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Oral history interview with S. Morton Vose, 1986 July 24-1987 April 28

Vose, S. Morton (Seth Morton), 1909-2007

Dealer, Art historian


Collection Information

Size: Transcript: 87 pages

Format: Originally recorded on 4 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 8 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hr., 25 min.

Summary: An interview of S. Morton Vose conducted 1986 July 24-1987 April 28, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art.

Vose speaks of the pervasive effect of his family's art gallery upon his life; studying languages at Harvard College; his affiliation with the gallery from 1927 on; the increasing emphasis on American painting during his career at the Vose Gallery, and the gradual de-emphasis on European work. He reminisces about some Vose Gallery clients, especially Maxim Karolik, and some art dealers; he discusses a traveling exhibition he was involved in; he speaks of the gallery's relations with prominent museum personnel, such as William Reinhold Valentiner and E.P. Richardson. Vose also discusses the pitfalls of appraising art collections, his father's last years, and the firm's move, and his recent work on a dictionary of American painters. He recalls William Morris Hunt, Thomas Robinson, Leopold Seyffert, Catherine Morris Wright, Maxim Karolik, Elizabeth Paxton, Paul Sample, John Whorf, Hermann Dudley Murphy, Winslow Homer, James Fitzgerald, Arthur Healey, and many others.

Biographical/Historical Note

Seth Morton Vose (1909-2007) was an art dealer and art historian from Brookline, Massachusetts.


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.


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 is available on the Archives of American Art's website.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with S. Morton Vose, 1986 July 24-1987 April 28. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.