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Oral history interview of Lewis W. and Erica Beckh Rubenstein, 1993 February 23

Oral history interview of Lewis W. and Erica Beckh Rubenstein, 1993 February 23

Rubenstein, Lewis W. (Lewis William), 1908-2003

Painter, Educator, Printmaker

Collection Information

Size: 2 sound cassettes (1 hr. 45 min.) : analog.

Format: Originally recorded on 2 sound cassettes. Reformated in 2010 as 3 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 56 min. Side B of Tape 1 is blank.

Summary: An interview of Lewis and Erica Rubenstein conducted 1993 February 23, by Stephen Polcari, for the Archives of American Art. Lewis Rubenstein discusses his early career as a fresco painter, including his training in Italy and friendship with Rico Lebrun. He talks specifically about commissioned murals at the Fogg Art Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and assisting Jose Clemente Orozco on "portable murals" for the Museum of Modern Art. He talks of his move away from realism and the themes that interested him in the 1950s and 1960s. He remembers spending summers in Provincetown and taking classes with Hans Hofmann, his work teaching studio art at Vassar College, and briefly about the visiting artists program he ran there. Erica Rubenstein talks about the significance of 1930s mural paintings, the WPA movement, and government support of the arts in general.

Biographical/Historical Note

Lewis W. Rubentstein (1908-2003) is a painter, printmaker, and teacher of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Lewis Rubenstein is a painter, printmaker, and teacher at Vassar College. His wife Erica is an art historian, whose Ph.D. thesis at Harvard, "Taxpayers Murals," related to New Deal murals.

Provenance

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.

Funding

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.

Use requires an appointment.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview of Lewis W. and Erica Beckh Rubenstein, 1993 February 23. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.