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Oral history interview with Herbert Bayer, 1981 November 3-1982 March 10

Bayer, Herbert, 1900-1985

Photographer, Painter, Designer, Architect, Sculptor


Collection Information

Size: 105 Pages, Transcript

Format: Originally recorded on 5 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 9 digital wav files. Duration is 6 hr., 44 min.

Summary: An interview of Herbert Bayer conducted 1981 November 3-1982 March 10, by Arthur Cohen, for the Archives of American Art.
Bayer speaks of his family background and early influences in art and painting, his education and experiences at the Bauhaus school, studies under Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee, and his friendship with Marcel Breuer. Bayer also tells of fleeing from Nazi Germany and of his travels in Italy. He concludes the interview with a discussion of his theories of color, the relation of surrealism to his work, the influence of architecture upon his work, the beginning of his interest in sculpture, the relationship of landscape to culture, mathematics and its relationship to painting, and the role of metaphysics in his life.

Biographical/Historical Note

Herbert Bayer (1900-1985) was a painter, sculptor, and architect of Montecito, California.


These interviews are part of the Archives' 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

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Herbert Bayer, 1981 November 3-1982 March 10. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.