG: Well, were you on the Treasury Department first?

GUY MACCOY: Well, now for a short period I think we were in what was known as Treasury Department. This is true. I think, again, we were juggled in through lots of these various names and especially so in various departments. Now some of the men stayed on the Treasury Department for long periods, and then others were shifted back over to local projects and also to the WPA. I can't give you the exact data on it except that I was on . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: It was a competition at first. Guy won it . . . .

GUY MACCOY: Yes. And of course, you see, we were involved in passing through these New York City Art Commissions. This also had a great deal to do with the first beginning murals, that the New York City Art Commission had to okay all of the murals . . . .

BETTY HOAG: Were these for libraries, schools, or post offices?

GUY MACCOY: These were for schools, libraries, public buildings of any kind.

BETTY HOAG: That was probably the Treasury. It sounds like it.

GUY MACCOY: It sounds like the Treasury, yes.

BETTY HOAG: That was the way they operated.

GUY MACCOY: Yes. Later on I think it was switched.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Jonas Lee, wasn't it?

GUY MACCOY: Jonas Lee was the head. Jonas Lee is a well-known artist in New York and he was the head of the New York City Art Commission.

BETTY HOAG: Oh, I see. Did you know him?

GUY MACCOY: Yes. We knew him quite well. Jonas Lee was a friend, a very close friend of one of my instructors, one of my instructors whose name was Ernest Lawson. Ernest Lawson was a very well-known American Impressionistic painter of what is known as the Ashcan School.

BETTY HOAG: Oh, really!

GUY MACCOY: And he was a teacher at the Colorado Springs, or Broadmoor Art Academy in 1929 -- 1928-'29-'27 in that period, and I had studied there and knew him . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: In the sumemrtime.

GUY MACCOY: In the summers, so that . . . .

BETTY HOAG: Are you saying Lawson, or Slason?

GUY MACCOY: No, it's Lawson.

BETTY HOAG: With an "L"?

GUY MACCOY: L-a-w . . . .

BETTY HOAG: It's a hard word to get.


BETTY HOAG: Let's regress again, and get your life before this.

GUY MACCOY: All right. I thought we did it. I felt maybe this was going to happen. It seemed to me before we got involved here that . . . I starated at Kansas City Art Institute in 1924 and I spent four years at the Kansas City Art Institute and, during those four years, I went both day and night school, so I had a . . . and most of the last two years was spent under a man by the name of Anthony Angarola.

BETTY HOAG: Oh! He was later at Chicago.

GUY MACCOY: Ye was a Chicago man.

BETTY HOAG: Oh! I taped one artist who was very fond of him. In fact, she seemed to have just worshipped him.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Oh yes! He was marvelous.

GUY MACCOY: What was her name, do you remember?

BETTY HOAG: Yes. Bella Baranceanu. She's a . . . .

GUY MACCOY: I don't know her.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: I studied under him also.

GUY MACCOY: Yeah, Genoi was also a student of his. And then he was a Guggenheim fellowship painter and he spent two years teaching at Kansas City Art Institute, and I've always felt that he's been one of my best teachers. And then also at the Kansas City Art Institute there was another man that was a very important man in the world of art. His name was Alexander Kostello. Alexander Kostello became head of the design department at Carnegie Tech.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: I studied with him too.

GUY MACCOY: These are two important men and also he then went to New York and became head of Pratt.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Of the Art Department in Pratt.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: He was the head of Pratt.


GUY MACCOY: That's right, the whole thing. And he worked and became a highly-paid technician for Steuben Glass, so he was a la
commercial and fine arts together; he had a combination.


GUY MACCOY: He was a very important man in . . . .

BETTY HOAG: Sparkling crystal.

GUY MACCOY: Yes, yes, in . . . Steuben Glass.

BETTY HOAG: Is this spelled with a "K" or a "C"?

GUY MACCOY: It's spelled with a "K" (K-o-s-t-e-l-l-o).

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Oh, he wasn't involved in the WPA.

GUY MACCOY: No, he wasn't involved in the WPA, he was only involved in the beginning of my schooling.

BETTY HOAG: Both of these men you felt were a great influence on you?

GUY MACCOY: That's right. The reason I wanted to bring them in was . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Kostello was . . . .

GUY MACCOY: Yes, but he came later on. And then at the same time that I was going to the Kansas City Art Institute from '24 to '28, I was also going to summer classes in Colorado Springs, and in the summer classes I want to bring in two important instructors. One of them was a man by the name of Randall Davey. Randall Davey was . . . .

BETTY HOAG: Oh! He just died, didn't he?

GUY MACCOY: I beg your pardon.

BETTY HOAG: He died just recently.

GUY MACCOY: He just recently died, yes. He was a student of Henri -- Robert Henri. And also the other man was this Ernest Lawson. These two men I think were very important in the art world at the time that I was with them. And then during this period I won a scholarship to Tiffany Foundation in New York. That's what took both Genoi and I to New York. It was at this time that Genoi also went to New York; there was a group of us that were . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Let me say it. Angarola won the Guggenheim fellowship, he was leaving, and he told . . . he picked eleven of his students and he said, "You've had all you can get at this school; it's time for you to go to New York." And Kostello was going also, he was an instructor there at that school. And then these eleven students went. But Guy, having won this Tiffany scholarship, went for the summer, and then he had won also a scholarship for the fall term at the League . . . .

GUY MACCOY: Art Students League.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: So he went in the summer, and then I went with these other people in the fall.

GUY MACCOY: In September.

BETTY HOAG: To the Art Students League?

GUY MACCOY: We arrived in New York in '29.

BETTY HOAG: Now the Tiffany scholarship is something like the Huntington Hartford one here, isn't it, where you live and . . . ?

GUY MACCOY: That's right. It's the same principle as the Huntington Hartford method, except that I think at the Huntington Hartford I believe you can re-apply.

BETTY HOAG: Oh, is that right?

GUY MACCOY: Also I believe at Huntington Hartford you must have a program . . . .


GUY MACCOY: Or otherwise you can't get in; you have to have some program.

BETTY HOAG: Sadly enough, it's all over, you know.

GUY MACCOY: No, I didn't know that.

BETTY HOAG: Huntington Hartford sold it. Everyone is sick about it. They sold it to a man who said he was going to keep it for his home, and he no sooner got it than he announced it was going to be subdivided. We live just very near it and we were just desolate. We loved having all the artists up there and it was such a great place for them.

GUY MACCOY: Yes, it was. I think quite a few people have gone to Huntington Hartford. But my objection was that it had this stipulation of something to be done, where at Tiffany you just went.

BETTY HOAG: Well, Mr. Rogers, who is the manager there, had a Tiffany Foundation one time. And then the man who has the Coronado School of Fine Arts . . . .

GUY MACCOY: Yes. His name is Monty Lewis.

BETTY HOAG: Monty Lewis! Did you know him there?

GUY MACCOY: Yes, we knew him in New York also. And I also taught down at his school several years during the summer.

BETTY HOAG: What a lovely place to live for teaching!

GUY MACCOY: Yes, it is. I used to live in Monty's house there when I was teaching.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Monty Lewis had a mural -- when we were doing this Girls' Industrial Hi9gh School mural and in another part of the building Monty was doing a mural.

BETTY HOAG: Well, isn't that interesting!

GUY MACCOY: We were both working at the same time.

BETTY HOAG: I didn't remember . . . .

BETTY HOAG: Well, let's see, before we get any further I want to get in on the tape when and where you were born, which I know. do you want me to just read it off, or you tell me?

GUY MACCOY: I was born in Valaposa, Kansas (?) in 1904.

BETTY HOAG: I got that out of Who's Who but I guess anybody could look it up. But I thought we'd have you say it just for the record. Sometimes, you know, they do make mistakes and then if it comes out the person . . . .

GUY MACCOY: And then at the Art Student's League we were from '29 until, I think, it was '33, '33, that I quit schooling. But Genoi went on to school.


GUY MACCOY: I got on the Project . . . now it was the very early part of the Project. I was put on as one of many artists. I think there were about ten of the artists put on this one Project and worked under . . . this was put under a man who was to be the head of the department. His name was Ben Knotts. And the reason why he was given the head of the Project was primarily because he was a commercial artist in New York at the time and he had been a designer in the theatre at Chicago -- Chicago Opera House. He had done stage sets for the theatre and he was in New York at the time doing commercial art and he was given the head of this group of ten people.

BETTY HOAG: Now he was the one Mrs. Maccoy mentioned as being head of the Index also?

GUY MACCOY: Yes, the same man.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: But that was later, though, that he was head of the Index.

BETTY HOAG: He was really expendable on the project, wasn't he?

GUY MACCOY: Yes, he was a wonderful man. And then this school that we were to work in was called . . .


GUY MACCOY: Now just a minute. Let me put this one the tape. The school was called Julia Richman High School.

BETTY HOAG: Julia Richman?

GUY MACCOY: Julia Richman High School was on 66th Street. Now there was to be work submitted to the City Art Commission and the idea was from the school. The school suggested the subject. The subject was "History of Navigation." Now all the people were allowed to submit work . . . .

BETTY HOAG: Fro a whole mural, or a partial mural?

GUY MACCOY: For the whole mural. And the one that would be accepted would be the one that the group would work on. It so happened that in the process the design that Ben submitted was rejected; the design that I submitted was accepted. So, in order that the job could be carried through, I was given a co-supervising job with Ben Knotts. Here's where the connection started.


GUY MACCOY: So that the co-supervising was one in which Ben truly had been chosen to be supervisor but, because of the fact that the design was mine, I had to be the one that carried it through.

BETTY HOAG: Well, of course.

GUY MACCOY: So that in the process this came to 2,800 square feet of new wall space, and we worked on it, I think, about three years. I can't be sure, but I think it was almost three years, and we had a group of assistants all the way from ten to eighteen.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: They were always shifting . . . .

GUY MACCOY: Changing people. And the heads of the department at that time were only involved in getting people jobs; they did not particularly care whether they were accomplished artists. So we started out with many, many artists that had very, very, little background.

BETTY HOAG: How in the world did you teach them to help?

GUY MACCOY: Most of these people were put on research projects, and they did the subject research for us from the library. And this design, which was the "History of Navigation," covered the entire floor . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: All four walls.

GUY MACCOY: It was nine feet high and covered all four walls and there was 2,800 square feet of it, so that's a considerable amount of wall space. We did it on canvas and we did it in the . . . . There was a Y.M.C.A. building right off 8th Avenue on 56th Street, and we were given the top floor by the Y.M.C.A. and we did all the work up there, and it was transferred later to the Julia Richman High School and put on the wall.

BETTY HOAG: Who did the application to the wall? Did you have to bring in paperhangers?


GUY MACCOY: No. We had then also paperhangers that were already Federal, you know, that were Work Project . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: (Showing photographs) Guy used to have more hair then than he has now.

GUY MACCOY: Let's see which one she gave you.

BETTY HOAG: Oh, this is a nice picture. That's South America.

GUY MACCOY: No, that's the one in Brooklyn.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Oh, my! Where's the one . . . this is the wall map that I want to show you.

BETTY HOAG: Brooklyn Museum?


BETTY HOAG: Would you mind starting again?

GUY MACCOY: Because we needed to use all these people that the heads of the projects were trying to give us, we had to find ways to make work in order to utilize them. Now this is the reason why the map then became a map in which we put designs of various kinds all through the map. These designs of various kinds were designs that were in many ways indigenous to the sections in which they were on. And also we illustrated in the various parts of the map . . . in the water we also have the fish that were found in these various ocean currents.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: And the routes were put on -- early navigation routes --

GUY MACCOY: Yes. And then also all different kinds of ships and boats and . . . from the very earliest to the modern -- were illustrated in the water area. On the land area . . . .

BETTY HOAG: The research was simply tremendous.

GUY MACCOY: It was tremendous. As a matter of fact, the research in this was just fantastic and it's a shame it never was kept in some orderly files.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: I have some . . . I didn't work on this, but, of course, I was very interested in it. I have some of the tracings, some of that one, and some of the Brooklyn Museum right now.

BETTY HOAG: Could we borrow them for microfilming? Would they microfilm?

GUY MACCOY: I presume they would, yes. They probably would.

BETTY HOAG: I would love to put a couple in if you would let us use them.

GUY MACCOY: Oh, surely. Now the people would go to the library, they would look up and get important data and then they would go to the picture department of the library and take either tracings direct from the books, or then we would send them out to find images that would represent the objects that would fit in the various parts of the nation. And we did, of course, all the continents and all the islands, and all the fish that were in them, and all the related shipping, navigation elements, that were connected with . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: They would do realistic drawings, you know, and Guy would stylize them.

BETTY HOAG: You did the stylizing?

GUY MACCOY: Stylizing.

BETTY HOAG: I'm curious, Mr. Maccoy, about one aspect of South America. What is this delightful almost line drawing in white?

GUY MACCOY: Oh, it's so long ago I've forgotten.

BETTY HOAG: You don't remember?

GUY MACCOY: I don't remember. I know it had some relationship at the time and I've forgotten. I spent last night trying to figure out what to tell you because I was just sure you were going to ask me that.

BETTY HOAG: I know it isn't a fish.

GUY MACCOY: No. It had something to do with some element and I can't remember now.

BETTY HOAG: Well, your one of Africa has Alexandria in detail, the mouth of it.

GUY MACCOY: Oh, yes. This is true. Now in almost every instance we put in the most important ports.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Oh, maybe this is for Columbus?

GUY MACCOY: I couldn't tell you. I couldn't tell you.

BETTY HOAG: It would be as related to your navigation . . . .

GUY MACCOY: In many of these we have these inserts of the big docks and shipping centers, maps of them, and of course obviously we purposely made designs so that the walls would be decorated.

BETTY HOAG: Did the continuity continue with your water currents?


BETTY HOAG: I mean another one adjoined this and carried it out?

GUY MACCOY: If it were possible, this would be true, but remember we had all kinds of doors and windows to go around.

BETTY HOAG: That was always a bugaboo, wasn't it?

GUY MACCOY: That's right. So oftentimes that . . . I think in that case that panel was only that wide.

BETTY HOAG: I see. Now is this the one for Brooklyn Museum?

GUY MACCOY: No. This is the one for the Julia Richman High School.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: That's "Navigation."

BETTY HOAG: Was it in their library, or . . . ?

GUY MACCOY: No, it's in the fourth floor corridors.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: It's all four walls.

GUY MACCOY: On the fourth floor it covers the entire corridor area. I don't even know what covered the first three.

BETTY HOAG: You were always up on the fourth.

GUY MACCOY: We were always up on the fourth. Now after this one . . . this took us into a period in which as one job was finished the mad rush to get another job through the City Art Commission was always in the process.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: He was always doing two jobs.

GUY MACCOY: So that at the time that this job was being finished, there was a need for what was known as an orientation map at the entrance to the Brooklyn Museum. There was a man at the Brooklyn Museum at that time by the name of William Yost. William Yost was a man who had . . . .

[TAPE. 2]

BETTY HOAG: This is Betty Lochrie Hoag on July 24th, 1965, interviewing Mr. and Mrs. Guy Maccoy, in their home in Chatsworth, Reel No. 2. Would you like to go on while we are waiting? You were just starting to tell me about the mural maps, orientation maps, which you did for the Brooklyn Museum.

GUY MACCOY: Oh, yes, the Brooklyn Museum. This started to come into need before the Julia Richman High School job was finished, so that it . . . Mr. Moss was gradually being pulled out of the Project because he was being needed to work with Mrs. McMann as Assistant Supervisor in the Project. Now I don't even remember what the Project was called when Mrs. McMann first took it over, but she was one of the first of the people and she had, she had been the head of the College Art Association. She had the College Art Association and, when she took it over, and then he became an assistant to her, so that with . . . through him for the Julia Richman High School job and I needed work, they separated the two of us, so I needed work to go on with it, and this man in Brooklyn, Mr. Yost, was redoing Brooklyn Museum on the basis of an educational institution rather . . . art museum morgue on the basis of a morgue. He thought that the Museum ought to be used by the public, though in the process of re-doing the Museum with the help of Project workers, he removed all stationary elements that it was his desire to have on the entrance a removal map; this removable map was created by Mr. Yost, of course, of his belief in having all elements in the museum changeable. So he wanted a removable map, at the entrance, and this map would orientate the public as it came in as to where they could see the Pre-Columbian culture artifacts,.

BETTY HOAG: What a fascinating subject to work out.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Oh, yes, it was. It was wonderful.

GUY MACCOY: It was really wonderful. And because of this need for a removable map and because of the fact that I had just completed the map for the Julia Richman High School, I was chosen as one to do the job for them and I chose at the time an assistant by the name of Leonard Jenkins. And Leonard Jenkins and I started working on this idea which was ten feet high and 27' long and was supposed to be made on panels that could be taken down, that could be removed any time they felt.

BETTY HOAG: With gesso panels, did you use oil?

GUY MACCOY: Well, we used an egg oil tempera medium.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: The Julia Richman was just in oil.

GUY MACCOY: Just in oil. And then this had to go through the process of being okayed by the City Art Commission, which took a great deal of time making sketches and getting okays and at the time, after we passed the requirements of the head of the Museum, then we had to work with the head of the department. And the head of the department was a man by the name of Dr. Stedman. And Dr. Stedman was rather an old man at the time; he was a very important man in the history of Pre-Columbian culture. He had taken his degree in Sweden and had been the one who had originally deciphered the Columbian stone. He was the original decipher, . . . .

BETTY HOAG: I got out Ruby this morning before I came over and looked up his [inaudible]
and he had [a plane few over and tape is inaudible] what was his favorite mixture? Pompia and orange? Well, Dr. Stedman and you worked directly with the concept of your design, the subject matter . . . .

GUY MACCOY: Dr. Stedman was the man who gave us the information, and what to do, where to do it, and how to do it. All we really did, we were working under his complete supervision. After a while, he . . . after having the original plans, he gave us all the freedom we wanted then and we went ahead then, and put the time in two and a half years on. You know, now Len was brought over because I needed more people to work . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Jenkins was given another job!

GUY MACCOY: No, Jenkins still stayed with us. Jenkins stayed long after he was brought over.

BETTY HOAG: Oh really?

GUY MACCOY: Later, much later . . . but in the beginning I just needed more people and I was given five more people and because of the fact that, you know, that I had been educated to work in egg oil tempera under Benton and because also they did not have this transferred into supervision under Mrs. McMann, it let you know then . . . in a position that you could be removed from this Index of Design which was primarily where we started in. Now when the map was done in all of the Pre-Colombian culture color tones, so that art of map was related to the color code culture color quality paint. We had sections which were devoted to the non-builders section, to the basket-weavers section that were devoted to pueblos then down into the Aztecs, the Mayans, the Peruvians, clear on down into the south, so that each section was . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Over all was Peruvian corn, wasn't it? In relationship to the . . . ?

GUY MACCOY: It probably dominated, yes. It related to . . . .

BETTY HOAG: Because they were brighter colors?


GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: They were beautiful colors.

GUY MACCOY: They were all pretty much muted colors, but it was all done in real flat designing and designs were carried out in various sections.

BETTY HOAG: How does this compare in treatment artistically, for instance, to Cor Rubius' masterpiece in the World's Fair in San Francisco? Did you see those?

GUY MACCOY: We didn't see them.

BETTY HOAG: Have you seen reproductions of them?

BETTY HOAG: I didn't even see reproductions of them. I think they're pretty much the same way.

BETTY HOAG: Because I have a set and I will bring them over and show you when I return this material . . . .

GUY MACCOY: Now, I remember something . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: I think we were a little more simpler. We didn't display the data that he did; I think he got involved in a little bit more of a kind of continuous tone quality, and we just painted "a-la-poster" quality.

BETTY HOAG: How did you design something like this in color and guide design?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: These are by Picasso . . . .

GUY MACCOY: So they are.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: I don't know why I've got it in here.

BETTY HOAG: Well, yours came first; he probably studied your murals. As a matter of fact, when he worked on his . . . .

GUY MACCOY: I wouldn't know. I do know this: when this was completed, it must . . . be done around '36-37.

BETTY HOAG: I think this would be '39, instead of '37.

GUY MACCOY: Anyway, it was an interesting map, primarily because its panels were four feet wide, ten feet high, and there was a little tiny crack that went down between the panels, and these panels were bolted together, so that when they wanted to repaint them, they could take the whole thing right off the wall.

BETTY HOAG: How many panels were there?

GUY MACCOY: Seven, seven panels.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: I wonder if they still use them? Do you know?

GUY MACCOY: I don't know. They're not up now. They take down the whole first floor. Now this was once upon a time. The first floor was devoted entirely to pre-Columbian culture -- that was when Mr. Stedman was there. But when Mr. Stedman had been at the Brooklyn Museum so long, he demanded that the whole entire museum be devoted to pre-Columbian cultures, because he would be in some way in competition with the Natural history Museum.


GUY MACCOY: The Natural History Museum in New York, also had big, big shows of pre-Columbian cultures. And when Mr. Stedman passed away, then this whole thing was re-done and I haven't the slightest idea . . . .

BETTY HOAG: Well, I think this was a great idea. I hope they do still have it.

GUY MACCOY: I thought of it -- probably somebody has it. Ha ha.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: They might have it in storage . . . .

GUY MACCOY: Then the other one that we did, from that job, then, we were given another job, which was probably the most beautiful wall space in New York. There were two halls, 30 feet high and 20 feet wide -- flanking the stage in a huge auditorium, in the Girls Industrial High School on the corner of 3rd and Bean Street.

BETTY HOAG: No symposium arts to go over -- companion arts -- what do they call that . . . ?


BETTY HOAG: Just the two panels?

GUY MACCOY: Now, of course, on this I had the walls covered with canvas . . . .


GUY MACCOY: First. We had walls covered with canvas and then we painted the murals directly on the canvas.

BETTY HOAG: How does that work? Do you like it better?

GUY MACCOY: Well, in the first place we didn't like it too well because the auditorium was constantly used as class room and kids coming in saluting the flag, going back out and everything. We had to get up . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: To salute the flag -- every hour we had to stand up -- we had to stop our work, and they insisted, they said because each new class saluted the flag and, to see these people working, they didn't know that we had been saluting all day.

BETTY HOAG: You really exercised on that job, didn't you?

GUY MACCOY: Because this auditorium was 30 feet high, it meant that we had to have four platforms to build up, and on the four we had ladders for platforms to platform. Now, we had made . . . I had made up the original sketches which again were submitted to the Art commission and okayed, and we took one of those sections up on tracing paper. We'd run those sections up on tracing paper, which in turn were transferred off on to the wall, which in turn then were painted mostly by Genoi and I. Most of the painting was done by the two of us.

BETTY HOAG: I seemed to have used a term, I don't know, the tracing crazy paper was what to the wall?


BETTY HOAG: That's what I thought you said.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: We pounded the paper.

GUY MACCOY: We put a little tiny hole in the paper . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: You know, like what they use for patterns.

BETTY HOAG: Oh, this . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: You know, running, or ritter, or something they call it in sewing.

GUY MACCOY: Sewing, yes.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: And that's pounced with chalk.

GUY MACCOY: Pounced little dots on the wall.

BETTY HOAG: How do you spell pounce?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: It's really a French word.

GUY MACCOY: You should know more about pouncing than I do.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: I don't know if that's the way it is pronounced.

GUY MACCOY: And then we did . . . there were five of us who worked on that mural for quite some time, I don't really know how long it was.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: But we had other people that floated in and out.

GUY MACCOY: Yes, we always had people coming and going, which was part of the Project's system of keeping people occupied. Sometimes these people would be . . . not because they were not good artists, but became they were not able to fit into the area in which they would be given.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: But they were trying to find them places.

GUY MACCOY: Yeah, trying to find them places, so it was a need and also it was a need that these people be given some work and we were asked, like every others, to make it possible, and so in many instances we would bring in models because the models were then occupied on the Project also.


GUY MACCOY: And they happened to use, in order to get them established . . . .

BETTY HOAG: You probably enjoyed using them than anybody.

GUY MACCOY: Yes. We would have models posing and people working drawings which we in turn then used for the figures that we . . . sometimes we couldn't use them, but that wasn't their fault. So that many of the people were actually getting what I believe was one of the best art educations that the country would ever . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: I think that may be where he got his preliminary training for teaching, because he's turned out to be a very fine teacher.

GUY MACCOY: It really was one of the most wonderful things that ever happened to this country. And most of this first generation artists -- you know, I could use them now. The first generation artists could never be where they are today if it hadn't been for the Federal Art Project. It would have been impossible. The most important one we have out there now is Jackie Pollock. He was just the type of person that was on the Project.

BETTY HOAG: He was on one of our projects -- I don't mean that . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: He was on the easel Project.

BETTY HOAG: He wasn't on the Project here, but he had his early training . . . he went to San _______ High School and old Mr. Shawnkowski who I believe was his teacher . . . .

GUY MACCOY: Yes, yes, I think the reason why . . . is Shawnkowski still living?

BETTY HOAG: Yes, he is. He is 80 years old and can't see.

GUY MACCOY: I was thinking . . . someone was telling me not so long ago that in reality this man as a teacher is probably responsible for the direction of that Pollock eventually took because they said he was a wonderful creating teacher.

BETTY HOAG: I would think so. He had Phil Guston, who was Philip Goldenstein when he was here, and Manuel Tollegian (Colegian, Delegion) who is the most terrific artist I think.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Tollegian and Jackson Pollock were in our class one time when I studied with Ben.

BETTY HOAG: Oh, was he?

GUY MACCOY: And we know Tollegian, just recently we had seen him. He lives over here in Sherman.

BETTY HOAG: Yes, I know, I've been over there. He's a delightful person.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: And, oh yes, Pollock was one of the people when we were studying with Ben, in this group, Tollegian . . . .

GUY MACCOY: And Pollock . . . ?


BETTY HOAG: Did you know Gerry Murray; his wife was one of the models at that time?


BETTY HOAG: And he lives in California right now, too.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: I know vaguely the name. Well that's fascinating, aside, a part of the mural . . . the elements.

BETTY HOAG: Oh, that would be a nice one.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: This one would be on the elements that were transferred to the . . . .

GUY MACCOY: But this was never used.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: It wasn't used.

GUY MACCOY: Never used.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Well, in a way it's part of the . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: It's part of the way in which it was to be put on -- this is probably part of the side, the size, this was the way in which it was drawn around . . . .

BETTY HOAG: Was this scaled down?

GUY MACCOY: This was scaled.

BETTY HOAG: This was what it was going to be or was this the actual size?

GUY MACCOY: This was the actual size.

BETTY HOAG: I see. Can I see the next one?

GUY MACCOY: Here's the next one. [Shuffling of papers in the background]

BETTY HOAG: Very interesting.

GUY MACCOY: You can take whatever one you want. Yeah.

GUY MACCOY: Here's some more.

GUY MACCOY: Well, anyway, so we end this up. We worked on the Project until '38, I guess it was, '38. I worked on the Project until '38. For some reason I was taken off and put on what was known as a docent for the Municipal Art Galleries and this removed me from the project of the Girls industrial High School. And then I worked for approximately a year on -- as a docent -- for the Municipal Art Gallery and then . . .

BETTY HOAG: I'm sorry, but I've got a docent as a picture.

GUY MACCOY: No, he was an Informer.


GUY MACCOY: He's a Guide, he goes around telling you something.

BETTY HOAG: This was for the City of New York and not for the Project?

GUY MACCOY: Yes. this was for the City of New York, but it was still being paid for by the Project, by the out-of-state Project.

BETTY HOAG: Out-of-state Project. They had them?

GUY MACCOY: Remember now, this was one of Mayor LaGuardia's pets, and it was the same as what used to be called the Mayor's Booster Project. The Mayor had a booster project which was all federalized project. Mayor LaGuardia manipulated his funds, but they had . . . of course in the year somewhere, Mrs. McMann was renewed and she really had a forrest [?] that was brought in and was the head and there was a good deal of hinting of personnel.

BETTY HOAG: And what became of Ben? He was on . . . ?

GUY MACCOY: He was on to the very last, I don't know. He was eventually transferred to the Metropolitan.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: No, on the Project.

GUY MACCOY: At the very end, at the very end.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: He was transferred from the . . . .

GUY MACCOY: Yeah, but it still was the State, I believe -- the city didn't pay his salary . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Why, I don't know.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: I don't think so.

BETTY HOAG: Mr. Maccoy, you mentioned an experience you had teaching, because of all the people who had helped on the murals. Is this what . . . the reason you just discuss then -- want to do because by this time you were discovering that you were a natural lecturer?

GUY MACCOY: No, no, no, this wasn't the only way I was being . . . I was shifting my attention away from the Federal Art Project and the end of this was that we had friends who were taking over the Mayor's Art Gallery, and I felt that it was a more permanent position, because knowing that the other one would soon go out, we all knew this, and I wanted to get a more permanent one, and the Project ended right after I got it.

BETTY HOAG: Well, that happened fast.

GUY MACCOY: All sorts of favors . . .

BETTY HOAG: How long were you with it?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: I think about a year, aha. And then we had . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: He had also had to hang the _____shows, as well as _____ .

GUY MACCOY: This, I think, takes me to the end of the story; I think we ought to end this story. The rest of it, I think, is with the Project.

BETTY HOAG: Well, I think we should bring you up to date, after that. I want to get in the fact that it was from Maccoy peachy and Otis and about this _____amount that overwhelmed the town.

GUY MACCOY: I see, I see. But the idea of the service was -- and I am going to make it short . . . .

BETTY HOAG: Oh, excuse me, let's get it chronological first.

GUY MACCOY: All right.

BETTY HOAG: And let me just add one thing that you invented the word as well as the process.

GUY MACCOY: No, not the word!


GUY MACCOY: The word was created by a man by the name of Zigrossier.


GUY MACCOY: Carl Zigrossier. He at that time was head of the print department at the Beyhi Gallery.

BETTY HOAG: Would you spell his name?

GUY MACCOY: Oh boy, I don't know.

BETTY HOAG: That's a bad one - Zigrossier.


BETTY HOAG: He was head of what?

GUY MACCOY: He is now . . . at the present time he's head of the print department at Philadelphia Museum.

BETTY HOAG: That's all right. Thank you.

GUY MACCOY: And he has just received a grant from one of the big money areas to do prints. But I started the idea -- the idea of the serigraph was started back in 1933. And then it worked itself into areas that . . . I worked with watercolor medium and it didn't work very good. Now I'm not going into too much detail. Finally, we got up to the place where the Federal Art Project had a poster department and these people were involved in doing silk screen posters for the City of New York.

BETTY HOAG: This was La Guardia's project you mentioned?

GUY MACCOY: This was La Guardia's project. Now in . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: It didn't have anything to do with your . . . .

GUY MACCOY: Yes, it did. Let me bring it in. This was the place in which they found an oil medium. I had been working since 1933 with the watercolor medium. They developed an oil medium on the Project because the watercolor medium shifted the registration on the silk. The silk wouldn't hold under water.

BETTY HOAG: It was fuzzy or came out fuzzy and blurred?

GUY MACCOY: Came out fuzzy, yes. But even under this idea, eighteen different designs, and I had the first one-man show at the contemporary At Gallery in New York in November of 1938. That was the first show of serigraphs. Then the second show of serigraphs was in 1940 by a man by the name of Harry Gottleib. He's the brother of Adolph Gottleib. But Harry Gottleib had a show in 1940 at the AAA Gallery and it was done with oil paints. And the serigraph movement then started with a group of people getting together and forming . . . . Genoi and I were in the beginning; it was called the Workshop and it was called . . . and it eventually would up being called the National Serigraph Society. This I think started around 1941 or '42. And then Genoi and I were with the National Serigraph Society up until approximately 1947 or '48. We withdrew and came to California. And we began to teach serigraphy at the Jepson Art Institute in 1948.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: We both taught.

GUY MACCOY: We both taught at Jepson and Genoi and I taught at Jepson for about five years.


GUY MACCOY: Seven years?

BETTY HOAG: It is no longer in existence?

GUY MACCOY: No longer in existence. But in the process we developed quite a number of important serigraphers on the West coast and we formed another society which is now called Western Serigraph Society and I was president of it for a number of years and Genoi was vice-president for a number of years. And then we withdrew from this, and the Western Serigraph Society is still in existence, doing quite well. Both Genoi and I have won quite a number of prizes in the serigraph medium and it was from one of our students that Sister Corinne got started.

BETTY HOAG: Well, for heavens sakes!

GUY MACCOY: Sister Corinne now is one of the most important serigraphers here on the West coast.

BETTY HOAG: Yes. Very well-known. Does lovely work.

GUY MACCOY: Yes. And then I left Jepson when Jepson folded and moved over to the Otis Art Institute which then was in its own building.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: And I never taught after that.

GUY MACCOY: No, Genoi from then on did not teach. But I started in when Millard Sheets first took over, the first year that Millard Sheets took over, I started in teaching and at Otis and I have been with Otis ever since. I also now teach at Palos Verdes Community Art Center. I also teach at Barnesville. I teach at Canoga Art Mission, and I teach at the Burbank Adult Education Center.

BETTY HOAG: My heavens!

GUY MACCOY: That's a lot, isn't it?

BETTY HOAG: And how do you get all these lovely paintings done at the same time in oil?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Oh, did you get to go over to his show?

BETTY HOAG: No. Well, I tried to get over but I got across the street and didn't find it.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: It's still on, isn't it?

GUY MACCOY: I can tell how . . . .

BETTY HOAG: I'll get it going back because it isn't far off here.


BETTY HOAG: I don't know how you have hours in the day for all of this.

GUY MACCOY: I do. I work day and night.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: He works day and night.

BETTY HOAG: Well, tell me what happened to the serigraphs from the time you had the show, which were all watercolors, then after you had organized this national group of people working together, did you go on into oil in serigraphs?

GUY MACCOY: Yes, I went on into oils with the rest of the people. Now all the other people were in oils . . .


GUY MACCOY: . . . and I had to, because in the first place the watercolor was not satisfactory so I continued to work in oil -- serigraphs --

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: But you didn't organize . . . .

GUY MACCOY: I didn't organize.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: I'll tell you. There were ten artists and they got an old building . . .

GUY MACCOY: A workshop.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: And they organized, but we didn't organize it.

GUY MACCOY: But we joined. We were members of that first one, the national one.


BETTY HOAG: Did the Western Serigraph Society . . . ?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: We organized that.

BETTY HOAG: . . . does it have anything to do with Tamarind?

GUY MACCOY: No, it has nothing to do with it.

BETTY HOAG: The process is different and it's a completely different thing.

GUY MACCOY: Entirely different process, yes. The serigraph is a colorful print; it means . . . for instance, it treats with simples (?) and it prints in color; Tamarind is one in which it's a lithograph and in most cases it's a medium for value; it's a value medium, not a color medium. Although they make color lithographs, they still are a value medium.

BETTY HOAG: That's very fascinating. I didn't realize that. I taped Mrs. Wayne -- June Wayne . . . .

GUY MACCOY: June Wayne.

BETTY HOAG: June Wayne, and she took me through and showed me some things and the visit was most interesting.

BETTY HOAG: It's really wonderful, really wonderful. She has a Ford photograph grant also that she . . . .

BETTY HOAG: I was just going to say, yes, that you have a lot in common.

GUY MACCOY: Yes. I hope she gets hers renewed again.

BETTY HOAG: She has had it renewed, I think. I don't know how long it is for; I can't remember what she said.

GUY MACCOY: It has been a wonderful thing for the artists.

BETTY HOAG: Well, it's only been going for about five years.

GUY MACCOY: Oh, she does wonderful things, there's no doubt about it. Just marvelous that somebody . . . .

BETTY HOAG: We'll wait for that airplane . . . . There are a couple of things I wanted to ask you that you haven't mentioned. One of them . . . perhaps you didn't even know it, but you have . . . . Mr. Maccoy, I believe, had two oils in the Los Angeles Museum exhibit of Federal Art Project work in June of 1936. they had you listed as having "Man Fears the New Dawn" and "Still Life." but you were in New York. It must have been a traveling show.

GUY MACCOY: Probably it was a traveling show, a traveling show. And I also want to put in here that I was one of the very beginning concepts of what we were going to do as a . . . we were building a unit in which the units would go out and travel throughout the United States and then would unfold into an art gallery. And this was the thing that I had designed. I don't know whatever happened to it.

BETTY HOAG: You mean the physical . . . traveling . . . ?

GUY MACCOY: The physical machinery.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Oh yes, you designed that.

GUY MACCOY: It was a kind of a car in which the walls all folded, you and the paintings already placed on the wall, the walls were all folded up into one big truck and then when they got to the place this truck would unfold and it would unfold into a big building with stairs going up and on the inside of it would be the exhibit, you see.

BETTY HOAG: How fascinating! Was it built?

GUY MACCOY: I don't know whether it was or not; I never really ever found out. You know it was just like a lot of these things. I had so many ideas but I thought it was a wonderful idea.

BETTY HOAG: Oh, I do too.

GUY MACCOY: And they were going to put the easel Project -- the easel projects were going to use this, they were going to have numbers on this . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: This was something that you did for the WPA and the never like that book that I was working on . . . .

GUY MACCOY: Exactly. They never . . . .

BETTY HOAG: Like a traveling library.

GUY MACCOY: But I do know that they sent many of these paintings and things around the United States.

BETTY HOAG: Well, if I ever hear of any record of it having been built, I'll let you know.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Guy, wasn't it this one? Wasn't it this one that was sent around?

GUY MACCOY: I'm not sure. I don't think so. I don't think so.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: You don't think so? Of the mural?

GUY MACCOY: The detail? It possibly was one, yes. Yes, once upon a time it was sent through some area . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: I remember they took it.


GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: And we were so upset because we wanted . . . it was a detail of the mural, you see . . .

BETTY HOAG: Oh, of the silk workers?


GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Yes. And it was gone a long time.


GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: And then finally it came back.

GUY MACCOY: There were many ways in which they publicized these various . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Whatever happened to it, of course, the Project had it someplace, someplace.

BETTY HOAG: The other thing: The encyclopedia says that you were Britannica?


BETTY HOAG: That you had worked for the Britannica. What was that?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: That was just a painting that they bought.

BETTY HOAG: Encyclopedia Britannica?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Yes. They bought . . . .

GUY MACCOY: They are in the business of being art collectors. They are an art collector, really. In fact, the Encyclopedia Britannica has one of the best collections of art, and I think this is what it means, that they bought, purchased, one of my paintings.

BETTY HOAG: I see. I think Art News or something had an article about it in 1940 or '45, something like that, about that purchase.


BETTY HOAG: Look it up and see if it was in it. I have another kind of leftover question here. Do you teach privately at all?

GUY MACCOY: No. No time for it.

BETTY HOAG: And I know that you exhibit all the time, and I know that you've won many awards. And that kind of thing a student can always get from the Art Index or looking them up so we won't bother to go into the list of them.

GUY MACCOY: No. If they want to get it, they can get it from lots of . . . .

BETTY HOAG: And before I stop my tape I always like to ask the artists if they think that the Federal Art Project helped or hindered American Art, and you both have indicated your answer several times, but . . . ?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Oh yes, it was a wonderful thing. It should have been kept on.

GUY MACCOY: There is no doubt in my mind if it could be continued. Now one of the main reasons for . . . the real value of the Federal Art Project -- and it would have no value at all if it didn't run on that basis -- it gave each person an opportunity to find out what he could do. If they had done what they would probably do today, only choose those people who had proven themselves artists, then it wouldn't have been good . . . .


GUY MACCOY: What they asked in most cases in the beginning part of the Project was, what do you want to do? And, do you have any real interest in it? And if a person wanted to be an artist, and all he had to do was to say he wanted to be one, and he would be put on the Art Project. You did not have to prove yourself.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Well, Mexico, you know, still has that . . . that they . . . . You see, the pay was very low on the Project and it was very low everywhere.

BETTY HOAG: At that time it was everywhere.

GUY MACCOY: Yes, it was. But it was even lower. Just barely . . . .

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: But it gave a lot of people who have the creative urge and capacity a chance to . . . .

GUY MACCOY: You see, we happened to know so many in New York that would never have been artists, that are artists, and high ones. And society, our society, will benefit from these people because, if it hadn't been for the Project, they would never have been even artists.

BETTY HOAG: Isn't that wonderful?

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Of course, you will find a lot that weren't good, you know.

GUY MACCOY: Oh yes, there's a world of opportunity if people want to point to it and say that this . . . and we know this from the past that the little that the taxpayer had to pay in order to subsidize . . . the little they had to pay . . . .

BETTY HOAG: In proportion to what they got, yes.

GUY MACCOY: In proportion.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: You know, Guy gave some lectures . . . in '39 we took a trailer and went over the eastern part of the States from St. Paul down to Florida and he was giving lectures at art associations, art groups and then we were showing them how to do the serigraphs that they didn't . . . you know, to art groups. And of course when we'd go into a community, even a small community, the first thing that we did we would look up the library and inquire if there were any murals. And you know, in the most out of the way places we would find these murals. And I wish we'd taken down notes of where they were, but we didn't. But it was wonderful the things that we saw that were done from the Project.

GUY MACCOY: Now this I think was most of the treasury Art Department.


BETTY HOAG: Yes. And those were many times in communities where people had never seen any original art work at all.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Yes. It was just fantastic.

GUY MACCOY: Yes. And then in most cases they were truly really creative designing, not this junk that you usually find, but real creative designs by the current contemporary designer.

BETTY HOAG: Well, you mentioned that on your New York Project, too, that the artists coming in to work for you were oftentimes juggled around to find a good spot for them. That was helping them find the kind of art work they could do, which was another big point, isn't it?

GUY MACCOY: That's right. You bet it was. And, you see, again I feel that it was this type of manipulation that made it possible for people to find themselves. So often when we get involved in this type of operation the people that are politically involved are the people that stay in the jobs and do and this was a constant shifting, it was a constant shifting of the heads, which really never got good . . . they really never got into it, they'd no more than get goodly organized until they'd shift the whole organization and for this reason I think it was wonderful.

BETTY HOAG: Yes. Well, it will be interesting to see whether Mr. Johnson gets anything done besides his one day of culture, won't it?

GUY MACCOY: That's right, it will be. I do think it's such a shame that Kennedy was but I think we have . Of course, maybe he will, I don't know.

BETTY HOAG: Well, I think it's bigger than one man anyway. If it's something the country needs and people realize they want it, it'll have to come. And certainly this response has been what I've found . . . almost everyone who's honest.

GENOI PETTIT MACCOY: Oh, yes. Among the artists but now among the laymen.

GUY MACCOY: The individual who has the data, that can put the data together, and see the picture as it really is couldn't help but be in favor to it. Now there are so many people that truly made their judgment without really knowing. They have a judgment and the judgment is made on the basis of their knowledge, but their knowledge is just not right all collected, you see.

BETTY HOAG: Well, I think a lot of people don't realize how many of our artists did have this in their background. And Henry Fell pointed that out in his article in the Sunday paper about the New York show at the Museum. Did you read what he said about it?

GUY MACCOY: I didn't but I'm sure . . . .

BETTY HOAG: He said that he thought it would have been a more comprehensive show of each man if they had included the works they had done on the Federal Art Project. It's supposed to be the fifteen artists -- no eight artists, I believe -- and they jumped that completely. But this is also true if you look up an artist in Who's Who of American Art you'll find their background with everything mentioned and often a gap when you think the artist stopped breathing or something for ten years, you know. They just haven't . . . and it's the artist's fault, I think, because they're sent those forms to fill in and they, for various reasons, sometimes because of stigma of the thing, they don't want to come out and say that's what they did.

GUY MACCOY: That's right.

BETTY HOAG: And it was so wonderful what they did at that time.

GUY MACCOY: Yes. In most cases, you see, this was . . . . Of course, as far as I'm concerned, you see, it also had a kind of a sad, it has a sad note for most of these artists . . .


GUY MACCOY: . . . because I think the sad note comes when they found that the government really and truly wasn't interested in art at all. After the emergency was over, it wasn't interested in art.

BETTY HOAG: But don't you think that was more the war that ended it?

GUY MACCOY: It possibly was, yes. I rather think so, although, you know, and I'm sure that we all know that our interest most of the time at this period was one in which we gave a lot of lip service to culture, but the minute it came time to get back into the real rush of good business, they quickly closed up the other department. And maybe rightly so. I'm not sure they're wrong. Maybe this is the way the world has to grow.


BETTY HOAG: I think we did a lot of growing and got a lot of good out of it.


BETTY HOAG: I hope it happens again. I certainly have appreciated talking to both of you and thank you so very much.

GUY MACCOY: You're welcome.


Last updated... May 19, 2003

How to Use This Collection

Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Guy and Genoi Pettit Maccoy, 1965 July 24. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.