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Oral history interview with Stanton L. Catlin, 1989 July 1-September 14

Catlin, Stanton Loomis, 1915-1997

Museum director, Art historian


Collection Information

Size: 277 Pages, Transcript

Format: Originally recorded on 9 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 18 digital wav files. Duration is 13 hr., 38 min. Transcripts have been heavily edited by the interviewee; researchers may wish to consult the sound recordings along with the transcript.

Summary: An interview of Stanton Catlin conducted 1989 July 1-September 14, by Francis V. O'Connor, for the Archives of American Art.

Biographical/Historical Note

Stanton L. Catlin (1915-1997) was a curator, gallery director, educator, art historian, and expert on Latin American Art.


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.

Language Note

English .


The digital preservation of this interview received Federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.



FO: Francis O'Connor
SC: Stanton Catlin




FO: Let's start at the creation, Tod. When were you born?

SC: My goodness. I was born between Washington and Lincoln's birthday in 1915, actually February nineteenth, in Portland, Oregon, this outpost of New England, Protestant, WASP culture that had formed itself into a bastion of Boston and parts thereabout and remains so to this day, I gather.

FO: What would the cultural life of that region have been? You say it's an outpost of Boston?

SC: Well, I left when I was very young -- actually, I was three and a half years old, but I have had contact with Oregonians through my family and other people ever since from time to time, and it comes through very clearly to me, both by descriptions and by contact with people whom I have met, that they are about as close to a selfconsciously New England mentality, preserving the qualities of Americanized British culture, as any part of the United States. I remember, years later, that Hyatt Mayor of the Metropolitan, giving a talk at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, saying that there are three epicenters of American culture. One is New York. Another is Boston and a third is Minneapolis. I would just simply like to add Portland to this because of what I just said.

FO: What would the political complexion of that region have been?

SC: Well, it's rather liberal. People such as Erskine Scott Wood, who wrote Heavenly Discourse, as a liberal maintainer of a liberal tradition in the United States laid the foundations, I think, of a continuing liberal tradition there that was related to the pioneers and related to free thought and related to egalitarian principles. He was someone that my family knew and this, I think, has shown in Senator [Wayne] Morse, who came from there in the time of the Roosevelt Administration. My own aunt (Ruth) established the first progressive school based upon the principles of Montessori in 1915, or 1914, which I think is probably one of the reasons I was born there.

FO: Yes. You mentioned the Catlin School in Portland, Oregon. And you returned there for your early exposure to music and art history. Is that right?

SC: I didn't return there. My aunt came East when I was about to graduate boarding school, and I came into this liberal tradition at that point. But many of her friends came East also. I met them. She was closely related to some of the faculty of Mills College and poets, musicians, Robinson Jeffers, architects of my time, actually, and social life and the museum, which were closely interwoven from that sector of American society, which constituted itself, I always felt, as a very superior breed of intellectuals, and who maintained against any kind of down-running popularization of culture, this level quite jealously.

FO: Tell me about your parents.

SC: This is a complex story. My mother was from Waycross, Georgia, a descendant of a family that had emigrated from Haiti at the time of the revolution -- the eighteenth century independence revolution -- they had been a planter family in Aux Cayes and had to leave quickley by boat when the Toussaint L'Ouverture uprising took place and they made their way to Georgia, by way of the Cayman Islands, I think, and moved into the interior of Georgia, Waycross in what in my mother's time was a rail head, a small, provincial town. My father met her as a representative -- as an employee of -- a New England gas company laying pipelines or establishing that the gas industry in that frontier part of America under the aegis of one of his relatives -- Burdett Loomis, of Hartford, a man who made and lost several fortunes, according to family legend, and after whom my middle name is taken. My father was a young man who had been born in Chicago, in Evanston, and was out to make his own life and fortune, and this is the way he started. He and my mother were married and they moved very quickly to Portland, Oregon, I suppose to establish a further branch of this entrepreneurial business of Burdett Loomis and there I was born. My grandfather, who had been a member of the Board of Trade in Chicago and had left his wife -- my grandmother -- had moved out there, too, so there was another reason for my father going out there. But the third most important reason, I think, was my aunt, who had established the Catlin School, now the Catlin Gable School, who had raised and educated herself. She was a handicapped person -- an accident early in life, and had never been able to walk except with a cane, and had continuous trouble with her physical situation until the end of her days, but had been brought up after Chicago, in New York City, where she had become a close friend of the Lewisohn family, particularly the Lewisohns of -- the daughters of Leonard Lewisohn -- Alice Lewisohn who became Crowley and her sister Irene Lewisohn, who together continued the philanthropic tradition of their father and established -- were great helpers -- of the Henry Street Settlement and Lilian Wald there, and who eventually established the Neighborhood Playhouse theater program at the Henry Street Settlement and these remained lifelong friends of my aunt, particularly Alice Crowley, who herself moved after their careers in New York, to Zurich in Switzerland and became a very close follower of Dr. Jung and student of his particular school of psychoanalysis. Well, my aunt, after establishing the school in Portland -- after many years there -- retired, and moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she established her residence, but became a kind of a world traveler or a European traveler in the company of some of the foremost luminaries of the pre-World War I period, including members of the royal family, or at least -- not members of, but friends of the royal family -- the vicars and people of that generation and in close relationship to upper-class British life. She knew Sir Basil Zaharoff and other people of that stratum, long before I knew her, and of course, when she came East during the Depression, that all sort of rubbed off, poured into me. But you asked about my parents, so back to them. My father and my mother-- my father rose rather quickly in the esteem of the people in the industrial world at that time and when I was three-and-a-half years old, they moved to New Britain, Connecticut, where he was brought in as a designer and inventor and an engineer, I think, in the Landers, Frary and Clark firm, which made some of the earliest devices -- we call them -- appliance devices, such as automatic washing machines and this sort of thing. My mother never really lost her great feeling for the South, and continued the songs of that part of the country of the early twentieth century, that were very close to the popular strains of James Whitcomb Riley and -- well, Frank Lebby Stanton, actually, who was her uncle, and who became the poet columnist for the Atlantic Constitution and the poet laureate of Georgia. A long-term relationship there, and at the same time, wrote such popular tunes -- or not tunes, actually the words of what became tunes -- of the Old South and its dialect, one called "Mighty Like a Rose" and "Just Wearyin' For You," that were set to music by Ethelbert Nevin and became well known popular songs throughout the United States, but mainly attributed to Nevin, rather than the author of the verse that inspired the tunes. So she travelled from New Britain, and eventually, and afterwards, from Fairfield, Connecticut, where my father moved to be with the Bryant Electric Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and I occasionally went back with her to Waycross, Georgia and had my first kindergarten school days in the little school in Waycross, meeting the blacks of that surrounding area -- and her large, Southern family -- several daughters and one son of a very high standard of rectitude and public spirit and service that I remember quite well from those days, because her family, as they married -- her sisters moved to South Carolina and to Tennessee and to Atlanta, and I met these people -- and to Neuman, Georgia -- marrying two physicians and people of a professional standing. So, this left a strong memory in my mind, but I never was able to fulfill or follow up a continuity there, because as things were dealt, my father and my mother proved incompatible and at a very early age, when I was -- well, not too early now -- twelve years old -- they decided that they would separate and went through what was a very anguished period for everybody -- a divorce -- at a time when this was a period of great social approbrum. It was not accepted; it was looked down upon.

FO: This would have been about 1927?

SC: Exactly. Meantime, I had had my grammar school years in the suburbs of Bridgeport, Connecticut in an early suburb called Stratfield, being developed in the outer fringes of Brooklawn, the country club section of town, but went to school there -- it was a school called Lincoln School -- with some of the sons and relatives of the higher buisiness and industrial families of Bridgeport, including the Warner Corset Company. I got to know some of these very hospitable, nice people -- the sons and the parents -- who had gone to Yale, and particularly a famous football player -- well, a well- known football player at that time, on the Yale team, John Field, and Yale became for my neighborhood pals, the great focus of sport -- he became one of the eminences and centers of my attention in the sport life of my growing-up period there. We and his son, Jack, formed a baseball team and a football team, which always wore blue colors, and that sort of thing, and we were taken to Yale Bowl football games in their big car. But when my father and mother separated, my years at that school and associations at time, were severed practically, much to my distress -- despair, actually -- and the upshot was that I was sent to boarding school. It was decided that I would stay with my father, who at this time was becoming successful --my father was very popular then but could show ecsess boasting. He had a very strong ego -- but had a rather strange break with his firm in Bridgeport, where his boss, who was to have retired, stayed on -- it was the Bryant Electric Company -- and he turned to advertising and into the New York world, where he joined an advertising firm, and through that, I suppose, became enamored of a woman of New Canaan, Connecticut, who was secretary of a wealthy man who had died and my father and she decided to get married and I was assigned to my father, and my brother was assigned to my mother, so to speak. By agreement between them, which I've been told took place after some consultation with us, but which I really don't remember, he went with my mother, who returned, by way of Reno, where she was divorced, Nevada to members of her family in the south, with whom she was born and grew up and were now living in Miami.

FO: "He" is your brother?

SC: "He" is my brother -- my younger brother, Allan Burdett who was born in New Britain, Connecticut, three and a half years, approximately, separate us. As a ... of our early separation, his life and career took an absolutely diametrical turn away from mine. I was sent away to the Loomis School in Windsor, Connecticut, instead of being allowed to go to high school as the natural step on from the suburban life, where my associations and contacts were.

FO: Was that founded by another member of your family?

SC: That was founded by the Loomis family, which I was -- my father and I were descendants, and very closely related, and actually, it was put together very much by Burdette Loomis, who had been my father's family guardian and so off I went to the Loomis School, for four years, the early years of which were extremely painful, because a divorce in the family was considered an unheard of thing. I felt the effect of this very much, because one was not able to talk about this without a sense of guilt.

FO: This being the divorce?

SC: This divorce. My mother went to Reno, because it was impossible to get a divorce anywhere else at that particular time, and then she joined relatives in Miami -- my brother was very, very young at this time -- and settled there near a sister, who had married a lawyer in Miami -- his name was Paradise -- my mother got a job as a manager of an apartment house -- a year round apartment house in Miami Beach, but by this time, the Depression had struck, and the alimony that my mother was to receive from my father was cut off entirely, and even though my father had married a relatively comfortably-placed woman with a small estate in New Canaan, Connecticut -- New Canaan, at that time, being a very sleepy, far-out suburban village -- a small town village in Connecticut, which had been discovered, no doubt, by some of the really far most leaders of American finance and trade, such as Thomas Watson, and so on. They lived very, very exclusively and quietly and my stepmother -- my become stepmother -- had gone into the real estate business there, and my father, whose advertising agency folded, became an industrial photographer. He is enormously talented -- almost a wizard in matters of technology, I think, extraordinary talent and ability of invention, and invented many kinds of things. Always took his inventions and capacities beyond the point where they could be even understood by the people who might make something of them, and this was true of his photographic business. He had had an association with another family in Bridgeport, photographers and inventors, very far out in the world of radio at that time, and took on the business of using three-dimensional stereopticon photography as a means of dramatizing three-dimensional products, which he became an advertiser of and a salesman of -- through taking photographs in three-dimensional form -- through a French camera called Veriscope Richard that was really quite extraordinary -- had been developed for scientific purposes by his friends in Bridgeport, and I became his assistant after four years at the Loomis School. I was hoping to go from there to college, so I learned a good deal, and had valuable pratical experience. I learned a great deal about photography in a year of being his assistant, taking three-dimensional photographs of architecture --affluent Greenwhich houses -- and eth machine products of marine engine manufacturers in Greenwich, Connecticut, up through promotional photography, once accompanying him up to the topmost heights and in-between levels of the George Washington Bridge, when it was being constructed by this fantastic process of weaving the cables by the thread-and-needle method of rotating wheels, carrying the quarter-inch wires that became the present cables, and taking three-dimensional pictures in the top and in between the interstices between the steel girders and the elevator shafts into the bowels of where these lines were anchored -- still have those -- so, this was fascinating -- very instructive. Of course, he had his own dark room in which he developed his methods of manufacture of production of these salesman kits, which he called Hoyt-Catlin Stereophotography -- and we went out and took them and developed the kits, and gradually I developed a photographic business of my own, as a portrait painter, a portrait draftsman, let's say. By following the technique of one of his friends -- a Bridgeport photographer by the name of Haley, who did absolutely marvelous, sort of Ira Hill -- but better than Ira Hill -- photographs of prominent people in Bridgeport, but he had a son who developed a technique of taking photographs -- portrait photographs -- of well-known local people, and then converting these into drawings by projecting the negatives of the portraits onto charcoal paper and filling in the white spots, which were the white spots of the negatives, with charcoal rubed in with a snub point until theoretically it all became an even tone of black, and then you took the negative away, and there you had a portrait. But of course, it wasn't as simple as that, and he did some very fine portraits, and I emulated his method and used this as a means of work -- getting money to go to college.

FO: The stereopticon technique -- that required the traditional two images next to each other?

SC: That is correct. The distance between the two are slightly different, taken with a two-lens camera, with a small forty-five hundred and seven millimeter glass plate, which had a special loading method -- the magazine was in the camera with eight or ten plates that after exposure had to be put in a special developing tray; and then you printed them by means of a marvelous, simple triple-sided holder, that had a square the size of the individual negative image in the center -- the negative put down on one side, the emulsion side up, and then the positive on the other side, with emulsion side down, you stepped on the light meter -- you stepped on the lighting -- it was in the box, with the foot pedal, a certain number of seconds, and you shifted the two from left to right and right to left, and the other side, and then put in the developer and brought up your print, and then you put them in a viewer, and this was not the slide-trombone viewer of the old days, but this was the truly -- not reflected light, but transparency, so you saw it through a ground glass with two lenses, and you looked into an outside light and it came up, really real life, and the camera was very -- it was a fixed-focus camera, which had no adjustment to do, except two stops -- one F16 and one F8 -- and you saw these things in verisimilitude -- three dimensionally, in ways that you just couldn't believe, and of course they were fascinating to the people that he tried to sell this means of selling their products. Eventually, I adopted this for a teaching purpose of showing sculpture in classes, and my first talk for the College Art Association at East Eightieth Street was a demonstration of this technique before the College Art Association audience, who were about one hundred strong at that time -- in 1941, after I had been to Greece and taken everything that I could take.

FO: And what was the College Art Association's reaction to this technological advance?

SC: The thing that I remember most -- it was a marvelous session, having to do with visual aids, I think, in which Clarence Kennedy, who was the photographer par excellence in Renaissance photography -- Renaissance sculpture photography -- but flat and large, but absolutely magnificent, with the quality of Augustus St. Gaudens relief marble sculpture -- but the thing that I remember was an enormous burst of laughter when I said how this three dimensional method could be used, and then you used a certain solution -- a solution of -- well, you used pumice, or a certain solution to clean the glass plates afterwards, thereby you kept the plates clean. There was a guffaw of the audience laughing about how the cleanness -- or the cleanliness of the process seemed to be an important important aspect of it, but they laughed uproariously at this. It never took hold. I mean, there was some interest -- quiet interest -- but nothing further. I forget what the reason was. It had to do with something about the care with which the instructor had to handle them, and to keep the plate surface off, but this was an aside toward the end.

FO: I have the same problems with interactive laser discs today.

SC: Oh, yes. [laughter] Of course. I noticed last night, playing a couple of the compact discs -- the way they are packaged in their boxes -- there's a very clear area, where you can grip them by the ends of your fingers -- not putting your fingers on the surface.

FO: Well, that is a fascinating aspect of the history of photography. You have, I take it, a lot of this material still in your papers?

SC: I took eight hundred of them in Greece, developed them in this ship that we had -- a five-hundred ton steamer -- that we took, visiting all of the islands -- the Aegean -- twenty-one of the Aegean islands, with the great scholars of that time wondering what in the dickens I was doing with this camera developing them below water level, below sea level, below the water line of the boat. Eight hundred -- brought them back. My father developed them and printed them, because I had to go to college immediately after this trip to Greece. They were all in his attic and five years ago, the house burned down and they all were burnt up.

FO: Oh, alas.

SC: I have a dozen or so left.

FO: This is what you were doing at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens?

SC: That's right. That is one of the things that I did.

FO: Okay. Well, that is getting ahead of the story, a bit, so why don't we return to say, Middlebury College, Vermont in 1933-34, which is about where we have reached, right?

SC: Just two things I might remember of my school days. Going there the first year . . . .

FO: Which school?

SC: The Loomis School. It was the hardest thing I can remember, of that period, and by this time, my mother and father had separated and my mother was living in what I felt was a miserable apartment -- on the fringes of Bridgeport, Connecticut. There was nothing to do in the summer time after my first year at Loomis, and I had become very interested in sports, particularly in baseball, and so for something to do, I called up the hotel where the visiting teams in the Eastern Baseball League came to play the local teams -- this triple A league, at that time -- the Bridgeport Bears -- to see if I could become their bat boy, and I was very successful at this, and sometimes they said, "Meet us at the ball park" -- Newfield Park -- or, "Join us at the hotel and we will take you out in the bus." So, I spent that summer being a part-time bat boy for visiting teams in the Eastern League, and there were some incredible experiences in the course of that, that don't have much to do with art, but at Loomis, the headmistress of the school -- I should say the headmaster's wife -- was Evelyn Beatrice Longman, who is a very, very -- one of the foremost pupils of Daniel Chester French, and she left some very fine things in the school, very much in the tradition of French and Augustus St. Gaudens as memorial tablets of the elderly professors who had been there, one of whom was the -- one of the former secretaries of Auguste Rodin. His name was René Cheruy, and he was a teacher of French and his wife was a very, very intelligent and educated woman, interested in contemporary art. This is 1930 and this was, of course, the most far-out thing you could think of bringing into a New England prep school at that time, and so they couldn't say or do very much, but, in any case, I had my start, I think, putting my hands to art with the competition that Evelyn Beatrice Longman had for the freshmen in her studio. She said, "Now, take some clay and see what you can do in modeling a head." Well, I won the prize when I was fourteen years old, for a pretty miserable little thing, but in any case, this was sort of my beginning, in terms of art, although there are no art classes at Loomis at that time, and I picked this up after my aunt had arrived in New Canaan, and I began to get interested in art in a serious way. My aunt had come to help my father know how to control me and handle my education, because he was having a hard time. I was going in some wayward direction from his viewpiont.

FO: Well, we've reached about the age of fifteen to eighteen. Can we sum this up this way? What do you feel were the most important aspects of your early years here, in terms of your later interests? What two or three things stick in your mind as fundamental to the origins - the causes - of your many later interests?

SC: The key point, and it is a very well-asked question, a well-phrased question - was the arrival of my aunt. As a prep school boy, I had absolutely no interest in classical aspects of art - hadn't encountered them. The only thing that was really interesting to me was listening to the rehearsals of the organist playing classical music for the Sunday and the daily chapels and we all thought was, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if they could use this organ to play the Rhapsody in Blue. And when I came to spend that summer between school - after school - with my aunt, she opened the whole world of art, music, literature, of liberal thought, of the importance of the mind as well as the sensibilities, and I was just swept away by this. And one day, when we used to spend - I used to - much to the irritation of my father, we used to spend Sunday afternoon listening to the Philharmonic and broadcasts from Carnegie Hall. The conductor at that time was Toscanini and on occasion, Stokowski, who was just beginning to familiarize the American public to the glories of Wagner through his Philadelphia Friday afternoon concerts, and one Sunday afternoon - I think it was the Philharmonic played the Rhapsody in Blue and it was absolutely sensational. I mean, you saw all in color of that music magnified with all the voices of the orchestra, and that just did it, so far as classical music was concerned. So, every Sunday afternoon, I was at the radio with her - the old Stromberg Carlson. My father fumed because I was not out barking the apple trees and weeding the garden, you know. But that really did it. She introduced me to art books - the art book that really hit me was Thomas Craven's Men of Art, and this became sort of a perspective into the past and very much against modern art in the present. After van Gogh, that was apostasy. That inches up to things later with Alfred Barr and so on, but that was, to answer your question was - this was the real turnabout, and I've never turned away since. I mean, this is a dominant influence in my whole career. There are other influences, but this is the thing that opened up the whole pathway. And, it had rather difficult consequences. When I finally went to college the next year - it had consequences before I went to college, because I was entered in Princeton and I couldn't go that year and when I finally could go, I was given the usual Princeton honor pledge - "Would I be willing to sign the honor pledge?" - and I was entered and they would accept me if I could pay for it, but it wasn't decided whether I could pay for it, and I wrote back, under the influence of my wife, and this is at the time of the Depression - was revealing all kinds - did I say my wife?

FO: Your wife - yes.

SC: Well, there you've got something. We'll come back to it later. This is very - this is an echo of a later drama when I broke with my wife - with my aunt.

FO: With your aunt?

SC: I broke with my aunt. I broke with my wife, too. But there is a Freudian double-sense thing here, that I never expected would come out at this particular point, but I was in love with my aunt as a result of this, and because she was crippled, when I broke with her, I - this is leaping way ahead - I fell in love with somebody else who was crippled, and that was another break that really sent me into a tailspin when I was in graduate school.

FO: What happened at Princeton?

SC: Well, they sent this honor pledge for my signature, and I wrote back, because this was the age of the "merchants of death" and the chicaneries of Wall Street and liberalism was radicalism at this time, and I wrote back and I said that I think the honor pledge really should not be taken. It should be taken by people who make their great fortunes and exercise their great influence upon public life when they are dishonest about their own way of treating the underprivileged and the down-trodden and I put it to them that I couldn't sign the honor pledge unless there was some reservation as to how the honor pledge should administered. The long-term responsibility of people - successful people - to their conduct of their business lives and their ethical conduct in business lives, and I never heard from them. Now, I am reformulating this fifty years or fifty-five years after the fact, and I am not sure that this is exactly the argument that I used at that time, but it was a very socialistic argument - a basis of ethics that I applied here, and it was carried through not only in terms of ethics in business life and in political life and in diplomatic life, but in the whole issue of how peace was to be pursued in the public life on the part of public officials and in education, particularly.

FO: And this socialist tendency in your thought would have come from the political milieu you were born into?

SC: That I was being educated to at that time.

FO: Where?

SC: By my aunt.

FO: Your aunt, in other words, instilled these ideas?

SC: Definitely.

FO: I see.

SC: You asked if this socialist tendency came from the surrounding milieu - the midst I was born into, and I said that no, I was . . . End of side one, tape one Tape one, side two

SC: . . . My aunt was a liberal-minded educator who was influenced by the theories of Montessori - the founder of the Montessori society - and a devotee of the philosophy of John Dewey. She was New England-born in a New England aristocratic family, inclined through this combination of upbringing and liberal thought of that time to look to the points of view and care for the rights of the minority, both in the United States and abroad or anywhere, but she was not propagandizing any particular political philosophy. It was an open-minded, objective, somewhat romantic, but schooled in the principle of freedom of thought, and I believe to this day, and always have, a perfectly direct descendant of the concepts of Jeffersonian democracy and in no sense was she trying to convert me away from my natural instincts, but in her discussions and in her introductions to a world of ideas - thought, literature, music and so on - were - her purpose in this was to open the way to horizons that I had not known, so I could make up my own mind about them. Actually, I was, being much younger, was inclined to go the whole way and to see justice in black and white terms, and at that particular time, I was just twenty-one when I had my chance to vote, and of course I voted for Norman Thomas, but I went to hear Norman Thomas - I heard a great many speeches by Norman Thomas - but also by Roosevelt, by Hoover - and listened to a great - and heard a great deal of discussion about technocracy and Walter Lippmann, and all of this. But what I am saying is that I believe that this was really a direct and alive manifestation of what was the essentially democratic, liberal tradition, under which, by which, the Declaration of Independence was written and the United States was born, and she got this from my grandfather, William Wilkins Catlin, who was a member of the Board of Trade in Chicago, but also the founder of the Sunset Club in Chicago, which was the great liberal club of discussion with Clarence Darrow and so on, in that particular period of the late 1800s, early 1900s in Chicago.

FO: Let's backtrack just a bit to your entrance into Middlebury College of Vermont. Your first year was 1933-34, right?

SC: Yes.

FO: When you were eighteen to nineteen, and I take it from your notes here, you were also a painter on the Public Works of Art Project, which was the first of the New Deal's art programs.

SC: Correct.

FO: How did that happen?

SC: We had, in our family discussions, particularly those having to do with art, we were very interested in the cultural aspects and perspectives of Franklin Roosevelt, and by the time I was able to go to college, the WPA - or the early forerunners of WPA . . . .

FO: The Public Works of Art Project would have been operating exactly at that time.

SC: Exactly at that time.

FO: December of '33 through the Spring of '34.

SC: That is right. And I, through the vicissitudes of early campus life at Middlebury College, I fell into companionship with a nearby neighbor, a freshman colleague in my dormitory, who was primarily interested in going into the field of botany, but was a pastel painter, and we simply decided to paint together - to go out and do landscapes together and talk about them and look at books with pictures of landscapes in them. He was primarily interested in landscape. And so it happened, there was an announcement - I suppose someday, at one point, early in the Spring of 1934, that the PWAP was offering jobs - offering opportunities - for painters to work for pay.

FO: This was not the WPA you are talking about.

SC: By that time.

FO: No, it wasn't. It couldn't have been in that term. The WPA started in 1935.

SC: Yes.

FO: We are talking about the Public Words of Art Project. [FO states that Catlin is not listed in the Final PWAP report. Could this have been early WPA or the interim program?]

SC: Right.

FO: Which would have had state ramifications and . . . .

SC: Yes. I was worried about that.

FO: You were not on the WPA at this time.

SC: What should I call that?

FO: Public Works of Art Project.

SC: Well, that's what it was, undoubtedly, and we were told to go out and spend some time in front of paper with pastels and bring them in and we'd be paid for our time and I have no recollection of where the office was or who was in charge or what the system was upon which it was based. But we did this and we formed a very firm friendship.

FO: What was your friend's name?

SC: Robert Zuck of Rochester, [According to FO, not listed as being on the PWAP either] whose brother was a physician and photographer, and he was my only friend at a time when, because of my liberal ideas, I was considered almost the enfant terrible of the campus. I was mild in manner, but I wore a defensive green shirt, which was the symbol of an international peace organization called the Green International, which I had read about or picked up through some advertisements in a New York paper, and had acquired this shirt and wore it wherever I went - while I was waiting on tables and . . . .

FO: Was this the forerunner of the Greens in Europe today?

SC: Who knows. That's a long way back. [laughter] I think it disappeared somewhat before the Green Organization in Europe, but maybe it has some connection. In any case, I was put on the carpet - I was called on the carpet. First of all, I had refused to be considered for a fraternity membership at Middlebury whose trustee and President of the Board was Albert Wiggin, one of the key Wall Street financiers, who was involved in the crash and Thomas Lamont, and so on. These were not the people whom I thought should be directing the principles of university education in the United States of America, and so I let my feelings be known about this - not overtly, but - and wore the green shirt and refused to be inducted to a fraternity when they had made their rushes within a month after arriving in college. The whole thing was so related to the strictest form of church observance of the Protestant-Methodist principles. I think it was Methodist. Dwight Moody - a son or descendant of one of the great preachers of Methodism in the United States was President, and the discipline was absolutely airtight, iron-clad. And my form of liberalism was not particularly welcome, and the result was I was called on the carpet - visited one night by the secret supervisory society, undoubtedly with the blessings of the administration, called the Blue Key, whose members were not publicly known in the campus, and my room was entered one night at three o'clock in the morning, and I was hauled out of bed, and I was sat down in a chair in the middle of the floor with lights turned on, and they cut my hair with a clippers, so that it looked like a rabbit's nest of pathways up and down and sideways. I mean, they cut it right to the skin in all directions, so I looked like an Iroquois Indian, you know, without the proper form. I had to wait tables the next day. So, I waited on the tables; I made nothing of it. I simply waited on tables and let them howl, and they didn't howl, they gaped, and the result was that I achieved a great deal of admiration on the part of my fellow classmates and others for just carrying it off, but I did not carry it off to the Blue Key Society, who called me up another night to face a cross-examination in a large, empty club room with all of the lights turned off, except on me, and was grilled on my attitude of free thought and free conduct, and particularly for my resistance to and my flaunting the code of the fraternities of the campus to be well dressed with coat and tie at all times, and I remember, "What do you think constitutes a gentleman?" was their question, and I said, "A gentleman does not depend upon the way he is dressed or the way he looks. It depends on fine feeling." Some questions and more, and I was dismissed and nothing further was done. Afterwards, one of those members said, "I really felt for you that evening. I'm glad to hear what you said," But that was done very sotto voce also, and the result was that I wasn't bothered any more, but I did have my revenge, in a sense, because I joined the Liberal Club, which was a quietly furtive organization, which invited - received - a membership of a few bold students, to talk about public issues openly. The head of that club was a rather quiet but firm-voiced and determined young man by the name of Caston Galius, and I proposed that we bring Norman Thomas to the campus and he favored this idea, and I was told to go about it, and that spring I wrote to Norman Thomas and he came and he gave a thumping good speech in the chapel, which was absolutely filled - seven or eight hundred students came and filled that campus - and Norman Thomas just broke the ice, you might say, and answered questions afterwards and one of the questions I asked myself was something that he smiled at, you know, knowing that it was not a question - it was going to do a great favor among the people who were there, particularly the local employers, and some of the local businessmen had come and they were doing things over hours and under pay and this sort of thing, and I brought that up and he answered it straightforwardly, but I think I was a further marked man because of that, but at the end of the year, when my friend Bob and I decided we would transfer because they did not have fine arts and we wanted to go in the history of art to Yale or Oberlin. I was asked by one of the fraternity members that, "We would like very much to have you as one of our members, even though you had turned us down before." Well, I said, "Think you very much, but we are leaving." So, we left. Well, Middlebury has changed upside down since that time. It was interesting.

FO: I'd like to ask a question at this point, that is a little broader than . . . .

SC: Sorry to carry it too far.

FO: No, no, no. It is absolutely fascinating, but this whole tradition of secret societies. Now, granted, school systems always had fraternity systems built into them up until very recently, but to what extent in these years did you encounter secret societies in the general culture? For instance, was your father a Freemason, which would have been the mode of operation for a businessman in this early period in the century. Did any of that touch your family?

SC: Not a particle. My father - if he had been a member of - had any connection with Freemasonry, it never was indicated in the slightest way, and I'm absolutely convinced that he had not. I never knew my grandfather, and I don't really know about him. My father was strictly a businessman. He wanted to become a great success. He, to this day, says, "I'm a very superior," - he's ninety-six now - "very superior person. And all of the people in this rest home," - it's not a rest home, really. It's an elderly persons home, so they are just old fogies, but he was always open to discussion and even persuasion privately, and he adored my aunt. Therein hangs a real lifelong problem, because I got in the way between him and my aunt and it lasted until this day. He never forgave me. But when it came to showing the NRA sign on his car and my aunt was all for getting the country going, and Roosevelt was doing the right thing. Put the NRA - High Johnson's NRA sign - "Industry is for Recovery" - and this sort of thing, this man hated it. He wouldn't show it. And when he was in between these two things, it was always the business side that came out on top. But as far as secret societies concerned, [pauses] that's something that no glimmer of - even on my aunt's side, and I've not understood this whole business of masonry until you said something the other day about it and brought back certain things that I had heard, not in my family, but in the embassy in South America - years later.

FO: Well, Freemasonry was a very powerful movement all over the world at the turn of the century, and in general, you couldn't get very far in business unless you were a mason and could communicate on that level of bonding with other businessmen.

SC: The fez-wearing . . . .

FO: Well, that's part of it. The people who wear fezzes are just one of the more conspicuous branches, like the Shriners today. But back around 1900, there were very secret lodges of Scottish Rite masons, and other rites in this country. I found a number of our muralists and architects of that period were connected with these groups, and they were far more prominent in the business world, where there was a network of masons all over the world that provided a certain amount of connections - business colleagues, support, wherever you went.

SC: More than the eighteenth century?

FO: Oh, yes. I would think so. Freemasonry as we understand it today, began in the eighteenth century, but it really reached it's height in the late nineteenth century. It's a long and complicated history in this country, but I am just curious because these fraternities in universities and colleges are reflective of this whole culture of . . . .

SC: Skull and Bones?

FO: Yes. This whole culture of secret societies to which most of the prominent people in the country - many of our presidents - belonged. So, to go on to Oberlin College - 1934-37, when you were between nineteen and twenty-two.

SC: Fine.

FO: I take it that was something of a change from your misadventures at Middlebury.

SC: We were hoping so. Both Bob and I were, and I guess we both wanted to go to Yale first, and I applied and was interviewed by the director of admissions, who was so utterly disinterested and bad-mannered, that if I had gotten into Yale, I don't know whether I would have accepted it, but it was a disagreeable experience - nothing but a desire not to have - to be bothered with this sort of an application. So I put my hopes into Oberlin. Oberlin had just been honored - written up in Time Magazine for having been - it was their one-hundredth anniversary of admitting blacks, and I think the one hundred and first for having admitted women. Let's see, it was the first college in the United States to admit women, and the first college to - I guess the second college to admit blacks - no, I think it was the first, but it was a year after the women. And we both liked this, being of a liberal turn of mind, so applied, and despite the objections of my prep school headmaster, who believed that people should not change horses in midstream, typically, we got in, and went out there in the fall of 1934 and the atmosphere was completely different. Middle Western, flat plains college with beautiful trees, and sort of an openness and a freedom of a kind that was not typical of the New England environment, and they did have the history of art - a wonderful art museum, built by Cass Gilbert, little Renaissance Polazzo, and we immediately felt at home. We lived in the same dormitory - a very good new dormitory with telephones in the room, compared to the granite stone face of the surroundings in Middlebury, and I immediately also began my activities as a liberal, free-thinking, radical student, and by my third year, last year, I had become president of the Cosmopolitan Club, the International Club, the president of the Progressive Union and the president of the American Student Union, but the first issue that really came up, and I was very much along those lines - the reformist lines of activity - was a problem in the Carnegie Library. The lighting was so bad it was impossible to study after hours, and one evening one of the elder students - this is my first year - stretched and grabbed two of the stands of the lights on the table and received a tremendous shock, so that he got up and almost pulled the light sockets out of their moorings. Now, I don't know how much of this sort of general activity I should go into an account of this kind, but my father, by this time, had switched from photography into lighting and this made me particularly sensitive to the idea of lighting. He was selling a thing called the "sight light," and we're all into questions of foot candles and how much were needed to read without destroying your eyes and this sort of thing, and he had invented a light, which had been taken up by the Sight Light Corporation, of which he was the inventor for - I don't think, a partner, but it was a light that had two rings of deflection of the light, so that you could see without it burning your eyes, and it had plenty of illumination for your book, and this was designed in an art nouveau form with the decorations leading down to the platform where it was. It was really quite handsome. So I was filled with this lore of proper conditions for lighting and so I started a campaign and revising the lighting of the Carnegie Library and wrote three consecutive articles for the Oberlin Review, which created quite a stir, and because they were really caught, they had to do something about it, and by the end of the year the trustees had met and decided to revise the whole lighting system and on one occasion I couldn't get to class, and one of my really top professors - Frederick Binkerd Artz who was the great authority on the Restoration in France - in the architecture of that period, says "Where's Catlin? Isn't there enough light in this room today?" [laughter] So it got around, and by the end of the year, the trustees had voted funds to redo the lighting of Carnegie Library, but the rub was my father was incensed that I hadn't sold them Sightlights. Can you imagine?

FO: Well, that would have been a conflict of interest, now wouldn't it? [laughter]

SC: These fine points of liberal thoughts had never gotten into his metabolism, and he really held this against me, but he was a great iconoclast. He would embarrass me in any number of different ways - this way - and he'd come into Oberlin in his salesman car, bringing a bottle of wine to entertain my roommate and - absolutely, strictly off limits. He could have been fired for this, but anyhow, we got the library lighting done, and I went on to my studies and by my senior year, I was notorious enough to have been nominated by - one of the things that Oberlin had was this marvelous institution called "Mock Convention." In 1937 was the year that Roosevelt went up for his third, I think, nomination his third election to office. '32, '36,'38 - no - '32, '36, '40.

FO: Well, '32 is the first quarter - that would be '36 was the second term - to '38. So, 1937 is around the time - you're right.

SC: The third term was up. They were having their convention.

FO: The second term was up, and he was trying to get a third term.

SC: Well, Oberlin had this wonderful institution called Mock Convention, and they went through the whole business of nominations and party divisions and - no matter whom you were for, they carried through this charade that was enormously instructive and interesting and got you into the issues, and I remember that Wynant, the Governor of Vermont or New Hampshire was one of the real candidates - I was for him when the convention really got - one of them delegates to him - and our slogan was "Eventually Wynant Now." [laughter] We would have parades - the "veterans of future wars" - and I kind of led the "veterans of future wars" - I wore a World War I helmet and the old regalia of Sam Browne belt, and I remember my puttees began to unwind during the course of the parade and I had to keep taking them up. [laughter] So, it was a lot of fun. Speeches and everything. Unfortunately, before the tent was up and we had the actual nomination convention, we had to nominate someone not of our choice, and I had to nominate Herbert Hoover. [laughter] But a great time was had by all, and I don't know how we got into that, but in any case, that was part of the political antics, and part of the political scene of Oberlin. But by then, I had decided by the next year, I had decided that the issue of war hovering on the horizon and the whole issue over Merchants of Death and banish war and Hitler and Mussolini - something had to be done. So I resigned in my last year, all of my offices in all but the American Student Union, which was the great, national student movement at that time, and there were issues in that final year that did not reach the stage of violence that they did at Columbia University and Harvard and Princeton - not Princeton, but everywhere - Yale and so on. The Chicago Convention - that did not take place. It was nothing of that sort, but there was a tremendous amount of activity on the student front to get the liberal points of view pushed into the public eye to the extent that the National Youth Act would be passed and scholarships and all of this sort of thing - so one of the things that the American Student Union did was to organize a march on Washington and I was a member of that and we all got on our caps and gowns and made a march around the White House - a long, long queu of students thousands of students marching around the White House while Joseph Lash and James Wechler, - Jimmy Wechler - who is the head of the American - of the Young Communist League, who was side by side - Lash was American Student Union and there was a front populaire between these two particular groups - with the Young Communist League doing everything they could to bore in and get the ASU people to join the Young Communist League and there was that and - anyhow, we were all marching around the White House and Lash and Wexler couldn't get in to see the President - were told to wait. So this parade was going around the White House, all the way on the South lawn, and they couldn't wait, so the word went out, "Sit down." And the Hearst newspapers came in with their cameras and their reporters and their Movietone News and all the rest of it and the headlines streamed out over the country, "Sit-down strike at the White House." [laughter] Anyhow, I think they got in and the procession moved on, and we went to wherever we were staying and that was sort of a high point. But I remember the President of Oberlin College - Ernest Hatch Wilkins - was a fine Dante scholar. I was sort of an unusual type to be doing this kind of thing at Oberlin at that time, and he was a dignified gentleman. Rather constrained in the way he talked. He was very careful about the words that he used. He called me in and said, "Mr. Catlin, you shouldn't let these radical Easterners take over the Oberlin campus." [laughter] He did everything he could to persuade me not to go on this trip to Washington, and I said I just couldn't drop it. So they accepted it, and off we went. But we really were - I had a group there that was able to organize that campus as it had never been organized before on public issues and one of the last - the Vice President was a very good friend - Bob Zuck took no part of this. We were roommates, but he was a scholar and he just was not going to get involved in this sort of thing. One of my friends was - Bob Wachron - was so moved by the Spanish War that he decided he was going to join the Lincoln Brigade and he did everything he could to get me to join - in a mild sort of way - and I wouldn't do it, but he went off and he was killed. He was killed at Belchite [inaudible]. By this time, we had graduated - 1937 - and I had gotten my degree in one of the best training periods that I think that I've ever had - to this museum, but the key point here that relates to other things of a family nature, was that my aunt, who saw me off to Middlebury - actually lent the money to send me there - and to Oberlin to my father - she was independent - had formed an attachment of her own, apparently, to me, that she followed me to Oberlin. Not to Middlebury, but when I went off to Middlebury, she, following her own liberal and activist credo, went to Monteagle, Tennessee, to join the staff of the Highlander Folk School, which was one of the religious organizations of the Union Theological Seminary students and faculty, who were so exercised by the sharecropper oppression that they formed groups and this particular group - at the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tennessee, to train union organizers to go into the cotton - and other factories down there - to organize them so that they could get out from under - the absolute slave conditions that they lived under this antediluvial colonial world that they were in - still goes on in places down there. The Purdue Chicken factories are just about as bad as anything ever was, I hear. [laughter]

FO: This was while you were at Middlebury.

SC: This was while I was at Middlebury.

FO: Then she came to live near you in Oberlin?

SC: And then - I went down with my brother. My brother had come back from Florida to spend the summer with my father while he and his wife and my stepmother were building a new house in New Canaan. The other house was too big and they were building a new house, and they had managed to put things together where they could build a fairly nice house in another part of New Canaan, and I came down from Middlebury. My brother came up, who was not yet out of high school, and joined us to spend the summer, to help them build their house in New Canaan. And this is interesting. My brother took after my mother's family and grew up into a tall stringbean. She had had a terrible time - had to work in department stores during the Christmas season, lived from hand to mouth for the whole period of Depression, up to that time without a penny from my father, and I was - well I am - I look very much like my father - the genes just went in these separate directions, and my father, because he wanted me to be a follower of him in the business - to be his ally in developing his business career, and become a businessman myself and wanting me to go to Harvard Business School or Amos Tuck at Dartmouth, pushed me in that direction and my aunt couldn't make up her mind and didn't try to push me away from this, but did foot the bill so that I could go to college. Father never gave up on this, and when it came to my brother, who was brought up with kids his own age and was young enough to really establish a neighborhood and friends down there, and with my mother - being brought up by a mother is probably very different from being brought up by a father in these circumstances - he grew up to be a water man - they did adventurous things by developing water men, I say, diving - deep sea diving. He didn't become a deep sea diver. They just sort of manufactured helmets and went under the water down there with his pals. He experimented in the aquatic life of the Florida Keys and this sort of thing, and wanted to go in the Navy. The terrible thing that happened and has never been forgotten, actually, was that he wanted to go in the Navy and in order to get the appointment, he had to take an examination given by the congressman of that district, and my brother felt that he needed to have a schooling - he needed to have a special course - to train - to study - to get the best chances - to get that appointment, and my father refused to give him the money, saying that he had borrowed - no, he didn't say that he borrowed the money, but he had to use the money to send me to college, and he could not give the money to him. My brother never forgot this, and my father didn't have the money, so he got it from my aunt and he put that priority - of paying back my aunt - between himself and my brother, and my brother had to go into the examination without that preparation. Well, my brother came in second and he didn't get the appointment, so he joined the Navy.

FO: Now, wait a minute. The exam was to get into the Navy?

SC: To get in Annapolis. I'm sorry.

FO: Oh, Annapolis.

SC: Annapolis. What am I saying? The appointment to Annapolis was made by the congressman. But he gave an examination in order to award it. And he gave it and my brother came in second and he didn't make it, so he joined the Navy. After a year, to jump ahead a little bit, he made it. He got in through a naval examination as a job.

FO: Into Annapolis?

SC: Into Annapolis. He got to Annapolis, he found out - he met the guy who had won the appointment by taking the examination - who was in the Navy - or was in the Navy on some assignment where they did meet, and he said he never took the exam. So the congressman gave the examination under false pretenses. My father was absolutely livid, and I don't think he wrote a letter or did anything about it, because my brother said, "for heaven's sake, I'm in." But, in any case, my brother got into Annapolis after those particular circumstances, but the cleavage between the two of us never developed into - I mean the problem there, never developed into a cleavage, because we are on perfectly good terms, but there are lingering - in any case, what happened after that was my aunt came from Monteagle, Tennessee, and took an apartment in Oberlin College and stayed there, having a kind of informal salon in her apartment for two years - actually, pretty much three years - where I brought my friends and members of the library staff who were friends of ours and some others, and she was a very charming person and really just was a center of great interest on the part of lots and lots of people wherever she went. But, this was gradually weaving a relationship . . . . End of side two, tape one Tape 2, side 1, July 19, 1989

FO: Why don't we backtrack and talk a bit about what it was like to be a student of art history at Oberlin. You were mentioning Professor Clarence Ward.

SC: Clarence Ward was a Princeton art history graduate. I wasn't thinking so much about degrees in those days, but he was the head of the department that had its headquarters in this delightful Cass Gilbert building that was shaped like a quattrocento Florentine palace. Four sides with a courtyard, with the proportions of a Brunelleschi ospedale in Florence; it had a strong Renaissance feel, both in its organization and in its plan, and in its color and in its decor - tondos remindful of Della Robia ceramic sculpture, and polished brick floors and a little connecting patio to a practical art department that was separate, but was united, also, theoretically, with the overall Department of Fine Arts under Clarence Ward's direction. Clarence Ward was what one might call a benign tyrant. He was most articulate, most assured of the way he was teaching and the program that he was directing his students, undergraduate students, in which was basically the so-called classical method of art history, as I call it, of the between the wars period; the infancy, more or less, of art history in the United States. He was a trained, expert specialist in Gothic and Romanesque architecture of Europe, of which he was probably the leading, and may still be, the outstanding photographer-documentarist of every nook and cranny and constructural detail of the evolution of Gothic architecture. And yet he was a universalist as an art historian in Western art history in a humanistic sense, in that he supervised a department that did everything from Egypt, into his own field of contemporary architecture, then still contemporary, modern architecture, which had not at that time graduated beyond the eclecticism of McKim, Mead and White.

FO: You mentioned that Professor Ward invented his own primitive carrousel projector. How did that work?

SC: It was basically a carrousel system, operating without the refinements of the Kodak machinery that we use today, except that it was much larger. It was the size - there was a turntable with frames for each three and a quarter by four slide. It could be swiveled up and the slide inserted or taken out, and went down to its position in front of the lens . . . .

FO: We're talking about glass plate?

SC: Glass plate slides. Exactly. There must have been room for fifty or seventy-five. Almost as many as we get today, and this was connected to a long electrical cord, which he could pull out of his classroom dais at the front of the main classroom there. It would pull out, spring back, and knock the cords all over the place, as they do today, and he would simply drive through an hour or fifteen minutes of discussion, beautifully illustrated, of the evolution of Gothic vaulting from Caen to Rouen, and it worked marvelously and he had mastered it, so his lectures were very stimulating and without hitches. Unfortunately, he had this mechanical apparatus up-to-date to the point where it had to be applied to every nook and cranny of the art history department and in the main auditorium there, he had a lectern that had about ten buttons - five on one side and five on the other - and it absolutely drove visiting lecturers crazy. They just didn't know how to operate it, but he was able to explain it and if you really understood it, it was as good as anything that we have today.

FO: Was his own church Gothic? You said he was a minister.

SC: No. It was New England. Clapboard white church with a small steeple. I did go there, I think, one service in the three years, but never really attended. But this was his extra-curricular activity, or second professional activity. He was, I think, an ordained minister in a church. I suppose a Congregationalist lineage, but very independent in his own interpretation of the Christian/Protestant creed, and this was an activity that he performed regularly every Sunday for all the Sundays of his life since he came to Oberlin, until he died somewhere in his mid or late eighties, so he was very well respected by the campus as a whole. He was most welcome as a speaker, because he always gave good talks and little notes, and he didn't have to read word-for-word and he was known, also, for the hospitality of the art department outside of the art department itself. I remember one of my first impressions at Oberlin was being told, "Oh, you are going to study fine arts. That's one of the nicest places on the campus." Everybody sort of felt at home there, yet it did have this welcoming and gracious, but not self-consciously gracious atmosphere that I guess everyone was pretty proud of - faculty and students and so on, and how it came this way, I suppose was simply primarily because of his style, and I think it was a true reflection of the arts in Princeton.

FO: Did he preside over the building of the Cass Gilbert museum and department?

SC: I don't think so. I think that was before he came and I wish I could say who the real originator of that tradition at Oberlin was, but it is a tradition that struck permanent roots, that have lasted a century now, and it's certainty, one of the foremost university or college art museums - art history-teaching scholarly institutions - in the country at the university level. It was probably started sometime in the late 1800s, because Oberlin was founded around 1832-'33, when it was the first college to admit women and the second college to admit blacks, and was on the escape route for blacks during the years before the Civil War. My present hometown is, at the moment, Fayetteville, New York, which one branch is on that escape railroad - Cranston Railroad, which sent people into Canada and was a way station, but Oberlin was sort of the leader at that time. Ever since it had been known for its' liberal perspectives and studies, always progressive, always up-to-date, in terms of contemporary issues, but become somewhat comfortable and establishmentarian in view of the fact that it made a lot of money in the late 1800s, having invented the commercial process for producing aluminum and they inherited a great deal of that, but they never lost their sense of progressiveness and interest in the affairs of the world.

FO: You mentioned a Professor Lord, who was in the Classics Department.

SC: Yes. The head of the Classics Department, which is classical literature - Greek and Roman - I believe Roman - was headed by Louis N. Lord, who was on the faculty - as a summer faculty member - of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, and practically every summer when I was there, he led a group of students on a summer tour of the sites of ancient Greece - the culture of ancient Greeks - by touring through the Peloponnesus and the mainland, and then going to the islands in the Aegean, or the Dodecanese, and I was fortunate enough, as a result of my aunt's interest in my education, was able to go to Greece on the summer of 1936 tour, which was a revelation, one might say, almost a coming of age, in terms of my own perspectives in terms of history. An experience that because of the people who were in that company, including - well, on the trip to the Aegean islands we visited twenty-one islands on a five-hundred ton small Greek steamer, starting out in Piraeus to Aegina and Andros and then on to Crete and then all the way up to Troy and Samothrace and back again - twenty-one islands on a trip that was - members of the company were Edith Hall Dohan of Bryn Mawr and Mary Swindler, the foremost authority on Greek painting at that time, Gisela M.A. Richter of the Metropolitan Museum, Gorham Phillips Stevens had just been retired as Director of the American Academy in Rome - and it was dazzling to climb these rugged, small island trails into the major sights of Delos and then Arthur Evans' reconstruction of Crete and around we went, over a three-week period, and arrived back in Athens just as Mussolini's airplane was flying over from Italy to Spain, announcing, actually showing that a Civil War was about to begin.

FO: You were making photographs with your father's camera, were you not?

SC: I was lent my father's stereopticon camera, which we talked about, I think, before. It was a stereopticon camera, with two lenses and two simultaneous exposures - a very compact, little camera that one wore sort of as a World War I knapsack on the front of one. I took some eight-hundred photographs of sights and individual sculptures and details from Athens, to Mount Athos and Delphi and throughout the Peloponnesus, and most of them turned out very, very well. I was hoping to use these as a teaching method, eventually in art history courses. Once they were developed and a method could be found to use them in class, and I don't know whether I mentioned the fact that I presented this idea with some examples - quite a few examples, actually - at the College Art Association Convention. I had mentioned that. So, that remained a long-term approach of mine. Also, I wanted to publish some of these photographs, because the quality of this particular camera was extraordinary. I suppose if it would fit into the perspective of soft focus photography at the time of the turn of the century, and the photographs that were made famous by the photo sesession gallery on 25 Fifth Avenue - what was his name? Georgia O'Keeffe's husband - Alfred Stieglitz. The soft-focus photography at that time, so far as I have known it, seemed to be partial in ways to that kind of misty feeling. Well, this particular camera had sort of a built-in quality, because of its size. Each one of its images was only forty-five millimeters [45 x 107 mm] square, and it had a way of turning a view a very naturalistic view of a scene, long-range or up close, into a kind of a soft ground etching, without losing its quality as a document and really beautiful, I thought. I prefer them to the kind of sharp-focus things that Walker Evans and Ansel Adams have done with nature since. But, unfortunately, I never got to it. Some of the people on that trip acquired them for their classes bought them, actually, but in any case, they were all burned up in my father's house fire, about five years ago in New Canaan.

FO: What did you do when you graduated with your B.A. in the history of art from Oberlin? That would have been 1937, when you were twenty-two years old.

SC: I had, in pursuit of art historical studies, I wanted basically to be a museum person and this came about as a result of my aunt's interest in education and the importance of [phone interruption] . . . .

FO: We were talking about Oberlin and what you were doing after Oberlin.

SC: Right. Well, I took the art historical studies in fine arts, as we called them in Oberlin, as a foundation or a preparation for a career in art museums. I don't know whether I mentioned this before, but my aunt did want and encouraged this, and she was wondering how one should prepare after Oberlin whether one should go into graduate studies or whether one should, as was generally thought to be the way to become a museum curator or director, at that time, was to go the Fogg at Harvard, and so she, through some connections, met Francis Henry Taylor, who was at that time director of the Worcester Art Museum. Did I mention this before?

FO: No.

SC: Taylor was a friend of Irene Lewisohn, and I think it happened that way, and at dinner one evening, she [my aunt] said, "Well, I have this nephew at Oberlin College. If you wanted to go into a museum become a museum person a museum director, eventually what would you advise him to do? Should he go to Harvard or should he barnstorm travel? And what did you do?" And Taylor said, "I barnstormed. I didn't go to Harvard." "How in the world did you get to be director of the Worcester Museum?" He said, "Well, I was barnstorming, and one day I found myself in Rome and met Paul Sachs, who was Director of the Fogg Museum program, at that time, the one that was really making the museum directors around the country." Taylor said, "Well, I met Sachs and Sachs likes to walk and I like to walk, and Sachs likes to talk and I like to talk and Sachs is fat and I'm fat, so here I am." This was his answer to that question. That is not apocryphal. That is absolutely the truth. I think this was preceded by some letters that I began to write to people, including a long one I wrote to Taylor, whose work I had heard about and personality as a director I had heard about, seemed sympathetic, and he read it and answered me very cordially and said he'd be very glad to advise me. I was also advised by the director of the Springfield, Massachusetts Museum, at that time, Josiah P. Marvel, who was a friend of Irene Lewisohn's, and I went up to Springfield and for the first time I met a living museum director, and spent an afternoon with him and I remember vividly sitting down with him dressed in a rather jaunty dressing gown in his study, and putting on "Love for Three Oranges" on a phonograph record, which is my first experience with twentieth century music, actually. Well, he wrote a nice letter back saying that I seemed quite intelligent, not discouraging my ambition, and so I set my hat for that. So when I graduated from Oberlin, I really wanted to go to Paris to study the history of art there, in the Sorbonne, or one of the places that they had to teach museum discipline at that time, but I was too late to get a scholarship to pass through the Institute of International Education, but they said, "We have something open in Prague. You are supposed to be of Czech background." I said, "Well, I'm afraid I'm not," But a wonderful woman there said she would look into it. A woman by the name of Emily Donick, in charge of their international programs, and it turned out, in the long run, that they made that opening available to me. That summer, I went to Prague, via London and Paris with letters from [?] Berr and Lewis Mumford. But it's a little more interesting than that. Actually, when I was in Oberlin, my next-door neighbor in the same corridor in Noah Hall, where I was, was the son of the head of the political science department at Oberlin, was really a distinguished scholar and person in the post-World War I history of Europe. His name was Oscar Jaszi, a Hungarian exile, who had become the minister of minorities in the Karolyi Democratic government, following Versailles, and he was ousted, as his government was ousted by Communist revolution in 1921, I think, of Bela Kuhn and he came to the United States, settled in Oberlin. His younger son, Andrew, went to Oberlin, became a friend, and Andrew went back every summer to Czechoslovakia, where his mother's family had an estate. Actually, they were Hungarian and it had previously been in Hungarian territory, and it was in a small village on a tributary of the Danube the Ondava River and a very tiny village called Nivne-Hrvsov and I was invited on my way to Czechoslovakia to spend the summer with them, and this was three hundred and fifty miles east of Prague, so I went to Prague by way of Paris and the Low Countries, and Berlin, and eventually wound up in this absolutely wonderful place, where a salon a whole summer salon was conducted by Andrew's mother a well-known Hungarian writer and artist, named Anna Lesznai, who had people from Vienna and Hungary come there poets and writers and especially artists, from Central Europe. There was never a day in the dining hall where we had fewer than eight people, and usually it was close to twelve to fifteen people, and every afternoon we went out and painted. She and I and some of the other painters, and her close friend and lover was a young Viennese artist from whom I learned an oil painting technique and how to stretch canvases and all the mechanics of oil painting. At the same time, learned a tremendous amount about European points of view and the study of art history, and came in contact with the work of Max Dvorvak and the philosophy of G.K. Chesterton, and many, many other things that I never would possibly have gotten into if I had simply gone to London or Paris or stayed in the United States. I went back there spent the whole summer before going to Prague, and changed my orientation to becoming a painter.

FO: Now, your only mention of making art was those watercolors or pastels early on.

SC: Those portrait flat pastels and the prize that I had taken the so-called prize I had taken in the studio of Evelyn Beatrice Longman at the Loomis School.

FO: Yes. But you had no formal training since then?

SC: No.

FO: You didn't study studio art at Oberlin?

SC: Not at all. Only in New Canaan, as part of my work as a portraitist this photographic technique. I went to drawing classes in the Silvermine Art Guild. Silvermine, Connecticut became quite famous as a place where artists lived in the New York commercial field and comic strip field, but they did happen to have a good life class there, under Tony Balcomb and I went to these very often on Monday evenings.

FO: But to get back to Czechoslovakia, what was the general stylistic tenor of what these artists were doing? Was this a nest of modernists or traditionalists or what?

SC: This was a widely roving, but basically Post-impressionist group of artists, going beyond that to some extent, but not into non-objective art. The Hungarian school between the wars was very closely allied to what was happening in Paris, in the Salon des Independants and Segonzac type of landscape, Utrillo, but not into the kind of radical abstraction that would be practiced by Braque. The favorite of Tibor Gergely, who was the person who taught me most about oil painting, was Bonnard, and this got into me the deal, at that time. So, starting out almost by instinct and by the sense of a rather remote sense of what was modern that I had picked up at Oberlin, which wasn't very modern. I suppose it was no more modern than Art Nouveau.

FO: You mentioned Gilbert K. Chesterton. That's a strange name to conjure from the midst of Czechoslovakia. How did that happen?

SC: I thought so, too, because I had barely heard of him, but I was very inclined toward socialist thinking in politics the Fabian socialist of Great Britain Norman Thomas and George Bernard Shaw in our English approach to these things, and I admired Shaw, and told Anna Lesznai, who became another aunt, in effect. Mali Nene, I called her, and we really had a rapport, and she took me under her wing as one of the closest friends of her favorite baby son, Andrew Jaszi, and so I became almost one of her brood, and she said, "Oh, Shaw is so much so much less of a profound thinker than G.K. Chesterton." She recommended a book called Orthodoxy, which was about as down-to-earth I mean, down to the foundations of Chesterton in thinking and religious thinking, I think, that one could find. I took to that, and I have never forgotten what he wrote and his whole outlook his whole universalist perspective, with regard to religion as a whole. I remember one thing that he said. In retort to Shaw, who was a vegetarian, he said, "Shaw will eat plants who can't even cry out as an animal." [laughter] So, anyhow, it was an enormously rich and interesting period. This whole society was non-orthodox, assimilative Jewish intelligentsia. The aristocratic Jewish tradition in Hungary, which was quite a broad tradition and society, following the incorporation of Hungary into the Austro-Hungarian empire.

FO: These are Hungarians living in exile in Czechoslovakia, then?

SC: No. They were still living in old Hungary, but they continued their summer residence their property was held by it had been cut down enormously from the vast estate that it was, to a rather vast estate, still, and you could look to the hills in the background a wonderful pine park and gardens, but it was limited now, to an enclave within the democratic Slovakian part of Czechoslovakia - but they were still the leading family and the lords of the village manor in a peasant society, where they grew flax and tended cattle. But the folk traditions of Hapsburg Imperial Slovakia, eastern Slovakia at that time were still very much alive.

FO: Did they survive the war?

SC: I've never been back and I don't know. I doubt very much that much of it has survived, because of the Soviet policy of erasing all of these nationalistic tendencies, as they did in the Ukraine. The whole Soviet philosophy under Lenin was to eradicate the national differences. It was the difference between the totalitarian view of the new worker's world a revolutionary society, which made a unity out of workers and destroyed national values.

FO: Yes. Well, I was thinking more in terms of the Nazis. The Jewish culture there, did they survive that?

SC: Only one that I remember survived in the group that I knew. A young woman, who was a very close friend of the family, survived the war, but the Gergelys Anna Lesznai and Gergely, her husband, came to the United States on affidavits from my family, who made it possible for them to find people who could help them not to become public charges and that sort of thing.

FO: So they escaped to here?

SC: They escaped to here, but others were killed and her elder son by her first husband became a partisan and he was captured by the Nazis and killed. And the whole estate was destroyed.

FO: You entered the National Art Academy in Prague at this time. How long did you stay there?

SC: Two years. My scholarship was for one year, but because there was a very rapidly deteriorating political situation, in March of '38, when I was there in Prague at the Academy, and taking courses at the same time at Charles University in the German section of Charles University in the history of art with Dvorvak's followers, who were the professors in teaching his philosophy. By March of 1938, Hitler had gone in to Austria, the Anschluss had taken place, and things were deteriorating. The fellowship was continued for the following year '38 - '39 but they couldn't get someone to come, and so they offered it to me to stay, and I stayed.

FO: How did they teach art in Prague in those days?

SC: In the Academy, it was a projection of the classical neo-classical discipline, for which the model was the Beaux-Arts in Paris, before World War I. I don't know what changes had taken place in the Beaux-Arts in Paris after World War I, because I never studied that, but I think it continued still in Paris, even though the artists were striking out on their own and attending the side schools, such as Julien's and under instruction of professors at the Academy, but they were having their exhibitions and getting their market through the dealers and the private associations that were formed for annual exhibitions, such as the Salon des Independants and others that, I think, were partially supported by the French government, but the whole thing had opened up and become much more diversified. But in the foreign areas in Eastern Europe, as in Latin America, the old formulas of instruction carry on and the Academy in Prague was a model of what it must have been in Paris in the 1840s or 1830s enormous rooms with a chiarosruo of lights and the gloomy surroundings of casts and . . . .

FO: You sketched from casts?

SC: I sketched from casts. No. We sketched from the sit-down old-man models for bearded models for portraits models nude models for the life study, but everything interior, and the examination for my getting in, because I had to pass this, was to do an original sketch within the galleries, and so I simply took the whole room and did a sketch of the whole room in somewhat fore-shortened perspectives, and I was admitted for the drawing classes, which were simply to work from live models. But it was gloomy and the students were dressed as they were, I'm sure, in the Russian and Viennese Academy before the secession.

FO: How was that? Smocks, berets?

SC: Smocks, berets effecting the bohemia of Paris, and I have photographs. I was wearing spats at that time. [laughter] Long trousers and a dignified coat, and a necktie. Of course the students very poor students came from various areas of Czechoslovakia, Bohemia, Moravia and so on, and were wild as they were in those days and playing all kinds of jokes, practical jokes, and everything, but they were in the mode of the Academy that I presumed it had been in France.

FO: Where did that lead?

SC: Well, obviously, this wasn't exactly what I felt was the end-all of my training as an artist, as it was not, I'm sure, for the other students. I began to go to the art history classes of Professor Swoboda, a pupil of Max Dvorvak at Charles University in the German curriculum, and kept going with my art historical interests and also, modern interests, because having gone through Paris on the way to Prague, with introductions from Alfred Barr . . . .

FO: Now, we didn't get to that, did we?

SC: I guess not.

FO: Okay. Let's do.

SC: So, I have to back-track a little bit about that, but I can back-track in another context, I think.

FO: Okay.

SC: Having met Alfred Barr having been interested through my first year at Middlebury College in modern art as shown by a vacation trip to New York and visits to the Brummer Gallery and various galleries in New York, on my vacation, gotten to know somewhat about Braque and Picasso and because of the growing presence of the modern movement. Even later at Oberlin, I did a lot of visiting of art galleries and museums and the expositions of modern art in Paris en route to Prague, and the result of this was wanting to see more of what was being done in modern art in Prague by the artists in that community. It had the reputation at that time, of being one of the most avant-garde cities of Central Europe, and I find this as indeed to have been true, even though I hadn't gotten to Poland, but did get to Vienna and did get to Budapest, the atmosphere in Prague was very progressive. There were two societies. There was the Umelecka-Beseda [phonetic], which was sort of the Whitney Museum society of Prague, in which most of the artists who are interested in native Czechoslovakian life as subject matter for a modernist approach that did not try to follow the academic traditions taught by the academy, but were like John Sloan and the people of the Ashcan School here, and then on the other side of the Vltava River was a very modern academy, like the Museum of Modern Art not an academy, but a club and a gallery called the Maner Society, which was named after one of their great traditional, romantic-classical painters of the nineteenth century in Czechoslovakian art, and this was really far out and they followed, as it was at that time, the latest developments in Paris with a religious regularity that, together with what was going on across the river, created an interaction that was really quite exciting. And, of course, Prague was the center of a very democratic culture that had developed within the republic, following its independence under Marszyk and the literary life, which had produced Tomas Capek[sp] and his famous novel RUR and the theater of Burian. Of course Kafkca had come from there, and was a little bit too modern for the middle class Czechs at that particular time. And then there was the music of Smetana, who was rather nineteenth century in a Brahmsian sense, but also, Dvorvak, who was just beginning to catch on as sort of late romantic. The atmosphere of the city was really extremely vital and penetrating, and the beauty of the city, which was a Baroque city primarily, with Gothic remnants, but good whole living remnants of the Gothic in the towers and in the bridges, but the main spirit of the city was Baroque, the Austrian Baroque. Dietz en Erofer, the architect and Brande, the sculptor and so on, but it was a mix of the best possible kinds. And together with the fact that you had to travel there through the capitals and cities of Europe to get to Prague, it made and what I was getting from the Hungarians down the line made it one of the really formative experiences of my growing up after college.

FO: What languages did you speak at this time?

SC: Because German was the language that was used for the intercommunication of the Lesznai salon in eastern Slovakia and because it was a natural language for the Jewish-speaking aristocracy, I learned quite a lot of German and this was my basic language of communication, starting from there, but I had had German academic German at Oberlin. They spoke amongst themselves in Hungarian, which I learned almost nothing of, but when I went to Prague, I studied Czech, and so I got to know a good deal of Czech at that time, so by the time I had really settled down in Prague, I was using four languages, because in Czechoslovakia it was normal for everyone to speak six languages, because they had the Poles on one side, the Hungarians, the Czechs, and the Germans and the French, and the basic cultural language of Prague was French, because it was a city that was formed in a Gothic period with the image of Paris as its model, and the Gothic cathedral was an Ile de France Cathedral; St. Vitas, definitely in the High Gothic tradition of France and its connections with France were constant. They were part of the little entente which was formed at Versailles by the French with the Yugoslavs, Romanians and . . . .

FO: So your fourth language was French?

SC: My first language was French, really, because I knew more French than I did German. I studied French four years at Oberlin and Middlbury as well as boarding school. End of side one, tape two Side two, Tape two

FO: When you went to Czechoslovakia, you took with you some introductions from Alfred Barr. Why don't we talk about that a bit?

SC: When I received the fellowship of the Institute of International Education to go to Prague, I was very interested in as part of my museum career plan, to include the education of not only the educated people in art those to whom art was something easily obtained through their position in society of the middle and upper classes, belonging to the middle and upper classes, but to make the artistic heritage of the world available to the working classes, and this had come about as an aspect of the egalitarian tradition that I had been brought up in at home and also the events of the years of the mid-thirties, in which I had been in college, including the efforts of the labor movement to improve their situation through the new principle of industrial organizations versus craft organization, and the whole controversy between the AFL and the CIO at that time, and this had gotten into the thinking and aims of more just organization of our whole political life the organization and the attention to issues affecting the democracy of the nation and as a result of this, I felt that the education of poorer and working peoples should be a legitimate part of the museum mission as an educational institution, and this was intensified by having attended certain cultural meetings of labor unions in New York during the period of the efforts of the industrial unions to organize them and achieve legitimacy, in terms of the laws of the country, that had led to the sit-down strikes in Chicago and Detroit and so on, and there's a part of the work of the American Student Union to raise consciousness of these issues within the student organizations that I was President of at Oberlin. It was possible to see what some of the problems from a cultural point of view would be in terms of raising the consciousness and the awareness of laborers and laboring organizations in the direction of the arts. This was really brought to a head attending the famous musical play, called "Pins and Needles" that was put on by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union in New York in the mid-thirties 1936 and '37, which I saw the company of a classmate of mine at Oberlin Philoine Hillman, who is the daughter of the famous labor leader in the United States and head of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America Sidney Hillman, who became, under Roosevelt's presidency, the co-chairman of the War Production Board before well, or after we got into World War II. But before that, as a part of the Roosevelt Administration to counter the unemployment problems of industry at that time. So, he was co-chairman with the President of General Motors Mr. Knudsen, and was in Washington all of the time, and because of Philoine Hillman's closeness to her father's work and her own relation to an upbringing within that phase of American society at that time, I became even more interested in what was going on, and we saw the "Pins and Needles" play in New York. It was written by Harold Rome, who was a very good musical comedy composer at that time. But what really turned me in this direction was having seen at one of the student gatherings in Washington, an entertainment evening of fun and frolic and of cultural activities a play in which the humor of the actors most of these students, I think, were also people employed in unions was so atrocious, that it seemed to me that something really had to be done, from a cultural point of view, in this area. I thought that I would make this a point to see what Europeans had done in this in the course of my time abroad, because the European unions had become centers of learning, as well as simply centers of activism to organize and to achieve protection of some of their employment rights and so on. Without knowing what else to do where to get introductions to sources of this sort where they might be interested in modern art and modern cultural problems, I simply went to Alfred Barr, and when the Museum of Modern Art had its temporary headquarters in Rockefeller Center, I went up to whatever floor they were on while the museum's site was being arranged and being excavated on West Fifty-Third Street and called on him, and his receptionist said, "I'll say who you are and what you are doing, and will you please wait a minute?" And so, she took my name into him and said that I was going to Europe and would like to have some introduction to people who knew about art education and the European labor unions, and he came out very shortly and asked me what I was going to do and I told him, and so he said, "Will you please wait a bit?" Within a very short while, he came out with three introductions letters of introductions to three people: Percy James, who was a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, whose name I had not known before; Jean Lurcat, the famous French artist and primarily a weaver who had done major tapestries, based on who came to do major tapestries based upon the works of Miro and Picasso and so on, and to a Czech in Prague, because I was going to Prague, by the name of Adolf Hoffmeister. He wished me good luck and off I went with these three letters, and one of the first things that I did was to present them when I arrived in London and Paris and Prague. These letters led from one thing to another in London, to a member of Parliament, where I was given further introductions to the workingmans' school to meet the people who conducted their curriculum in matters of culture. In Paris, Jean Lureat brought me in touch with the members of La Maison de la Culture, which was the left-wing organization of workingmens' unions and that were closely concerned with were very much concerned with matters of culture and art, contemporary living and art being made at that particular moment on the part of the leaders of the French avant-garde who were concerned with political aspects of the war in Spain and the issues of socialism, democracy, and communism in the whole political life of France. Believe you me, it was a very, very active period of controversy, debate and conflict, because of the rise of Hitler and the rise of the hegemony that Mussolini was developing, as Hitler was vastly overcoming the taking the lead over the Fascists in Italy in his promotion of Fascism of the Nazi breed. So there was an enormous activity and involvement of artists in this particular era during which the war in Spain was being fought tooth and nail with the legitimate government of Spain, being really put to its extremities by the onslaught of the Franco forces, who had brought in the North African Mohamedans, the Moors as they were called at that particular time, with great references to the fact that the Moors were the people that had been put out of Christian Spain in the fifteenth century. This was also the time of the premiership of Leon Blum, the socialist prime minister of France and the formation in international political terms of the Popular Front and this was a time when everyone on the democratic side of French and European politics, including Czech politics, were working for all they were worth to bring about a barrier to the further expansion of Fascist aggression in Italy and North Africa, under Mussolini and of Hitler expansion in Europe. By this time, I think, Hitler had already crossed into the Rhineland and people were getting very worried about the Nazis I mean, those who had a feeling of the danger that democracy was being faced with, because of the indifference of not the indifference the slowness with which the governments even of the Popular Front in Paris, and of the Chamberlain government in England in reacting to the danger of this development. So there were many parades in Paris that had begun before well, on my return from Greece, it was very evident that the leadership of this whole effort to forestall the further expansion of Fascist power, was being led by the vanguard Communist party in France and the newspaper Humanite. The effort at that time was to open the frontiers of France, so that supplies and military equipment could be sent into the Republican part of Spain, so that they could successfully oppose the advances, the inroads, that the Franco forces the rebel forces in Spain were making at that time. Of course, this was the time, also of Guernica, when the Nazi Luftwaffe, under Franco's command, went in and bombed that city. Now this was the year of 1937. I graduated in 1937, got the scholarship to go to Prague that summer, went to Paris by way of London, and immediately found myself in the center of this welter of development that was involving the arts as well as political life the artistic life very, very much so the artistic life of France, in which Picasso and frankly everyone among the then rather conventional avant-garde of French art at that time had become a part of. There was great feeling that the Blum socialist government was not doing nearly enough and there were parades and, of course, there was the great rivalry between Russia, the Soviet Union, and the Nazi National Socialist Party in Germany, which had taken full control in that country, that had become focused at the International Exposition in Paris in 1937, at the Trocadero, and this was epitomized by the great activity that the Russians had in putting up their pavilion, which was directly across from the pavilion of the Nazis and the Nazis had a romantic neoclassical statue of epitomizing the National Socialist government. I think that it was a kind of an aluminum, white, metal thing, and across from it was the tower of the Soviet Pavilion with the united worker and woman worker, raising the torch of the hammer and sickle, facing the Nazi figure, and this polarization was epitomized by these two monuments at the on the banks of the Seine, as you went down from the Trocadero, past some of the main pavilions and then across to the Eiffel Tower.

FO: Did you see the Guernica?

SC: Indeed I did, and this was one of the most memorable events of my passage into Central Europe. It was to be dedicated in the Sert Spanish Republican pavilion early in June of 1937, before I took off from Paris for Prague. It was to be dedicated, and there was to be a ceremony in the Spanish Republican pavilion, which was a bit up from the Seine on the East side of the main boulevard of the exposition. I had a Spanish teacher on the faculty at Oberlin who was over there a man by the name of Rogers, whom I met and whom I knew that's it. Well, I knew that it was being done, and I wanted very much to go to the opening and I asked Professor Rogers if he could get me an invitation to the opening. He tried, but he couldn't, and I don't know whether he got one himself. This became a peak moment in the drama of being fought between the various sides and the political parties of Paris at that time and actually the event that was going to symbolize all of the world issues that were coming to a head at that time the opening of the Soviet and the German pavilions, but this was particularly central to the whole thing at that time because Spain was in Civil war. It epitomized more than anything else the issues that were coming to a head. I wanted to go and couldn't get a ticket, but I went and there was the pavilion and it was on the outside of it, it was a modern building the very best modern style of that time, by Jose Sert the son of Jose Luis Sert, I think, who did the Rockefeller Center murals after Rivera left, and this was a truly outstanding modern architect of that time, on the republican side, and the pavilion had a fence very much like this one on the outside that protected the building itself from the actual structure.

FO: Maybe we should say we are looking at a photograph of the interior . . . .

SC: We are looking at a photograph of the interior . . . .

FO: In the Museum of Modern Art's 1980 Picasso catalog.

SC: Right. Well, unfortunately, I . . . .

FO: Did you get into the opening?

SC: Yes. Under rather exceptional circumstances. The crowd was gathering on the outside. It was a fine summer evening, with sunlight and people were gathering. It was to be a formal opening with the Ambassador of the Republic of Spain giving the main speech. This was a legitimate government, and other dignitaries of the French foreign office and also intellectuals Spanish intellectuals and writers. I don't think Picasso was there, and if he was, I certainly didn't see him, but it was very crowded on the outside. Yet I managed to make my way into an interior, an inner part of the compound where the pavilion was, and had to stay outside the fence because there was with the people who were looking in to see what they could see, and it was a modern building that you could see into, because it was open in many ways sort of a series of planes, and a very funny contraption where the stage was. The stage was raised from the main floor and there was a covering, a built covering, over the platform of the stage, but there were several trees outside rather good-sized trees and their branches went through the cover that covered the stage, and there were holes made there were openings in that roof for the trees' branches to go through, even though the tree trunk was outside to the rear. We were craning our necks and I was trying to get closer to the barrier, and unfortunately, there was a gendarme right there, so you couldn't see too much, but after a while a gendarme went down the way a little bit, and I jumped over the railing and climbed the tree and went up to the tree to a crotch in the tree, where I could sit, unseen by the gendarme, and look right through one of those openings where the branch was, and there I was, about ten, fifteen feet away from the dignitaries looking at their haircuts, practically, and there I was. I sat up there through the whole ceremony, without anybody seeing me or anybody when the gendarme wasn't looking, I rolled over the barrier, and shimmied up the tree and it's true. I've given this story in Ellen Oppler's class when she was talking about Picasso at Syracuse University. So this was wonderful. Then, when it was all over, I couldn't see the Picasso from that vantage point. It was out in the front part of the building and there was a step down from the stage and there was a pool and it was off to the side, to the left, and very impressive. So when the ceremony was over, there was a rush on the part of the audience that had attended and was crowding the inside. Not to see the Picasso, but to the buffet table, where it was stocked with goodies for this particular occasion and people not being too well fed in the artistic community, even at that time in Paris, it was a great rush to stock up to feed on that table, and I was swept along to the table and I did my own . . . .

FO: Now, Stanton. What did you do? Jump through the hole in the roof, because you are still in the tree now. [laughter]

SC: Well, I got down. There was nobody looking in that direction, I shimmied down and jumped over the back of the stage through one of the openings, and there I was. Why, it was exhilarating.

FO: That's a marvelous story.

SC: Well, it's absolutely true. So, I saw the Guernica. I didn't understand any Spanish at that time, because I had not taken classes in Spanish. Well, the mural looked splendid. It was done for that particular space, or it looked as though it did, and my mural eye was not as focused on murals from an aesthetic site point of view at that time as it has become since. In any case, that was part of the adventure of Paris, but at that time, I saw Jean Lurcat who took me to the Maison de la Couture, gave me piles of papers as to what the Maison de la Couture was doing to educate workers and bring artists and workers together, which I still have. They published one of those paper publications that they do in France, called Commune. Then I went to various galleries, spending a week in Paris at that particular time. I went to the Salon des Independants. I have the catalog of that. Made notes on a good many of the paintings and gradually became imbued with a sense of the modern movement that I had not had before, which I took with me to Prague.

FO: To backtrack just a minute. Can you recall how the Guernica was installed in this? Was it hanging on the wall or was it set into the structure of the wall?

SC: My best recollection is that it was just put up against the wall somehow.

FO: It was just up against it. It's hard to tell from this photograph, but of course when this painting came to New York, it became the great mural without a wall and it was probably one of the major influences on the large-scale easel painting that followed after the war hit, and I've often been curious as to just how much of a wall quality it was given in its first context.

SC: Well, I would say that it had a wall quality.

FO: Well, yes. It's as large as the wall, but is that frame around it a frame or part of the wall? Is it hanging? Was there an edge to be seen, or is it built into the wall?

SC: I think it's a frame.

FO: It's a frame. It was framed and hanging sort of on the wall? That's interesting.

SC: I can't be absolutely certain. I didn't focus on that. But that's what I think it was and I think that's probably what it had to be, because some of the pavilions were not even finished at that time. And it was a pell-mell sort of affair, to get things ready in time, according to schedule, and I think it was fairly improvised and could only have been in part of the wall as a permanent structure. If there had been more time I think just dimensions were given to Picasso. I went to Picasso's studio on the Rue des Petits Augustines afterwards and I saw the area where it was painted, which was about the size I think he filled the whole of the wall that he had in the inner part of the studio and it had come out, I think, very soon after I saw before I went to his studio and he was immensely proud [of] how clean his studio was. I think it had just been swept all the droppings had been tken care of and I think that there was a white bear rug on the floor, or something of that sort. Not quite as bourgeois-sounding as that.

FO: So, you met Picasso?

SC: I did.

FO: What was he like?

SC: Well, I can't remember whether I met him then or it was a year later, I think. So, I got if it was a year later, it couldn't have been right after he finished this. I had gone to Prague and then came back to Paris after the Anschluss, because everyone was in jitters in Central Europe over the possibility that Hitler would march at that time and we were advised to go leave Prague immediately after the Anschluss and we went to Paris. My aunt was with me again, by now. At this time I had an introduction from the Barrs, whom I had met after their opening of the Museum of Modern Art exhibition at the Jeu de Paume exhibition, at the Jeu de Paume Museum. The Museum of Modern Art had an exhibition of modern art in the United States that was featured in the Tuileries and Jeu de Paume and I think it was a great opening up of the French artistic museum establishment and government establishment to the whole idea of modern art. They had come over to present that and it's all very, very well written up by Marga Barr in The New Criterion issue of two summers ago. But, in any case, I met them because they came to Paris and after that to Prague and it was there that they gave me further introductions, I believe, primarily to Rose Valland who was the secretary of the director of the Jeu de Paume Museum, Monsieur Des Arrois. She knew all of the artists of Paris and introduced me or gave me introductions to Picasso, to Braque, to Kandinsky, to Picabia and others (Chagall) because of the Barrs' recommendation. So it was with her introduction that I went to see Picasso, and I went to see him, first in his Rue de La Boetie address, which was his home address, with his Russian lady . . . .

FO: Olga.

SC: Olga. Where he lived in formal surroundings with gilded chairs and this sort of thing. I can understand why he disliked it so. Actually, he had taken all of the gilded chairs out, and when I rang the doorbell and he came to meet me, the room was bare except for a broken, three-legged gilded chair and pieces of crumpled-up wastepaper tacked to the wall. None of the royal, aristocratic interior that you would expect in an apartment of that kind, but one that he had disassembled.

FO: This is after the break with Olga, isn't it?

SC: I don't know. I think, probably.

FO: '37, '38.

SC: No. We are talking about '38 now. Because it was after March of '38.

FO: Well, what was he like? What was your impression of him?

SC: Well, he didn't want to see me there. He was small, as we all know, and he was vivacious and very much like a self-possessed artist. Very assured of his distinctness as an artist, without being conventionalized in any way. I was reminded of that years later, meeting abstract members of the New York School. They had that certain feeling of apartness and superior knowledge and position that was nowhere nearly allied to what you would call an establishment, except one of their own. They belonged to a society that was self-sufficient and knowing about most things that were important, but not putting off, in Picasso's case. I think a bit of Jack Tworkov now, when I think of Picasso. Jack Tworkov, whom I knew quite well, not only at Yale, but before and afterwards, but he kept a distance. Yet Picasso was very friendly, but he did not want to be seen or talk at that time he didn't want to meet me at that time. "Please see me on Sunday afternoon. This coming Sunday at three o'clock in my studio on the Petits Augustins." There was some sort of confusion of whether it was Grand Augustins or Petits Augustins. I'm absolutely certain it was Petits Augustins in Paris. So, I went there. After seeing him for a few minutes in his house and saw him there, that afternoon about three o'clock in the afternoon and there he was, looking just like well, the best caricature, I think of Picasso from a personal look and presence point of view, is a sculpture by Gargallo. Do you know Gargallo's sculpture? It's just a head with a smirk on his face and his hair over his brow and his darting eyes inventing mischief. He shook my hand. I was absolutely amazed at his handshake. It was loose and it had very long fingernails. I've never heard anyone mention this before, and when I tell people this, they are surprised.

FO: I met Francoise Gilot recently at a conference and one of the things I forget the context but one of the things she said was that he was very, very sensitive about his hands and that he had some obsession with hurting them, with touching, and he may not have wanted to give a firm handshake because he might get back a firmer handshake or cut his nails for fear of cutting his finger. That's interesting. Yes, it clicks. Francoise Gilot told me.

SC: I didn't know that. I had not heard that. Interesting.

FO: Did you meet Braque, or any of the other artists through this connection?

SC: I met Kandinsky and had long sessions three-day session with him, and then I did meet Picabia. I didn't meet Braque because of a fluke and I don't know whether I was at fault or whether he was.

FO: What was Kandinsky like? What did you talk about?

SC: I asked him to explain his art. [laughter]

FO: And you got a three-day explanation.

SC: I got a three-day explanation. He was anything but what you would call a bohemian. He was a groomed, but informally groomed, gentleman a Russian gentleman. Slightly freckle-faced, whitish, with white hair that was combed back in a pompadour, like yours. Spoke very good English, and was most generous and amenable about telling about his whole evolution and like a damn fool, I didn't take notes. I've regretted this ever since. I notice you've got Kandinsky in Munich here. Peg Weiss in Syracuse wanted to know all about my time with Kandinsky, and of course she heard it all out, but it really did not come down to the kind of substance that I think that she wanted, but at least I don't know, because he told me things that I could repeat that were important.

FO: That you couldn't repeat?

SC: That I could repeat. But she never took this too she didn't put too much time into it.

FO: Peg Weiss?

SC: Peg Weiss. Yes. Which is all right, but I sort of felt that I didn't yield as much as she had hoped. In any case, more Picasso or more Kandinsky?

FO: Well, both. This is fascinating.

SC: Well, now that we are on Kandinsky, he lived in a very upper class part of Paris. He was living in what's the name of it Neuilly out toward the Bois de Boulogne I remember the name of it sometimes in a very well appointed, comfortable apartment, befitting a nobleman, I suppose, but an independent nobleman who kept up his appearances, yet without any pretense or sense of noblesse oblige. The genuine article and very free in his conversation, informal, put one at ease, and spent time. He asked me to come back and I came back twice, and he went over his evolution. I think one of the reasons that he was anxious to do this was because my introduction had come through Rose Valland, but originally from Alfred Barr, and he was very concerned at that time that Barr wasn't interested in his work. And I wrote Alfred about this, and Alfred wrote back and said, "It's true. I'm not very interested in his work." And I could understand this and I understand it better all along I mean, as time has gone on. It is just not Alfred's thing. It's too schematic, rationalistic and unesthetic.

FO: How did Kandinsky explain it?

SC: His work?

FO: Yes.

SC: Well, he referred quite often to the art of spiritual harmony. I forget what the German title was, because we spoke was it I think we spoke English English and German, both.

FO: The book that is translated On the Spiritual in Art (Uber gie Gestuge iiiin der Kunst)

SC: That's right. And in German I forget what it is I think it came out first in German, because it was probably part of the Bauhaus period. What he talked about mostly is how he got into the whole issue of abstract art. And I think and what he spoke about was the dividing line, as it came to be his dividing line, as associated with the intellectual and spiritual climate of Europe at the time of the outbreak of World War I. He has certain paintings that he calls "Un der grense der Vernunft" on the borderline of insanity. And he said that the atmosphere before World War I was driving him toward a state of insanity. He didn't link this up, as I remember, to the work that he was doing in Munich in the Secezzion, but I think that it had to do with this. That abstraction came out of this sense of disharmony that existed in the whole mental climate of Europe at that time, because he said when the war was declared, everything smoothed out. The pressure, the nervousness of the time before the war was resolved. And thinking back on it, I think that's what he meant that even though war had been declared, it broke the spell of the dislocations that existed. End of side two, tape two. Side one, tape three

FO: We were talking about your meeting with Kandinsky in Paris and I'm wondering if we could explore a bit more of his idea of the relationship of abstraction and the state of mind of the culture. You were saying that he seemed to feel that abstract art was a dimension of the confusion and meaninglessness of the post-World War I period and then when the war began, everyone had some focus and purpose in life for a while.

SC: I would say that that is perhaps what you have constructed out of this. If I confine myself to the pure elements of his statement, I would say that what you say fits into it very well, but he did not explain it that way, except as to say that when war was declared, the tension that he had been feeling personally and that had been building up in the course of the months before the war was declared, suddenly was lifted. And he felt that something had been resolved by the mere fact that the tension that existed within himself over creative issues that he could not resolve had received a release that he did not feel on the "grenge de Vernunft" any longer that is, on the edge of insanity. He made a painting after this called On the Edge of Insanity, and I think that this could only be seen as a record of what his experience had been and this is a purely non-objective painting, in which he brings forth, through the forms that he uses, the nature of that tension. I think there is another painting that he did after this. In a sense, theoretically, I could interpolate this to mean that everything that he did afterwards was an expression of the resolution that he felt as a result of the war having put everything fact-to-face, as it was, rather than it having been continued this tension, based upon a false appreciation that it didn't exist. To me, it simply means and it has been said by many people, I think, in different ways that the contradictions with European society that had been building up into the struggle between the nations, like Germany, that did not have what they felt they deserved and what the other nations had, which they had too much of, was sufficient cause for the war breaking out, because they had not gotten their due, but over the whole scene among creative communities at that time, was a feeling that there was a lie about truth. That truth, as defined up to that time, was a misrepresentation of the tensions and the contradictions that really existed behind that false construction of the harmony of life. This has certainly been shown by the philosophy of the Dadaists and certainly came out more in the movements, such as Cobra and the purely abstract movements, non-objective, after World War II. And what Kandinsky is saying and what I'm interpreting now about his own work is, that this overall contradiction and dissimulation of the truth was evident to him as early as 1913 and 1914, and surely it had been evident to the Cubists and to Mondrian and many of the people at the Bauhaus. Even though that took place after the war. [pause] Why should Mondrian take trees and turn them into dots and dashes? He was searching for something that was underneath appearance. Truer, more honest, more dependable, more consonant with art, if you can continue art as a manifestation of truth as the individual artist tries to locate it.

FO: But does reductionism lead to truth?

SC: I am making a I stated that as a question. You reiterated that question. Is it back to Kant and Hegel? Maybe. Is it back to Plato?

FO: Most things go back to Plato.

SC: I wish he weren't considered the only thing that things should go back to. [laughter]

FO: Where does Picabia fit in?

SC: Picabia was simply a name that I was given by Rose Valland as somebody you ought to see. I didn't know anything about his being here with the Armory Show or that he was actually in the evolution of Surrealism in those avant-garde times that he was a part of. I simply went to see him. It was offered to me, and I thought his work, at that time this is 1937 was simply god-awful. He was painting I mean, I was just sort of an ingenue or something at that time, and didn't know much, so when I came back and got this Fogg Museum fellowship, Alfred Barr said, "Sit down in the Museum and learn about modern art." So, in any case, Picabia was painting the most enormously grotesque kind of impastoed Impressionist landscapes. They looked to me like the worst kind of kitsch, and I had come out of a place where everybody knew about kitsch . . . .

FO: You mean Prague?

SC: Prague. I mean Central European elements of that were easy to see in self-satisfied bourgeois society. Not only there, but also in France and other places, but I couldn't make head or tail of this. I was fascinated by the man, with his white hair and his spontaneous and unconventional mannerisms and still a rational human being, in a very bourgeois environment with his wife and so on, but I couldn't put anything together from what I saw there, that would make sense as a reason to ask him any questions or how to put questions together until I got to the Yale Art Gallery years later, and I saw his landscape made of spaghetti, which had gone to rack and ruin, following the theories on conservation of Marcel Duchamp. There it was, a wonderful landscape made of spaghetti that you could have practically bought today out of a defunct department of Woolworth's department store, as something that would constitute art. It was a marvelous thing, with all the trees lined up, made out of pasta. [laughter] Marvelous, but it had gone to rack and ruin because of neglect. I don't know how they have ever restored it, if they have. In any case, he was fascinating to listen to and I'm very glad that I just for sentimental reasons to have had some contact with him, because now I do know something, a little bit, about what he did and what a force he was in 1913 in this country. And more than that, this is turning into not a history but a monologue on certain intuitions. I had a feeling in my first visit to Spain that the School of Paris wouldn't have happened in the modern sense that we know it, if it hadn't been for those irreverent, roguish, thumb-on-your-nose Catalans coming up to Paris and trying to epater les bourgeois. They made everything, they made fun of everything, and insulted everything that was sacred to middle-class French taste at the turn of the century. And that's from where Picasso went to deeper levels. No question about it. But they were pretty much all that way, you know? And it was a real preposterous confrontation that caught on and led to some of the things that modernism has divulged, I think at that stage.

FO: Like what?

SC: The time-space continuum put into painting. Seeing a glass or a picture on all four sides at once. And you can translate that into not just a picture, but everything that goes on inside of the human psyche. It's nowhere over yet. So it gave birth to traditions that have spawned traditions that have meandered all over the place in all kinds of directions, that haven't been woven into kind of a braid yet, but the strands are there. [tape turned off]

FO: What about Picasso?

SC: Well, I naturally said that I would be at his studio on Sunday afternoon at three o'clock, but I didn't find what I was hoping for a time with him alone. Sunday afternoon at three o'clock was the time that he held court, an open door to friends and people he asked wanted to see to come over, and people just streamed in. In most cases, he had known everybody and they brought him all kinds of things that they thought he would like to see cigar bands, playing cards, odd playing cards odds and ends that might, at one time, have gone into a collage, but this is 1938, '37, and yes, he was still interested in this sort of the miscellany of human culture. The odds and ends that had some sort of a plastic, coloristic, unconventional thing to say about life, I guess, as it had developed and surrounded one surrounds one in present-day civilization. And he would take them and thank them and put them aside. And then I asked him a funny question not a funny question, a good question. I had just come from Prague, where I had known, you see, it was '38 and not '37 that I saw him, and it was as a result of meeting with Barr in Prague, in the summer of '38 and coming back to Prague to Paris meeting Rose Valland and having these introductions and she feeding them to me.

FO: So, all of these encounters are in 1938?

SC: I think so. In Prague, I had met an extraordinary man named Vincent Kramar, who was the director of the Gallery of Old Art, as they called it Galleria Stare Umeni that's "old art." His private house was filled with forty or fifty works of the highest, most generative period of Picasso and Braque Analytical Cubist works. Everywhere. He had been in Paris during those days of the Bateau Lavoir and had acquired, partly through purchase, but he was a younger man then I don't know maybe by gift, exchange or something Barr had known about his name, but had not seen the collection. I told him that I knew Kramar, and he and Marga arrived. Would he like to meet him? Certainly would. We got in a cab and went up to the place on the bluff where Kramar lived in a modest little house, and he wasn't at home. They never got to see that collection. In following months, I saw Kramar a great deal and started to photograph the collection and copied the pictures by hand drawings. I'm a great believer in drawing something that you want to remember, and I was in the Academy, so I copied quite a number of these sketches just to remember the concepts of the compositions and so on. Those are all in the Museum of Modern Art now. I sent them to Alfred afterwards, and he sent them to the library not to consider them as art, but as documents. They are there. But because I had gotten into considerable conversation with Kramar, even though he was the director of the museum that had all of the great Gothic things of the Czech-French school of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, he was fascinated and involved in the contemporary avant-garde, and had written a book called Cubismus. I asked Picasso, "Who wrote the best book on Picasso?" He thought a moment and said, "A Czech," I said, "Hoffmeister?" "No." "Kramar?" "That's the man." I took this back to Kramar in Prague and Kramar said, "How can he say that? The book has been written in Czech. Picasso doesn't speak Czech. It's never been translated. How can he say this?" I brought that book back to New York a little, thin book and I got Feigel who was a Czech dealer who came to New York and had a decent gallery here for quite some time and spoke Czech. I asked him if he would look at it and translate it. He and his wife looked through it and translated it. He said, "It really doesn't have much to do with Picasso. It's all about Cubism and Prague." [laughter] I have never really looked at it myself, because Czech is too difficult and I just didn't learn it that well, but how do you explain was Picasso just sort of trying to please a young student who had come from Prague? Was he he's a rogue, you know. Was he just lying out of perversity? He could do that, too. He's as good as Rivera. But, it's an oddity that I have never resolved.

FO: Did he know that you had been in Prague?

SC: Oh, yes. He was being polite. [laughter] In his way. But in any case, he was there. He was just the way that Gargallo portrait is and that Man Ray photograph. Is it Man Ray? Yes, I think it is. Standing beside the stove (it may be the one by Brassai), dancing eyes and calm, listening, almost a reception line. Took me into his back room, where he painted the Guernica. "Isn't it beautiful?" It was all clean. I guess it had been manicured after long years of neglect. But it was that studio, and I don't think we talked about much else, because there were many people there, coming and going and speaking and . . . .

FO: Do you recall anyone else who was there?

SC: Some young students and . . . .

FO: Did you meet any other artists in Paris? What about writers?

SC: I was supposed to meet Braque, because I had an introduction to him, but it fizzled because well, worse than that, I came to him on the appointed day, rang the bell and the gate outside. His maid came and saw me and she took my name in to him to say that I was there, and she came out and she said, "Monsieur Braque ne peu pas vous voir." He said that you were supposed to come yesterday. So, I never saw him. I'm sure I didn't come on the wrong day.

FO: What about Rose Valland?

SC: Rose Valland her story has been written up in a book that I've not read, and I don't know by whom. She's mentioned in Marga Barr's article in The New Criterion in her review of their years, their campaigns in The New Criterion the summer before last. But I really would like to mention her, because she is really one of the heroines of the world's inheritance of modern art because of her work in preserving the things that were taken away and eventually found in the salt mines of Germany. As Desannoir's secretary, she was in the position to note whom she actually had to assist and what was being packed in and the shipping of these works that were taken by Goering for his personal collection or sent as gifts to other places in occupied Europe under the Nazi regime. She kept notes of the manifests as to where every package went, or every crate went. It was these records that formed the basis of the recovery after the surrender, and she did this at the risk of her life and, I suppose, part of the most dramatic part if it, I've heard, was when she had to do the work that preserved these records at the moment when the French populists were rising up against the Germans during the Allied advance toward Paris in the summer of 1944 and shooting was going on all over the place, and she was suspect, as a collaborator, because she was working in the museum for the German Otto Abetz's command there and she had a narrow escape at that particular time, but she has been credited with and honored for saving one of the saving a major part of the modern patrimony of the world of modern art that was in this French museum. And she has I've been told been given secretly, or at least secretly, to the point where its never shown publicly the highest award that the French can give to anyone who has served their culture their cause I suppose it's something on the order of Joan of Arc.

FO: Why secretly?

SC: I think it is sort of a closed group and is known only to the permanent members of the Institute or this sort of thing. But the . . . .

FO: Not secretly for political reasons?

SC: Oh, no, no, no. It is simply out of best protection of the honor itself, and that is not be sullied by too much publicity and so on. But you've risen to the highest order of honor . . . .

FO: So, let's see. You were also acting as a journalist at this time, were you not?

SC: Yes. I would think that that phrase as a journalist is a little too much, because I was only a freelance writer, but are we recording now?

FO: Yes.

SC: Oh. Yes. That does go into the other part of my time in Paris. The first thing that I wanted to do when I got to Prague and saw that magnificent proud, Baroque exhibition in the Wallenstein Palace I had never had a course in Baroque art, but this was the first awareness that there was such a thing as a Central European Baroque, at least in my part, and Baroque had not been gone into very deeply, I think, in teaching curriculas of history of art in this country, and certainly there was no course in Oberlin and I don't think that the Institute of Fine Arts had been invented yet and what they did at Harvard, I don't know. But, in any case, there was this whole world of Dietzenhofer, Braun, Brande, that had developed out of the Austro- Hungarian hegemony in Central Europe. End of side one, tape three Side two, tape three Well, this was a first experience of Baroque for me, and it was exhilarating. They had what we have become accustomed to take as routine in the years since World War II, the kind of festival with music, son el lumiere, concerts playing the music of the time, with the illuminated Belvedere of the period on the Hradcany. It put the whole spectacle of Prague, which is really a Baroque city, into a perspective into presence in a manner that I had never known anything the like of before, and so I just thought I better tell somebody about it and sat down and wrote a descriptive article about the events and the museum collections and so on, to The New York Times, and lo and behold, within two or three weeks, it was published. Edward Alden Jewell was the art editor at that time and the page always called, "In the Realm of Art" in the Sunday edition, but he gave that a very good play. And having all of these new revelations, almost, of Central European art past and present in the contemporary art life of Prague, I thought it would be a good idea to propose to some agency in the United States, a tour a public tour of Central Europe. The art the modern art of Central Europe, and I did propose this to an organization called Open Road, which had organized a lot of tours to Europe, along with other organizations, and they were interested. So I went about seeing all of the collections I could in Prague of modern art both museum and private and when I got back to Paris, I used Alfred Barr's introduction to Rose Valland and the artists and the people that I met indirectly, in the course of seeing these people, including dealers, to visit their collections and after a while, it was quite a lot. I went to see the collection of Paul Gillaume. I saw the great Matisse Boy at the Piano that is now at the Museum of Modern Art, on a staircase of Paul Gillaume's house. I saw the holographs and the small things that were given to him in appreciation by Jean Cocteau for some sort of a favor or benefit. Throughout, I went to a number of the best collections in Paris, and so I assembled quite a tour that they were just delighted to see and had actually scheduled it for the summer of '39. At the same time in Prague, I met newspaper people, I was, as an American who could speak English people wanted to have lunch with me and speak English, and I had a standing lunch with a businessman, a young businessman, who wanted really to have conversation so that he could learn the language, so that got me into some of the clubs. Then I listened one evening to the radio broadcast of from Yankee Stadium of the Schmeling-Louis fight, which came over about three o'clock in the morning in German and it was a return engagement of Louis and Schmeling, when Schmeling was supposed to knock out Louis in nothing flat, and all the German propaganda about how the master race was going to make light work if this "nigger," and so they sent an announcer over to stand at the ring side and broadcast it to the German audience during the fight, and of course, Louis knocked out Schmeling in the first round and just everything was turned upside down. Well, that broadcast was translated was published in The Prager Tagblatt the next day in a hilarious article showing what the announcer said, all in German, and I just thought this was just too delicious for words and The New Yorker might be interested in it, so I sat down, translated it, and shipped it off to The New Yorker, and by God, they published it in the next the July issue, that summer, calling it "Our Footloose Correspondent" and "Maxie, for God's Sake," this is what the German Announcer said, "Maxie, Maxie. Um Gotter Willen." [laughter] Then he calmed down as much as he could and said, "Maxie, Maxie, you're forgiven. I can assure your little wife back home that your face is not ruined and that we will not put you into a concentration camp when you return." [laughter] He didn't know what to say. The Czech writer just had a field day with this, but the funny part another funny part of this was, I sent it to The New Yorker and I said, "If you publish this, I will split [the fee] it with the original author." The New Yorker they sent a letter to me a very brief letter about a month later came through with a check for thirty-five dollars, which was I guess a good deal for what they paid in those days. It was a two column article, and they had a little footnote a little P.S. they said, "You were going to split it with the original author, weren't you?" [laughter] And of course, I was, and so I sent half of it in Kronen no, I guess in dollars I forget how I sent it. I had not met the author through the member of the staff with The Prager Tagblatt, whom I used to meet in a little zither playing bar a press bar around the corner from the main street in Prague, and he sent it he took it to his colleague on the paper and said, "This is ten times more than I've been paid for it on The Prager Tagblatt." I never met him, but I did continue my visits to that little bar, which were rather adventurous. So, the trip throughout Europe was something that I informed Alfred and Marga Barr about, and this suddenly did something to their thoughts when the Pulitzer gift of the funds for the fellowship in modern art of the Fogg Museum Fellowship in Modern Art was established, and in any case, I was recommended to receive it, much, I suppose, on the basis of the work I had already done and of course, modern art was very new and uncertain in this country at that particular time, and I had done all of this work, and so the fellowship was awarded to me to go back to Europe and complete the survey that I had started for the Open Road.

FO: Before we get on to this and its relevance there's one thing was mentioned in passing, but really not developed. Those original introductions from Alfred Barr to the people in London, Paris, and Prague, for exploring the whole idea of art for the workers. Could we go back to that and say something about just what that meant, in terms of tangible activity and how it might compare say, to the New Deal projects here in the United States.

SC: That's really interesting and a very apropos question. First of all, let me say, it came to nothing.

FO: Your activity?

SC: My activity came to nothing. The member of parliament that I saw a Labor member of parliament in London gave me all the catalogs of the Workers School and I went and visited the Workers School, but they were doing nothing about art, as I recall.

FO: What were they doing?

SC: History, labor relations, literature this kind of thing. I have those catalogs. This was a rather laid-back Labor M.P. and he was very kind to give me the introductions, but he wasn't too much interested himself, and I guessed that Labor, itself, even in Europe, was not too much interested in art. I mean, we [in the US] weren't veven very interested in the idea of workers' general education. One of the biggest things that I think should come up out of this whole business, however, fifty years later is the fact that labor movements in this country do not develop an intelligencia that has a broad spectrum of interests in the overall building of the human being. Now they did have that in Europe. It was born in the French Revolution, I suppose, but the whole worker settlements in Vienna and the Flore establishments there for workers, and also in the northern countries and in Germany, were products of an intellect and respect for and the importance of the development of the mind on the part of the labor movement, which was not simply money for a living wage. It was for advancement and development as their right to have a share in human culture.

FO: Well, what about the settlement of Roosevelt, New Jersey, where Ben Shahn's famous mural is. There is a community founded by a labor union I think it was the Garment Worker's Union it was a cultural program there. Bernarda Shahn still lives over there within a block of her husband's marvelous mural in that community center, so there was some of that what you were talking about in this country. It wasn't certainly a national program, but there were pockets of it.

SC: You know I didn't hear about Roosevelt, New Jersey, until Syracuse, when one of my colleagues got together with what's her name Shahn . . . .

FO: Bernarda.

SC: Bernarda. And did a show in the capitol in Washington as well as at Syracuse University, when I was director, but that's very interesting and some unresearched ground here. I did this because of my friend, Philoine Hillman, who introduced me and I got to be friends with her family and Sidney Hillman, himself, the highest member of the labor movement to have risen as high as any member of the labor movement, I think, during the Roosevelt Administration with his position as advisor to Roosevelt on labor matters and his co-chairmanship of the War Production Board or the board that preceded that. He was very interested in the fact that I was in art, and I told him that I was going to Europe and I had noticed this problem in the labor meetings and how really unwashed they all were in terms of culture, and I would like to prepare to do some work on finding out what could be done to institute an art program in the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, which he was the head of. And he said, "Go right to it." And that's why I went to Alfred Barr. But, he died. And when I came back, his successor, Jake Potovsky, wasn't in the least interested, and I had nowhere to go within in the circles that I knew. And we are saying this about Dubinsky, who obviously had some interest, if he did actually put on the Pins and Needles play and got Harold Rome to do it, which was a sensational hit, and later, of course, he was the one who took the Diego Rivera Murals and put them up in Unity House in the Pocono Mountains, which was their vacation area.

FO: The new Workers School murals?

SC: That's right. He was the one who took that up. He didn't put them all out there, because some of them were anti-Mussolini and they had a lot of Italian workers, but it's an interesting story in itself. But, in any case, Hillman and Dubinsky were rivals, and I never heard a good word about David Dubinsky from the Hillman side from the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, and Philoine, to this day, talks the same way. So, I didn't take it to him. Now I might have, if it hadn't been for this rivalry.

FO: Did you get to explore what was going on in Paris and Prague, in terms of art for the workers?

SC: Well, I didn't stay in Paris, so I couldn't really follow up, but . . . .

FO: You were in Prague for two years. What was it like in Prague?

SC: Well, I immediately went to Hoffmeister, but things had gotten to such a critical point over the Sudeten crisis and the threat of invasion from Germany, and the whole political issue of how they could get the French and the British to implement to reinforce the little entente, which was pledged to defend Czechoslovakia to the point where they could invite the Russians to come in. Everybody was shadow-boxing about this. There wasn't time to talk about it. In the summer of '38, as an extension of the research that I was to do for the Open Road tour, my aunt, who had come to Europe to spend the summer a second summer that we had at the Nizne Hrusor Estate of Anna Lesznai. We planned a trip down the Danube to Belgrade, to see the Prince Regent Paul's collection of modern art, which is one of the first of the royal collections of interest in modern art, in Belgrade, and then the idea was to go on to the Soviet Union to see, in a long, roundabout way, by way of Constantinople, Tiflis, the southern parts of the Soviet Union, to see the Museum of New Western Art in Moscow, and the collections of Schukin and the other collectors of French art of the early 1900's, on to Leningrad and then back, in order to begin that tour the following summer. But we got as far as Belgrade, when the American consul said, "Return to Paris immediately." The Godesberg confrontation, or the meetings between Hitler, Mussolini and Chamberlain and Daladier were taking place, and it looked as though war might come at any minute. It was all over the Sudeten crisis that had to do with giving Czechoslovakia taking from Czechoslovakia those so-called German settled regions of the Riesengebirge that were the defense bastion of Czechoslovakia. I can't say so-called, because they were settled by Germans in many places, but it was Czech territory and it was their bastion against invasion from the West, and this was all up for final decision. The British commission to determine the justice of this whole situation the Runciman Commission didn't seem to be getting anywhere and there was finally a meeting in Munich Godesberg is later, I'm sorry in which these four people met in September. By this time, we were sitting in a Danube boat in Belgrade, having come down overnight from Budapest, when anti-aircraft guns were going off, practicing, and we didn't know whether the war had started or not, and they told us the consul said, "Get back to Paris as fast as possible." So we got on the Orient Express and went back through Yugoslavia, Northern Italy, to Paris just in time to hear the news see the news published that the Munich Pact had been signed, which gave Czechoslovakia all of its defenses key points of defense over to the Germans changed the whole face of the whole international picture at that time. We naturally didn't go back to Prague, so we sat in Paris from September through January and I went to work translating Max Dvorak's Kunstgeschichte als Geistesgeschichte from his impenetrable German into small parts of the text into English and spending the fall there and going to more galleries and meeting more people not too many more people and wondering what to do next. Particularly concerned about our friends in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, so what we did was to spend Christmas vacation the Christmas holidays in Zurich with Alice Lewisohn Crowley, my aunt's very close friend there, and planned the next steps. Well, the next steps were for me to go back to Hungary, Austria, and Czechoslovakia, to make contact with friends in those cities, to see what their condition was, and to see what help we could offer in view of the terribly anxious, anti-Semitic program of the Nazis in Austria, which I did. I went back through the North of Italy, to Milan and Venice, and then into Vienna and Budapest, and then back to Prague. On the way, I took some invitations or names from Marga Barr to stop in and meet the Ghriringhellis of the avant-garde, Italian gallery, Il Milione in Milan, and got to know some of the people some of the activities of that gallery there, that were a part of the Italian relation to between Futurism and Cubism among the second generation of artists of Italy at that time, which included important people like Fontana, who turned out to be an Argentinian and got all of their literature and so on, and then went on to Venice and Budapest, and so on, delivering getting messages to take out to their relatives in the United States and delivering making contact with where possible with the consuls, so that they could get papers through applications for visas to get out and delivering a couple of affidavits for people that we could afford to take care of, and then back to Prague. Well, those last months in Prague I got back to Prague, I think, in late January or early February I think the situation had been completely turned upside down, and I wrote a long article for The New York Times called "Post-Munich Conditions in Czechoslovakia," which Jewell also published the following August, after I had gotten the Fogg Fellowship, but which I had not known had gotten out of the country and was mailed the night before the Germans moved in to take over the whole country. I posted it for the airplane that would leave that following morning, and I had no idea whether that had gotten out or not, and the article didn't say very nice things about the Germans. So, I was a little worried, and in the meantime, I spent the last evening in the meantime, made contact with the director of the Modern Gallery and his wife, who eventually saved the Jewish cemetery in Prague and lived through it, God knows how. The German occupation and the Russian liberation and then, when I saw them again it was a free country, but this was before the Russian Communist take over in '48, for which Philoine Hillman, the daughter of Sidney Hillman, had married a foreign service officer and was posted to Prague, he being the labor attaché of the American Embassy, who had to face this whole changeover in the post-war period, and thereby hangs a tale that's incredible. And I just learned about that from Philoine after well, a year or so ago, when she told me about what happened there when they were there in the US Embassy. But, in any case, what I did was to get out of Prague as fast as I could with messages. I really didn't know whether they would be waiting for me in the hotel the next day, and so I went up to the after the first night of the occupation, where I went back to see Hoffmeister he had an apartment in the center of town and he was an avant gardiest with a marvelous collection of African sculpture. He was one of the officers of the Maner Society and I ‘ve heard there were complications for him afterwards, and it seems was a question of really where he stood. Some said that he sold out to the Russians and some said that he really was a hero, and the latest information I've gotten from the Czechs that I've seen since, really in the last year, was that he was a hero, but badly maligned and taken advantage of and all of that. But, in any case, we didn't get anything done so far as art education for Czech workers was concerned, and that night the night the Nazis came in I was up there in his apartment, looking over the central square in Prague, when the police, which had been taken over by the Gestapo, were put on horses the mounted police were covering all areas of possible resistance and escape, and the city was just in a complete confusion because thousands of people just did not know what their next day would bring. There was an exodus towards the Wilson Station to get on the last train out to {Paris, and packages on the roof and everything else on the noon train, and it never left. I got on a local train the day after and went to Pilsen no went to the border the new border and was thrown off the train by the German guard at this particular time and said, "You can't go." So the roads were absolutely choked with German material and armaments and I had a ten-mile ride on a motorcycle from the border station back to Pilsen and well, this is all sort of non-art stuff, but there was no place to stay, and I finally talked the hotel where the German Luftwaffe Officers staff and the Luftwaffe had come in. The Luftwaffe didn't come in the first day because it was so overcast, but they did come in en masse after that and the officers took over the main hotel in Pilsen and they had no room. I finally talked the staff commandament into let me occupy one of the bathrooms. But he wouldn't give me a pass to leave the country until I had permission from the American Embassy in praue. So I went back to Prague when the Embass, unaware what this meant, did give me a letter of non objection, which satisfied the German commander who said try your luck at the boarder. I took the next local train that day and told the boarder guard in German that I had a sick relative in Paris ( my aunt was still tere ). He let me go through, I think because I spoke in perfectly good German, thinking I was an Auslander Drutder, no doubt. I returned to the U.S. lat that Monday on the SS Normandie, anxious to spread the news of the Nazi juggurnaut against Central Europe and the western nations in gerneral. In Paris, I made last rounds to the galleries, saw Paul Rosenblum, Meric Callery and ithers all trying to be potomistic but ewere morose. End of side two, tape three Tape four, side one September 12, 1989

FO: We're starting what? Back in the U.S. around September '39 the fall of '39?

SC: That's right. No, actually the summer of '39, because the Fogg Museum Fellowship was awarded about the first of June and before going back to Europe with some three hundred letters of introduction from Paul Sachs to visit collections that I had already seen, but others that the Barrs had told me about these fledgling collections of modern art that had been put together by the avant garde collectors in such places as Paul Guillaume in Paris, the Baroness Goldschmidt-Rothschild, the Prince Regent Paul of Yugoslovia, and of course, the material that had been put together from the earlier days in Paris by Schukin and in Moscow and in Leningrad, which had become, I think, the Museum of New Western Art. This tour called for visiting all of these places Grenoble was one of the places where André Farci was the director of the museum, which had been a leader among the Europeans, and particularly the French, in getting works by Chagall and so on. I was supposed to go through these collections, but Alfred felt that I should learn more about modern art than I knew at that time, and so he sat me down in the Circulating Exhibitions Department under Elodie Courter, this new department that had been set up by in the new museum to learn something about modern art, as he put it, and this was early in June. The Museum of Modern Art [building] was brand new. I walked through the building before it was opened, when there were boards and cement dust all over the place, being taken around by Marga Barr, being eagerly interested and she slapping me down, saying, "Don't be so conscientious." That sort of characteristic expressions of hers. When people became too eager, or were not quite following the track. "Yu jolly well have to know why when you say its beautiful!" In any case, we went through and I stayed there until war was declared by England against Germany, because of its invasion of Poland, following the Nazi-Soviet pact, so I had to wait some more. It was a question of whether this would be over pretty soon, and it went on, and finally it was decided it was going to go on and at this point, well, before this point actually, events took place in the Museum of Modern Art that shocked everybody. They had been written up more recently in [Alice] Marquis' book on Alfred H. Barr, Jr. in the unfortunate context of his being a preacher of modernism. All the chapter organizations are turning him into a kind of a religious zealot. In any case, the book is really quite interesting and filling out of many details of personalities that I had to do with, at that time, and subsequently, and it rounds out my perspective. I think it is worth reading but only after knowing the factual background and allowing for the overall personal refractive aspect of its focusing and of its projection of the personality of Barr in the framework of its sensationalist perspective ( See Art Journal review by Helen M. Franc, Fall 1990, pg 325-29, "Alfred Barr at the Modern."_. But in any case, everyone was off doing their jobs for the following exhibitions that summer, and Nelson Rockefeller had become president suddenly and I have to put in something there, because he was very young at that time and immediately decided that there were things that were being done there from a buisiness administrative point of view and maybe by others,by people de didn't like and he brought in a team of efficiency experts, while everyone was abroad, and fired a number of people. And the telegrams came through when everyone in command at that point was absent, and one of the people who went, I think, was Tom Mabry, the assistant director to Alfred and other people, I think Jere Abbott, at that time. Also John McAndrew, the curator of architecture, who eventually went, and one was wondering whether everybody would be. No one paid any attention to me, as sort of a visiting, temporary person and I went on working in the travellingexhibitions department with Elodie Courter that summer until another of Nelson's interests came to the fore very presciently, I think, in terms of what was happening in Europe the gathering storms of war and the alignment of Italy with the axis and the question of what to do at the time of the incapableness, it seemed, of the allies of the Triple Entente England and France to do anything about this rolling juggernaut of Hitler and he, Rockefeller seeing the consequences to America and his own familty interest in the Western Hemisphere, I think, at that point, decided to make adventures in the direction of cementing friendship between the United States and the whole Latin American world. The first part of this was the planning of a major exhibition of Mexican art at the Museum of Modern Art, which became within a very few months after that, the rather breakthrough show as far as the whole of art in Latin America being shown and accepted in the United States was concerned. It was the "Twenty Centuries of Mexican Art" exhibition that had its start from a Mexican exhibition planned for Paris also stalled by the War ( thanks to John McAndrew's contact with Diego Rivera ) he put it to the museum as it's president as their very immediate next project for a major international show. Maybe it was really the first international exhibition they'd ever had, after the one they had sent to Paris in 1938. In any case, a Mexican orgnizing team team of scholars was formed under Monroe Wheeler, who at that time, I think, had become director of publications, and he went to Mexico, established a temporary residence there, and made negotiations with leading figures of the Mexican intellectual and historical and anthropological worlds, as well as the artistic, to prepare a catalog under this title, "Twenty Centuries of Mexican Art," which would have pre-Columbian, Colonial, Nineteenth-Century and Modern sections, and because I didn't know where to go from the museum couldn't go back to Europe it was sort of suggested, maybe by John McAndrew, who qalso urged me personally to go to Mexico instead. And so, after some hesitation but without objection, or enthusiam from Harvard, I went made my plans to go to Mexico on Harvard's approval. I was put into the Harvard administrative structure at Dumbarton Oaks, where Jack Thatcher was the general director of the Byzantine and the still, I think, evolving Pre-Columbian studies at that time. Long before Philip Johnson built his museum there, and so it was rather they not knowing what else to do an acquiescence in my going to Mexico to study the history of modern Mexican art, which I did and in December of that year, went down by freighter from New Orleans to the port of Tampico, and in December flew up to Mexico City and found myself in the midst of one of the most interesting centers of North American interest in the culture of post-revolutionary Mexico, the art of the mural movement, the growing general interest in folk art, the colorful personalities of Frieda Kahlo, of Peggy Riley, who was from Philadelphia, and married to Lou Riley at that time, from Acapulco, a North American, and the whole welter of people of a very picturesque, international kind that was coming down from the United States and represented what was indeed, I feel, a love affair that had begun to develop as a result of the post-revolutionary development of the arts in that country. Among the people there were Rosa Rolando, a dancer from Brooklyn who had married Miguel Covarrubias, Nick Muray, the photographer at Conde Nast Publications and very visibly, but modestly, the vivid personality of Miguel Covarrubias, who had come to New York in the twenties and become a very noticed, very important figure in the New York circle of society and the arts, through his marvelous cartoons of celebrities. One of the most famous of which were the impossible interviews, in which he drew caricatures of the Prince of Wales sitting down to tea with Al Capone and a marvelous set of these. He did a wonderful, panoramic view of the third inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, with everyone in these most penetrating kind of caricatures of the leading personalities everybody from ambassadors and congressman to socialites and so on. He was a brilliant genius for penetrating the personal characteristics of all people. In any case, I found myself in that beginning work on the Mexican modern mural movement, and being a member of the Museum of Modern Art group, so to speak, I was introduced to everybody, and Monroe Wheeler soon asked me to help him with the Museum of Modern Art's exhibition, so I became his assistant as a kind of amanuensis and factotum to help bring people together and particularly to help in developing materials for the catalog of that show, which became kind of a classic, a forerunner of two generations of American exhibitionsof Latin American art. And at the same time, I worked as assistant or side by side with Miguel Covarrubias, who was put in charge of the whole section on modern art.

FO: Can you say a bit more about Covarrubias? About all of his years with the three great muralists. He was a muralist, also, if I remember.

SC: Definitely a muralist. And at that time, he had just finished a mural for the San Francisco World's Fair called the cultures "The Indigenous People of the Americas and the Flora and Fauna of the Americas anf the Pacific Areas," if I remember, for the so-called Treasure Island part of the Exposition in San Francisco, which was now over, and the murals were brought to New York and placed in the Seventy-Seventh Street entrance of the American Museum of Natural History and were magnificent panoramas in his particular coloristic tache-work style of precision representation without literalness of any kind an imaginative progression of both the spirit and the appearance of every one of these people and thei natural evironment of details of Eskimos to Patagonians of whales to plankton, in this vast panorama of the Pacific cultures. They were to me, absolutely dazzling, and he was a very vivid person in himself. He was a giggly, short, heavy-set, pompadoured face head who was constantly characterizing whatever went on around him, but sharp as he could possibly be in determining what was the intrinsic character, even in talking about the works of contemporary Mexican painters and sculptors. And he was an excellent objective writer. He could summarize things the way he did in his drawings and put them into a form that was immediately recognizable, in terms of what they were and they did, almost, so sitting down to lunch with him, he would sit down at a table and would draw caricatures of the people who had just sat down with him, and they would be devastating in some cases. I remember one of Roberto Montenegro, who was rather a very self-conscious, upper-class Mexican who was an artist and one of the foremost artists of the indigenous movement back in the teens, during the early part of the Revolution, but he looked sort of like a turtle because of his chin wattles. Covarrubias secretly drew a caricature of him as we sat down at the table in the Majestic Hotel, overlooking the great cathedral in the square of Mexico City. I said, "Let me have that." I took it and he grabbed it back again and tore it up and would never let Montenegro see it. [laughter] So, he was full of this sort of thing acute in his perceptions, in his language, and in his writing.

FO: His murals from the Fair you said they were sent to the Museum of Natural History. Are they still there?

SC: Who knows? I had, when I came back after this time in Mexico, as a member of the Coordinator's office, to find a place for them, because now this was past and they had to put something else in there that was more appropriate to the war. I can't remember at this moment whether they are there or not. I think they are in storage somewhere.

FO: They are probably in storage at the museum. That's fascinating, because Rivera had his enormous mural at the same fair, which was put in storage for years and not brought out until the sixties.

SC: That's correct. And they are now in a very good situation in the San Francisco College, in the auditorium there. In very good shape. But where the Covarrubiases are, I don't know. It would be terribly good to get them back.

FO: Well, that's something to research. That and the Tamayo up at Smith College are beginning to get a focus on a number of Mexican murals that are not in the "canon," as it was. Especially here, in this country.

SC: Well, that's true. That would be wonderful to see happen.

FO: Anything that big is not thrown away. They have simply put it in the attic. You'll get it.

SC: Good. [laughter]

FO: So, where do we go from here now? You are organizing this exhibit for MoMA and you return to New York in the fall of 1940. What happened to you apparently had a book completed what happened to that?

SC: Disaster. I was working on this fellowship diligently, as the contract says, and put efforts into a sweeping encyclopedic review of the works of Mexican art, with its backgrounds in the nineteenth century from 1920 through to 1940, in which was the time of our being there, so I went to work, first of all, on the murals and did detailed measurements of the murals and sketches, but mostly descriptive, written details and measurements of every mural that I could find, including those that were going up at that time. What was being done in Guadalajara was the great mural program of El Hoskicio Cabanas those three major ones he was just finishing those and moving on to . . . .

FO: We're talking about José Clemente Orozco?

SC: Yes. Just been finished. John McAndrew said, "The paint is hardly dry." Actually, McAndrew was one of my real mentors in this Mexican trip. He was the person who really opened my eyes to the vividness of Mexican color and the originality of its art form the colonial period, more than in the contemporary period he was a little bit off contemporary. I remember him seeing the murals at Cuernavaca and looking at the Spanish soldiers, clamoring over the trees into the across the ravine to conquer the town, and he would say, "Oh, those slippers that those Rivera soldiers are wearing are just like breakfast rolls." He had this Renaissance background in him with a sense of the integrity of form that came from Italy, rather than Mexico. But he was immensely illuminating, vivid and opening of the eyes to the contrasts within the Mexican culture, even particularly the contemporary culture. And then there was Edgar Kaufmann, who just recently died. The curator of industrial design at the Museum of Modern Art. And the patron of Frank Lloyd Wright, who offered the FallingWater house in Pittsburgh to the national patrimony, historic monuments, and so on. He became a key to my perception of what was not only the quality aesthetic quality of Mexican art, but also of art, in general, because he had a very, very good eye for the folk art of Mexico, as well as the industrial design art of our time, which is quite remarkable, and he would see things qualities in Virgin of Guadalupe votive painting in remote, a little chapels that would reveal their particular Mexican quality in them aesthetically. So these were two people who were very important to my researches in all of these directions, but I got into through Rivera into the work of people like Juan O'Gorman, who was an architect and who was really the beginning of the modern movement in architecture with the 1932 Narcisco Bassols education ministry, which built all of the primary schools, the renovations of the primary schools through Mexico, following the Vasconcelas plan in modern form. All reinforced concrete and not very permanent in terms of their longevity, but in any case, I went from there to folk art to the indingenious dances, through the folk art sources Indian and Mestizo that were very much at the forefront, by making tables of the location of these things, as well as travelling to the mural sights of Rivera and Siqueiros. Among the Siqueiros ones that were being done at that time, were the Sindicato de Electricistas, one of the most revolutionary ones in keeping with the Popular front spirit to bring together and confront opposition to the fascist sympathizers within the American world, as he defined and projected them, the collaborators of the fascist rampage over Europe by Hitler and Mussolini. He had just come from being a colonel in the Spanish Republican Army as a Communist who had come over, back to Mexico, to carry this cause on. With him, or at the same time, not with him, Mexico had become a very interesting place as a center for the intellectuals of the refugee Spanish, because the Spanish Republic had fallen in 1939 with the fall t the University of Madrid, its last holdout enclave

FO: '39, right?

SC: '39. Yes. Excuse me. And after that very important Spanish as well as other European intellectuals had come to Mexico. From Spain had come José Bergamih, who founded Espana Peregruna, also the writer, Valle Inclan others, and in Mexico they continued in the literary branch of their particular world that had been left behind in Spain and it was strongest in Mexico because they got more of the brilliant people to enter there. They were not allowed in the United States very few of them made it here, except through the Museum of Modern Art Film Librrary and although some got to South America and Chile and Venezuela and Argentina, Mexico really was the main centerof this exodus of this. They, together with the Americans, who had come down people like Leighton, who was a dealer, very interested in the Mexican movement and others Ben Graver of NBC, who knew Covarrubiasand the ones who came down with the Museum of Modern Art Edgar Kaufmann, the Times critic, Alice Louchherm, the film maker Janice Loeb, many other people from the New York field, but also from the California and the Middle West had come down. One of the earliest ones was Caroline Durrier from New Orleans, a member of the social scene group of painters in that sector of the country, whom I came into contact with afterwards, along with the Rileys, but in another segment of this story, and then there was Pablo O'Higgins, who became a Mexican muralist, and then the Rivera camp more or less, I think, and of course, in the museum field was Grace McCann Morley, director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, who was the museum person from the North American people outside of the Museum of Modern Art who took the greatest interest in the whole evolution of modern art within the Latin American world. She was one of the first collectors of an across-the-board kind, to know the quality, of what was going on in Mexico and South America, having bought one of the greatest of the cubist painters of that time, Emilio Petoarutti. Alas, it was recently deaccessioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and immediately bought up by one of the collectors in Buenos Aires, thereby depriving us of one of the cornerstones of our collections in this area in the museum field. So, that was pretty much the ambience of Mexico at that time. By the fall of 1940, I had rounded off my work for Harvard to the point where I felt that I could put it together in a general draft of a history, which I did. The remainder of that fall from about November late November to December and submitted it. By this time this was 1940 things were very murky on the international front, so far as the war was concerned, and Nelson Rockefeller had become the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, actually called Coordinator of Commercial and Cultural Relations between the American Republics, by President Roosevelt, and had moved to Washington and resigned as president of the Museum of Modern Art. Here I want to go back to the presidency a bit, at the beginning, because of something that I learned quite recently. I went back to New Canaan, where my family was, and started to work on the book and submitted it. I've just unearthed parts of it, and it went to Harvard and I didn't hear for some time, and then I heard from Alfred who was watching it, because it didn't come back, that they couldn't find all of it. It was in an incomplete state and I had to finish it properly in long time, but I never got it all back. And then the war came.

FO: Did you have copies?

SC: I did not have copies of the major parts of it. Of some major parts. I have copies of some of it. Enormous volume of photographs of all the murals.

FO: You've lost all of that?

SC: No, I have that. Because I was in the fortunate position at that time, being assistant to Monroe Wheeler, where they were taking photographs for the Museum of Modern Art all over the landscape of Mexico colonial, pre-Columbian, everything they had three or four photographers going, and I got all of the refuse. Or, I should say, those who were not needed for the catalog.

FO: Let's backtrack a bit. You mentioned several interesting people like Edgar Kaufmann. Kaufmann is notable you've indicated his interests in Mexico, but he probably is the first American businessman to commission a major mural cycle of this country, even before the New School commissions.

SC: That's his father, in Pittsburgh, under Edgar's I think influence, I guess.

FO: So then Boardman Robinson's murals in the Kaufmann department store is a . . . .

SC: That's right. A very social scene subject matter.

FO: Yes. And quite handsome, also. I got to see them. They were all, of course, in a department store, which is gone. A number of them are reinstalled in a hotel complex across the river from Pittsburgh now. They are quite interesting.

SC: In a hotel complex?

FO: Yes. They were all saved and the best of them are on view. Their local what do you call it preservation organization did that. And Grace McCann Morley can you say a bit more about her? She was active in this country, also. She bought the first Pollock for a West Coast collection a few years later.

SC: I didn't know that.

FO: She bought, I think it was, "Guardians of the Secret" for the San Francisco Museum in 1945.

SC: Well, she was a most remarkable woman. I knew her quite well, primarily because of this Latin American program of the Museum of Modern Art, because she was called in by Nelson Rockefeller's committee on art, which was established at the Museum of Modern Art under the chairmanship of John E. Abbott, who had become, in Alfred's absence as director of the museum, he had been at this particular time, shortly after the Mexican show, been relieved of his directorship and put in charge of the collection and he Abbott was running the whole show at the Museum of Modern Art, without anybody really ever knowing what he did. There was a great deal of confusion about that, so he formed a committee I'm sure with Alfred's and Rene's, perhaps, advice, that included Grace L. McCann Morley. She was sent to South America to help plan the first work the first exhibition of that committee that the coordinator wanted to get going as fast as possible. So she visited all the countries and made preliminary diplomatic arrangements, but she had already established her career and her leadership in San Francisco in the Civic Center Museum, with an interest in that direction, which probably followed an interest in social scene and other aspects of American art. She was extraordinarily precise, demanding, accurate, with great intellectual probity, and at the same time, enormously productive in terms of her exhibition programs and her writings as a museum person, to educate the San Francisco and the Pacific Coast country in things outside of their own area, while maintaining the eminence of the area, particularly in well, she was alive with music, people, the French composer in residence there at Mills College I've forgotten his name at the moment . . . .

FO: Darius Milhaud.

SC: Milhaud is right. That's correct. So, she came back this is jumping ahead a little bit was said that it's possible to send an exhibition of American art down there and recommended where it should go and how it should be done, as an advisor consultant to that advisory committee and . . . .

FO: Was this the beginnings of the International Council?

SC: Definitely. I don't think it was her idea. I think the seed was planted in Nelson's mind. Maybe it was already there. Perhaps cultivated, but I'm not sure, by Rene d'Harnoncourt, who had been in Mexico, and I think, whether he had met the Rockefellers at this time or not, I don't know, but his connections in Mexico were through Ambassador Morrow and his wife, whom he was a great good friend and helper in their controversy with Diego Rivera over the Cuernavaco mural. And when he came back and got into Washington circles this was before, actually Nelson had gone to Washington and before the Rockefellers had become deeply involved in the Washington scene. I think that is primarily through Roosevelt and Roosevelt's sagacity and perspective in seeing the interests of the Rockefellers in the Latin American world from economic point of view and making him the leader of our best foot forward, from both points of view in this part of the world, which Roosevelt had seen were going to be enormously important from the view of political and geo-strategic points of view of the oncoming onslaught of the axis.

FO: Let's go back a bit. You wanted to talk about Rockefeller's presidency of MoMA. Why don't we get that in at this point, while we are talking about Rockefeller. You were talking about his efficiency program and firing everyone. What else did he do there?

SC: Well, he took over. Now, I understand that we have a chance to review this and it will not be necessarily made public unless I give the word before a certain time. Is that correct?

FO: Yes.

SC: Nelson became, at a very young age, president, and I have to say that I was not in his was not known to him at all I was just a kid at that time, and this is all second hand, and maybe third hand. But there was a good deal of talk and has been ever since, about his role at the museum among the people who were there, although very discreet talk, I must say. And only recently have I learned what some of the feelings were at the time that Nelson took over. He was elected president in 1939 no, it was '40, I believe to succeed Conger Goodyear. Conger Goodyear was the president, brought in by the ladies Mrs. Rockefeller, Mrs. Sullivan, and Miss. Bliss to help them establish the museum and become a functioning museum and, I suppose, have a say in the selection of the board, as well as the appointment of a director. I've just recently met his nephew Conger Goodyear's nephew Tom Goodyear, who is the impresario not the impresario, but I think the chairman of the board of the Glimmerglass Opera Company at Cooperstown, which has been going about fifteen years in developing an absolutely marvelous summer opera program there, with a wonderful building and so on, and I got to know him under rather amusing circumstances. This is a really top professional organization with Paul Kellogg, as the real I think impresario as to the performances and the scheduling and so on. Actually, Eugene Thaw has become important there, and was important just very recently in getting Jonathan Miller to come up to do a Traviata, which I've just seen. Absolutely wonderful, even though it got a scurrilous review from Tim Page of The New York Times. Their attitude toward anything that comes outside of their personal ken, I think, is absolutely worth of being emblazoned upside down on the backside of the [inaudible] Memorial.

FO: I think we are much off our topic. [laughter]

SC: I don't know.

FO: What is all this information that you have gleaned from Conger Goodyear's son, was it?

SC: Nephew. Tom is an absolutely marvelous, immovable person of a frame, you might say, of Hitchcock in the old days or Sidney Greenstreet. This broad [makes gesture] and he came up to a reception in Syracuse, where they are sort of broadening their area of influence and support, which was a delightful reception at the home of Howard and Helen Boatwright, among our leading musical professionals, but everyone had to be brought into the outside room to the living room - where Tom was sitting there in lonely splendor, except at people who were brought to him like Picasso at the Petits Augustins you had to be brought to him, practically. Although Picasso was mobile. And there he was, seated in the chair, and I was asked to meet him and was offered a chair, which turned out to be three-corner chair, and Tom Goodyear has an enormous sense of humor and likes to poke fun and really sort of pointed fun at lots of people and I leaned back, roaring with laughter at something he had said, and went topsy-turvy backwards into a potted fern in the back of the room that I thought had absolutely destroyed a vase and everything else, and he roared with laughter, and this sort of rather broke the ice as far as we were concerned, and he invited me down to the old Goodyear mansion for one of the performances a year or so ago. We got to talking about the old days, and I wanted to know about his uncle, Conger Goodyear, and so he wrote me a letter afterwards, in which he said he talked about this casually as we were talking. He said, "My uncle really took a very jaundiced view of this whole situation of the transfer of power at the Museum of Modern Art." Well, it turned out that Nelson, at the dinner in which he had been elected president, and they were celebrating his inauguration, and Conger Goodyear was being given the thanks for all of the work that he had done to get it started, he was presented with a picture by Peto or was it Harnett? With a dollar bill on it. The symbolism was that here, Conger, Mr. Goodyear, is your reward for being president for these auspicious years of the formation of the Museum of Modern Art. I don't know whether it was the caliber of the painting, because he was a collector of enormously important Impressionist and Post-impressionist paintings and very conscious of this, and maybe had that considerable European point of view, but to give him this little Harnett with a dollar bill on it was an insult. He absolutely burned and didn't show it, and here's this young man, passing off something that is sort of a college boy, before all of these people kind of a kiss-off in his mind, and he went downstairs where his limousine was waiting and took his fist and he crashed it through the window, got in the car and was driven away.

FO: He crashed his fist through the window?

SC: It was an automobile window - his car that was aiting for him. That's according to Tom. I mean I don't know he didn't say he was wounded, but somehow he punched through the window. This is absolutely authentic, but this is something I don't want to have become a . . . .

FO: But it's hardly scandalous intelligence, Tod.

SC: Well, all right. Let's look at it in type.

FO: Yes. Well, it's typical of Nelson Rockefeller's way of doing things throughout his life.

SC: Well, as Daisy said once, "He's reckless." So, that doesn't detract from his . . . .

FO: Well, what else about his presidency at MoMA before we get on to his going to Washington what were some of the positive aspects of him?

SC: I never knew. I never came close to him at the Museum at that time except in the elevator. There was a certain aprehension. All I knew is I left when everyone was in a state of uncertainty and floating and no one really spoke out at all, and I often wondered what had happened to John McAndrew, because John McAndrew was in Mexico when I got there. He had given me introductions to a number of people that he knew, as well as recommended a hotel that I should go to, as a kid, not knowing anything about it and speaking only Czech I had not a word of Spanish, and I'd open my mouth and say, "Yes" or "No," and I'd say it in Czech, because I had just come from Prague and I had not a smidgeon of Spanish. So, anyhow, John was there with one of his close friends one of his boyfriends, undoubtedly, from Portland (where I was born), Oregon, whose family I had known about because my aunt had earlier established the first Montessori school in Portland, Oregon and through her knew the Portland scene a little bit, directly, and this was John Yeon, who is an architect from that part of the country, and I gather a very good architect and John McAndrew was the curator of architecture at the Museum of Modern Art, but I heard in later times that Nelson said McAndrew had to go, and what the story was there, I don't know, but McAndrew was a very articulate, bouyant scholar of strong likes and dislikes who was vivid and very revealing of qualities in his language, but I think that it was a question of style and manner that just didn't fit with Nelson's way, and I think he was one of those on the way out and may have been in Mexico because of that as well as for his research on Mexican earkly Colonial architecture. End of side one, tape four Tape four, side two

SC: Well, before I get to Mexico just before one of my surprises when I came to the Museum of Modern Art was the almost universal homosexuality of the staff, or at least the curatorial staff. No, maybe that's going too far, because it was a pretty big staff by the time they had hired the help needed for that building. One who wasn't a homosexual was Jimmy Ernst, who was the lowest of all the low in that staff, because he got a job as mailboy under the worst kind of pressure that anybody could have in a place like that, and was given absolutely no leeway in terms of his routines or his salary, despite the fact that he was the son of Max and that he had made it possible for them to all meet Max and his entourage at Ellis Island, when they all came, but once he had facilitated this comes out in Jimmy's book it's called A Not So Still Life but . . . .

FO: Were you chased by the curators, Tod?

SC: Oh, yes. Alan Porter was the queen, perhaps, at that museum at that point, and he was immensely sympathetic and kind and so on, but the trail led to his apartment, in which one evening after dinner, I think we sat down and looked at his pornographic collection and it was some collection. I really went through absolutely every aspect of it that he could think would be enticing to me. I remember some of the pictures today and well, he kept looking at me sympathetically and a bit inquiringly, but not giving himself away at all, until, after an hour or two, he decided it wasn't worth it, and so I parted unscathed, but friends at the same time. The homosexual world of the Museum of Modern Art was one of the great problems, trials, crises of my life. Havingknown nothing of this after prep school throughout Europe oh, wait a minute no Europe, there was a little bit of it, but not really that much. At least enough to let me know the facts until I got to New York and there was a constant envelopment in the talk, the allusions, the seducements of this world were everywhere at the Museum of Modern Art and my induction into this world, thanks to the Barrs, was a complete surprise and a psychic, as well as social problem. I almost left it. I spoke to Marga about this one day, and all she said was, "Why don't you become one? With career in mind," This sort of shocked . . . .

FO: What an odd psychological thing to say to anyone. It makes no sense.

SC: This I wouldn't have known and I probably don't know now what that means, but odd psychologically or sociologically?

FO: What I'm saying is for someone to tell a basically heterosexual male to become a homosexual is simply dumb, and she doesn't sound like a dumb woman on other levels.

SC: There's an aspect of this that might tie into it, and only later did I find out about it. When I was going through analysis myself, during graduate school, I noticed well, it was very clear I said that I was going through analysis, she found ot repellant that I should be going through anything like this, and I sort of felt that Alfred might have thaught the same about it as completely outside if not antithetical to or disruptive his world and then I got Andrew Ritchie as my boss in Yale, years after this, the same thing, but he said "outside fingers pryingninto one's personal mind." So the perspectives of that later generation were the same as my fathers still utterly resistant.

FO: Aside from the personal, social problems this cost you, do you feel the homosexual contingent at MoMA had an influence on the way MoMA operated?

SC: Yes.

FO: In what way?

SC: In a very positive way.

FO: Positive way?

SC: Positive. I think they were infinitely more acute than the straights that were running around in the art museum world. [laughter] Which I had had a dose of through the usual channels of academe. And this was enormously refreshing and enlightening, so I developed very quickly after the times of getting over immaturity in this, a great respect and admiration for this side of the human personality. Except when they formed into Mafias, which I learned about after. I mean, power Mafias, of which we have with us much. And I suppose always have had, but . . . .

FO: Was this an aspect of Nelson Rockefeller's distaste for some of the members of the staff?

SC: I guessed so. I had a very strong feeling that this was it. Up to a certain point, okay. Nelson was enormously liberal about other things. I mean, he understood how artists had to be different whether or not they were members of the Communist party, he couldn't do a damn thing about it. Among artist it didn't matter. Do you want me to go on with this a little bit?

FO: Yes. It's a part of art history.

SC: Well, not so much a part of art history, but the one thing . . . .

FO: Well, it's a part of the sociological background of art that is not often discussed.

SC: Well, the homosexual thing became really acute after I got to Mexico, because the group that I was introduced to by McAndrew was almost one hundred percent homosexual. The whole intellectual life of Mexico among the aggressive modernists not the social revolutionary types like Rivera or Orozco. Orozco was completely heterosexual. He would meet somebody whom I knew and she said he was just lusting for her.

FO: A woman?

SC: A woman. And well he might have, because she was one of the American company down there, who had problems with this. And Rivera, of course, was a classic, but enormously successful philanderer in every direction.

FO: Bisexual?

SC: This woman whom I knew, who talked about Orozco, said he probably was.

FO: Probably Rivera was bisexual?

SC: Yes. And this was not unusual in Mexico, because one of my very, very good, supportive friends in Mexico turned out to be bisexual an American dilettante architect and philanderer of the worst kind - having a field day in Mexico yet when you were alone with him, he'd make a pass. And this happened with one of my very close friends, whom I met before the War in New York and afterwards lived nearby to on Irving Place, as a result of a meeting through the Barrs and the Museum of Modern Art, was a great hero of World War II, a noncombatant, before our war-time hero. This was Varian Fry, the man who rescued many, many people from France through the underground that he established during the Vichy regime under the Vichy regime to get Frenz Werfel, Max Ernst, the Surrealists, Lam, so many out from under the Hitler terror, whom I earlier knew and was introduced to I think, as a way of getting him( or me ) away from Alfred, by Daisy.

FO: Getting you away from Alfred? Why would that be necessary?

SC: Well, I never knew. It was a suspicion that I had that she was a little afraid that Alfred could be tempted along the pederastical route. And one of the questions I asked in Mexico, without ever having resolved, but having absolutely no inkling that it would be anything different than what I felt wait a minute anything different than that he was not, was the fact that one of the homosexuals in the really upper tribe of this group that circled around an architectural firm there asked me, "Is it true the Alfred Barr is a homosexual?" They were terribly interested in all these Museum of Modern Art people coming down, and I said, "I think he is the only one who isn't." Anyhow, my neighbor and friend Varian had an enormously difficult time after he got back from Europe, and we actually courted the same girl. He won out, but before that had terrible problems of sustaining his manhood which he tried by reading through salacious magazines, by going to nudist camps, and talking about it all the time. But he had been,under the worst strain of anyone, over a whole year working for the International Rescue Committee in France, but the funny thing that I've never been able to figure out is when I first brought him up to New Canaan, he became terribly good friends with my father and remained a friend for his life, to the point where they took over his dogs. Anyhow, that's not art.

FO: Yes. Let's get back to let's see, where were we? You were in Mexico working on this exhibit in 1941 and then you what happens after that? When was the exhibit?

SC: Well, the exhibit took place in I think it was May, 1940 when Stephen Clark, Nelson's successor became president of the Museum of Modern Art and just at the time, or just before the time, when Alfred Barr got into trouble with Stephen Clark over the far-out aspects of his Surrealist art collecting, when he bought the Oppenheim fur-lined teacup and wanted to buy the Coca Cola bottle-top shoeshine stand that offended the more conservative trustees. Thre was also a painting by [Morris] Hirshfeld that he didn't, I think, show right away. I don't know whether it's still in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art of a Pullman car sleeping car showing the interior of one of sleeping car compartments, with red velvet curtains, spread wide open with a nude woman standing on the bed, which Alfred was immensely amused by and delighted showing to visitors and called " The Sleeping-car Madonna." [laughter] But this was part of the group of things that made Stephen Clark and people like Philip Goodwin see red [telephone interruption] this is further gone into, more than I knew at the time, by Alice Marquis in the book on Alfred Barr. I got into it in some extent because at this time, my wife, Mimi Gratzinger Catlin, the Austrian girl that I married after her family came over here, became employed at the Museum of Modern Art in the department of painting and sculpture and before and after the war she worked for Alfred. She was asked to pose for the enormous photograph that came out in The Daily News, which raised the hackles of the Board and Alfred was put out and put down or put out, he was made head of collections and there's a good deal of that that I think has come from people like well, people on the staff at that time who are good authorities. One particularly remebers the woman that Alfred and Daisy introduced me to immediately after I got back from Prague and befoer I got the Fogg fellowship at Harvard. That's Helen Franc, who has been with the Museum of Modern Art for so long and is probably more of a mine of information on the whole thing than anybody I know. So, back to New York. I don't know whether you want more about this whole circle in Mexico or not, but I think it's something . . . .

FO: Yes. We will probably touch on that as we go along. Now, you have a thought here about Waldo Frank's commission to provide the catalog introduction to your show?

SC: Right.

FO: And it was rejected by Abbott from his New York hospital bed. What was that all about?

SC: Well, Grace Morley came back we left the Museum of Modern Art and its South American program and the Mexican program with Grace Morley. When she came back, the signals were to go ahead with the Latin American show that was under consideration by Nelson Rockefeller as the first of his big efforts in the cultural realm from the art point of view, and John E. Abbott, MoMA executive vice president, was chairman of his committee. He had founded the Museum of Modern Art's film library with his wife, Iris Berry, a short time before, with great success. He was a Wall Street person with a good deal of financial acumen. Nelson, as president, put him in charge of the fiscal operations of the museum and so his office was on the fourth floor, far end, toward the church, and I was brought in as secretary to that committee. Apparently I had made a good impression with Monroe. I was put in charge of this, coordinating of the old program of doing that exhibition, which was a factotum secretarial, telephone scheduling kind of job right in the area where Bunuel and the refugees had been coming over from Europe, from Spain and from Hitler, to help reinforce the growth and the stature of the Museum of Modern Art film library. So I was right next to Abbott and Frances Hawkins, who was his executive secretary and Frances Keech. We were all right there, and we put together the program of the circulation of this exhibition to South America, and we were so naive at that particular time we had no conception of what the size of South America was some still are. I guess most of us were then. And so, the idea was to get three people to get three exhibitions together. One to the Pacific Coast, one to the East Coast, and one to the Caribbean, and the material would be drawn from the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney, the Brooklyn and the Metropolitan the cream of American material of the social scene school, which was the uppermost thing in the United States, but not uppermost in the minds of people who were necessarily in the Museum of Modern Art. But, because this was winning friends with Americans to the South of us, through our particular way of doing things as Americans, we didn't want to do Europeans. This is the way I sort of figure what the strategy was here, and particularly with Lincoln Kirstein's help, who was very much interested in the our American thing. Lincoln Kirstein was Stettheimer, LaChaise . . . .

FO: Nadelman.

SC: Nadelman. I suppose very much at that time, Virgil Thomson, even though and Aaron Copland and even though very much tutelaged by Nadia Boulanger of Paris, and these people, there was a strong feeling, both politically I think, and artistically, in this country within the New York school as to the importance of continuing with this, as a side-by-side effort to make Americans more aware of what was going on in Europe. So, there's sort of dichotomy there, and this was the theme of the exhibition that was organized from these collections, and so the committee to do that exhibition was the director of all of these museums, for which I was secretary.

FO: So you had some contact with Juliana Force, for instance?

SC: Oh, indeed.

FO: Now there's a formidable lady.

SC: Now, I had given all of this to Avis Berman.

FO: Yes. Her book will be published . . . .

SC: Sometime soon.

FO: Soon. Yes. I have a question about Juliana Force, in terms of the Benton murals in the Whitney Museum on Eighth Street. Do you remember them?

SC: What were they of?

FO: Thomas Hart Benton's murals in the library at the Whitney Museum on Eighth Street.

SC: Downstairs?

FO: They were in the library of the Whitney Museum.

SC: That's downstairs, wasn't it?

FO: This is Eighth Street.

SC: I know.

FO: I don't know where the library was.

SC: I think it was downstairs.

FO: Because I have never been able to find a picture of those murals in place.

SC: I've never seen them that I can remember.

FO: Okay. How someone can install such important murals and not take a photograph of the installation is beyond me.

SC: Avis doesn't know?

FO: No. She was the first one I asked.

SC: Well, I'll ask her nephew, who is one of my oldest friends Allan Rieder, who lives uptown and who has got some things that you might be interested in seeing sometime. I'll ask him when I see him. I should see him soon.

FO: Okay. So, you have put the show together. How did you get it to Latin America?

SC: Well, I didn't put it together. It was put together by Helen Appleton Read, and the catalog was written by her, but the introduction was written by Waldo Frank. I really didn't read it. It was submitted to Abbott, who was in the hospital up there, like Joseph Cotten one of those Joseph Cotten's movie with a sidekick of "Citizen Kane" Orson Welles remember "Citizen Kane," the movie? Joseph Cotten played in that as Orson . . . .

FO: What in the world is the point?

SC: Well, it was just to establish the situation where I had to go with Waldo Frank to be told by Abbott, sitting in that high tower, that it wasn't wanted.

FO: In the hospital? Okay.

SC: I'm just being fulsome. I'm sorry. [laughter]

FO: But you don't know why it wasn't wanted?

SC: I didn't read it, but I'm sure but it was too leftwing.

FO: So there was a definite conservative approach to these matters?

SC: I'm very interested in finding that article to find out why it could be not wanted, but I'm sure, knowing Waldo Frank and some of the things that he was known for, and said, that it was criticizing the United States and they didn't want it at that time.

FO: Yes.

SC: The colossus of the North, because he was very critical, from a Latin point of view. One day I'll find it, and I'll see how strong or how mild it was. But I can see that at that particular time, they were not willing they were not anxious to raise old skeletons, you know? Or evenliving skeletons.

FO: So you went to Mexico again in June of '41 with the exhibit?

SC: That is right.

FO: At the ripe age of twenty-six.

SC: And there began an odyssey. First of all, they knew so little about Latin America, they said we'd send one exhibition to all centers some three hundred and fifty pictures. And I called up Pan American Airways to figure out how those would be with DC-3 planes going from place to place how we would manage to do this in the space of about nine months. Well, they worked with me for a while, but then they gave up. It was impossible. So then it was decided to split it into three exhibitions and appoint one person to take it to each of the three areas. So Caroline Durier, at Grace Morley's recommendation, was appointed to take it to Buenos Aires, Montevideo and Rio on the East Coast. Peggy and Lou Riley were appointed to take it to Bogota, Caracas, and Havana for the Caribbean area, and I was appointed to take it to Mexico, Santiago, Chile, Quito, Ecuador, and Lima, Peru on the West Coast. And that's what happened. And I went off before anybody to Mexico, because this was a very important country, and one of the biggest, and where, I suppose, the content was selected and I just can't go back both to echo the interests that we had in Mexican social painting scene along with its revolutionary mural painting, as well as to open their eyes as to what was going on in Europe, for which they were not prepared at this moment. That took another ten or twenty years.

FO: Now clarification here. Maybe I am mishearing, but didn't you say this was an exhibit of American art, or was it an exhibit that mixed American and European art?

SC: It was an exhibition of mixed American art, that is with Gorky, with Stuart Davis . . . .

FO: What do you mean by mixed American art?

SC: American that is grassroots and American that is French-influenced.

FO: Oh, okay. I see.

SC: Or European influenced.

FO: So, in other words, it was the confluence between abstractions and . . . .

SC: Yes.

FO: Okay.

SC: International style versus native style.

FO: Yes. Were artists like Benton and Wood . . . .

SC: Oh, yes. They were preponderant because one of the things that I feel was in the policy mind of the culture committee, although I never heard this it's postmortem that I am talking here, now was to get them - the Sout American continent - interested in their own cultures, more than European in the old-fashioned sense, because they were somewhat mired, we thought, in Impressionism and Art Nouveau and academic painting of the last century.

FO: This would not have been as true of Mexico as some of the other countries.

SC: Definitely not Mexico.

FO: Yes. But the others would still be back in the 1880's.

SC: Their museums still had a great deal of it and the spirit was here, and I had never read Morley's reports on this, or even whether there was any serious discussion of this. We really had the same idea that most Americans have today, that all Latin America is Mexican. She would have had some insights about this, and was well sent to do this and would have made an awfully good report.

FO: Where would Morley's reports be?

SC: In the files of the Museum of Modern Art, or the International Council. I doubt if they would be up in the Rockefeller Archives. Probably the International Council, because a very interesting thing happened after this event. It sprouted that seed in the Rockefellers mind, for an International Council, because I was asked by René d'Harnoncourt, after the war, to head the International Council, but was not invited when it came down to the final decision, because René said that he had conceived it in much too limited a way, that Nelson, when he heard the way he had planned it, blew up! "No way are you going to do it this way. It's going to be global." That's what I got from René. And he said, "Sorry, Tod. We can't hire you to do this." So, I went to Minneapolis and they appointed Porter McCray and I think that René had an enormous respect for Porter as a diplomat, an enormously patient and very intelligent person who was more suited to the kinds of things that they had in mind, even though I never saw a precis of it. Now, what René had in mind, in thinking of me. The only thing that I can say is that Nelson invited me back to Washington shortly after I went to Minneapolis to help him write the Foundation for the Arts Bill for Congress, which I turned down for personal reasons, which he probably understood but didn't like.

FO: We're getting quite a bit ahead of things.

SC: I know. But these things sort of trail back.

FO: So, let us go on to Mexico with the show.

SC: All right. Morley came back and was told, I guess, that I was sort of favored for the exhibitions' representative down the West Coast of South America. I think she knew Caroline Durier, probably. I don't know about the Riley's, but she tested me because I was really quite young, and took me out one evening to a hotel in New York and plied me with drink to see how I would act, and I was in need of a drink because I had just had a tooth pulled, and it was really hurting. [laughter] And so, "Would you like another?" And I said, "Sure." So I had another, and she said, "Does it hurt?" I said, "It's fine." She said, "Well, that takes character, doesn't it?" [laughter] So, I think I sold myself, and so she recommended me, and then I had some sessions with her as to how I should conduct myself. This time I didn't speak much more Spanish but was getting there. And she said, "It's very formal down there. Much less informal than it is up here." I said, "What should I wear?" she said, "You should take a tuxedo." I said, "A white tie and tails, too?" And she said, "Yes." She was right, except for the one occasion I had to use it. I didn't have to use it in Mexico, which is a "proletarian country" after all. So, off I went to Mexico on a DC-3 with the understanding that she had worked out, and it had been accepted and presumably backed up in our lively theoretical way of going about things diplomatically from Washington's point of view, that we would pay the cost of the exhibition to the port of entry, and the Mexicans, as good neighbors, would take up the costs of everything else until it left the port of entry or exit and this was the principle by which it was worked. We were all members of the Pan American Union and this is a cooperative venture and in the good republican spirit, this is the way things should operate. So, I went to Mexico and the materials from the Brooklyn, the Whitney, the Metropolitan and the MoMA arrived in the tropics of Veracruz, and stayed there, while I went about the job of getting the Mexican government through its ministry of education and its division Extra Escolar y Bellas Artes to give the order to have them come to Mexico City and to provide the funds in setting up the exhibition as it should be. In the meantime, I was supposed to help out by going to the Embassy to get the American colony to chip in to help the Mexican government to pay for it to build up a coffer, so it would take care of the labels, the lighting, the publicity and so on, and of course, the Mexicans, in my assigned department just having gotten over their war with the United States over the oil controversy just two years well, ten years before, by this time, but still hot and very much in this mood of the big neighbor next door, refused to do anything. So I went to the Embassy and what the Embassy did, promptly, was to send back a letter to the State Department, through its legal consul, whose name I can't remember, who was their FBI man, I believe, that this young guy Catlin is passing the hat, and this letter was written and directed in such a way that it would cross the desk of the Coordinator of Inter-America Affairs and when it got there, I . . . .

FO: Rockefeller?

SC: Rockefeller. Nelson immediately called Abbott at the Museum of Modern Art, and I was immediately called by Abbott in Mexico City, "What the hell is going on down here? You're making the boss furious?" Well, there was nothing I could do because the money was not forthcoming, and so I had to scrimp somewhere. We got the exhibition up. In the meantime I had gone to the American colony, to the president of the Southern Pacific Railroad, and asked him for some money and he wouldn't give me a cent. The Americans representative of the Southern Pacific and I must say that most of the ambassadors were the old school, and throughout Latin America, but thank God we had that wonderful man from South Carolina down at Mexico the Tarheel editor. What was his name? Josephus Daniels, was it? Wonderful editor. Roosevelt had employed him. He said, "Okay." But he turned it over to the legal attaché, and the legal attaché was in some sort of a skullduggery with a personal business down there or something, and he said, "The Mexican government has just passed a law that says that we can't do such-and-such, and if they get away with this, we are out of business." So I took it he was perfectly willing to go in there and bribe them. So I got a cold shoulder from him, except that the cold shoulder landed in Washington. Well, the exhibition went up. There was considerable publicity, but the lights were dim. I couldn't get lights. I couldn't even get bulbs that would be big enough that would fit in their sockets.

FO: Where was it installed?

SC: In the National Palace of Fine Arts.

FO: The Bellas Artes? And they didn't have museum lighting?

SC: Yes. The Rivera mural was up there, but these were in those big spaces downstairs. The ceilings were enormously high. The opening came the Foreign Minister was there and Diego, with his bad eyes, couldn't see anything. [laughter] Although he was a gentleman, of course, as always, and didn't say much, but he said, "We need to get some lights in here." Well, the word came down from Abbott, "What the hell is going on?" He said, "You go back to that chairman of the Southern Pacific Railroad," no, no something else came first. It came down to the Southern Pacific Railroad. He must have got hell himself. No help, and this old, grizzled railroad man said, "How much did the lights cost?" I said something like, "Twenty-five dollars." He got out of his pocket twenty-five dollars and gave it to me. He's on the hot seat, too, but he was only going to do what I said. So I said that I had gone back to Southern Pacific Railroad and only gotten twenty-five dollars, and Abbott wrote back, more furious than ever, "What do you mean going to a guy like that for twenty-five pesos? Why not twenty-five thousand dollars!" Live and learn. Well, I thought I was really going to get hoisted out of this, but I wasn't. Thank God the Mexicans had the decency and the sagacity, I think, to put one of their somewhat passé elder diplomats, but a very distinguished man, as my go-between, and he did everything that he could to help keep this thing on the road, and we finally got them out of the customs in Veracruz, who were wanting payola, and of course, we wouldn't pay.

FO: What did the Mexican critics think of the show? What kind of reaction did you get?

SC: Well, it was I can't remember specifically, now. I can only sort of reconstruct an attitude, which was equivocal.

FO: Well, how would they react to a Stuart Davis, for instance?

SC: Odd at that time. This was 1941. Manuel Avila Camacho was President. This was a time of adjusting between the strong left policies of Lázaro Cardenas and maintaining the hegemony of all parties and outside friendships at a nervous time where war was brewing, and upholding the Mexican Institutional Revolutionary Party, and so they didn't want to rock the boat, but they did not want to show too much favoritism to the United States and this is the way it's ever been.

FO: And the political legality. The art people there really couldn't see that a Davis and a Rivera were quite similar formally?

SC: No way.

FO: They simply didn't have the language and the experience.

SC: Of course their establishment was entirely toward . . . . End of side two, tape four Tape five, side one September 12, 1989

FO: Okay. We are on to Bogota and the West Coast of South America.

SC: What I'd like to do here is simply read my outline, the precis and then elaborate en route, if that's agreeable.

FO: Yes.

SC: From Mexico I went to Bogota, which was the first Caribbean country in which the art of North America, under the coordinator's office in the Museum of Modern Art, was sent on its Caribbean circuit, let's say. There was no particular event that I witnessed there that relates to my story, except that it was a stopping-off point to the deeper South American countries on the West Coast Santiago, Chile, Lima, Peru and Quito, Ecuador, and now I'll read this outline. I went to Santiago by a DC-3 over the Andes . . . .

FO: Excuse me. You have mentioned here taking Peggy Riley. Now, Mrs. Rosamund Bernier. Maybe we ought to get that on the record.

SC: All right.

FO: That's Mrs. John Russell, I take it?

SC: That is now Mrs. John Russell. Yes. I met Peggy Riley in Mexico and she was married to Louis Riley, where she was a very vivid, attractive, intelligent presence in the intellectual life of the inter-related American and Mexican community in the international set in Mexico City in 1939 - 40, and maybe a little after that, too. When she came to New York with her husband, she was nominated by the coordinator's committee to take the section with him of the Caribbean to those countries and we met there, again, and as I went to the South, they went on to Caracas and to Havana. We had one story that came out of that came to me indirectly, having to do with mis-exchanged labels on two full length figure paintings in the exhibition; one a nude by Isabel Bishop and the other a portrait a very dignified one by Eugene Specher of Katherine Cornell, one of the most famous actresses in New York at that time titled, In Her Best Role,'Candida' and it turned out that when this exhibition was shown in Caracas, these labels were switched and the Katherine Cornell came out as Bishop's nude labled as Katherine Cornell in her best role. [laughter] And this created a good deal of loud gossip in New York, I heard when I got back , with the comments from Katherine Cornell that she "loved it.". Whether it's true or not, I don't know, but this is very much in the spirit of irreverence of our times in Mexico and no doubt continued on to this show and later. In any case, I went on to Santiago, and as I said, we were flying in two- motor airplanes DC-3's at that time, and one of my greatest personal excitements and terrors was the fact that when we flew over the Andes, it had been long since the time of the Spanish Conquest of Mexico to be observed, that when any ship sailed over the equator, and maybe long before that, there was a general celebration, a charade in which Neptune and the sailors took parts as gods, the demigods of the sea. But the airplane industry continued this and whenever they flew over the equator, they flapped their wings, rang the bell in the cabin and dipped and dived and rose and one thought the world was coming to an end. {laughter] And this actually happened as we were going over the Andes, toward Quito, Ecuador, from Colombia, but it happened in a certain way. The airplane was a DC-3, and the Andes were very tall, and what they did was to crawl through the areas where there was a low pass and sort of get over the pass with about fifty feet to spare, and we were on our way over that pass, which I had never seen before, and the clouds closed in just as we were about to go over it. They were hoping to make it before the clouds closed in, but they couldn't make it, so they had to rack the airplane on its side and do a hairpin turnaround, gain higher altitude, and then they went over the pass, and after they got over the pass, they went over the equator. I thought really this was the end of the mission to South America. [laughter] Well, the pilots came out, leering their grins at all the terrified passengers, and we finally went on into landing at the next airport, which was terrifying enough, because it was also a very high mountainous area, surrounded by clouds very green in that part of the Andes and they had to work their way around to a point where the clouds were not coming in and they could see the landing strip and come down. Well, we did that without any difficulty, and then I stopped to prepare for the exhibition's return from Chile, because it was being sent from Mexico to Chile by sea, and then it would work its way up the coast to Peru and Ecuador, but on the way down I had to stop there, at each place, and prepare the way for myself and the actual shipment after Dr. Morley's previous trip several months earlier. So, I landed in Quito, stayed in this earthquake frequently-rocked town and was immediately invited to have dinner at the embassy with Ambassador Boaz Long and his wife with other guests one evening and I thought this would probably be the first opportunity having left Mexico to really try on my white tie and tails, being an embassy reception of a more formal South American kind. So I turned up in white tie and tails at this embassy at twelve thousand feet in the Andes, and was greeted in a ranch-like embassy of Ambassador Long and his wife, was shown into the parlor and then, eventually, into dinner. The writer John P. Marquand was there. Two other guests, whose names I can't remember, and we sat down to dinner and the ambassador put me on his left and there is the other he and the other members of the company were strictly in civilian clothes, let's say, and the conversation turned to comments upon the efforts of the coordinator of Inter-American Affairs' Office, sending down these bright young men from Harvard and Yale, telling the old hands who really knew what it was about, how they should run the affairs of the South American continent and American interests. So I sat through this just getting paler, or at least pinker than ever in my outstanding clothes until the ambassador turned to me and he said, "Mr. Catlin. We are talking very close to the ground." John Marquand and the other American guests there didn't wink or show any indicationthat they understood my embarrassment, but in any case the ambassador made his point. He was an old member of the American Archeological Society an archeologist in the old Southwestern American sense, and had really not much to do with the newfangled notions of the upper Ivy League classes that he was used to at parts of his career in the State Department, and was taking his revenge off on me. I was not particularly pleased with this, but I really was outnumbered and didn't know what to do. So I just sort of withstood the fire and we went on. Well, that was my experience in Quito. We set up a committee there I did and had a very sympathetic for a Secretary of the Embassy by the name of Griggss, his name was, and a terribly nice, helpful man, and I said, "Gee. You have to do this for the exhibition." And he said, "I really can't tell the ambassador to shit in his hat and and pull it over his ears." He was one of those well-schooled in the arts and the slang of embassies and when he was on safe ground, he would say such sort of things. I later met him in Paris, where he seemed quite a different, aloof personality. In any case, we went on. I went to Lima, did the same thing, and then to Santiago. Santiago getting there was something of an adventure, too, because there was a terrible Pacific storm. They called it temporal. A tornado or a typhoon that had come over the west coast of South America all the way down from Lima to Santiago, and the airplane couldn't get through it, so it had to turn back in mid-flight and then land on an emergency strip somewhere in the Andes. We spent the night in a disheveled farm village and finally got to Santiago, where the storm was abating, but it was an interesting landing, and got there and immediately checked in with the Embassy, where they were cordially waiting and interested and very happy that this was coming. So the exhibition was put on in the National Museum of Fine Arts and it seemed to have happened at a moment when a good many Americans were coming down for the inauguration or one of the first nights of Walt Disney's Saludos Amigos cartoon film. Motion pictures that had been commissioned by, I think, the coordinator's office, and were being used as a warmer-upper for American friendship throughout the continent. It was a very amusing and very good picture and, unbeknownst to me, the person in charge of this exhibition, they had scheduled an opening for their picture that day, one of the days after the exhibition's opening, and so I drove over. By this time Jock Whitney had gotten down to the Walt Disney event and some of his executives and congressmen and so on, had come down to see the show, and we all drove over in the car to have a look at it and the reception being held for the school children and everything for the Vernissage of Saludos Amigos and I said, "Gee. This is interesting. How come this happened?" He said, "It's all put up." In the car, I talked with Jock Whitney who said to me, "you don't know the wasys of et hworld yet." I thought it was a spontaneous response to the exhibition, but it was really the work of the publicity agents of Walt Disney, putting it on with the exhibition without my knowledge, but it was really the work of the publicity agents of Walt Disney, putting it on with the exhibition as a background to another North American publicity event.

FO: Which city was this in, now?

SC: Santiago. The capital of Chile. Well, the exhibition, to get back to art, was an enormous success. Again, the art was utterly unknown to the Chileans. They had never seen anything like social scene painting from the United States. They were used to the lyrical, late Art Nouveau, landscape-style of the fin-de-siecle before the Fauves in Paris, although there were a few lonely spirits like Lucho Vargas Rosas, who were carrying on a kind of primordial Surrealism and there were some fairly strong expressionist landscape painters Israel Roa some pretty direct stonecarvers like Roman, that echoed, reached, for some kind of native reality to which I think the social scene painting in the United States was properly and intelligently addressed to if, indeed, it had even been thought of in those terms. But they were still unused to it, and what they did have the greatest admiration for was the expertise, the technique, the command of watercolor on the part of the watercolor painters. There was about a third or a quarter of the exhibition that was devoted to watercolor and they really took to that. But, perhaps from a good relations point of view, rather than art relations, but indirectly so, one of the most interesting things happened on the whole event was the meeting of the artists the living artists in the two main camps of the Chilean art establishment in the highlands area of Santiago. That is, between the two main branches of the Cordiella the Andes that went down there. The sponsor of the exhibition was the University of Chile, Department of Fine Arts, which was run largely by the leader of the music faculty: an outstanding South American composer, by the name of Domingo Santa Cruz, and he was in charge, like many academic departments in this country, and museums in this country at that time and still, was in charge of the art school, and so most of the attention was given to the music. But the art school people were also a part of his regime, yet had developed an opposition movement that was related more to the National Museum and another part of the university, and so there were two camps. One against the Fine Arts Department and the other for the museum, and they lived in the same building, which made things a lot worse. Well, they had not spoken to each other in years, apparently. Their animosities had developed. When the American exhibition came down, they just consolidated, looked at it, became interested in it, listened to talk on the part of the representative, and suddenly, for the first time, joined together and gave the exhibition a celebration, united in one of their parks outside of the city, which all the artists came together and feted the representative, which was myself. So, for on the last day that I was there, they had put together this wonderful festival with a sheep roast, with guitarists, lady guitarists, and one hundred artists, sitting there having all their pictures taken all together at the same time with myself in the middle. It was a real breakthrough for that whole situation, and it had made its mark there because later I was invited back by the Chileans, which is a later part of the story. One of the other interesting parts of it was that when this began to take hold and the embassy people began to get very interested in its propaganda value and its friend-making value, a representation of the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee arrived in an airplane, with the members of his committee inspecting the use of the national treasury on the part of Mr. Rockefeller in doing these artistic things that were considered rather on the verge of boondoggling, if not completely so, and the chairman of that committee, a congressman by the name of Rabout from Michigan, who, I think, probably was the predecessor of another very tight-minded person on the budget today, if I remember his name. I remember the former one better than the present one very, very scrupulous about guarding the country's funds came to that exhibition, went to it, was offended by one of the nudes and a good many of the nude drawings the watercolors and paintings that did not seem fit to him as ideas of proper presentation of the American image. I was hauled into the embassy by the third secretary to say, "We want you to meet the representative of the House Appropriations Committee, who would like to ask you a few questions." Many questions were asked, and no questions were asked to be answered. I was sat down in front of him in one of the secretary's desks, where he took out the catalog and he went over it page by page to show me what he thought was improper in this exhibition and most of all was a nude not by Isabel Bishop I can't remember who it was in this case said that that should never have appeared in that exhibition carrying the American name around the South American continent. I contested his opinions all through this debate as to the logic of them and his correctness in considering that this was a matter of primary importance in evaluating the status and the quality of American art. He wouldn't listen to any of it. He simply thrust the catalog in my face before me and he said, "Sign this." I signed it and the interview was over and I didn't hear any more of it until the Appropriations Committee, the following year, in which the whole coordinator's officers and so on were brought before the committee to justify the expenditures of the coordinator over the previous year.

FO: So, there's ample precedent for Jesse Helms' current campaign about wickedness in art. [laughter]

SC: I think it's a continuous it is not what Preserved Smith said about Plato being the scarlet thread that runs through the gray annals of history from beginning to end. But it is something of that same consistency. I wasn't at the hearing. I wasn't invited to be there. They probably didn't have time to think of how they could defend themselves, but I did get the transcript of that inquiry and Wally Harrison was there and all the top brass of the coordinator's office, including Nelson, and when Mr. Rabout said, "Well now we come to the art of North America in Latin America," Nelson laughed and went back in his chair and said, "Here we go." Then the chairman interviewed him and other members of the committee on what the reason for this exhibition and what was in it and so on, and it got very tense and in the end, Nelson said, "Well, I guess we won't do this again." And that was the end of this program. The transcript is fascinating. I think it was the first appearance of Nelson Rockefeller before the House appropriations Committee, but it was the inevitable one, and the issue was there was, I think, no overt official declaration of the success of this exhibition, but I think you could read behind the lines and I think it was in everyone's thought who was behind it anyone who was really interested in it, said it was one of the most successful things that was ever done in this direction. Certainly from my point of view of seeing the reactions in South America, it just couldn't have been better at that time.

FO: This raises all sorts of fascinating issues. The spectacle of Rockefeller just caving in to this kind of yahoo pressure is interesting. Also, the way we perceive this whole period today are you familiar with Eva Cockcroft's article on Rockefeller's activities at this time?

SC: No.

FO: Let me read you something here, because you are touching on a series of issues which many of our young scholars today are concerned about and there's been some very powerful writing about this, which everyone quotes, and I'd like to just read some of it to you. Okay, Tod, I'd like to read you a couple of paragraphs from an essay that was published a while back by Eva Cockcroft in Art Forum magazine. It's called "Abstract Expressionism: Weapon of the Cold War," and while it deals primarily with the use in the forties and early fifties, of Abstract Expressionist art in international cultural exchange programs, it does have some comments on what we've been talking about. For instance . . . .

SC: When was it written?

FO: This essay it was about 1975 or so. I don't know the precise date, but it and several others all came out about the same time. We can check the date.

SC: Fifteen years ago, now?

FO: Roughly, yes. The involvement of the Museum of Modern Art in American foreign policy became unmistakably clear during World War II. In June, 1941, a Central Press wire story claimed MoMA as the `latest and strangest recruit in Uncle Sam's defense line-up.' The story quoted the Chairman of the Museum's Board of Trustees, John Hay Whitney, on how the Museum could serve as a weapon for national defense to `educate, inspire, and strengthen the hearts and wills of free men in defense of their own freedom.' Whitney spent the war years working for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS, predecessor of CIA), as did many another notable cold warrior (e.g., Walter Whitman Rostow). In 1967, Whitney's charity trust was exposed as a CIA conduit (New York times, February 25, 1967. Throughout the early 1940s MoMA engaged in a number of war-related programs which set the pattern for its later activities as a key institution in the cold war. Primarily, MoMA became a minor war contractor, fulfilling 38 contracts for cultural materials totaling $1,590,234 for the Library of Congress, the Office of War Information, and especially Nelson Rockefeller's Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs. For Nelson's Inter-American Affairs Office, `mother's museum' put together 19 exhibitions of contemporary American painting which were shipped around Latin America, an area in which Nelson Rockefeller had developed his most lucrative investments e.g., Creole Petroleum, a subsidiary of Standard Oil of New Jersey, and the single most important economic interest in oil-rich Venesuela. After the war, staff from the Inter-American Affairs Office were transferred to MoMA's foreign activities. Rene d'Harnoncourt, who had proven himself an expert in the organization and installation of art exhibits when he helped American Ambassador Dwight Morrow cultivate the Mexican muralists at the time Mexico's oil nationalism threatened Rockefeller oil interests, was appointed head of the art section of Nelson's Office of Inter-American Affairs in 1943. A year later, he was brought to MoMA as vice-president in charge of foreign activities. In 1949, d'Harnoncourt became MoMA's director. The man who was to direct MoMA's international programs in the 1950s, Porter A. McCray also worked in the Office of Inter-American Affairs during the war. I think there are an awful lot of Marxist-oriented scholars interested in this issue today. And these articles this and another one by Max Kozloff and a more detailed one by Jane Matthews and certainly Serge Gilbaut's later book, have provided the basis for a very critical view of the activities in which you were engaged. In fact, young students reading your tapes, for instance, might well think, "Ah, here's a pure-blooded cultural imperialist." I'm wondering how you'd respond to this. You were there. You were active in these things. You pointed out the objective cultural value these shows had in the countries they were sent to, but obviously Rockefeller had his own agenda in this and when he saw it threatened by Congress, as you just pointed out, he scuttled that idea and went on to other ideas. But you were a relatively liberal young man at the time. You courted Norman Thomas as a student, as discussed earlier and yet you were part of a situation here, that is seen from the perspective of the eighties as being rather of dubious "political correctness" and I wonder how you want to respond to that.

SC: I'm speaking now from an almost nineties viewpoint, after having had, let's say, forty years of reflection about these issues, which did not trouble me at the time. I was more than a liberal, let's say, when I was in college, being president of the American Student Union at the college, and enormously interested in the cause of labor at the time of the Depression, and of the cause of the freedom of the Western World, let's say not thinking of it quite in those broad terms then and during the encroachments of fascism. Indeed I had been watching this in Czechoslovakia very closehand and, as I said before, I was in Prague when the Nazis came in and the Communist development was beginning to be clear in the course the rise of the Communist spirit in the student ranks of American life at time was beginning to become clear, but not as menacing at the time that I was in college, because of the division that existed quite openly between the American Student Union, which was Socialist, with Joseph P. Lash at its head, and the Young Communist League, which was Communist with James A. Wechsler as head. And there was an open debate at that time in all of the gatherings of a national nature two or so that I went to between these two leaders, as to the relative wisdom and relative importance and significance of the two ways. I was on the Joseph P. Lash side. I left college when I graduated, however, in the light of all of these experiences, determined to do something about the art education, the cultural education, of the labor movement, because the labor gatherings that I had gone to in the course of the years that I had been in college were so abysmally without taste and without quality and without substance from a culture so superficial that I felt if the labor movement were going to be a movement that would be able to lead its part in American society to a point where they could command respect, establish a tradition and continue its efficiency, it had to do something about this and this is exactly why I went to the Museum of Modern Art, to answer letters of introduction to go to people who knew about this sort of thing according to the long European tradition in labor education, which was all very, very tightly bound up with the idea of cultivating the mind and the senses. Undoubtedly, as I had not known at that time as much as I do today, that this depth was very, very much a part product of the European class system, which we did not have in this country. So, my sympathies were very clear when I came back from Europe. It was all to stop Fascism, it was all to join with the Soviet Union's opposition in what was called the Front Populaire in Europe, and what was trying to be cultivated among the labor movements when I was up to 1937, in college. I had also been cloes to but not involved in the effort to get American students to go to Spain and my vice-president, who wanted me to go, went to Spain and was killed, and the indifference plus the confusion on the part of Americans over what was going on in Europe struck so hard at home when I got back from Prague, as it did with many newspaper correspondents over there, that I insisted that we break relations with the Axis, go to war, get this thing settled. When it came to joining the Rockefellers do you want to interrupt?

FO: No, no. That's what I'm trying to get to. They do seem to be rather antithetical to these ideals that you had as a younger man. After all, you are serving the interests of someone who has already destroyed a major work of art because it had a Lenin head in it, and . . . .

SC: My loyalty was not to the Rockefellers. My loyalty was to Alfred Barr and the Museum of Modern Art. And since he was leading a cultural movement an intellectual movement this was infinitely more significant to me than what his sponsorship was, particularly since his sponsorship was allowing it and promoting it. My first glimpse of the real conflict here was when Dick Abbott turned down the essay for the introduction of that Lontenchorng [sp] American Painting catalog by Waldo Frank. I knew what he was talking about, but then René came into the picture, somewhat later on, and René talked a very liberal-left game, and I won't call it a game. I felt that this was sincerely and profoundly the path of that combined freedom and justice to the downtrodden and all of this sort of thing, and so there was no problem working with that. And only when I got to Mexico, right after the pact had been signed between Hitler and Stalin, that I began to see in clear focus the antagonism between what the Front Populaire ideologists were saying and the realities in the ideological struggle, and yet we were at war, or getting at war, and the resources of that time with Rockefeller, a Republican, joining Roosevelt, was a third factor in doing what was needed at that particular time.

FO: You said before that it was obvious that Roosevelt had selected Rockefeller because he was motivated by his own economic interests to do something in Latin America.

SC: I think that's true.

FO: This was typical of Roosevelt, but it sort of works the other way around there. It was hardly heroism on the part of Rockefeller.

SC: I didn't say heroism.

FO: Okay.

SC: I implied self-interest, and it is nothing well, I won't say it's nothing but self-interest the system is the part of the system that self-interest thrives under and he is one of the leaders of that system and so this is the way he is going. I think it is the way we are going today. I think the way self-interest is working into the defense of freedom in the world has become an empty symbol.

FO: That was David Rockefeller embracing Mr. Yeltsin from Moscow on television last night..

SC: Was it last night?

FO: Yes. [laughter]

SC: I have become completely convinced that this whole business of the freedom of defending the freedom of the world in the name of capitalism is a conflict of interest, and it is being found out.

FO: But I take it it was not perceived in these terms, at the time in '41 when you were involved in SOMETHING SEEMS TO BE MISSING HERE -

SC: I didn't wish to see it or draw those lines, the way for example, Siqueiros drew them in the Electricistas mural. It was right out there in front. I thought he was seeing it entirely from one side, but I was willing to talk to him, because there's an element of truth in the basic philosophy that is said that you have got to do something about those who want it for themselves and those who don't have anything that are serving them.

FO: But how do you feel about what Cockcroft is implying in this essay and . . . .

SC: I think that Marxist or not in her whole orientation, and I feel that what you say about that is probably correct, is that she is correct. I, with the way the events have developed in the last fifteen years, feel that I really don't want to have much to do with the Rockefellers anymore.

FO: Are you admitting then that you were a dupe of the cultural imperialists?

SC: I never was a dupe at that time. I was helping them, but they didn't know the outcome, they were at risk. I felt that, as I said in the Detroit catalog, the Rockefellers asked for it without asking for it, or without knowing what they were asking, and as I said also, I felt that if they had let this go on, they would have risked the whole enterprise . . . .

FO: Let this go on?

SC: Let the Lenin picture stay up there.

FO: Oh, we're back in Rockefeller Center?

SC: Yes. They would have risked the whole enterprise because we were in a situation where the ideological question had not really surfaced the way it did under McCarthy, but it was there and there is a question of whether if you are running a business institution, you are going to have the same problems you are going to have to face a situation that is essentially different from an educational or non-profit organization.

FO: So you are defending Rockefellers decision then?

SC: I am defending it up to this point. As Mr. Balfour points out in his book on Rockefeller, the whole idea that they were doing this Rockefeller Center simply for employment, for re-employment and to prime the pump of the New York and the national economy by this, which I think they were doing that was not primary. I think that they were on the see-saw as everybody else the whole world was.

FO: Couldn't the issue have been handled more graciously and without destroying the mural?

SC: I think that this was very badly handled. I think that they did, and I don't know whose suggestion it was, try to separate that mural from the wall and bringing it over to the Museum of Modern Art. I don't know who wanted that first, but I think that Alfred Barr could not have been away from that particular decision, but it proved technically impossible, but you have to remember also, that the Todd, Robertson and Todd Construction firm there, were if anything as hard-boiled and hard-nosed and as uncompromising as Hitler himself, and this is the hard core of the . . . .

FO: Which is saying something about Nelson.

SC: All right. I'm saying it even about his father. Because Todd Robertson father struck a deal with John D., Jr. that was terribly hard, from a money point of view, to swallow. He was the guy who built the Graybar Building downtown and first made his name for doing that with his absolutely ruthless policies, and it made money. He was the one who botched the idea that the Rockefellers had of having the opera there. Maybe he was right, but I think even combining the opera with a commercial thing was not a good idea. I think it was a conflict, too.

FO: While we are on Nelson Rockefeller, he has built up an enormous reputation as an art collector an art lover and yet many of his actions seem to be antithetical to that point of view. How do you feel about him as an art lover?

SC: I asked his daughter once, not too long ago, how come your father went into the business of reproducing works of art . . . .

FO: Yes. At the end of his life.

SC: And she said, "Well daddy's a businessman, and he's always wanted to have a little business." I cannot help but add, "How is it that he had the most expert and demanding curators like Alfred Barr and René d'Harnoncourt and Monroe Wheeler and Jim Soby and all of these . . . and still went ahead with this. End of side one, tape four Tape four, side two

FO: What happened next?

SC: Well, returning from South America in December 1941 was the time when the United States entered World War II, because of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December of that year. I had left Chile and was putting on this exhibition simultaneously in two different places. One in Lima, Peru, and one in Quito, Ecuador. This was necessitated by two facts, actually. The exhibition was too big for either of the two places, so it had to be split in two, which was done beforehand and the second reason was the fact that Peru and Ecuador were at war and fighting across the border between the two countries over border questions, and it was impossible to do one before the other. One had to do an even-steven, so to speak. This was an adventure in itself, but in any case, it went off well with enormous success in Quito because something like thirty-thousand Indians came to see it, and it reversed any memory of the Mexican problem that I had in the Coordinator's Office and in the Museum of Modern Art over the same show in Mexico, and then everyone's mind was turned to the whole desperate question of what to do about our entry into the war.

FO: Question: What would have motivated thirty-thousand Peruvian Indians to look at an exhibit of American painting?

SC: So help me, I don't know, except that the Embassy in Quito and the Quito press did an awfully widespread job of getting that out. I mean, it was sort of like the newest of the panorama pictures come to really colonial towns. They'd never seen anything like that. It never happened before. It's one of the reasons why it was such a good idea. I mean, these Indians came with their serapes, their ponchos and their straw hats and their flat hats and their rubber-tire soled shoes. Just streaming through, and in this country, still in a colonial mood, they treated Indians off the street as animals. They really were not considered human, and it was open to them and they came. Why they didn't just tumble the building down, there were so many of them.

FO: You saw this?

SC: Oh, yes.

FO: How did they look at American art? What do you think they saw? What were their comments?

SC: They spoke in Quechua [name of native language]. I didn't understand a word. They were not socialized with. They came, saw and left. Quietly. Went out in the streets, got back with their burros or bought their things or sold their things, went out in the marketplace and then returned to Otavalo and some of the small villages where they lived. It's a very interesting question, and I don't think this is the kind of question that is ever asked when we had wars down there. Who is doing anything about interesting the Indians in the American free way of life? We just simply wall ourselves up. It was a breakthrough in that sense.

FO: There's another point. In what way do you think this exhibit illustrated the American free way of life?

SC: Simply by the subject matter of the art. The social scene thing.

FO: Okay. In other words, art that depicted reality . . . .

SC: All sides.

FO: Yes. So you're really, in a way, introducing the Ashcan School forward in bulk to cultures that were totally unaware that art could so . . . .

SC: Come from these sources. Yes. Broke that membrane of dependence on European culture. And I don't know who is responsible for this insistence. Maybe Juliana Force was because this was her thing at the Whitney Museum at that time that time. So it was Lincoln's George Valliant was an anthropologist who was interested in the mature pre-Columbian thing, but a very, very broad-minded, brilliant man. Lawrence Roberts I don't know. He was sort of up there most of the time. Francis Taylor was always bitching about something, interestingly, and Alfred Barr was trying to keep things calm. René wasn't around at that point.

FO: So, in other words, the most effective aspect in those shows was the social realism, not the nudes or the abstractions.

SC: At least on the West Coast.

FO: Okay. Do you feel it was different in other parts of Latin America?

SC: Somewhat, but not that much, because modernism had not made its way even in Argentina so much at this time. Petorutti had gone to Italy in the teens and was both a Cubist and a futurist, but when he came back, they practically threw him out of town and then Brazil it was early 1930s that Corbusier came and got modern architecture started there, and Segal had come from Latvia or Estonia wherever he came from as an authentic German Expressionist, but he wasn't made at home there as a Brazilian, until after World War II, so it was and the Mexican movement had had far-reaching influences all over South America. Not so much in mural painting as in social scene painting, which was the thirties in Mexico, and so it fitted in. And whoever planned that if it was planned did, I think a very intelligent job. What Nelson thought about it, I don't know. What Alfred thought about it, I am not quite sure. I think Licoln was all for it and probably pushed it.

FO: So this is an area that is still open to a great deal of research and . . . .

SC: Absolutely.

FO: And getting at the files of the museum and the International Council and trying to sort all this out.

SC: Yes. International Council is the one which represents what the issues were that you mention now and the question that you brought up. The International Council is the foreign service arm, not of the United States of America, but of the Museum of Modern Art and the family.

FO: The Rockefeller family.

SC: That's right. There's the economic interest. That's what it has turned into. Away from Alfred Barr. And Calvin Tomkins, was it, who wrote the profile in The New Yorker of Rene d'Harnoncourt, after there had already been a profile of Alfred Barr ended it, I think with the great invisible coat of arms over the entrance of the Museum of Modern Art. It's the Austrian eagle of René d'Harnoncourt. [laughter] So he understood this, I think, because it's become a monopoly of an authentic or an authorized view of modern art in the name not of everybody but of the Museum of Modern Art. That's the way the whole thing has gone. And I know this for a fact because from actual experience because when I became Director of the Center for Inter-American Relations years later, which was David's new institute to promote good relations between Latin America and the United States, the business office was on top, the gallery was window dressing down below, and when I was asked, what did I think about making the museum the Center for Inter-American Relations Art Gallery related to the Museum of Modern Art, I said, "No." Not only because of my boss, Bill McLeish the son of William McLeish said, "We will never have this art gallery a branch office of the Museum of Modern Art." I was not only obeying orders instructions I was absolutely convinced in my own mind of my experience there, that this deserved a principality of its own and in no way should it be connected with the Museum of Modern Art's overall policy.

FO: But it was still connected with the Rockefellers?

SC: Oh, yes. It never got anywhere.

FO: So, shall we proceed?

SC: All right. So, one gets back to home base and . . . . .

FO: So you're inducted in the Army?

SC: I married Anna Marie Gratzinger Anna Marie Claire Gratzinger of Vienna, whom I had met in Prague and who had come to this country and graduated from Pomona College in California and then we were married in Miami on my arrival from Ecuador and set up house in a brownstone on East Sixty-Fourth Street in New York, and then I was transferred from my contract position with the Museum of Modern Art. The Museum of Modern Art was under contract with the Coordiator's Office and the government to do this show and I was restored to the Coordinator's Office on Fifty-Fourth Street and wrote the report with Lincoln Kirstein and the other representatives of the other parts, of which I have a good copy still, today, which should be matched someday with that Congressional transcript of the hearing of the Appropriations Committee to get a little bit more perspective in the picture. But then, by June I was inducted and went to Fort Devens, Massachusetts, waiting for a transfer to basic training somewhere, was there about six weeks when I got a letter to report to Washington to the Coordinator's Office. I went to Washington and was told to report to Military Intelligence. I was asked I was shown a letter that had come from the Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Chile, which had offered me a post as full professor of American art on the regular cathedra faculty of the University of Chile, to come to Chile to teach American art North American art. I should say that while I was in New York in the first part of '42, Domingo Santa Cruz, the dean, was there. He was a well-known, important South American musician and composer, who invited me to come back to Chile to do just that, and I said, "Well, I've got to go into the Army." He said, "Well, I would like to have you come down there and join our faculty because we saw what you did with the exhibition, and it would be helpful if you were there so that we could smooth out some of our difficulties and so on." He said he would write a letter to Nelson and maybe Nelson could do something about it before I went into the Army. Well, nothing was done until I got into the Army, and then I was called to Washington and . . . .

FO: What was the role of Military Intelligence in this?

SC: Well, they appointed me to be one of their operatives in Chile. "Would you like to go?" I said, "Would I be shot at sunrise?" [laughter] No, I said, "How dangerous is it?" [laughter] They said, "Well we don't think you will be shot." [laughter] "There's a chance."

FO: What were you supposed to spy upon?

SC: Axis activity.

FO: In other words, the German and Japanese activity in Chile?

SC: In my area.

FO: Yes. And what exactly did that entail? Tapping into the phones at the embassies of Germany and Japan, or . . . .

SC: No. I think just keeping eyes and ears open. Filing reports every now and then. It was kind of improvised.

FO: Chile does not sound as if it was one of the crossroads of international intrigue at the time. [laughter]

SC: It was, however.

FO: Oh, it was!

SC: Oh, my God, yes. [laughter]

FO: Give me an example.

SC: The Germans had settled there ever since independence. They were all through the South. And they were not country club journalists. They were hardworking little salesmen and storekeepers. Intensely loyal. They went about from place to place, the story went selling razor blades to the Arucanians, I suppose, or even civilized settlers with the ranches down there. They didn't have easily replaced razor blades and this sort of thing. The Japanese were all along the West Coast to the North. I remember that down there every Fourth of July there was usually an embassy party and there was a field day and people went out and played games. The Americans usually went out and played baseball. The embassy personnel and the USIA or whatever it was called at that time, but they could never get a team up. So the Japanese came around, and they played on the Embassy baseball team. They welcomed them. But there was very interesting aspect of the thing and that is someone that I met in Peru years later when I was doing the Yale show no he was in Mexico, actually. A head of an American public relations agency had been with Grace & Company in Quito or Lima, I think and used to go from the ports of call of the Grace lines up to Quito and he noticed that when he was flying to Quito and then to some of the outposts there, that there were some Japanese on the planes and this repeated itself and he reported it, and it turned out that these Japanese were, little by little, laying bomb parts to blow up the staging bombs to blow up the Panama Canal, which is just up the line. And he uncovered this. So, there was an awful lot of that going on. Plus, there was a great deal of opposition within the communities. I mean within the population against American big neighbor interfering.

FO: In other words, there was something substantial to spy upon to watch out for there.

SC: The United States delivered a tank to the docks in Valparaiso to reinforce the military, the Chilean military, one night and it disappeared. A tank disappeared. That's one of the stories, and they never could find it.

FO: [laughter] And it was your job to ferret it out?

SC: Well, I never found one. [laughter]

FO: What did you do in the meantime, you were teaching at the university. What was that like?

SC: I was on double salary. No, I was on single salary from the Coordinator's office. I was made, with proper ceremony, a full professor at the university. With all the ambassadors and everything else.

FO: They installed you?

SC: They installed me, but not individually. It was really the opening of the season and it was one of those ceremonies.

FO: A convocation?

SC: That's right. And the British ambassador came down in all his Oxford robes, and the poor American ambassador, Mr. Bowers, who didn't speak a word of Spanish a very good ambassador, actually sort of got in without being seen, but it was that, but my salary was paid by Rockefeller and my boss in Washington was Wally Harrison.

FO: Wallace Harrison, the architect?

SC: Yes.

FO: What was your salary? What did they pay someone in . . . .

SC: I think about three thousand dollars. That was what my salary was when I was down on the exhibition. And I think that they continued that on a coordinator's foreign service rate, but the military didn't pay anything.

FO: You mean you were spying for nothing?

SC: I guess so.

FO: It was better than going to boot camp.

SC: Yes. [laughter] Or Guadalcanal. [laughter] Which hadn't started then. But it was interesting because I have no idea what was going on, and it was crazy, too, because I wanted my wife to go down with me. They got me out of the Army, and I reported to Washington. We were living in New York, so I had to go back and forth to Washington for whatever was needed, but that was preliminary to the inquiry that was made by the State Department on whether my wife would be permitted to go with me as a German as an Austrian and this dragged on, and it went up to a very high level and I heard that it was turned down by Adolf A. Burle, Jr., after she had had a couple of hearings. And then a telegram came up from Ambassador Bowers. This has got to be October already, and there was an uprising in the university, and it took place after Sumner Wells had made a major foreign policy speech to Latin America, in which he came down hard on the Chileans to break relations with the Axis because they were a lot of Germans in their country Japanese and so on, and other reason whatever they were. And there was a big reaction within the university and Bowers sent a telegram saying I saw the telegram saying that there had been trouble here we need some help, we understand that a young man by the name of Catlin, who had a way with the Chilean literati, was coming down here. Where was he? So I was sent down pretty fast and nobody knew anything about this, but I had a kind of a role with the Coordinator's Office, who was paying my salary, and they had to know what the hell they were paying it for, and so it became sticky. The background of the stickiness comes about I think as a result of the Coordinator's exhibition of Latin American art the previous year that created some questions. If not questions, some inquisitiveness or further investigation on the part of the cultural arm of the State Department. You see, this was the Coordinator's Office, and the Coordinator's Office was grafted onto the State Department as a semi-independent agency. And Nelson could do anything that he pleased until he got some people angry for cutting corners on diplomatic issues, and so Welles and Hull, I guess, were prevailed upon to talk to the President to make Nelson stay in channels. Something that had to do with this that made the State Department, when we got into the war, not take the Coordinator's assessment of the cultural situation from his representatives or for the representatives of the exhibition who went down, but their curiosity had been stimulated, I think, by basically the impressive public success of the exhibition and so, and I only realized this very recently, they had somebody else go down there to make their own assessment of the situation, and that person was Francis Henry Taylor. Now, Francis Taylor had been on the committee with Juliana Force and Roberts and Valliant and so on, and was always taking issue with something or other, and I never really got to the root of this, but it had something to do with the Rockefellers and the Museum of Modern Art taking over the spotlight of art in New York, and Taylor was having such a hard time with his old-fashioned trustees and curators and so on.

FO: At the Metropolitan?

SC: At the Metropolitan. And there was this agreement that was made between the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney and the Metropolitan, that certain works that were considered eligible and this has to be this is all part of the private record that were a part of the Whitney collection, would move to the Museum of Modern Art collection and things that had become old master status in the Museum of Modern Art collection would move to the Metropolitan. There was a three way compact. I never looked into it.

FO: That's fascinating, but, of course, it never happened.

SC: It never happened. There was just too much I don't know what but maybe the first sparks of that rivalry took place during these declarations of Francis Henry Taylor waving his resignation in Juliana's apartment, saying, "If you do go further with this, I'm not going to be a part of it." And so on. And Juliana would call and blow her stack and I had to take the telephone calls and Abbott, my boss, would be very pleased if he didn't have to take them. He congratulated me on taking the steam and all that sort of thing. Anyhow, Francis Taylor was sent down for the astate department and he went to all the capitals, and he came back and must have written a report, because I was asked to see him. I think I was asked I don't think I could have gone to him on my own, at that point after I had been discharged from the Army to go to South America under the Coordinator's Office about the situation in Chile. And I had known him through the committee and also through previous contacts with the Lewisohns early, early on and admired him from what he'd written and what he had done to the Metropolitan and his great coup by getting Robert Moses to write the story criticizing the Metropolitan Museum because it was so behind times and it should use the Museum of Modern Art as a model to modernize itself and this sort of thing. I mean, he was a colorful person and a brilliant one and I used to meet him down at the Whitney Museum, just glancing. I had dinner with him and Irene Lewisohn and my aunt in her apartment once and so on, and he called me in, or at least I went to see him so that he could brief me on the situation in Chile, and what he said was that Santa Cruz, my dean, was taking the monies, as I recall this, that were being given him as aid to further the cultural situation as the State Department Cultural Department began to get going and using it more on music than he should have been in other things, and I was the only man who could really go down and get that sort of evened out. And he told me a lot about the people there and how bad the restaurants were and all this sort of thing. But he had been around and the characteristic story came from him as he went to the embassy in Rio. Jefferson McCaffery was the ambassador there, another of the established foreign service people from upper-class American families, and Francis Taylor went in to see him and was told that the ambassador was busy, would he come back the next day. And he came back the next day he came back two days, and was finally shown in to McCaffrey's office and McCaffrey was sitting at his desk and Taylor was asked to sit down on a couch in front of the desk and finally McCaffrey put his elbows on the table and he said, "Well, Mr. Taylor. What can I do for you?" And Taylor stood up and said, "Not a goddamn thing," and walked out. [laughter] It's just like I told you this, haven't I? No. So that was his characteristic way, and I think this is the kind of thing that the State Department was looking for.

FO: Yes. Let's stick on the State Department a minute. You said something about State Department cultural funds. Now is this still Rockefeller's?

SC: No.

FO: So the State Department is setting up its own cultural outreach to the other countries?

SC: That's right. I think this must have been activated may have been activated by the Coordinator's cultural program. But they wanted to do it their own way and they appointed their own person to be the permanent and traveling representatives and head of that office.

FO: Okay. Now is this the seed of what Munsing [Benton ?] was doing?

SC: I know what you mean.

FO: Munsing [Benton ?]. Is this the seed of the Art and Embassies Program?

SC: Much before that.

FO: Much before that. Okay.

SC: Art and Embassies, I think, is something that came in after Mrs. Kefauver was charged . . . .

FO: Kefauver and Stephen Munsing [?].

SC: Well, Stephen but that is fifties; even sixties, you know. This is much before that, when I think the Museum of Modern Art was looking to continue its international role. And they did that and they got these things out to the embassies, but this is . . . .

FO: In other words, around 1942-'43, the State Department is setting up a funding program in culture in sort of competition with Rockefeller's . . . .

SC: No. I think its not a funding program yet. It is an intramural study and supervisory program for the sake of their own personnel in the embassies. Whether these personnel were secretaries or hired on the spot or sent down, but it was really before the era of the appointment of CAOs, or cultural affairs officers. And before it went into the USIS, which was a good deal afterwards.

FO: U.S. Information Agency?

SC: That's right. This is three stages before, and it was they had a very intelligent, sympathetic, very knowledgeable man in charge of this. None of the gung-ho yuppie types that came in with the early yuppie types that came in with Rockefeller, and there were a number of those in Washington. And there were some bailouts, too, who couldn't get a job anywhere else.

FO: And you've seen yuppies before now. [laughter]

SC: That's the idea. Well, it's a broader race at the moment. [laughter] In any case, this man's name was Charles Thomson and when I went down in December or late November I arrived the same night as Aaron Copland. Aaron had been going there a good deal, doing concerts and this sort of thing, and we met each other before, but this time we met at the same place at dinner at Domingo Santa Cruz's house, and I was under instructions at this time to show sympathy for that group of artists in Chile that were not getting benefits, within the circle of the favored ones under Santa Cruz. Now Santa Cruz wanted me to come although he never put it in so many words, to boost his regime, but obviously that was why I was there. Because he had invited me. But there were others on the outside, and I was asked to work with the other side. Not by military intelligence, but by the Coordinator's Office. So I became, in a sense, a conduit for the anti-establishment propaganda, funded by U.S. monies that came down through the Coordinator's Office with the blessing of the State Department, who did not well, let's see. The CAO at this time the new cultural relations officer was a professor of history at the University of California a very astute, rather very academic man, and he expected me to follow his game, too.

FO: What was his name?

SC: Lawrence Kinwaird and, poor guy, he got down there and was immediately found out as a spy by the Chilean police and his house was invaded at night. He had all of the terrible things that happened when you get arrested for certain . . . .

FO: No one noticed that you were a spy?

SC: Nobody that I know about. [laughter]

FO: How would you characterize this group of artists who were on the outs with the powerful musical dean?

SC: Tough, sincere artists pretty good artists, dissatisfied with dictatorship.

FO: Stylistically, what would they be like: Were they fledgling social realists? Abstractionists?

SC: Sort of like whoever did The Goose Girl at Rockefeller Center?

FO: The Goose Girl? Laurent, the sculptor.

SC: Was it Laurent?

FO: Yes.

SC: I don't mean in Zorach is what I'm thinking of.

FO: Zorach. Okay.

SC: That type of solid, direct carving or modelling. Landscape painters with an edge and good sense of realism, somewhat expressionistic, like [pauses] a little bit like Rosson.

FO: But what you are describing is a very conservative group of artists.

SC: Oh, yes. But they were sort of grass roots and not dumb, but they were tough. I felt that some of my lectures were a little bit sabotaged by them. They didn't talk sympathetically with me as a friendly Yankee. I was just somebody out there that you pay a professional respect to, but the way Latins do when they are suspicious of your motives not my motives, but what you represent.

FO: And you were living in the same apartment house with Siqueiros at this time, when he was in exile.

SC: I was found an apartment by the Cerro Santa Lucia, which was a nice sort of rationalistic architecture building of that time, and was put in there in the good section, not the best section of town fairly near town; fairly near the national museum, and the art school and Parque Forrestal and after a while, I discovered that Siqueiros was there. I don't know where we met. I didn't meet him in the elevator. I met him somewhere at a party or something and he was just back from Chillan to the south of Chile, and thereby hangs another tale. He had been sent there after an earthquake. He had arrived there after a devastating earthquake that is half way down the coast of Chile half way to Punta Arenas in a small town small city, which had been devastated, which had really been knocked out, and of all people, Siqueiros should be found in the south of Chile painting a mural. People had known that he'd gone there. I had known, because I was in touch with what was going on in Mexico to some extent by then, even, and knew he was working on something there and even knew what the title of it was, I think, because it was talked about in Santiago, but I hadn't known it was finished or where he was or anything, and then, suddenly, he was there, and years later I found out how he got there in Mexico when I did a show of Siqueiros's work at the Center for inter-American Relations. He had made an attempt on Trotsky when I was in Mexico in 1940 and was arrested and put in jail and then there was a rumor that he had gotten out of jail and gone to Chile. Obviously he had gone to Chile to paint that mural and he had just finished it and then come back to Santiago a year and a half later maybe two years later, by now, with his wife and hischild. The story I heard was that after this attempt on Trotsky, he had left, gone to jail and was called out of jail by the President of Mexico one night and into the National Palace this is President Avila Camacho and told by the President that he had saved the President's life during the Mexican Revolution, that he was in Carranza's army Siqueiros a young officer. He was an upper class person and educated, with all the brio of the refined machismo of the upper classes, and Avila Camacho, a common soldier, had been brought in as a prisoner of war in one of the rival factions, and was going to be put to death the next morning, and Avila Camacho managed to get to the headquarters to see Siqueiros, who was with his fellow officers that evening, in this adobe house in a village, and I guess Camacho pleaded for his life and Siqueiros said, "Let him go. Give him a chance." Of course you don't forget that sort of thing, and so Camacho said, "We're going to send you to Chile in exile." They had just had that earthquake. Mexico wants to help them rebuild the city. We are going to give them a school to rebuild, one of the schools, which they will call the School of Mexico, and you can go down and decorate it. Well, I gave a paper once before the Latin American Studies Association on Mexican foreign policy, Art in Mexican foreign policy, here in New York with Professor Whitaker, one of the great scholars in the Foreign Affiares area, from Cornell, who was the chairman and briefly, I said that the Mexicans have always had a since the revolution a desire to export the revolution or the Mexican version of the revolution into a Latin American world and elsewhere or, no do they export them to the United States? So, this is just part of that, their Foreign Affaires Policy. They had already sent a Mexican sculptor to Caracas to build a statue of their independence leader, Morales in the plaza in front of the national museum which was there, and had been there for a long time, and also they had independently of the museum of the Mexican government, but maybe not one of their foremost pioneer Mexican muralists, Fernando Jeal had gone to Panama to paint a mural in one of the Panamanian institutes on the tyranny of the Panama Canal under the Yankees, which he showed, with the waters in chains by Uncle Sam and so on that sort of thing. So I made a paper out of that sort of thing, which they liked quite well. But, in any case, I think Siqueiros was a part of that, but the upshot of this was that the Siqueiros story, in any case was that in 1943, when we were still having desperate times the Nazis were in Stalingrad, they were all on the River Don, and I remember the Secretary of the embassy calling me in. When I was about to leave, he said, "Well, they are down there and we don't know how it is going to work out. If they'll take Stalingrad, they begin to soften us up." So, I mean, this is no pleasant game, but Siqueiros was in Chile and I had a call from the ambassador one night Claude Bowers, who was our previous ambassador in Spain for the Spanish Republic and he said, "Is Siqueiros a Communist?" I think I mentioned this before, and I said, "Well, everybody knows he is." I didn't go into anything further than that. I had no knowledge as to whether he was carrying a card or not, so he said, "Thanks very much." Well . . . . End of side two, tape five Tape six, side one - September 13, 1989

FO: So, we're in Chile teaching in Chile. What were you teaching?

SC: I was teaching the history of North American art and architecture and I began in January 1942, which was their summer session at the university, and the idea that a North American would be there teaching the subject was a matter of curiosity, but not eager interest. I started out, I think, with about three students in the main campus of the university with lectures that I had written out hour-long lectures that I had written out and had translated by a son of a famous Spanish writer in exile. He did an excellent job, and I used those texts in a medium-sized classroom with three or four students in front of me to start out with, and improvised in my improving, but not still very expert Spanish, and it caught on. This was, I would say, a group of beginning students of all sorts from many parts of the discipline and the curriculum with the university, but interested just in principle in what art could possibly be in this country to the north. Gradually, the group enlarged, and by the end of the term, it had one hundred students, and I was talking about everything from the early limners as we understood it then, with a text oh, goodness. What was it? Alan Burroughs, an early American textbook on North American art down through Frank Lloyd Wright and the skyscraper tradition.

FO: How did you illustrate these?

SC: I had slides. I had brought slides, and I used the time that I had been waiting to get down there to build up this collection, and the Museum of Modern Art helped. Actually, the Museum of Modern Art sent down a large number of books, which had been actually appropriated monies had been appropriated for the exhibitions that had gone down under the Coordinator's program. Mostly their catalogs of the Museum of Modern Art library, and each exhibition carried with it a large compartment of books on the art of the United States and modern art to leave behind, which was absolutely an excellent idea. The only thing is, we were never quite sure where they wound up. Whether they went into the libraries or whether they went into the private libraries of some of the functionaries and that was impossible to check on, but, in any case, I had a set of books all in English, of course and they made this from a point of not knowing really how this would go and what the support would be, it developed into a very warm and, I think, successful course. I had, of course, at that time, other things to do. I was, as a member of the Coordinator's Office, it was my work, as we have already discussed, to get together with some of the artist groups who were on the outside and what I did there was to take money that was given by the Coordinator's Office and funnel it into an art magazine called Forma just a very large, eight-page sheet that was being run by a left-wing liberal artist and writer, and we got out about four issues of this, in which North American art was very prominently featured, and we took articles that had been written previously by Lincoln Kirstein and René d'Harnoncourt and I did one myself on American folk art and this was very successful.

FO: Do copies of this exist?

SC: I have a full set, and it was well done typographically, with color, and it did present the point of view of more than a classical tradition in the usual sense of the evolution of American art. It really took the Modern Museum's point of view of bringing in different kinds of subject matter, different kinds of styles and movements and folk art. And, of course, everyone was very interested in folk art, as a result of the close Mexican connection that we had had, and I was interested, and it really worked very well and it caused a good many eyebrows to be raised on the part of the faculty of fine arts, where I was officially attached, because it was not unfavorable to them, but it just opened up other avenues, so I think the job was being done within terms of the United States policy that was backing our efforts to win the war in a democratic sense, and it was pretty well planned, I think, as a result of the Taylor trip down there. In any case, after a while I was brought into the Coordinator's Office and I was told, "Catlin, you tell that collaborator you are working with there, that this gravy train is pulling into the station." So the funds were withdrawn . . . .

FO: Now, now, now. We must explain this. What Coordinator's Office what are you talking about here?

SC: Well, the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs had its own representatives in each of these countries. Maybe they doubled in function in some countries, but I think not with the embassies. They were on their own. I think they had economic growth to play, they had promotional roles to play. There were such things as film programs, as well as art and music and literature, that were brought into the matrix of American foreign policy at that time, but it had its separate administrative apparatus. Very rudimentary and pick-up, but it lasted for a number of years, and so it built into a kind of an administration in places.

FO: And why are you considered to be on the gravy train if they are paying for you?

SC: This is just the slang that was used to let me know that they had thought enough money had gone in the direction of this non-establishmentarian art publication that was addressing itself to a sort of a new element within the Chilean cultural scene.

FO: In other words, this was aimed at Forma?

SC: That's right.

FO: Okay. I thought it was aimed at your job.

SC: Oh, no. I beg your pardon. It was aimed at Forma. I was the editor.

FO: So, in other words, they are objecting to the Museum of Modern Art's point of view?

SC: I don't think it had anything to do with the Museum of Modern Art's point of view, but it may have had something to do with the modernity or the maybe even the left-wing slant of that particular editorial point of view, because Chile was one of the most notorious countries in the Western Hemisphere, so far as its lumpen proletarian was concerned, the very downtrodden, the very poor. It was a famous word within Chilean society the `Roto Chileano' I mean, he was a real down-and-outer, but one who had achieved this status of a cultural popular symbol and it was made fun of in brilliant caricatures and used as a political weapon against the people in power from time to time, because it represented a large number of things.

FO: So you were in a situation where the Rockefeller forces are essentially opposed to anything that is going to deal with that situation.

SC: I made no conclusion about this. I wondered about it, but I had the feeling that something like this could have been behind it. There are other problems that I felt were contradictory. For example, in Peru, in my way down there, more or less at this time, or another time, the South Americans of the upper classes or the middle classes were used to a form of European culture and taste, and I was sent down to educate them in American culture and avant-garde tastes. But then the movies would come down, of the worst order from the Hollywood marts of the grade B, C and D movies, full of the most offensive kind of popular distribution material, and these were being dumped in South America at the same time. The thing was entirely contradictory, but I found out later that these were being sent down by the Rockefeller office the same time they were sending me down.

FO: Would that include "Saludos Amigos?"

SC: I wouldn't include that because I think this was custom-made for that situation, and it was well-made and they just loved it. But the other things that were sent down hotshot jazz movies from Forty-Second Street West-type really on the edge just turned everybody around. It was just creating a situation that was counter-productive in terms of what the aims were.

FO: What were their aims to send such movies to such a place?

SC: I think it was political. I think pressure was brought to bear by movie producers in the United States who got, through political ways, to the Coordinator's Office and they said, "What the hell, we have to do it."

FO: Was it a matter simply of the economics of distribution or the political content of the film?

SC: I don't think it had anything to do with political content of the film. I think it was simply a quid pro quo on a political level, so far as if you want to do this, you've got to do this for us. Sort of ward politics exported to South America. And the embassy people and the cultural people were embarrassed by this as Americans, but I think, basically, it revealed the contradictory aspects of policy. Not that there weren't contradictory aspects of their own policy, but it did not lay the foundation for any feeling of great confidence, that there would be a long range change in relationship that would last beyond the war, and of course it never did last beyond the war. Everything was dropped at the end of the war. A great deal of money was spent, and well spent, and one of the things that the cultural relations attaché, Professor Kinaird, did at the embassy, was to actually get in an arrangement whereby courses credits could be exchanged between the University of Chile and the University of California. And this was really doing something, more from their point of view and their European ways of university education, than it was in the United States within the . . . .

FO: Did many of your students go on to the University of California?

SC: Well, this is interesting. I don't know who went on to the University of California. Undoubtedly some, because the cultural relations attaché had many areas in which he worked on the technical aspects of cultural interchange that I didn't get into. A very anomalous situation developed in my case because of my four-way responsibilities to the university, to the Coordinator's Office, the State Department and to my other military intelligence. I had to be very careful about how I played my cards in these various areas, and I don't know whether it was intelligent or not, but I had to remain friends very close friends with Dean Santa Cruz, without letting him know that I was trying to help people who were not very close friends with him at all, and I did this by kind of a dodge. What I found when I got to Chile I suppose coming from middle class background myself and having been to prep school and college and so on that the brightest and the most sympathetic younger people in the country were not those who were coming up from the lower classes and going to the University of Chile and the art school, as artists who were trying to make it within the old forms of Chilean culture, the conventional forms that were approved by the university, or even those who were bucking against it by being quite individualistic, but in a modestly, only modestly avant-garde sense, sticking pretty close to the type of impressionism that came out of France in the first half of the century or the first quarter of the century. People like Segonzac and artists like Zorach among the sculptors, and so on. I found some of these people very suspicious of what I might be representing, but not unfriendly. However, I felt that the going was harder in terms of opening up their horizons. Not just to the United States, but the whole changing cultural scene in the world at large, that the greatest response was among the children, the teenagers and the early twenty-year olds from the really upper, upper classes of the ruling Chilean elite, all of who had been sent to, by far the most alert, alive and sound university in the city, which is the Catholic University, and this had the most important art school and architecture school in the country and probably in all the West Coast and South America. And these were very bright kinds. They were fashionable kids. They were very self-conscious class-conscious in a youthful, sort of freewheeling kind of way, but they didn't mix with the University of Chile people, who were probably all Catholic, but still from a different class level. Now, Matta came from this school. He was trained as an architect.

FO: In a Catholic school?

SC: A Catholic school.

FO: You are talking about Matta, the . . . .

SC: Matta, the internationally known artist, and others had come from there, and the teachers were absolutely excellent, and years after my time, Albers went to Santiago and taught at the Catholic University, and some of the Yale professors went down there. This is ten years after I went. But, in any case, these kids were terribly smart and terribly intelligent, and I found my circle my friendliest group among these people, both on intellectual basis and a social basis, and they responded with alacrity to whatever I had to talk about.

FO: Were they taking your courses?

SC: They were not taking my courses.

FO: Did any of the students you had or some of these other young people that you knew socially, attain positions of prominence later in the Chilean art world?

SC: Yes. I was just getting to that. One of them was the brother of Roberto Matta. His name was Sergio. He was an especially good friend of mine, and he eventually became a I believe a designer without international recognition, but in the sort of upper class levels of fashion. Another one became the director of the national museum after a torturous career, and a third one became an outstanding artist painter and graphic artist and the leading deputy of Stanley William Hayter's Atelier 17, both in the United States and in Paris.

FO: Can you add names here for the director and the printmaker?

SC: Oh, the director was Nemesio Antunez, who was trained as an architect in the Catholic University, and his brother was Enrique Zanyantu, whose nickname was Kiko, but his artist's name was Zanyantu and, I think it was his mother's name of the double name of their family. Another was an elderly not elderly but an older student who had become sort of an amateur a very private kind of amateur with a special role in the Chilean groups that he went with as a collector a modest collector and connoisseur of things, but he never moved out of the country, Mariano Valdez. Then there were the beautiful, intelligent women of the same circle who have their own story.

FO: Who was the printmaker, the follower of Hayter? You haven't mentioned the name of the person.

SC: Zanyantu, the brother of Antunez. Both of these became members of the Atelier 17 in New York, but that's getting a little ahead of the story. There were three women that I remember very well. Carmen Figueroa, her sister, Inez Figueroa, a brilliant, beautiful woman and Margot Rivas, and all in this very close group, who were kept very close to their families and I must say, I feel some responsiblity for gratuitously, perhaps for their following careers, because when I left, I felt that they had been so their whole horizons had been so infected by what I had talked about, if one can use that word, that they had to get out of Chile, and they all did, almost immediately. But over the opposition of their families, who are of the old aristocracy and believed in not letting them go beyond the tether of their family backgrounds and their families within those particular areas, perhaps to Europe and perhaps to Spain, but not outside of that particular line, which was their core to their dignities and their importance and their role in the history of the Spanish conquest of America. And these kids I call them kids they were very good friends of mine, although they were really almost a generation, at least a half generation, younger than I was, were imperceptibly just chomping at the bit and when I left, they all turned up in New York. Almost within a year, and had broken with their families. Antunez was a painter primarily, as well as an architect, and he got a scholarship to come to Columbia University to train further in architecture, through the United States Embassy fellowship or scholarship program, but he couldn't get the money to travel. His family wouldn't give it to him and I said, "Well, Nemesio, why don't you have an exhibition and sell some things?" So, he liked that idea, and I tried to arrange an exhibition for him at the American Cultural Institute, and I was a member of the board of the Institute which had set up a gallery at my suggestion a special gallery for the artists of Chile of Santiago, in any case, in that institute, which was going very well, but it had been booked for the period that he needed to have a show. So, I, just on my own, took it over to the British Institute and talked to George Jones, the head of the British Institute, and he said, "Well, lovely. We'd love to have this." So he had the exhibition, and it came out in the papers that Memesio Antunez, recipient of the fellowship to the United States had just had a successful exhibition. I don't know whether they said successful, but was having an exhibition at the British Institute, and the cultural relations attaché at the American Embassy saw this, called me up and said, "There must be a mistake. It's at the American Institute, isn't it?" I said, "No. It's over at the British Institute, because we didn't have space and we didn't have the schedule open." He said, "Are you crazy? What are you doing sending people to the British Institute?" They were horrified. I said, "Well, we're in the war together, we're trying to win the war together." Well, it didn't make any difference. I really had a hard time getting on with this, but obviously, we were fighting our war for ourselves there, and not to help the British.

FO: Could you develop that idea? I find it a very elusive idea that somehow you are waging World War II in Santiago. How did this operate, aside from the spying you are doing on the Germans and the Japs trying to blow up the Panama Canal? How was all of this really contributing to the war?

SC: Well, I just took this as axiomatic at the time. [laughter] It was a world war a global war we were fighting in the Pacific. At this particular time Montgomery had just broken through Rommell's lines in North Africa. It was the first victory that we had really known. The papers were full of it, and it took all for one and one for all in order to save our skins, so we felt that being a global war and being a propaganda war and total war being something that involved all of these things, this was the concept that I think everybody shared at the time. I guess that I felt that I would not ever have been in Chile doing this kind of thing if it weren't important. Well, I suppose it had to do with the idea of changing people's sympathies, but it also had this extra overtone, and that was that a new world had been born the modern world and that the war and Fascism and this sort of thing were a throwback to the old class systems of Europe and so on. It really was no philosophical problem.

FO: Were the Germans and the Japs competing on the same level of propaganda in Santiago at the same time?

SC: I didn't notice it. This was American territory. I never ran into any fighting or even overt advocates on the other side, but I did have very close socially helpful friends. One in particular, who was the key person in introducing me originally to this group of Catholic University students who came from the upper classes. His name was Eduardo Sola Franco a charming fellow, but completely pro-Franco reactionary. Against American and Allied causes the war effort and so on, and we didn't usually joke about this, but he always contested, but I didn't give him up as a friend shun him as some people might have whether I had any prifessional connections through him or not, but I remember going to a newsreel down there showing the bombing of Berlin or bombing from the air one of the newsreel pictures and we were always claiming that we were picking out the art monuments that would never be touched by our bombing. It was selective bombing for purely military targets, and I remember one picture came on the screen in which there was an absolute saturation bombing of some city in Germany and he turned to me and said, "How can you possibly say that they are pinpoint bombing and they are saving monuments of art?" This sort of thing. I saw him years afterward briefly. He was the same kind of person. Very urbane, very quick, rather quick in temper, and very orthodox Spanish, aristocratic partisan of that side of the European, or particularly, the Spanish culture. Well, let me just pursue this one minute longer. Nemesio Antunez made the money, got to New York, entered Columbia, almost immediately had an appendicitis operation after I had gotten back, and went to Roosevelt Hospital. I went to see him and then lost complete track, and then I heard that one of the Figueroa sisters had come, who was supposed to have been engaged to be married to his brother, Enrique Zanarita and had, instead, left his brother and married Nemesio instead and had also come up. This was a really beautiful girl and intelligent and very highminded, and married Nemesio and then the two disappeared, and I did everything I could to find them in New York and finally got their address and they were living in the East Village in a long, prison-like, cold water flat and not to be found and never responded to my note. By this time, Nemesio had gone into the Hayter group, I think, and when the war was over, the Hayter group moved back to Paris and they too moved to Paris. Both of them had become Communists absolutely committed Communists, theoretically and politically. Kiko, his brother, came up shortly afterwards, and also moved to Paris with the Hayter group. Both of them stayed there for years, running and becoming a part of the hard left-wing movement in Europe, while becoming and developing very well as artists, and then went back to Chile. When Allende came to power, Nemesio became director of the national museum. Inez carried on her organizing working one way or the other and the others I don't know about Kiko, he was less politically minded - but when Allende was overthrown and I was in Chile the month before he was overthrown, on another commission, not for the government this was entirely private (for a private foundation to share a new art museum)and found that Nemesio had divorced his wife, Inez, and by this time had married a Bolivian young woman, and just managed to escape through Mendoza to Bolivia very much, I suppose, thanks to her nationality. Inez was arrested, put in with all of the people being arrested in the stadium at that time and tortured. I saw her just before this, and I suddenly understood something when I saw her that time again. She had lost none of her idealism, none of her connections, but her resolution to the unequals of society it was so pure that it was uncompromising and I felt that this kind of person, who had been brought up to respect principle and was so unhappy about the contradictions, the way the ruling classes had lived in Chile, that she became almost as uncompromising as a Christian saint. There's a purity there that just would not be broken, and that's the cause of their Chilean upper-class hard-core Communism.

FO: Did she survive the Allende debacle?

SC: She survived. She got out. I have not seen her since 1973, but I hear that she did finally get out, but after what tortures, I have no idea. I can only imagine. I saw Nemesio the night before, a couple of weeks before he escaped. I was on my way through Chile all through South America for the Longvue Foundation of Mrs. Edgar Stern of New Orleans, because she was interested in turning her estate into a museum of travel art and horticultural art, and I was being sent around, and so I touched base with these old friends wherever I could in the course of a short visit, and things were just going from bad to worse at that point. Santiago was were on the verge of chaos, and they were very nervous and they just got out by the skin of their teeth. But, in any case, I wanted to make that point about why a complete, about-face the diagonal, admirable reversal of point of view from being a scion of these upper class people of the clearest dedication to their lineage and their responsibilities as members of the ruling classes of descendants of the earliest conquistadors could turn over that just that way, and I think there was no compromise in her. She wouldn't compromise. But this is a purity, in a sense, that is somehow quite different from the various other gradations of conviction and commitment of all kinds, among those who were involved in the Communist ideologies.

FO: Let's talk about Siqueiros.

SC: Well, when Ambassador Bowers asked me about Siqueiros, I didn't know why, but I found out . . . .

FO: That was on the other tape, when he asked you whether he was a Communist . . . .

SC: That's right.

FO: Okay.

SC: But, very soon after that, the Siqueiroses, who were living over my room in the apartment building, where we had both lived, actually, for pretty close to a year, soon after I arrived after he had finished his mural in Chilean(sp), they left, and I heard afterwards that they had gone on a speaking trip or he had with them, to the north to the copper mining areas of the north of Chile the dry, mountainous areas, where the Anaconda Copper Company had many workers mine workers and, I suppose, other complexes up there of the same industry to speak to them, to talk to them, to address them or to break any kind of relationships or sympathies that they might have for the Axis. In other words, he was sent up there with the American government's approval, and probably support, to swing the sentiment in favor of the allies and against whatever their motives and instincts might have been to be against the Allies, and later I heard that they went on from the north of Chile to make other speeches to working communities labor unions in the same vein, to go from South America to Cuba to do the same thing there, and then to go on to the United States with the opportunity, once they reached the United States, to do a large, anti-war mural by Siqueiros in Times Square. Siqueiros went as far as Cuba and no farther, and they stayed in Cuba until the end of the war, where he did murals for a private family and had sessions with Cuban artists and so on, but he never got to Times Square. Quite some time later, but not very much later, René d'Harnoncourt had become my boss during the time that I had been in the Coordinator's Office. I'm not sure exactly whether this was shortly after the return of the exhibitions from South America or after my return from Chile on this particular mission, but he said, "Can you imagine what it would have been like if Siqueiros had been allowed to paint a proletarian mural in Times Square?" So, naturally, he was stopped before he got to Times Square.

FO: Who stopped him?

SC: I thought from what Rene said that it was on his advice that he was stopped.

FO: So, yet another Mexican mural stymied by the forces of Nelson?

SC: Well. [laughter] I think he would have counted on a few more people than Nelson to have backed him up on that position if it were up to him. But this is a story that I don't think has ever come out, and René never said, "This is not to be repeated." In any case, I left Chile myself in August of 1943 because efforts to have the decision against my wife joining me proved unsuccessful, and I felt that my position was becoming more and more delicate and hard to maintain with any semblance of impartiality, particularly so far as the dean was concerned. I was embarrassed by the whole evolution of that situation, did not know really whether he suspected me of working against him because he had never made an issue of this. I had still remained good friends with him close friends, really, except for that and his family. I was always welcome within his circles of the university all the artists that were under his particular jurisdiction, and always present with him in his box in the Teatro Municipal, which is where the symphony concerts and the music life of the city was centered and which was often, and yet, I just didn't feel right about it. Those were wonderful evenings with him. I really had led a double academic life, one might say, and the times there were marvelous because this was a time of Vichy France and the occupation of three-quarters of the country, and so many of the French were either lost to the outside world or had to escape, in some way, but never, as it seemed to me, permanent exiles. What they did was to organize traveling companies of theater people and not ballet people. The ballet people really the Joos Ballet had disbanded in Germany about the mid-1930s, and they took up their work again in Chile and there were numbers of fine dancers and choreographers who had come and settled there. The French Louis Jouvet, the great French actor, organized a theater company, and they toured South American capitals and they brought their plays wonderful plays " A Quoi Revent les Jeune Fillé" by Alfred de Musset and I think, also, the Moliere that Jouvais had a prominent part in, and these were absolutely I remember one was "Ondine" of Girardoux with stage sets by Tchelitchew and absolutely a magnificent productions in the best French tradition came through Chile, as they went from country to country. So this was a wonderful, cultural life there. Also the American Ballet Theater had come through under Lincoln Kirstein . . . . End of side one, tape six Side two, tape six

FO: You met Balanchine?

SC: Well, Lincoln Kirstein came down with the Ballet Theater. Balanchine was with them and Maria Tallchief, I believe, was there. This was the pre-New York City school of the ballet grouping of the talent that Kirstein and Balanchine and the ballet people at that time were forming, to do a ballet company, but it was not really a definite thing that they were going to have a New York City Ballet. But they were sponsored by the Coordinator's Office, gave tours through the major capitals all the capitals, I think of the larger countries, and Santiago was among them. I remember seeing them there rather embarrassingly because the leading dancer took a tumble in the middle of one of the performances because of the stage wasn't quite right, and people had to joke a little about that to pass it off, but there were concert artists. There was a singer a very famous American singer who came down to give solo recitals soprano recital and she embarrassed everybody in the American community and insulted the Chileans by coming out on stage and addressing them as the Chileanos, because she had not understood how to say Chilanos and she really used the word of a very small, provincial town Chilean where Squeiros had presented his mural. And then she went further and said, "Oh, I would like to have a public presentation of a medal of the Chilean government to show my distinction in this field." Some of these gaffes were absolutely hard to believe and oh, what was her name I'll think of it in a minute there were the European conductors who came and conducted the Chilean Symphony Orchestra and Erik Kleiber was the Central European one who was very good in playing the Chilean composers, and there were many of them following Santa Cruz's school, which was called "Back to Bach." They didn't want any of the native sort of romantic music that had held sway in Europe for so long. They wanted to get back to pure form, and so they were very, very economical and strict in their compositions according to the canons of Johann Sebastian Bach, and so on.

FO: What was the dean's music like?

SC: Well, strangely enough, I never heard much of it, because he was not bragging about it and boastful about it. A great deal of it was organ music. A great deal of it was symphonic music with very large scores, and I think that they didn't have all the resources to play it. I saw much of his music in score form. He'd get up at six o'clock in the morning, he would compose until ten five thirty until six compose until ten, go down to the University to the Bellas Artes offices and ride herd over everything for the rest of the day. He introduced concerts and carried on the concert series under the Institute of Musical Extension, which was handled by his wife and it was very active, and his wife it wasn't really his wife, it was his companion of long standing her son became an enormously important member of the musical faculty of the University of Indiana. Juan Orrego, an authority on world music, and is still there, I think. A splendid composer and an excellent man. He came here I remember his taking off for his first trial visit to the United States and he stayed and he's become really I suppose he's become an American citizen.

FO: And you remember that Megalomaniacal soprano? You almost said Geraldine Ferrar.

SC: No. She was enormously famous I'll think of it in a little bit. I'm beginning to feel a little weary and it's not all coming back, but, in any case . . . .

FO: Shall we stop now, for a while?

SC: Well, let me see if there is a little more here on this run. Coming back to the United States well, there's not much I had a . . . .

FO: Before you come back, what was the state of your mission as a spy?

SC: Well, the funny part of it was that the military had lost track of me. [laughter] And I had nothing to do for quite some time.

FO: Was there anything to do?

SC: No. So I just did my cultural act.

FO: So that sort of petered out?

SC: Well, I thought so, until they suddenly discovered that I was there somewhere and they had to find me. And the question was, "Well, what have we been doing?" It was not my fault, it was their fault, so I was put on assignments and reporting regularly on what I did observe and what I didn't observe. I thought that it was pretty thin stuff. But when I got back, they told me, "Well, you didn't do as bad as some of them."

FO: Can you give an example of an assignment?

SC: No. the assignment was simply, "Notice where you can any activity that looked as though it might be a cover for pro-Axis subterfuge." And there are a couple of things. It involved some of the people that I had some respect for couldn't actually tell what the involvement was and there was one religious movement that I got into sort of voodooistic meetings that were not quite like voodooistic they were more the Middle Eastern kind of thing sectarian things, but that's about all. The ludicrous aspect was the fact that when you are doing this kind of thing, you are supposed to be neutral. You are not to show loyalty of one sort or another. I mean, official loyalty is supposedly of the cause that you are representing, and what I had to do was take me to the embassy and the Coordinator's Office quite a bit because of my associations with the cultural relations officer of the embassy, which is all pure red, white and blue American, right out in the open, and it was something that was really not expected of someone who was doing this kind of secret things. And yet I had to do it, so I did it, but I was never really reprimanded for this, because I think it was realized that there was some sort of a conflict here.

FO: So you returned to the United States?

SC: I returned to the United States and I wanted to continue my work for not necessarily in the military and I wondered if there were any posts that the Coordinator's Office might have elsewhere, and the only one that was available at the time was in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and I went to René and I said, "René, what's life like in Honduras?" He said, "Well, if you don't mind a pig running through your dining room at dinner, then it is all right." So I decided maybe it was better to go back to the Mother Army. [laughter] And I was drafted and I went into the Army again.

FO: Shall we stop at this point?

SC: Sure. (Break)

FO: Now you have just come back to the United States, you've been drafted into the Army and you eventually wound up in Germany, if I remember.

SC: That's right.

FO: You became essentially part of the process of eliminating the war, right?

SC: Well, trying to cover up some of the bad traces of the war. Very few, but very human aspects of the fallout of the war. In any case, as briefly as possible, coming back from Chile and deciding not to go into another area of Latin America for this Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, I was, after writing a lengthy report for the Coordinator's Office on these activities, I . . . .

FO: Where is that report today?

SC: I probably have a copy, and it's part of the process of my excavations at this point, but of course, it went to the Coordinator's Office and where in the world that might be at the moment, who knows? People do not read reports of previous administrations or even, I think, previous centuries in the official circles to take advantage of the mistakes that had been made. As I found out soon afterwards, with the handling of the refugee questions in Germany. In any case, I went back to Fort Devens, into the basic training center in Camp Crowder, Missouri, then to the Signal Corps and was disappointingly not accepted for the cryptography program in the Signal Corps and I never knew why this might be for sure, but I sort of was known to someone and did fill out my application papers with travels in South America, and I had the feeling that perhaps one cause might be that I knew too many foreigners in the Latin American world, and this might not be too good for an assignment of such security implications, as far as they investigated it. I don't know. In any case, an opportunity came to be a part of the Army Service Forces Language Unit at 165 Broadway in New York City. I had for a brief spell, been employed there at the early part of the war, or the middle part of the war I'm not quite sure to take part in the making of the Army's general purpose Spanish-English, English-Spanish dictionaries, so they called me back there in uniform so I worked on the general-purpose and the G.I. pocket dictionaries of the English language translated into Spanish, back and forth because the language program of the Army at that point, was to prepare everybody for any area of occupation or invasion in Europe, so I spent about six months there, going back home, living on Irving Place and observing this very interesting routine of translating words in an office where very knowledgeable and expert professional linguists were at work. This palled after a while, and so I decided the best future would be to go into Army Intelligence through the Army itself, and so I applied for Officer's Candidate Training in the infantry in Fort Benning in Georgia and just at this time just after this time an announcement came out. They were looking for personnel to go into the Displaced Persons Operation of the newly or to be formed United Nations organization, and this was to repatriate and relocate, eventually, the displaced persons who had flooded into the occupied parts of Germany or becoming occupied parts so, I applied for that, too. Well, the infantry came through first. I went to Fort Benning, Georgia, had a period in pre-OCS, learning how to really be part of a ground forces shooting war, but for a very brief period, and then the discharge order came again from headquarters, saying that I should report to College Park in Maryland for training to go overseas with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration for the displaced persons activity that they were undertaking under the newly occupied German areas. So I went to Germany and became assigned as the assistant to the UNRRA Chief of the U.S. Military District in Munich in the fall of 1945, two months after the surrender, where a former normal school in the outskirts of the most devastated city that I had ever seen existed as the headquarters with this group. Winter set in very quickly and the questions of accommodations for these people became very acute, and then became almost unmanageable well, really unmanageable because this was the moment that came the Jewish migrations to Palestine, and it has really very little to do with the artistic aspects of our review here, except in one thing. I became in contact with the United States Fine Arts, Monuments and Archives Division. I think it was directly dependent upon headquarters in Frankfurt, but was under the really authority of the Roberts Commission in Washington, which had been set up to apply the studies of the location of works of art throughout Europe to prevent the greatest possible damage, save the greatest possible number of monuments from damage during the invasion, and the task force that was organized to follow-up this mapping that had been done in the Frick Museum, and very much under the supervision of Summer Crosby of Yale University, whom I met there doing this work before we got into the war, was being carried out in the field by people like James Rorimer, who became director of the Metropolitan Museum, Charles Parkhurst of the College Art Association and the National Gallery, Tommy Carr, the Director of the San Francisco California Palace of the Legion Honor, and Edith Stanton, who was secretary now and the Curator Emeritus of Textiles at the Metropolitan Museum.

FO: And also Bancel LaFarge.

SC: And Bancel LaFarge was the head the grandson of John LaFarge tall, elegant, able, wonderful man, was the head of that unit, out of which all of the searches that went on within the U.S. zone were directed, and I knew a number of these people. Parkhurst was a fellow alumnus of Oberlin College, and my duties took me up to Hoscht in Frankfurt from time to time, met them. I even tried to get transferred to their operation. It didn't work, and there I learned about some of the conflicts that went on in the humanitarian rescue of displaced persons, and the protection of ancient and fine arts monuments, such as the Residenz in Wurtzburg, which was one of the most important areas of Tiepolo painting, and it was also a house. The palace was being used to house D.P.s. And of course, the security under those circumstances, the protection of these monuments, was under great jeopardy, and so animosity was developing between those responsible to the Monuments and Fine Arts Commission and the camp commanders of UNRA, to whom I was responsible, and their duties, and I don't know how that particular problem in the Residenz was worked out. There was a protest made by the monuments person there, saying they were going to take this up to the Roberts Commission if you don't do something to get your D.P.s out of there, but of course, the Roberts Commission had nothing to do with the United Nations and Fiorello LaGuardia, who was running the D.P.s. anyhow, that came to kind of a stalemate, but the big issue . . . .

FO: Just a footnote. Where did Fiorello Laguardia come in? Was he also involved in this?

SC: He was the Director General of UNRA.

FO: Oh, I see. After he was Mayor?

SC: After he was Mayor.

FO: Oh, I didn't know that.

SC: Had a very intelligent policy. The difficulties of handling that situation was inundation of persecutees coming through to Palestine was unbelievable.

FO: These were people coming from the camps?

SC: No. These were people these were Jewish people coming from the fields, from the camps, from anywhere they were able to get refuge during the four years of the war, but being mobilized to come across Central Europe into Italy, and being shipped into Palestine to overthrow the British mandate to control Palestine. And the politics of this were something out of this world, because it got the British against the Americans and the Jewish leadership playing both against the American Jews in this country, to get pressure brought to bear upon the British to open the Palestinians to them oh, boy. and the violence that came through these camps when I was involved in some of the confrontations not as much as some of the camp commanders, but in any case, I got to Hoscht, and the Bancel LaFarge company there welcomed me as a friend, as someone concerned with the fine arts. That's when and the whole team there were shocked and deeply disturbed that there was a campaign afoot in the United States to bring the works of art that were found in the salt mines by the Third Army, in a triumphal tour through the United States museums from coast to coast. And LaFarge and the groupthere were dead against this, because it was like trophy brandishing and celebrating, vain and glorious celebration of victory in the worst way, because the arts represented humanistic and humane concerns and the top achievements of the human race and they should be above this, and I just could not help but sympathize with them, but they lost and there was politics about this here. I think the Roberts Commission, and I don't know who was on it I'm not sure, but, in any case, the powers that wanted to make something of this won, and they were taken out and shown in American museums in 1946, around the country. And so they lost out on that, but they did a tremendous job in identifying and restituting the works that were found confiscated and this work, I don't know how much longer it went on, but there was a great deal of publicity about this in the country, of which James Rorimer got an enormous amount, because somehow or other he was able to sort of get the prize discoveries, but another aspect of this was that preceded the work of that American commission was the work of Rose Valland in Paris. Now Rose . . . .

FO: I know.

SC: Have we gone into this?

FO: I think we may have mentioned it very early on, but go ahead.

SC: In any case, the Germans in Paris, after the fall of France, used the Musée de Jeu de Paume in Paris as the collecting point for all of the works of art that they commandeered and wanted to expropriate for German disposition. The chief, the most important figure in this was, of course, Field Marshall Goering, who wanted much of it for his private collection, and it was part of the order of the occupying forces under Otto Abetz at that time in Paris that this material, wherever it was found during the German occupation, not just in Paris, but in France, to deposit them in the Jeu de paume. the interesting thing is the secretary to the director of the Musée de Jeu de Paume, who was there during the Museum of Modern Art exhibition in 1938, and whom Alfred and Marga Barr gave me an introduction to before the war opened. She remained as sort of the registrar and unassuming secretary of the director to take care of the reception of these appropriated works of art of all orders of all quality of the highest quality from the finest collections in France, so that they were unable to get away to hide before the Occupation the German occupation. She kept a record where all of these came from, but she had to do it secretly. If I remember the story correctly, she hid these records of where they came and also where they went, because they were shipped out from Paris to these various collecting points and collections in Germany and did this through the whole course of the war, from the time of Paris' occupation in 1941, to the end of the war in April '45, and at great risk of life, and the worst time came when the Allied armies were entering Paris at the time of Eisenhower's march into Europe. When the American forces neared Paris, things became very cute because there were uprisings among the French resistance and people who had been collaborators were suspected, watched for and shot on the streets if they were recognized. Anyone who was in the German headquarters or precinct was also suspected, and as the Allies got closer and marched through and through Paris, the Resistance broke out more and more; the streets usually became more [inaudible]. One of the greatest dangers was to save her get her role and her work known before it was taken over by the marquis and those who knew that she had been working with the Germans. Well, she managed to escape the gunfire and Paris was occupied and this became known these records became known and it was the key that unlocked the whole restitution of the stolen works of art in Europe in that time, and she has become a very modest person, one of the topmost heroes decorated heroes of France on the order, I've been told; I don't know about it of an order that is a secret order among those who are honored as partiots of the French of France and one of the very, very few who have been given this order, and she, I don't think, is living.

FO: This is all been in the news recently, and I can't remember whether someone has written a book about it.

SC: There is a book on it.

FO: Or whether her obituary just appeared.

SC: Well, the obituary probably had a good deal of it. The book was called The Battle of Paris. I believe this was the name of the book. No, The Battle of the Louvre. I'm sorry. That was the name of it.

FO: That's right.

SC: And it's written by somebody else for or with Rose Valland and she was the person who gave me the introductions at the request of Alfred Barr to meet Picasso, to meet Braque, to meet Kandinsky and to meet Picabia several years before before the world war began.

FO: Yes. We did discuss this earlier. Perhaps not on tape but that's the context. I remember now. I don't know whether it got on tape. So, you've come back to the United States after all of these adventures. What happened then, after the German surrender? You were essentially working for the United Nations, not the U.S. Army.

SC: That's right. I was now an American citizen, but with primary allegiance to the new United Nations organization. It was a very interesting thing that happened in Europe over that, because we had the confrontations with American occupying forces over there D.P.s. but in any case, I came back and . . . .

FO: When did you come back? In late '45?

SC: In November of '46.

FO: No. Wait a minute. '86?

SC: '46.

FO: Okay. So the fall of '46.

SC: The fall of '46. Interesting adventures or experiences, rather tragic ones or not tragic, at least unhappy ones in Nuremburg, where the international trials of war criminals were going on under the war tribunal that was made up of the four powers and where the German leaders Goering, Hess, Doenitz, and all of those that had been captured went on trial after years, were sentenced to their various fates, and this ended for Goering, who committed suicide in prison through lack of security, and so on.

FO: You attended those trials?

SC: I did. Because my wife at this time had come to had gotten a job from the Museum of Modern Art, she got a job with the American prosecutor's office under General Telford Taylor, I think it was, to be a part of the American delegation to . . . .

FO: Why would the Museum of Modern Art have anything to do with that?

SC: Nothing. Except that she probably learned about the need for people who spoke German in the American delegation, and so she went over there, and so she became very closely connected with the top people there and particularly the presiding judge the British presiding judge of the trials, and so I got into that a little bit, but that's sort of irrelevant to the art story.

FO: Do you have any impressions of Goering? He was an art lover.

SC: Yes. He sat in the nearest corner to the balcony in the front row of the prisoner dock on the left hand side and he sat there, almost slouching, indifferent, impassive, inert. He was not being cross-examined. The Admiral Doenitz was being cross-examined at the times that I went by Sir David Maxwell Fife, who was one of the British prosecutors brilliantly cross-examined and Goering had his arm over the side of the dock and looked vaguely out as innocent as possible, I think of anything, so there was not the intenseness that one would expect in a scene like this from the outside to prevail, but it was there and it was a Kafkaesque situation because Nuremberg was really bombed out and the house that the trial was held in I forget what it was the Rathhouse or something was one of the few buildings that was standing and it was one of these incredible societies. International, high-level, diplomatic, legal society from the Soviet Union, from Britain, from France and from the United States and sort of wild, too because it kind of reminded me of a Delacroix painting in the Middle East something of that sort not quite the death of Sardanopalos, but . . . .

FO: What about Albert Speer, Hitler's architect?

SC: Was he there? I saw I remember a tall, erect, handsome man.

FO: Yes. He would have been probably one of the younger persons there.

SC: Yes. I think he was there, but you know, they were all there Hess all of them, one right after another. It was like a pack of cards, and when Doenitz but nothing about the art came up at that period, so I went back and decided that I didn't want to ask for a job at the Museum of Modern Art. Changes had taken place at the Museum of Modern Art. I wasn't sure of them. My wife and I were estranged at this point. She went back to the Museum of Modern Art and became an assistant to Alfred Barr again. She had worked closely with Alfred Barr and the office of the curator of painting and sculpture in connection with some of their wartime work and keeping that whole office in business in the earlier stages in the wonderful enthusiasm of the early days, but during the war days it was very much involved as Alice Marquis points out in her book on Alfred Barr, getting the names of people in the United State who might help get or offer affidavits for the intellectuals that Varian Fry was trying to rescue from the unoccupied part of France, but who were being pursued by the Gestapo and the French Occupation police. This has to do with Max Ernst.

FO: I'm a bit lost. This was going back to '39 - '40, isn't it?

SC: That's right. I've just backed there to show what Mimi Catlin was doing in Barr's office. At that time . . . .

FO: She was working with Fry as a coordinator of the . . . .

SC: She was doing the German translation for the correspondence abroad, as well all of the official papers and this sort of thing, because she knew German very well, and then when she came back, she came again into Alfred's office and worked there until we were divorced and then she was married again.

FO: And this was the reason you felt uncomfortable going back to MoMA?

SC: Part of the reason. Yes. The other part was that I wasn't sure about the direction the museum was going in at this time. There was a change. Alfred was out, the president, I think, was no longer Stephen Clark, but it was coming to be a more institutionalized educational rather than exploratory, avant-garde institution. It was growing inside and seemed to me to be becoming more bureaucratic. I decided that I didn't want to go back there, and I think that this was probably sort of youthful, still youthful, desire to get things going again in the old way. And I was fated to be a museum person from the very beginning. This was my ambition, and I really wanted to bring about I'll tell you what it was. Coming back from South America at that moment before I had gone abroad again, my whole resolution was to renew old institutions, particularly museum institutions. Because all of the museums in Latin America were very old and run in traditional ways, and we had plenty of them in this country, and I decided that my whole future career as a museum person would be the renovation of old institutions. Not to overthrow them and replace them, but to renew them, and renewal became my cardinal philosophy of professional commitment, and something about the museum at that time modern art I think I was probably a bit influenced by what Lincoln Kirstein was writing about that time. Lincoln Kirstein had written a long article in the Harper's Magazine or the Atlantic Monthly attacking the Museum of Modern Art for becoming no longer avant-garde, but institutional and educative, and he attacked Alfred Barr and other people, as I remember that article from quite far back, and I decided that I wanted to renew an old institution, so I applied for a job as the I applied for the directorship of the American Institute of graphic Arts, which had been advertising for a new director and I had heard about it. This was a national organization concerned with the graphic aspect in the printing arts, including fine prints and so on, that was down on Fortieth Street in the Architectural League building, and I thought this would be just right for me in that mood. So I went to see my old other mentor early mentor, Francis Taylor, to ask him about this because previous presidents of the AIGA had been Henry Watson Kent and some of the top curators and directors of the Metropolitan Museum, and so I asked Mr. Taylor what he thought of this place. He said, "This is the most sterile institution in the whole city of New York."

FO: Which inspired you to renew it.

SC: He would not I don't know, but I decided to go in on it, and my father was yapping at my heels about getting a job and supporting myself and getting out of these do-good things. My father was extremely put off inside and it didn't show too much, except in decisions and positions that he took. He wanted me to be a businessman, he wanted me to follow in his footsteps and make a fortune with him, or in his name, and so on, and when my aunt came into the picture, whom we talked about and I took a turn toward education and the arts and so on, he was extremely miffed, although he didn't show it, but he never gave me a cent after that or a bit of it in college in this particular field. Yes, he gave me fifty dollars when I went back to graduate school with great reluctance, because I didn't have any money to buy a plate of soup when I was at the Institute of Fine Arts. Well, in any case, I joined the I became the executive director of the AIGA, which was sort of the educational arm of an institution like the present Grolier Club. And I had a good deal to do with people who were interested in the artistic as well as the practical, aspect of printing, but a good deal of both through the curator of prints at the Brooklyn Museum Una Johnson, through Hyatt Mayer of the Metropolitan Museum, who was a print curator, and through a woman from Chicago by the name of Suzette Morton Zurcher, who had a private press the Pocahontus Press we established we really went about renovating the American Institute of Graphic Arts, with all of its fine traditions. Its medal, which was one of the most important awards in the field of the quality printing arts that had organized years ago the fifty books of the year competition, with was not the best books to read, but the best books as designed books. Bruce Rogers was a great god of this era, but there were other people in the arts and crafts and the British tradition of the Kelmscott Press, that were continuing fine printing Joseph Blumenthal, and so on, but they were very anxious to get out of the past of simply looking backward in terms of the old forms of quality in art and so my role was to broaden this by bringing in new people, starting new programs I started a new, bi-annual exhibition called "Book, Magazine and Advertising Art," which went on for years I think still goes on. We continued the fifty books of the year, we did print shows, the fine engraving illustrators like Fritz Eichenberg and the book designers like Dwiggins and not Dwiggins so much as George Salter, and so on. It's a wonderful area of the New York field of art, where there was enormous interest in quality on the part of the commercial publishers like Knopf, Bennett Cerf and all of these people. I got to know all of them. The Mergenthaler Linotype Company, and we had several presidents. First it was the president of the Hastings House, Walter Frees, and then it was Joe Brandt who was of Henry Holt and Compnay, and then Donald Klopfer of Random House. The fact of the matter was, I reformed I tried to reform too fast and too quickly and tread on some toes, and what I didn't do was swallow . . . . End of side two, tape six Tape seven, side one September 13, 1989

SC: . . . . as closely as I was it's a funny way of putting this, but I seem to have been bound to the personal wishes of the main mover of renovation behind the renovation of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, the printer, Joseph Blumenthal, who was masterminding most of the political moves within the publishing and the printing community to bring about a renewal of activity without disturbing the long-term craftsmen-like traditions of the graphic arts field. He was a great, great admirer and devotee of the work of Bruce Rogers. I went further than this, because I wanted to bring in people like Paul Rand, the advertising designer who really created a whole new perspective, so far as advertising art was concerned, and who became a good friend, but the thing that really upset Mr. Blumenthal was the fact that I would not advertise the Grolier Club at the annual meetings of the AIGA. He thought that this was something that went beyond the expected in his mind, although it certainly was something that tended to confuse the identities of the two institutions. I felt that it was absolutely unwarrented to advertise another institution at our annual meeting unless there was some direct connection for developing, which had never been discussed. Well, the outcome of this was that I was fired. There may have been other things that never came to the fore, but one of the trustees said when the decision was made and the fuss was over, was that, "Oh, Tod, you can go out and change the world some other place." So, I was simply getting a reputation as a reformer that went beyond the edge of the plank, let's say. In any case, it was an enormously valuable experience for everything that I did in museums and in the arts afterwards, because it has to do graphic arts and the printing arts have to do with the word, and the word has to do with the meaning of works of art in a very fundamental way if it is going to be taught. And the word has to do with how they are put in shape for them to be read and understood, and the whole question of quality comes in there in a very interesting way because one was, at this particular point, graduating from the graphic arts standards of the craftsman tradition and moving into the effects of the Bauhaus tradition. I came up directly against this when I got to Yale a good many years later as assistant director of the art gallery the Yale University Art Gallery there when the Albers school and the Bauhaus principles that he represented there were front and center and central to the education of the visual arts in general. But, of course, it had a particular bearing up on the graphic arts, and we came to another interface in Yale when it came to the point of how one installed exhibitions and how one designed catalogues and how one did everything according to a freer, esthetic in a modern sense, versus a very demanding and prescribed esthetic. Well, that's pedagogical, almost a philosophical as well as an historical problem that has to come up later if it's needed. In any case, I left the American Institute of Graphic Arts and decided then and there that what I needed was a graduate degree. I prepared to enter graduate studies not at Harvard, which would have been the logical place, in one sense, because the book on the history of Mexican art had not been finished and I would like to have finished it there. One's inner voices speak to one from time to time and I really felt guilty for not having finished the book already and did not feel as though I would be either worthy or persona non grata to go back to Harvard and do it there. This was a sort of a lame, if not rather immature . . . .

FO: They did lose the book on you. [laughter]

SC: After all, they did. Yes. But in any case, I had never applied to Harvard. What I did do was apply to Yale, primarily because of the interest of Yale in pre-Columbian studies, having to do with Mexico and having to do with the backgrounds of Diego Rivera and the presence there of George Kubler. So I went to Yale and was interviewed by all of the members of the faculty and was turned down because of their policy, primarily of accepting only a very few people and carrying through all the way on the hope that well, the expectancy that they would go all the whole route, without other institutions . . . .

FO: The whole route meaning to a doctorate?

SC: To a doctorate. Exactly.

FO: You couldn't guarantee that you would?

SC: Well, I didn't guarantee that I wouldn't. They wouldn't guarantee that I would be up to their standards, apparently. You never know what the reasons are for these decisions, so I really toyed with the idea of going directly into anthropology. So I consulted with my very, very good friend or, let me say, supporter he was another generation on the art committee for the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, George Valliant, who had been curator of Mexican archeology and done a great book on the Aztecs the main authority, I think who later committed suicide. He was a pacifist and had a terrible time during the war because none of the embassies that he was sent to appreciated him, and rather turned him aside and then he was sent abroad to take care of the OAS Office in Madrid and Spain, and he couldn't do it and he took his own life. But, anyhow, connections had been rooted there indirectly, I suppose, and so I went and was advised against doing this because I'd have to start absolutely from the very beginning, and even though Columbia, for example, did the opposite of Yale, which was to take in everybody and just flunk them all out, until they were eligible to go ahead. So I decided that I would try the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University and did get in there, although I was warned by Alfred Barr beforehand that this was an enormously sophisticated place, the way he put it. Now, I didn't know quite what that meant at that time, but I think it had to do with the level of European and primarily, German-speaking scholars, who had been brought by Cook to staff and really inaugurate that institution, which, according to Marga Barr, had become really the school the graduate school in the history of arts that was challenging Harvard at its own eminence and also, in the museum field. So, I made up my mind to go there, and did. I was accepted and began there in the fall of 1950. It was a very trying time because, without going to much into the personal aspects of it, after I left the American Institute of Graphic Arts, between then and the time that I was going to the Institute in the fall, I decided to spend as much time as survival made possible on rewriting my Mexican book and decided to turn it into a single monograph on a single work of Diego Rivera. Namely, the frescoes that were commissioned by Dwight Morrow, the American ambassador in 1927, to paint in Cuernavaca. I think it was a very good decision, even though I have to say, at this point, it still isn't finished.

FO: You published the gist of it, have you not?

SC: I've published the gist of it, but as a monograph, it went into all iconographic and thematic and historical problems, according to Panofsky's system, which I wanted to do to show what I had learned at the Institute could be brought up-to-date in terms of the latest iconographical and other theories, could bring the Mexican field into the main field or the mainstream of European art history.

FO: And they did not let you do this at the Institute?

SC: They did, but it was a fight. It was a fight because nobody could understand what the devil I could be doing this for, when all the emphasis was on Mannerism and the Renaissance with Offner and the Gothic and Panofsky and Weinberger and Lehmann and all of these people who looked very much askance on American art of any kind, and is still that way. This was the . . . .

FO: Not to mention United States art. [laughter]

SC: Right. Well, I was in there just at the time that Donald Robinson was about to graduate. He had the same kind of struggle, I think, and became a foremost expert in the fields of pre-Columbian and post-Columbian manuscript dating, I was a loner there, and it was a very strange situation, because I was a generation older than the newer students. I'd been in the Museum of Modern Art, one of the sophisticated marks of the fleshpots of New York and the museum field and been to war at least to Europe and South America and these were kids who just came out of liberal arts courses at Washington University in St. Louis.

FO: Still, this was a typical situation in that you were in with many of the soldiers coming home from war and were older than others in the class.

SC: But not typical among the students within the rarified areas of the Institute of Fine Arts.

FO: Did you do this on the G.I. bill?

SC: I did. I had to break with my aunt to do this. Now there is the personal question that made things extremely difficult at this time, because she was handicapped and had come to consider me practically well, inseparable from her, and needful to her because of her situation.

FO: But you had been separated from her for a long time.

SC: During the war.

FO: Yes. And when you were married.

SC: No. Because she built a house for me and my wife, whomever that might be, in New Canaan, and I was expected to live there.

FO: Oh, I see.

SC: And did. And this was one factor, in any case, in our divorce. It was also, I felt, a possible factor in my loss of my job. Although I cannot blame that, except that my eagerness to do things the way I felt they ought to be done, was a manifestation of a youthful perspective, rather than a mature one, and the whole analysis of this always went back to the center of my professional and personal life to that sibling relationship, not sibling relationship, but that relationship of deference to my aunt. Well, she moved from her house in New Canaan, had it rented, and went after a trip away, took an apartment in Queens in this new Amalgamated Clothing Workers apartment called Queens View on Thirty-Second Avenue near Astoria, and wanted me to live with her over there when I went to graduate school, and I refused to do it. I took my own place in 82nd Street and then 84th Street and didn't want to take any support from her at all. My aunt was absolutely resolute in terms of support. She prevailed upon me to take some, and this made the difference, really, but I never lived there. It also resulted in a second sequel to this situation because I fell into an emotional relationship with a young woman who was also handicapped, so it was substitution for the relationship that I was giving up and resulted in another attachment of a very difficult kind to move with or away from.

FO: You went into psychoanalysis about this time, also?

SC: I didn't until two things happened this young woman was a resident of New Canaan, almost a neighbor whom I met in New York. She was also secretary to Nelson Rockefeller, and there were things in common in view of the Museum of Modern Art world and Latin American world and so on, as well as the great loyalty of this young woman to me in helping me with my work on the Rivera book and so on. So that even with leaving my aunt's household and living privately with this other young woman and partly supporting myself by a job in the downtown district of the West side a terrible job and also becoming an editorial associate of Art News, with a job reviewing New York art shows, contemporary art shows, primarily, but not only contemporary, for Tom Hess in the Art News. I had gotten a job there through a friend at that Museum of Modern Art, a Spanish friend, a very, very good friend and a four-course program at the Institute . . . .

FO: You were busy.

SC: I broke down, and I broke down in the most embarrassing way. Cook, who was ever eager with sympathetic support and encouragement of young students . . . .

FO: Cook is the director of the Institutre of Fine Arts, NY University.

SC: Walter W.S. Cook, the founder, director of what, and the great Spanish scholar, and so on. In making up my program for the second semester, I reviewed for four months, ten to fifteen shows every month for Art News. This was no easy task in itself, and the routines there were pretty darn strict and demanding. Tom Hess was not exactly the most sympathetic fellow and Frankfurter was terrible, I thought. I dropped this after the first semester, but got credit for it because Tom Hess had proposed that I might get credit for it at the Institute of Fine Arts, and I did. Cook gave it to me. Yale wouldn't do this. They were very amused that Tom Hess, one of their students proposing this sort of admiring it, but also for this sort of enterprise, but in any case, Cook suggested that I take Panofsky's course on the iconographical problems in the fifteenth-century Italian Renaissance art with the brightest and most advanced students in the Institute. Some of them were my good pals, but they had just come from their under graduate studies in the history of art and I was just picking them up again, and I got a very I had a subject called the "Dormition of the Virgin in Renaissance Painting" no in Pre- and Post-Renaissance Painting and I was never so befuddled in my life and I broke down in class. Panofsky, the old goat, brilliant as he was, had to take over, and took over brilliantly, and he told me after class, however, this was terrible. I heard that the word he used after class was this I mean, he was humiliated.

FO: He was humiliated?

SC: He said, "This is humiliating." That was his reaction, and I think he passed the word around what a screw-up I was to my friends, the Barrs and other people. The Barrs never winked. They never backed off a minute. I had a little indication that they may had heard something, and they only could have heard, because Panofsky was a fantastic wag very vain and full of brilliant ideas, but only liked people who were his equal or could aspire to be in his presence. I went into analysis then, thinks to a very dear, but eccentric Chilean woman friend Marra Eugenia Huneeres that I had known in Santiago, who had gotten deeply into Karen Horney's school of psychoanalysis. Through her I got an analyst that I could afford. I don't know where she is now. She went to London and became somewhat of an authority and got interested in things that I just couldn't see my way to extrasensory perception and this sort of thing and we haven't corresponded or been in touch for a long, long time. In any case, I started twice-a-week sessions with a very good member of the Karen Horney school by the name of Dorothy Ludwig, on the West Side, and my aunt footed the bill for this, and I went on with my work at the Institute and getting jobs on the side. I left the job where I was downtown, working on lithograph machines, and by accident ran into somebody that I had met in South America who was a friend of all the great people in the State Department Sumner Welles and so on a musician and a patron by the name of Samuel Barlow, who lived on Gramercy park, and I was walking by his house on the way to the doctor to have my eye fixed one day, and he said, "Where the hell have you been?" His house was right there, and he invited me in to be his private secretary, so I got out of that routine, into a more comfortable relationship wild and crazy, but very interesting, because of the salon musical and art life that he had at that part of town. This was sort of a member of the old New York society class. He was a descendant of Joel Barlow, the first ambassador the second ambassador to France, I think after Livingston. And he had musicales practically twice a month and I was an extra man and his wife, Ernesta Barlow, was the sister of Catherine Drinker Bowen, and they came from Philadelphia. It was a complete change in my life there, and it was very time-consuming and weird, but it opened doors, and I met people whom I still know today in the art field. Then Daisy Barr invited me to teach for her at the Spence School, while I was still at the Institute, and I taught history of art for her for a few weeks while she went abroad with Alfred, and then when I needed a summer place to stay, I stayed in the Barr's apartment on Ninety-Sixth Street on more than one occasion, and all summer on another occasion, and there finished most of my work on the monograph of the Diego Rivera frescoes. But then I needed another job after they came back after that fall for that summer. I think the thing that really got me over the hump at that particular time, was the job at the Museum of Modern Art, but I didn't want anybody to know that I was looking for a menial job at the Museum of Modern Art. I went to the personnel director and managed to get hired as a front desk salesman and everybody was away for the summer, and I had represented the Museum of Modern Art on a high, diplomatic level all through South America, and if somebody had known this, they never would have given me the job, but they were away and they didn't know it, and so I got the job. One of the most difficult jobs I've ever had. Frank O'Hara was working there at that time and there were some very nice people, but it was hard meeting the public the demands of that public. In any case, when the people came back from their vacations, some people were horrified that I was working at the front desk of the Museum of Modern Art, and I think indirectly, that got me my next job because Andrew Ritchie, who was director of painting and sculpture at that time, told the curator of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, who needed someone to be public relations director and editor at his museum, said, "Do you know anybody?" And Andrew introduced me to him. I went out there and was hired in Minneapolis.

FO: I take it you got your degree from the Institute?

SC: No. I didn't then. It took nine years to get a Ph.D. at the Institute of Fine Arts under any circumstances, and the master's degree usually took three or four . . . .

FO: But I thought you said you had just finished the thesis on Cuernavaca.

SC: I finished I have to withdraw that I finished essential parts of it, but it wasn't rounded off.

FO: I see.

SC: There was a lot of text to go over. I finished the illustrations of it. There was a great deal of analytical work to be done in the pre-Columbian sources that Rivera used for his shields, his Aztec uniforms, all of the panoply of the military conquest, which I had to do at the American Museum of Natural History, going across the park. This is one of the things that they couldn't believe at the Institute. What the hell was I doing in the American Museum of Natural History? And I think Lehmann thought I was a Communist or something.

FO: You mean they had never heard of the Axtec Codex and they couldn't connect it to a medieval manuscript or something? [laughter]

SC: No, they couldn't have. This was apostasy. I mean, they would really put you down, not by looks, not by what they said, but the way they looked at you and the way they talked about you. Not the way they graded your exams, but this was far out and the person who saved me was Professor Jopez Ray, who was the one Spanish teacher beside Cook, on the faculty, who welcomed this as a paper in one of his classes, and then as a possible thesis subject, and then H.W. Janson came up from downtown to teach at the Institute. Jopez Ray went away. Janson became my advisor and Janson backed me to the hilt. He was marvelous about this. He was head of the Washington Square school, but he was also now teaching uptown and then Craig Smythe came in as director after Cook returned, and he was favorable. He was very good, and he was an influence in my working on this as a book, because he said in a bus going down on Fifth Avenue once he said, "You know, Tod, these overall histories of national art always come croppers. Take a part of it and do it piece by piece."

FO: Well, when did you get your degree?

SC: Only after I got back from Minneapolis five years later and went to Yale and got it through in 1967.

FO: I see. So you have gone to Minneapolis.

SC: We've got to Minneapolis, but we've skipped it and I think it's significant.

FO: Well, you have it pretty well written out here.

SC: Okay.

FO: Is there one thing there that might be commented on one of the shows you did, or . . . .

SC: Two things. Minneapolis fell exactly into the category of Moribund institutions in the museum field, and I had a chance there to turn it around. I really think that I was a key person in turning it round, because it came back to life after five years of working like hell, under the most incredible circumstances of hidebound, set in ways, anti-renewal administration and directorship, which was being attacked by a young Harvard curator in the most limited progressive ways, and in the most obnoxious ways, in terms of protocol, of custom, of tradition. He just broke through absolutely everything. A Fogg student hired me, and because I helped him make his way to the point where he became director or chief curator, I became curator of American art and was able to get my first big show done that caused some national attention. This again was in the direction of renewing what he had done beyond the point of modern art that ended with World War I into the American field of Abstract Expressionism. I did a very large show there that got the help of leading critics and artists around the country and caught the attention of the Museum of Modern Art, and they came out to see it, and when the big shuffle took place at Yale, when the Albers policies and the Albers organization of the art school there under Charles Sawyer broke apart, they had to renew the whole thing, and they brought in Andrew Ritchie to separate the art museum from the history of art department and the art school, and develop on its own, and Ritchie invited me to be his assistant director to help him in that work of transformation.

FO: Would you want to talk some about putting that Abstract Expressionist show together?

SC: Oh, yes.

FO: You must have met a number of the artists when they were just coming into focus.

SC: Yes.

FO: It was called American Paintings 1945-57 - it was 1945 - '57.

SC: Right.

FO: Did it travel, or was it only in Minneapolis?

SC: Only in Minneapolis. The Institute under Davis, who was my boss and who hired me, was concerned in renewing their really wonderful collections of old art at least into the first half of the twentieth century. He made his national reputation by getting major Gauguins, major Cézannes, major Van Goghs and others of the topmost people that were beginning to get hard to come by, but which were still even being turned down by the Frick. The Frick turned down his Gauguin. The Frick turned down his Cézanne, and he picked them up. There's money there. Lots of money, but by just being brash in that good, old completely indifferent way to any kind of convention that you get among some of the people who come from the Fogg, just where I went to, thanks to the Fogg Museum fellowship and so on. He shocked them into an awareness in the rich, somewhat provincial situation, where life's pleasures did not get into the field of art, except in a token fashion, with the exception of certain great amateurs in such fields as ancient Chinese vronzes, later snuff bottles and Chien-lung Forbidden City Vestments, American Colonial art and some fine Renaissance art in period rooms and this sort of thing, and with a director who had been there for thirty-five years, it needed to be shaken. But the tactics that were used were reprehensible, I thought, and I was caught in the middle. So I tried to mediate between these two and still keep it going, and the time came when I got my I was recognized for this very quickly as someone who was being positive, rather than destructive and self-serving. Dickie Davis got Philip Johnson to come out and build him a house one of his major houses so that he could have a showplace and a party place and a collection place of his own, out in the lake district, and of course, it just sort of bulldozed everything and turned everything into kind of a fiesta, and an amusing one, because he was such good talk, and he just loved this and was very, very handy at getting patrons and all of this sort of thing, but he overplayed his hand, and eventually was fired. In any case, I was given my reward by being made curator of American art, and I said, "I want to get into the second half of the twentieth century." So, they let me do a big show. And so I was married again to a daughter of one of the original benefactors of the previous next generation back of the founders of the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and with my new wife, much because of her, I became rather persona grata, more than just a functionary within the patron community.

FO: I don't understand. If you married someone from the community, why did that make you persona non grata?

SC: Persona grata.

FO: Oh, just grata. Okay.

SC: I was persona grata, I think, if I may say so, I had no problem making friends of a not permanent or deep nature, with many of the patrons of this group, but then I became accepted at their level.

FO: Okay. Well, tell us more about the show you did.

SC: Sorry. An awful lot of drivel may be getting into this. [laughter] Because of my work at the Museum of Modern Art in the early days, and doing the circulating exhibitions of modern art and survey of modern collections in Europe of the post-war avant garde and the pre-war avant-garde, and because of the work at Art News, I was naturally interested in something more than Cézanne and Gauguin, and somewhat reluctantly they gave me the right to do an exhibition of the new American art.

FO: Who was in it?

SC: The real turning point was Barnett Newman.

FO: In what way?

SC: Barnett Newman had refused to show for ten years in New York. Clement Greenberg, when I finally got to New York, after a coast-to-coast travel, said, "You must see Barnett Newman. He is really the wave of the future."

FO: Yes. Well, that was what he was promoting at the time.

SC: That's right. It was a minimalist thing coming up. In any case, Barnett Newman received me. I saw the Vir Heroicus Sublimis in his Water Street studio. He liked me I guess, from what I said, and we got into a discussion, and then we walked through the Wall Street district, and Barnett Newman led me through the great-coffered porticos of Wall Street, and he said, "See that? That's strength. That is masculine. That is they may be bastards down here, but they are real men. They are not shopping, shopping, shopping, shoppers, as they are uptown." [laughs] And I said I want to borrow some of his work for the show in Minneapolis, and he said, "Yes." And so down it all went Vir Heroicus Sublimis, Onement and Abraham. Clement couldn't believe it and Thomas I mean Tom Hess couldn't, either. But I think that was the keystone, so far as this whatever they thought of the importance of the show was, but I had Los Angeles painters, I had San Francisco painters . . . .

FO: Name some. Who from Los Angeles? Who from San Francisco, in those days?

SC: I'll have to get you that catalogue. San Francisco the main person was David Park, who opened the way, who brought me to Diebenkorn, before he was known anywhere, really. Elmer Bischoff. Another one that I didn't take, who's come up since.

FO: Who else?

SC: That was oh, hell, Francis I mean . . . .

FO: We're recording for art history here. You've got to name the artists.

SC: Let me bring the catalogue the next time. It's over at the Museum of Modern Art. We'll get it tomorrow.

FO: Who in Los Angeles?

SC: Well, I remember a title of a picture "Baby on Wallaby." This was . . . .

FO: Okay, who from New York?

SC: Well, from new York I had do you know Jackson Pollock?

FO: Yes. I've heard of him. Which one did you get?

SC: I had a very good one from Leo Castelli, who promised it and then Leo sent it to Europe because the Museum of Modern Art said they couldn't let it go anywhere else, and he went in. I had all of them. I had Jensen, I had Ad Reinhardt, I had . . . .

FO: Rothko?

SC: I had Rothko, I had de Kooning, I had the "Women" of de Kooning, I had the classic the people who . . . .

FO: You didn't get a Pollock?

SC: I did get a Pollock.

FO: You just said it went to Europe.

SC: His went to Europe. I got another one. An early one, and a very good one. I should have brought that catalogue, but I don't have it here.

FO: Okay. Well, that's on the record. I'm just trying to get some context here.

SC: May I just make a footnote that catalogue is very rare and it's in the Museum of Modern Art, and it's under Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and it's called "American Paintings 1945 - '57," as you said. And they are all there.

FO: Did you get to meet many of these artists in the process?

SC: I met practically all of them. I didn't meet Rothko. I met Newman, I mean Ad Reinhardt. Pollock was dead by then. End of tape seven, side one. Tape seven, side two.

SC: Well, perhaps back for a minute to the "American Paintings 1945 - '57" the first inspiration for this the model for this was the Museum of Modern Art's exhibition "The New Decade," which Andrew Ritchie had put together from the new painting out of Europe, following World War II, and there were some British sculptors and other important artists sculptors, as well as artists whom I thought ought to be followed up by Americans, as well. When I proposed it to Dick Davis, my boss, he was against it, and then I brought out he had in his house this Philip Johnson house, out in Crystal Bay at Lake Minnetonka, several of those wire chairs that fold in and out, and I took two of them and put one on top of the other to imitate an Armitage that was in "The New Decade" exhibition. I said, "We've got to have something like this in our museum that is American." And with the interest of his very nice wife, I guess he came around. So out I went and as the continuation of our honeymoon I had been married just a few days before we took off to Mexico, and then came back through California, Chicago, New York and Minneapolis the thought had never occurred to me that there would be some sort of an opposition within the people of the New York School to including California work. I did not know so much at that time about the rivalry, but I had seen a very early Rothko in the San Francisco Museum of Art that he had made out there a very large one at the time of his visit in the forties, I believe.

FO: And Clyfford Still was out there.

SC: And Clyfford Still. So, I brought them and I brought others from out there like David Park and Diebenkorn, who had grown up since then, and put them in with others that I thought were beautiful paintings, showing the continuation of the painterly tradition, with other kinds of roots, and I found utterly no opposition to this when I got to New York. I found curiosity: Clement Greenberg was immediately interested in helping me know people like Barnett Newman and Pollock, and he said, "You must get Blue Poles if you possibly can." I was sent out to and drove out with Helen Frankenthaler, to Springs, Long Island to see the Pollock that Alfanso Ossorio had out there and saw his things, and so it began to build up in a comprehensive way of quality, but it was never reviewed until the September issue of the 1958 no, '57 Art News when the lead paragraph in Art News which had several items like brief items gave the lead item here to that particular show a long paragraph, in which they praised it to the skies and they took credit for the fact that I had sort of been on the Art News staff and so forth. And then Hess came out to see it with his wife, Audrey, and Clement Greenberg came out, and then Ritchie came out and saw it. The next thing I knew, I was being invited to come to Yale.

FO: To what extent did Clement Greenberg influence your selections?

SC: None, whatever.

FO: Okay.

SC: And he didn't try to, except . . . .

FO: Except with Newman.

SC: Except with Newman. He absolutely put that at the top, and I couldn't understand his reasoning at all, because it seemed to bear no relation to me to what was going on in the Abstract Expressionist idiom at this point.

FO: It had none. But he was testing the waters. I asked that because a little later, in the mid-sixties he used Washington, DC, as an experimental ground to show things to see if they'd fly before he brought them to New York or sent them to London.

SC: Morris Louis?

FO: Yes. So, it was a standard Greenberg ploy to launch it out of town and see if it flies like you would launch a play and then if it does, bring it into town.

SC: Well, I tell you, this happened in this case, too. Barney Newman was terribly friendly and we got along we became friends, practically. The only thing that really sort of jogged it was the fact that he wanted to hang them, and I said, "No." So he never came out, and then, when the photographs were taken of the exhibition, the arrangement was such that it had to be taken through a doorway, because it was so large, that had Ad Rienhardt abstractions on either side of the doorway in the foreground and so the way the photographs looked, Greenberg said, "Made Newman think that he was being placed alongside of Ad Rienhardt." And he blew his stack. [laughter]

FO: Well, that's a tale to be told at another time, but Greenberg, at that time, was not all as much a supporter of Abstract Expressionism as one presumes, and he was publishing essays saying that the bland, the pure and the apollonian was the art of the future and that for him was Barnett Newman. We've had enough of all of this life in art we've got to get on to the pure form of that blank surface, so there's a good deal of that going on in this period and Newman was the prophet.

SC: Well, I'm beginning to see what you are saying in much better context than I knew have ever known that.

FO: It's been very difficult to get any eye to discriminate. Everyone thinks in terms of chronology. Granted, Newman was of the same generation, but stylistically he was simply the exact opposite, and the young scholars just don't see it because there is such a heavy literature Greenbergian in origin that calls Newman an Abstract Expressionist. He's really the first color field painter and you could even throw in Rothko as one of the first color field painters, although in him there is a far more expressive element.

SC: A real controversy developed not a real controversy the one review that that show got of any national order was by Frank Getlein, of all people, who attacked it for the absolute every angle he possibly could in The Nation, and then he got into a correspondence argument with Barnett Newman back and forth and back and forth, which didn't mean anything to anybody out there and did not mean anything to me, but what I really felt unhappy about was the fact that now that Newman was out in the open, they didn't give Minneapolis credit for him. They didn't even give credit to Minneapolis for this show the kind of thing that they did ten years later, more or less, at the Metropolitan with Henry Geldzahler. They gave Barney a show at Bennington under Eugene Goossen a one-man show to kind of prepare for his grand entrance into New York. We went to see that show and there was no mention of Minneapolis.

FO: While we are still in Minneapolis, did you come across an artist name Walter Quirt?

SC: Oh, indeed.

FO: Do you have any impressions of him?

SC: A very lively, interesting painter and interesting, lively personality. Somewhat obscured by lack of recognition of what he really amounted to, amongst the local artists in the local artists community, and particularly the academic community of artists at the university and the art school of the Minneapolis Institute of Art. He just did not have the visibility he deserved, and this is always been difficult to know how to handle. I didn't know that he was really someone of distinction of his order until I began to read about and see his work elsewhere, because they become overlaid under these circumstances.

FO: Yes. He's one of the that tragic group of New York artists who had come up through the New York WPA in the thirties. He did some very interesting murals.

SC: Murals?

FO: Yes. Bellevue Hospital lost now, but the sketches have survived, and went on to beginnings of the New York career, but at a certain point, opted for the security of the university and left New York he had a wife that was pregnant and they went out to Minneapolis, and, alas, never came back and no one ever heard of him again. I got to know his widow some years ago, and she was moving heaven and earth to place his work to renew a reputation that was lost for all practical purposes. There were many such artists who left New York, who couldn't really exist without some sort of institutional patronage, so they went from the patronage of the New Deal projects directly into the university system, and it pretty much ate them up. Another untold tale of recent American art history. So, you have graduated to Yale in 1958 to '67.

SC: Well, this was professionally a series of down-gradings in my career, professionally as a curator and as a writer, because I was used there primarily for administrative and technical purposes, while the director arrogated to himself the curatorial functions and whatever it took to determine the exhibition program, the acquisition program, the interpretative program and the general evolution of Yale University Art Gallery at this stage of its career. I was progressively left out of it, as time went on. As one of my advisors, Alfred Barr, said to me after a while he said, "You are being turned into a hack." Now I was not unaware of this, and I was getting to be very restless about it because Andrew Ritchie and I had an agreement when I came, and proposed by him that he would handle have the curators handle their particular areas that had to do with the collection. Namely, the academic curators, the heads of the departments of pre-columbian nd primitive art, of modern art, of Renaissance art, of prints and drawings. These would be under their jurisdiction to the extent that they would work toward the general enrichment of the gallery collections, but he would be managing with them the overall older art aspects of the museum program, and he and I together would be working on the modern program. That part of the agreement the latter part was never fulfilled, and it became an illusion as time went on, because the first work of the gallery was to convert it from a sandwich-like building and institution integrated with all the other parts of the arts at Yale art school, graphic arts school, architecture on the production side, art history on the other side and the gallery as a feeder for these programs the way it had been under the old arts at Yale situation under Meeks, the Beaux-Arts program and then convert it in a different way under the Bauhaus philosophy of Josef Albers under Charlie Sawyer's deanship, which lasted until 1958 and had to be completely revised. That situation required a great deal of organization of a physical as well as an administrative kind, because the Yale Art Gallery as it is today was built as a multiple purpose building, based on the whole theory of the integration of all of the arts coming in and using parts of the building as needed, with the art collection put in the static role of decorating as great jewels, in Louis Kahn's phrase, of what is possible to achieve as a work of art to emblazon, to adorn our environment in a kind of an architectural and environmental sense, but in the teaching and training sense at Yale of an environmental sense. But this was completely antithetical to the idea of a museum as a collection, and under the old regime it had been deteriorating because no one paid any attention to the integrity of the works of art in themselves, or took care of them. They would take Bosches off the wall, across the street in the rain, and so the story went. And things were getting lost and not tended to, and Ritchie's first job was to turn it into a museum according to the standards that the Museum of Modern Art and the Buffalo Museum, where he came from, were understood in proper, professional, museological terms. And I was there in the first instance to help him do this overall, but first of all, to reshape the building so it wasn't a sandwich anymore, but an enclosed entity a unit. Andrew had very good plans for this, but he couldn't start it until I got there because he needed someone to help him do it. He took care of diplomatic things and planning and negotiations, and a great deal of negotiation was necessary because it was not a self-contained unit. It was a part of a university academic situation, which was used to inter-relating and everyone had turf and everyone wanted to protect that turf, and it had to be changed. He had a very, very good plan for this, so far as the physical structure of the building was concerned to close it off entirely to everything else but the museum, in stages. To air-condition the whole place it was only partially air-conditioned and to give the individual curators storage rooms for their particular, actual objects in their particular department, on the floor of the museum itself, so they could be brought in and out from their resting places as easily as possible with least amount of commotion, and this is the way we went to work. And in about two or three years, it was done, and very well done, I think. But my commitment not my commitment, but my obligations became almost entirely technical in this sense. The security there were three levels of security the inner keep, the intermediate and the outside, and with students running in and out in the area which had not been already transferred or transformed, made it a nightmare, but we did it.

FO: Did you build the building that's presently there?

SC: No. This was built by Louis Kahn. Louis Kahn is one of the foremost American architects, even of museums. He did the Fort Worth center, but he has also done the Salk Center, out in California. He has done many, many important buildings. This was his first and it was done in the incubator, you might say, of this very vital arts program at Yale of the Bauhaus time, in which they used the principles of Buckminster Fuller Fuller's decahedron construction to do all of the floors and the encasing of services and putting these all in a box that was a unit and possible to work from part to part, and it was very theoretical and very clever and one it became a sensation as . . . .

FO: Okay. That was done after you were there?

SC: No. This was before we came.

FO: Oh. That was there?

SC: That was there.

FO: So the building that sort of gothic thing . . . .

SC: That is the new Art and Architecture building that was done by Paul Rudolph.

FO: No, no, no. That's across the street.

SC: Oh, yes.

FO: I'm talking about the gothic rooms and the gothic hall with statues in it, and the wall seemed to be fused together with Trumbull's tomb somewhere. [laughter]

SC: That had become the main art gallery. There are four units, but the art gallery was the new building that Kahn built on the corner of York and Chapel Streets. The building you are talking about is on the corner of York and High Street, with the bridge that goes across the street and so on.

FO: Yes. The bridge. That's around the corner. That's right. It has nothing to do with Rudolph's art school.

SC: Nothing. No. That's on the other side. The Bunk Room.

FO: . . . burned down.

SC: That's right.

FO: But you did get a big Latin American show out of this, didn't you? After a certain amount of persuasion.

SC: Not just persuasion. I had interesting things to do, but I wasn't doing anything with modern art. There were some trustees who came out on my side, and they would say, "Andrew, you've got to give Catlin a chance to do something." And I did one very I thought quite interesting show of the New York School in 1962. And this was called "Review of the New York Season - 1961 - '62," in which I selected from what I thought were those significant exhibitions that had a contribution to the dynamic, intellectual and artistic atmosphere of the city at that particular time. This was the time when the color field painting the simple color bands of Noland and so on were coming in with the Green Gallery under Clement and so on, and I did a review of what was going on all over New York in that season out of respect to its vital contribution to the thinking of the New York artist, and that was very well received, but it was the only chance I had to do something of my own in a curatorial way up to that time. I had the first work of Al Held. I had the first work of Alex Katz. I had Ossorio, I had Lee Pollock, I had the Provincetown father painting up there what is his name I had Hofmann. I had everything that was going on at that moment, and the idea was to capture a particular moment in the form of a season, and it was very well-received. As a matter of fact, the New York artists began to really take a special interest in Yale again, from the creative point of view, as a result of this. But it was the only thing that I was really allowed to do, except local shows and intramural shows musical instrument shows and so on. I had a lot of fun doing these, but I was also editor and had to start a whole new series of the Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin. The new series was started under my editorship, but then Andrew when we got into curatorial discussions when the curators began to see things in acquisitions catalogues that they didn't agree with, as to their attribution, they reported this to me as editor, and I reported it to Andrew saying, "Andrew, Charles Seymour says that this is not to be attributed to Algardi, the Italian sixteenth-century sculptor." Andrew said, "Hence forth you will not talk to any of the curators." I walked out. I mean, I had been narrowed in my authority to that of a functionary, in spite of the shows that I had done, that he had liked, but so far as my oh, and the word was passed down to other members of the advisory committee that I was not to ask about things that might be potential acquisitions in the modern field for the Yale University art collection. George Dix told me, when he was working for Durlacher Galleries, when I came in, I said, "Who did this? What's the cost?" And so on. Passed this on to Andrew, as part of our deal. He came up to me and he said, "I understand you are not supposed to do this." So I was being undermined in my professional area in New York, and when it came out that I was not even supposed to talk to the curators when I was editor of the Bulletin when it came to the question of an attribution, I said, "This is it." And I just walked out. And I took the precaution to call the provost's office to state that I was doing it. I wasn't being given a chance to do what he said he was going to do. This is in 1963 early the winter of '63. There was a nice young man in the provost's office, David Martin Kingman Brewster was provost at that time, and Kingman said, "Hold on. Can you go home? Let us see what we can do about this." And then they called me back, and they said, "We'd like you to sit down with Andrew and talk this over." So Andrew and I had lunch one day after New Year's, and Andrew said, "Well, what would you like to do?" Obviously the question was put up to him this way. Well, by this time, I was so disgusted that I was beginning to think about Latin America again. [laughter] So, in the meantime, I had put up a program of a big Latin American exhibition of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Latin American art, as part of Western tradition. It was time to do in this country to bring ourselves up-to-date on these things, and Andrew looked it over at lunch, and then he took out a pencil and he wrote in the upper corner. "Very interesting project. Would probably require a considerable subsidy." Just a little right. Well, by this time, I had been in touch with some of the members of the Councilium on Latin American Studies of the International Studies Program. They looked at this and said, "Why not?" They took it to the Concilium. The Concilium said, "It would be nice to have an exhibition of Latin American art." This is the time that the Ford money and the Rockefeller money were doing various studies all over the world. They had money, We'd like to help do this. They took it to Kingman Brewster. "It looks like a good idea." And, my God, they set things in motion for me to go to South America that fall, let's say, see the Sao Paulo Biennal and get a view of just what was there to be done, and, by God, Andrew couldn't withdraw it. Well, one thing led to another. I came back with a further enlarged plan. They began to talk with the University of Texas, which was really interested in the whole Latin American question, had money, discussed the possibility of a joint exhibition between the University of Texas Art Gallery and the Yale Art Gallery, began to talk about budget, a real symposium among people who really knew. The people came from Washington, the Library of Congress, Texas, New York. When Andrew wasn't there, a plan was set, a long-range program developed, a budget suggested, was turned over to Kingman Brewster, and Brewster said by this time he had become president he had just become president "It looks like a calculated risk." It was presented to the corporation. They said, "Go ahead." The development office was told to go ahead and raise money for it, and within a week, I had started on my own tour a year-long tour to gather the material.

FO: And this was done essentially without Ritchie's involvement? Sounds like you've done a marvelous . . . .

SC: Snow job.

FO: Well, what would the football players call it? An end run around the director.

SC: Well, that's exactly what it was, because having said this, the old seasoned academes and the men wise in the ways of administration and budgets and this sort of thing, knew how to latch on to something and Andrew didn't back off and then, they knew however that he knew however that to do it at the Yale Art Gallery, they would have to have his permission and Kingman knew this, also. He couldn't put a big show like this without his permission. So Andrew said, "It's okay if you go on leave of absence as assistant director of the gallery and you resign when it's over." He didn't tell me this. He told it to the provost I mean, to Kingman Brewster. So, Brewster had the problem of working out something that would be acceptable to Ritchie in order to do the exhibition, and acceptable to me to do the exhibition without being told to walk the plank, at least to the point where I got to do what I wanted to do. So everybody wondered how that was going to work out. Brewster put it up to me this way. "Would you be willing to do it?" And then, "Take another year to find another job, after the exhibition is done." And I had a choice of gambling to do something that was really a challenge, that I wanted to do, or go further with an offer of consideration for a directorship of the Rhode Island school of Design's Art Museum, which was open at that time, and which had been the beginning of a lot of careers in the museum field. And I talked it over with the Latin American people. Particularly one professor, Richard S. Morse Morse,the professor of history. And Morse said, "Do you want to have a conventional museum career, or do you want to go out and do something interesting and new?" Well, I guess he knew who I was and what I was about, or he read me, and I thought it over and talked it over with Ri, and just decided that I'd rather do that. One thing was that I think that Brewster did not tell Ritchie, was when was about the extra year. A very interesting kind of negotiation dilemma. One of those typical things that people don't always or have to take into consideration, but don't always think of what happened was, we did the show, to jump ahead, and in the meantime, the University of Texas wanted me to come to be director of their art gallery, and I didn't know whether I wanted to go or not to Texas. They were working very closely with us. So, I held my fire on that. They did the show, and the Yale part of it was over within the next year and a half in March of 1968 and Ritchie thought that I would then take the show to put it on in Texas and stay there, and that would be it. But, apparently he didn't know that I had been offered another year, and apparently, Brewster had not defined this to him. So, Andrew said, "When are you going to Texas?" I said, "I'm not going, Andrew. I'm staying here and conducting the international tour of the exhibition to Texas, to San Francisco, to San Diego, to Tucson, Arizona, and Mexico City, and then I'll go." He was flabbergasted. He said, "Have you talked your situation over with Kingman Brewster?" I said, "Yes." So, that's what I did.

FO: Were you appalled?

SC: I was, sort of.

FO: Well, it sounds typical. You weren't the only person appalled by Mr. Ritchie.

SC: That I came to realize.

FO: Yes. In your dealings with him over the years, did he ever admit to his encounter with Jackson Pollock over his book on the organic and geometric abstractionists or whatever he wrote?

SC: I heard there were some ripples about this, but it was with Gottlieb.

FO: Gottlieb, also, but I have heard from several persons that when that book came out, Pollock was so infuriated at being called an organic abstractionist, that he brought the book to an event where he knew Ritchie would be, and literally hit him over the head with it. I was doing my early research on Pollock, I interviewed Andrew Ritchie about and he showed me the various Pollocks they had at Yale they have some curiosities.

SC: Early?

FO: Yes. Early things. And I asked him this, and he just smiled at me and would not answer the question, which rather confirmed that Pollock must have done something. [laughter] But I was wondering if he ever mentioned that to you.

SC: Andrew was a very closed person with a great many ways of diverting questions very skillful in directing the flow of conversation. No, I had not heard that, but I did get some echo some suggestion that things had to be very carefully handled with Andrew Ritchie through Dore Ashton.

FO: Why through Dore Ashton? I don't get the connection.

SC: I guess they were friends, up to a certain point. I remember Dore coming to Yale to review the musical instrument show that I did. She did a very nice job, and I remember her saying to Andrew, "Andrew, stop just doing technical construction of art galleries and get back into art." [laughter] She said something of that sort. But a very good friend of Dore Ashton's in Minneapolis the former curator of the dance archives at the Museum of Modern Art George Amberg must have had some sort of a problem with him, because when he heard that Ri and I were coming to New Haven, he absolutely froze. I mean, he was almost transfixed. When we met him, and I said, "Well, we are going to Yale." "Oh, how nice. Whom are you going with?" "Andrew Ritchie." It was almost as if he had been struck by lightning.

FO: He was warning you.

SC: That's right.

FO: Where did you go from there? You traveled your show.

SC: I traveled the show through these cities and it was disassembled it was dispersed from Mexico City. This was a big operation, and it took people going down before the show, inspecting, photographing, and after the show, to make sure that no insurance things were being falsified, and so on, but I was then offered a job as a professor at Stony Brook, under Leopold Castedo, and also as director of the new gallery at the Center for Inter-American Relations in New York, which was just about to open in 1967, and I took that.

FO: Shall we pause at that point?

SC: Fine. Sure. End of side two, tape seven Tape eight, side one - September 14, 1989

FO: Tod, you were telling us at lunch a story about Botero and the Inter-American Institute. Why don't you begin with that and continue on with that subject from the last tape.

SC: Very good. The Yale exhibition and the University of Texas, "Art of Latin American Since Independence" was a turning point in my work in my career, if you want and, the sense that it meant a return to the area of first interest before World War II that led me to Mexico, through the Museum of Modern Art and the Harvard fellowship. It was also a turning point in the sense that I had become really deeply interested in North American art and the rise of the American school, but had seemed to turn away from that, into something that was to most people's mind's was peripheral, but this was really not without awareness and without purpose. It could, perhaps, be introduced to this stage, which was marked by my becoming director of the Center for Inter-American Relations Art Gallery at the moment that that institution was established inaugurated to create better relationships and understanding between North American and Latin American worlds, in terms of their interest in the arts, in the culture, the backgrounds of these two different societies in the Western Hemisphere - I thought - it might be bringing the end before the beginning, encapsulated the experience encapsulated in a certain way. I had, in my first years at the Center for Inter-American Relations, given the first one-man exhibition of the Columbian painter, Fernando Botero, who has become perhaps the most visible and the most successful of the Latin American painters. Not only in the United States, but in the world, and he had had very tough sledding in this country when he came up in the fifties, and he had one he was part of a group show in Manhattan in those years, but had never been able to make it into one of the galleries here. He had had a story in Time magazine from a one-man show given him in the Milwaukee Art Institute, but I offered him a one-man show and he had it I think it was about 1968 and it was absolutely made fun of in the review in The New York Times by John Canaday, and Fernando called me up the morning after, and said, "I've never had such a cold shower in my life." And so it seemed to be a disaster, but it did open the doors so that he was opened ways for him to become recognized in New York, and within almost a year, he had been given a one-man show at the Marlborough Gallery on Fifty-Seventh Street, and he was if not over the top, he was on the threshold of the success that he has since made.

FO: And this was because of your show at the art gallery?

SC: Undoubtedly he would not have had the visibility or made the challenge to the art world, and particularly the dealer world, as someone who had an opportunity to make a big success. There were people who were trustees of the Museum of Modern Art, who looked at this very carefully, and suddenly wanted two of his major things in that show, which he did not want to sell.

FO: Was this a show of the typical, large, bloated people?

SC: Exactly.

FO: Not those earlier painterly very Baroque paintings that he did?

SC: It had both elements in it. The Museum of Modern Art had bought My Lady of Fatima, I think it was. No, it was Mona Lisa, that they still have, and they had broken the ice there, so far as museum collections were concerned, in terms of one work, and this is a wonderful painting, I thought, and a very good choice of the Museum of Modern Art at that time, within the perspective of their inter-American program. But they featured it, so my show came after this, and yet it didn't really put him over the top, except in the eyes of some people who really saw that there was something there, and one of the trustees bought his Adam and Eve. Botero didn't want to sell this, and yet the trustee was most insistent, so I acted as an intermediary, and he finally agreed, and this went into a private collection in New York, but within about a year, he was given a major show at the Marlborough Gallery and the crowds came out and in no very short order, he was in bright lights, so to speak, throughout the New York art world, and then, very quickly after that, the international art world. It must be said in Botero's extra favor, I think, that he never had a dealer in New York, and had to make his way by selling from his studio downtown as he put it later, "Just not too long ago, as a matter of fact, when I came to New York, I really had very little to eat. It was chicken soup for lunch." He did all of his own negotiations, but was of the kind fiber to be able to handle this commercial aspect and at the same time without compromises to what he was aiming at. Admirable, actually. When he had this opening at the Marlborough Gallery, I went to visit and said, "Fernando you are on your way, and once you are there all the way, I would hope that you would remember the exhibition and the cause of knowledge about Latin American art in this country, and would contribute what you could to an institute for the study and the research in this field." Well, I never talked to him, although I saw him a number of times after that for about twenty years, when I suddenly was invited to a special reception at the Center for Inter-American Relations for Fernando Botero, who had in the announcement, had donated one of his presidential paintings, of a Latin American president, to the Center for its educational program fundraising effort. They were trying to raise something more than one million dollars to go into education, and go more into education, I suppose, in more than just the art field, and I was invited as a guest of honor. David Rockefeller, who was the Chariman of that evening, gave a very gracious speech of gratitude to Fernando, who was there, and his wife. And Rockefeller said, "We have received this gift," as I recall, "because Mr. Botero is recognizing the fact that he had his first one-man show in New York, when the art gallery was under the directorship of Stanton Catlin, who is sitting there." I thought this was extremely nice, and most unexpected.

FO: But deserved.

SC: But absolutely deserved, I think, but it wasn't quite what I had in mind, and I'm going to be a Cassandra here. Maybe, I hope, not too sour grapes, but I couldn't help thinking of it. I had spoken to Fernando about making a donation in the interests of Latin American art to set up a truly bona fide research program so that this could be a center of broader interest. I didn't expect it to come to the Center, because I felt that the Center was really not oriented in the direction to give indepth study opportunity to study and research. But this is the way he remembered it and interpreted it and gave it, and this painting was very warmly and very welcomed at the Center, because it was worth over one hundred thousand dollars, and it was a marvelous kick-off for their drive. Botero has been, despite maybe because of his success, become has always been something of an enigma, and I'd just like to put in a couple of words about the perceptions of his art by myself and by other people, which might throw some light on the nature of his style, which has probably made a mark in the Western and northern parts of the world out of interests that are not central to what his art really may have come from and be a part of. I in the first instance think that it has something to do with the very little understood Spanish tradition of the Picaresque in literature, but that is a term and a culture an esoteric culture that has not entered into the consciousness of the American or much of the European sensibility and critical faculty. I asked him what his real resources what his parentage was as an artist, which I think is a good question has been asked by McKinley Helm, of other people in long-gone years past, and so I asked him, and he said his greatest ideal was the Spanish painter, Sanchez Cotan and the seventeenth-century Spanish still-life painter who grew out of the Realist school a tradition, at some remove of Carravaggio, but with the beginning of the Spanish realist and mystical realist school of Zurburan and a few other painters of that time. I began to look up Sanchez Cotan, who I had not known at all, and found that he had made these absolutely wonderfully realistic eighteenth-century out of Italian Broque still-lifes, in which he had huge cabbages and huge vegetables, much larger, enlarged to the point where they are almost grotesque, and I felt that there was a tie-in perhaps in Botero's perception of what he wanted to do within his circumstances in the light of the knowledge of this particular, infinitely more painstaking realist of that time. There's also a spiritual element in Sanchez Cotan's work that is one field that I feel as an outside critic not a scholar critic, but an artist critic, perhaps, that Zurburan's mystical realism was the kind of realism that saw a miraculous universe in just the creation of existence the miraculousness of existence in the reality, down to the tiniedetail in these still-lifes, and this becomes, perhaps taken over by Botero, in a manner where the focus is upon the foibles of society the foibles of Latin American society, in particular Colombian, Spanish-removed Colombian society, and I've never talked to him about this since I asked him the question. There's another side of it, which is more as a postscript, which may be part of the equation, and that is when Jose Luis Cuevas was in New York a year ago for the Bronx symposium on the Latin American Spirit very eloquently he talked about, and very historically he talked about the beginning of the new figuration in Latin American art, which had its greatest fulfillment, I think, in a contemporary, expressionist sense in the Argentine school of Deira Maccio de la Vega, Segui, Noe, and they became internationally known through exhibitions in the United States at the Center for Inter-American Relations and other places in the late sixties and the early seventies. That new figuration involved the presentation or the delineation of images distorted images of human beings, under the duress of the confusions of present life and of the destruction of the human personality, the aberrations of consciousness, and so on, which became an international school, but it had one of its highest fulfillments in the Argentinean school. But, apparently, this happened as a result, in part, according to Cuevas, of a meeting in Buenos Aires of Cuevas himself, and other artists looking for a formal artistic statement that would accord with these realities within the spiritual climate of our times, and also under the influence of existentialism and Cuevas. Of course, he himself, was the great forerunner as an individual of this whole approach to life and to present day, first Mexican and then international society, but always going back to Mexico always going back to his national and personal context of experience, which produced one of the most outstanding of the Latin American styles today, and which has a comparable place in the history with some of the great artists of distorted not monster images but the aberrations of human personality that have come out in Bosch and the Brazilian Grassman and our own people, you might even say, the Albright brothers. So, he was the seed very possibly, for an avenue to reinforce or resource to reinforce the Nueva Figuration and Botero.

FO: He is the artist . . . .

SC: Jose Juis Cuevas

FO: Right. Is there a parallel to what you are talking about in Latin American literature? One often sees several authors described as Surrealists I've noticed you've been avoiding the term Surrealism. Is that relevant?

SC: If I've avoided the word `Surrealism,' it is part of my own historical and cultural and re-created perspective and feelings about the art of the American world. I simply don't like to have it become subsidiary to without due recognition of its independence from the European schools of Surrealism, which have appropriated all originality that they could, particularly in the surrealist field, where they have taken Lam and they have taken the Haitians and they have taken other people and enveloped them within their own philosophy. But there is a new element and an extra-dimension that has come out of the American experience. Now, that's as a preliminary statement to answer your question.

FO: What is the relationship between the picaresque and surrealism? Or is there one? Or is it a false relationship?

SC: I think there has been no relationship that has ever been established, because the relationship of Surrealism as conceived by Breton and the Europeans, in true European and particularly French fashion, according to some Latin American thinkers, is that they've always used Spain as a mine of information and of themes and of ideas to re-create in their own, non-Spanish way, the many musical compositions by Chabrier, by Debussy, and so on, have gone to Spain to get ideas that have some relationship to the Picaresque. But they make them over in their own terms, and what is Picaresque in Spain, has never really made its way into the cultural and critical consciousness of the outside world.

FO: You've just said implied it was germane.

SC: Yes. Except within the enclave the very large enclave of the Latin American world, which subtends the Spanish traditions from the time of Cervantes. Down to, and this is where I think it takes a special Latin American turn that is critical, and the satiric writing of a Spanish post-revolutionary, early nineteenth-century vein by Larra, who attacked and satirized in the most burlesque and incisive ways the contradictions and the ridiculous aspects of Spanish society in the confusions that had followed the Napoleonic invasion and occupation and immediately followed the Bourbon restoration around 1815 in Spain. He was a brilliant writer of a satirical kind, whose work was picked up and used as a model for satirizing the confusions and vagaries and the ridiculousness in Latin American society, particularly Venezuela, in the first half of the century. But your question was, what did this have to do what does this aspect of Jose Luis Cuevas and Nueva Figuration have to do with Latin American literature at this particular time.

FO: There is a parallel, isn't there?

SC: Is there a parallelism? There is. Very definitely, but it is not really made a connection in the critical parlance of our more compartmental literary and artistic criticism today, to show that there is an interface here and an interaction here.

FO: The reason I ask is whenever you read a review of the Latin American novel, almost always the key terms is Surrealism, no matter who it is. I don't know enough about this literature to name names, but Fuentes just had a novel about . . . .

SC: The unborn.

FO: The decay of Mexico City, is it? And, again, the clinching term was the indigenous Latin American Surrealism that these authors use.

SC: The word that is used by the Latin American critics, and now the North American critics to some extent and what has become the common denominator term, you might say is Magic Realism, and this has come . . . .

FO: My goodness. Dorothy Miller invented that for some West Coast artist, didn't she? An awful long time ago?

SC: Definitely. But that is the buzzword that has been removed as a means . . . .

FO: Morris Graves.

SC: Morris Graves? I think Morris Graves may have been a very good idea of that there was a catalog and a show at the Museum of Modern art twenty-five years ago, but the term is now being used as a not a buzzword but a general denominator . . . .

FO: Right. By literary critics.

SC: By literary critics to characterize Garcia Marquez, Vargas Llosa and Charpentier, and so on.

FO: In other words, it's just like the term "American Renaissance," which our literary critics used to describe Emerson and Thoreau and the art historians now use to describe the 1890s. [laughter]

SC: It's a kind of poverty of engagement.

FO: Yes. And any kind of coherent intellectual connection between the various disciplines goes begging. Now speaking of all this specialization, I do believe sir, our conversation is getting far too specialized and we must get back to the flow and the evolution of your career. Now, we are at the Center . . . .

SC: Four points at the Center.

FO: Yes.

SC: First instance, it looked to be that it was the first real effort to concentrate literary, artistic, intellectual attention in one place on the overall phenomena of Latin American cultural evolution. This is why I joined it. I planned an exhibition program that would cover the nineteenth to the twentieth century, because I believed that it was a culture that had to be reborn I like to use the word "regenesis." At the end of the Colonial period, all of the standards of Colonial architecture, Colonial painting and so on, had to be replaced by something that was more akin to the empirical tradition of art that developed throughout the Western world at the end of the French Revolution the Napoleonic hegemony. There was a great watershed that immediately was established within the flow and further evolution of Western culture at that particular point, but Latin America did not have the background of the evolution of the arts in the same open way that Europe had from the time of the Italian Renaissance and the Quatrocento. They had to start from scratch, but simply because of the existence of another part of Western people and indigenous people in another part of the world from Europe, their art simply had to be different, and they had to make up an artistic tradition from the beginning, using the elements that were available, so I wanted to start at the very beginning. Unfortunately, the idea of the Center was really to confront or come to terms with realities in the contemporary world, and in the contemporary world in New York in 1967 when this all began the Latin-American artists themselves were in New York, having been drawn here, many of them by the progress, the success of the American school in displacing Paris. They were here not forgetting Europe or not forgetting homeland but they were here in order to imbibe and become a part of this new rise of the arts in the Western world. They were also primarily interested in forgetting about their past, except as it had started with the modern movements at the beginning of the twentieth century, so the historical approach that I was interested in, was not quite you would say coeval with the perspectives of the Latin-American contemporary artists, nor with the consciously the perspectives of the Center. Naturally, under these circumstances, the great emphasis went on contemporary art. The Latin-American artists in New York, but also to get the background and the overall historical scenario as to sources and to origins to take in to account also the artists of Latin America back home,the forerunner so we began a program in that direction. I did this with Ida Rubin, to start with, in the first exhibition. We did precursors of modernism, showing the early modernists of Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Peru the same way that we show the early modernists in the United States Dove and Stella and the abstractionists, when they came on the scene. This was immediately attacked by The New York Times and John Canaday, and also by the Latin-American artists in New York, because it was too old fashioned and from Canaday's point of view, of all things, it did not take into account sufficiently, the evolution of the social realist and the muralist school of the Mexicans, which he had grown up with, and by putting one very fine and important drawing of Orozco's head of Quetzalcoal at Dartmount was nowhere near enough, from his point of view, to show what this basic tradition that had been forgotten in the course of the rise of the New York School it's importance, so he really let go on this whole thing.

FO: Now, of course, John Russell will not review Diego Rivera.

SC: Now John Russell will not review Diego Rivera because it is "ethnic." [laughter] So, confusion piled on confusion.

FO: Yes. What was your second point there?

SC: The second point was the other things that I tried to do at the Center for Inter-American Relations and director of the art gallery I had a museum approach I was really trying to build something there of the kind that Asia House had had under Gordon Washburn. But, because of the combination of services at the Center and the mixture of buisiness with economics on the fifth floor and the Americas Society trying to get businessmen together and politicians together, there was really no comprehension of the idea of a museum-type program that would protect works of art and would show their origins their historical traditions that they were a part of, and so on, so the whole situation was left to a happenstance evolutionary approach. We had to have a track record to see what they wanted to do and one of the things that I did, along with it, was to with the art gallery program was to help in such archeological proposals as the Maya hieroglyphic inscription study. Now, there is a foundation in Washington, the head of which or a member of which was closely related through legal partnership of one of the Board members for Inter-American Relations, who was avidly interested in translating the Maya hieroglyphic language, which had never been translated, using computers for this. So I was asked to put together a committee of anthropological experts who could say what the problems were and how to solve it. Well, we put it together, we had the best experts in this country and abroad come. A program was started, they made a survey in the Yucatan, we came back, started a program of investigation, according to the theories and the experience of the Peabody Museum at Harvard and Mike Coe at Yale and others, to copy all the hierglyphs that there were in the world and get them all in one place, and the interesting aspect of it, as well, many people were interested in this problem and had been for one hundred years, but they could never get the evidence all together. So what we did was to put together fascicles of everything, and it was going to take fifteen to twenty years it was going to take about fifty million dollars, but it took hold. Right at this moment after having published about fifteen or twenty of the fascicles, they have almost gotten the thing done, and so, I spent a lot of time in getting people together for that. That is one aspect . . . .

FO: The thing done they did manage to break the code of the language, as they did with Egyptian hieroglyphs, right?

SC: Not in the same way.

FO: They did have a rosetta stone.

SC: We did not have a rosetta stone. They did in Egypt, because they had the demotic language and they had the . . . .

FO: The Greek.

SC: The Greek and the what is that? [Cpotic]

FO: The hieroglyphic.

SC: Well, the hieroglyphic, but they had a third yes, the hieroglyphic. But they could match these things up, and there was no way of doing this. They had the calendar stones they had many things, but it was an infinitely more delicate and complicated process of permutations to take what they knew and put it together, and they got a marvelous man from London, who was a pupil of Eric Thompson, one of the great British archaeologists, on the field study of this, make the fascicles by going down there every year and establishing headquarters by the Lake at Tileal, and putting it all together, so . . . .

FO: Maybe we should define a fascicle. I'm not sure what that is.

SC: A fascicle is the closest thing to, in a publishing sense, of an offprint from a large volume of essays. What it is, actually, is a study of a certain phase of a monument and the illustrations and the investigation and the bibliography of that particular phase, published in a single signature, you might say, and these signatures are added to as the study goes on and they all come together in one place.

FO: The photographic record and all the documentation in one place, and you have an accumulative comparative record of everything.

SC: And everybody has it, so all the minds can work on the same . . . .

FO: Yes. You can publish the fascicles and have the same material in six different research centers.

SC: Sixty, and this is the way this was. It was the Stella and Charles Gutman Foundation, which gave the money for this. They are based in New York and their money comes from J. & B. Scotch in part, and they have used it for this purpose and consistently, until it got too big for the Center and my office, as a coordinator, and was taken over by the Peabody Museum in Harvard, and it has been there ever since.

FO: What else were you doing at the time?

SC: [pauses] A very difficult situation developed, that I think I just have to mention without mentioning other names. In the course of the Maya hieroglyphic inscription study, we brought together an international advisory committee of the leading Latin-American experts in the field of archeology Guatemala, Mexico, and the places where this whole study was the locus of this particular study and in the course of it, on one of my trips down there, I met the representative from Guatemala, who said, "We have a terrible problem here." There is a general problem, of course, of the raiding of these archeological sites by clandestine gangs that are hired indirectly by dealers in Europe and the United States to get out choice pieces that can be sold for high prices in the international market, and these gangs are hired to go in clandestinely, with hacksaws and power saws and with guns, and to find these monuments in the jungle, and they cut them up and they destroy the evidence of history and of the archeological backgrounds of the whole civilization. This is one of the things that Ian Graham ran into as soon as he got down there, but they are also in the export trade of this material to get them out of the country. In the case of Guatemala, I was told by the head of the National Institute of Anthropology and History in Guatemala City that one of their prize pieces had disappeared and turned up in a New Orleans gallery in the United States, and they couldn't get it back because they did not have the legal clout to oppose the very high-powered legal clout that had been invoked by the defending importer, although the work had been stopped by Customs. and I found out that the legal defense of the illicit importation of that was being conducted by a member of the board of the Center for Inter-American Relations.

FO: Oh, nice. [laughter]

SC: And I blew the whistle. This was resented, but the conflict of interest was overlooked was not considered. I had discussed it with a very important member of the academic community, who was deeply involved in the Latin-American field, as to what I should do about it. And I was told that it was just a classic case of conflict of interest, and that I should just pursue it to the end. The work eventually went back.

FO: This is the same thing that went on at the Museum of the American Indian, where the board members were peddling the headdresses and the peace pipes to their own interest.

SC: Yes. Dick Cavett and other people, and poor Dockstadter, the Director the situation, I think, was somewhat different up there, but not the principle.

FO: Not principle, and it goes back a long way, and there is evidence that when the Surrealists were here in New York in the 1940s, people like Breton and Max Ernst used to go up there and buy choice pieces directly out of the galleries from the curators because there was absolutely no curatorial controls whatsoever.

SC: And you cannot count on artist and leaders of cultural or artistic movements to do anything except what is in their interest. I mean, that is just the nature of the creative world. But in the legal world and in the institutional world, you have quite a different responsibility, and I felt this acutely, because I was a museologist and belonged to the American Association of Museums, so there just was no choice on that.

FO: What's the fourth point, then?

SC: The fourth point is the counter-establishment offensive. As I mentioned before, the contemporary artists of Latin America in New York wanted more and more attention and less and less attention to historical situations, but at the same time, there was a current, an element within the Latin American artistic community that was Marxist, and it was not long before a protest was organized, within the first year, actually, against the overall program of the Center for Inter-American Relations, that was hardly the art program, because they wanted more of their up-to-date things, and Lord knows, I had lots, but it was across the board, and it was not only for their interests as starving Latin-American artists in New York, but for the overall cultural perspective. Historically and in contemporary modern terms, that had to be unfolded for the sake of removing the ignorance that was around us on the part of the North American community. But the other element was the lack of confidence on the part of many, many Latin Americans, not just artists, in the sponsorship of this program in the name of an organization that was headed by the Rockefellers this big business.

FO: So, we are coming to a full circle to the earlier activities of Nelson in Latin America that we talked about earlier.

SC: No direct you have made that connection and it's very no question that after Nelson's death, the burden of the Latin American interests of the Rockefeller family, I think, diverted to David Rockefeller, although Nelson's son, Rodman, became the head of Nelson's particular Latin-American business organization, called the Inter-American Basic Development Corporation, with headquarters elsewhere in New York. He had become director of that, yet and these are things that I just don't know about but a conflict developed between the Inter-American Foundation for the Arts, which Rodman Rockefeller, with the Inter-American Basic Development Corporation, or as a part of it, as a public service organization, had established to do the very same thing that the Center was building up to do on a broader scale. so it was a family question, and it took a while before this was worked out. As I think I said in the outline, a merger was arranged and some of the staff went over to the Center and then the Inter-American Development Foundation Inter-American Foundation for the Arts dissolved, and it's president went to do other things.

FO: How did this conflict between the artists who were protesting the Rockefeller influence here turn out?

SC: It came to a climax three years later.

FO: What year are we at now?

SC: We were starting in '67 1967, and now we are in 1970. End of side one, tape eight Tape eight, side two

SC: In the fall of 1970 we in New York City had gone through or were in the middle of a period of great activity against the cultural establishment, as well as political establishment, in view of the crisis of the Vietnam War. I call this the counter-establishment offensive, in which manyLatin-American artists in New York took part, at least in terms of sympathy, if not actually overt joining the ranks of the picketers on the ramparts of the Metropolitan, but things were rising to a considerable crisis of conflict. Yet this did not come to a point of denouement, you might say, until a year or two later early 1971 '72 in New York. But I had the very great feeling that something had to be done to make the art establishment in the dealer area, among the commercial galleries, more open for the Latin-American artists who were here and having a devilish time getting their work shown. The Center was supposed to relieve the situation by its galleries and its program, but it wasn't nearly enough, and so I had the idea of a Latin-American Art Week in which I would get the cooperation of a dozen or more galleries in Fifty-Seventh Street and up Madison Avenue to the Metropolitan, by offering them a choice of one or two artists that they would pick from a comprehensive album of photographs of their own liking and choice, to put on a week-long show of each of these artists. I managed to get the cooperation of about fifteen, including Leo Castelli, Grace Borgenicht and Betty Parsons and John Myers and Tibor de Nagy, Ahbe Sachs all of the big galleries agreed to do this in principle. I was able to do this because I had been a critic, an editorial associate at Art News in the Minneapolis show and everything else. They were very willing and in cases really quite interested, and so I began taking the photograph album around and had several galleries signed up with actual choices Coe Kerr, Lee Ault I think Betty Parsons was considering Hippolyte, the Haitian artist, but A.M. Sachs, who was already showing a few Latin-American artists, and this was to take place in March of 1971. Then newspaper articles began to appear in The Times, letters of protest against the policies in general of the Center, calling the gallery, "A gallery for connoisseurs or for people who enjoyed art as a kind of an after dinner brandy and a cigar." They were allied to the general conception of the Center as being a place for corporate America and business. Not just Rockefeller, but the establishment at that level. And meetings were held downtown, and I knew indirectly something that was happening because a member of the staff of the Center one of the Latin-American members was rather close to some of these people, and one day I went after the gallery had closed I went into the Mexican room to use the telephone, and there a person was being interviewed by one of my colleagues, and it turned out that this person was being interviewed to become my successor as director of the Gallery someone I had known but, unbeknownst to me, I was being put off put out without being told about it. So when this came to the fore, I really made inquiries and found out that indeed they were turning over my program for Fifty-Seventh Street and Madison Avenue galleries to this other person, to revise it according to whatever way he might want to handle it, and then I was told that I would no longer be director of the gallery. I wasn't fired, but I was told that this person was taking over the direction of the gallery, and that I would be given a separation term of about six months, in which my salary would be continued, but I would no longer have anything to do with this project, and this person would not discuss with me really, how that project, which was based upon concrete commitments with various galleries, would revise it. And, eventually, it was simply taken out of my hands, and this other person was given the right to figure it out the best he could. This is the nitty gritty of it within a very short time after the first of the year, I was told that this person had resigned and that he had been talking with the artists and he rather took the point of view of the artists. I mean, he had been meeting with them. And what point of the view of the artists, I didn't know, because most all of them that I had talked to were eager about this, because these opportunities had never opened had never occurred to them before, and then, very shortly after, this person said, "Well, he reconsidered, and he will go on and carry it through." Obviously, there are two sides. The artist's side and the Center institutional side, and he was beginning to waffle between the two. He said that he would come back on, and so they said, "Okay, go ahead." He still didn't know, and I don't know whether he explained to them, what he was going to do with his particular commitment. And then, very shortly after that, I was told that he had resigned again. That he just couldn't go ahead with it that he . . . .

FO: What was the kernel of this conflict?

SC: I think it had to do with the whole question of whether the Center itself, and the art gallery, was truly for Latin-American art, or was using Latin-American art as a front for business, which was the cause that was being voiced by the Latin Americans who were writing the letters.

FO: Let's clarify the word "business," because this has gotten very complicated. Are we talking about business in terms of the Rockefeller brothers internationally . . . .

SC: Not the Rockefeller brothers. Just the whole corporate interest of the Americas Society in which David Rockefeller was the head. Yes.

FO: All right. Now, we're not talking about something as gross as who was to get the ten percent finder's fee for the sales of these paintings?

SC: No. Nothing of that sort. I'm sorry. I did not mean that at all.

FO: Okay. So, this is not a matter of some conflict between the dealers and the artists who bore the Center's unease with dealing with commercial elements. That would not seem to be the problem.

SC: Never had a ripple about that. Something may have happened that I didn't know about. I mean, maybe one of the artists went to Lee Ault and said, "Well, how much, if you sell, will I get?" And they had an argument and something like that. I never heard anything about that. They were all so eager to . . . .

FO: What was the resolution of this? You've got someone coming in, taking over your job. Your family is still there. The guy keeps resigning every other week.

SC: He resigned twice. He came back twice, and the second time he came back, they said, "No thank you. You no longer have the job." And it became a gossip throughout the museum field in New York, that, "Catlin's been fired, but the new guy had been fired before Catlin leaves." So it was sort of big joke, but the letters started coming out in The New York Times, giving the artists' point of view in Grace Glueck's column on art people, and so on, and I was out this came to my father's attention and it created all mayhem that I couldn't hold a job, and all this sort of thing it came back, so it was a miserable time for me. But they had no criticism of me, in terms of the job that I had been doing. As a matter of fact, I had just gotten a very fine letter from David Rockefeller three months before, saying what a great job I had been doing and so on, but I found out afterwards that the clique among the Latin-American artists of the left had been circulating a threat to the dealers who were going into this program saying that, "You can't select the work. We are going to select it."

FO: Yes.

SC: And, of course, this scared the daylights out of everybody, but the thing that really I suppose I was very suspect about, but it never was mentioned, and it didn't seem to be reflected in anything else that they did, was that I didn't know this was going on.

FO: They weren't afraid that you may have been taking a kickback or anything?

SC: No kickback, and I don't think they even thought that I was in cahoots with some reason of subterfuge.

FO: They were never willing to explain their reason?

SC: Never. The reason . . . .

FO: Did you demand reasons?

SC: I said, "Of course. Why?" And do you know the reason? I had overspent my budget in the programs of the past year, and therefore, I was fiscally irresponsible or too much of a risk.

FO: Was that true?

SC: Absolutely not. Absolutely not true. I had overspent my Yale show and maybe this got around, and administrators will take advantage of anything when they want to get their way, but the director of the president of the center resigned himself just before I was given my the decision and he was a terrible man on the budget, not just in terms of personal things, but the way he tried to manipulate things himself, I was told. And a succeeding president came in and he said, "Tod, I've been over the whole thing. There's nothing against you on the budget." By this time I was out. Now, I have to say this. That the Center had confidence in me for what I had done, I am sure, because we published a whole library of catalogs and exhibitions. They continued my salary through the middle of the year, and then gave me a grant to do my history of modern Latin American art that I had been planning since the Yale show. Then they wanted me to be continued under the rubric, under the Center's Aegis, as a grant recipient, to do a study farmed out to do this sort of thing. So, I was treated very well, I think, in those terms, and yet I could see how this whole situation had been really undermined by the extreme Communist left-wing element within the artists living downtown in penury not being able to get gallery space occasional exhibitions one out of twenty on a museum scale, and not getting anywhere, and this situation being exploited by the real subversives. And they didn't care that they were they were not interested in seeing the Center's art program succeed to the extent that the Latin-American artists would find a place within the capitalist New York art world. Now that story has never been told. That's it. It's been told up to a certain point in the histories that have been written of the Mexican Nueva Presencia movement the post-revolutionary movement that developed in the fifties and the sixties under Arnold Belkin and some of the other people down there. And he was here, and he was a ringleader here. And another one was Camnitzer from Uruguay, who is the brains behind the thing.

FO: Well, it is typical of artists, irrespective of politics, to tend when situations like this come open opportunities are offered, to sometimes how to put it try to take such an advantage of an opportunity that they cut their own throat. I have seen this in many situations that have nothing to do with politics, that an opportunity a door was opened and then they try to get a herd of elephants through the door instead of walking one by one, and since there is little loyalty among artists among themselves, it gets to be total debacle. So I don't know, in this case, of course, you would have the Marxist animus against the Rockefeller-dominated institution, but it's also very typical artists behavior, and I knew Belkin very well for a few years, and I can easily see him causing exactly this kind of mess, without the slightest ideological thought in his head. [laughter]

SC: But he had ideological thoughts in his head, too.

FO: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Well, what did you do after did you get your book written?

SC: No.

FO: What happened?

SC: I had to earn a living.

FO: They had given you a grant.

SC: They had given me seventy-five hundred dollars to keep it going, and they wanted to have it done under the Center's literary program, or in some way. No, that was not the way. I was given this grant and I was to do it on my own, and to have my own way of getting it published and so on. And then David Rockefeller was persuaded through my talking to him that it would be good to have this done under the literary program or under the aegis of the Center for Inter-American Relations. I considered this for some time. Still, another president came in. The Center had a series of presidents. He was all for this, and the support seemed to be there, but on my own, it sort of well, two things it sort of got bogged down in the bureaucracy of the Center, as to how they would integrate this. And on my own, I wanted greater independence that the name of the Center would accord me.

FO: So you never really got the grant from them?

SC: I got the grant. I got seventy-five hundred dollars.

FO: I see.

SC: But then, I had seventy-five hundred dollars to do a two-hundred year history of Latin American art, from a point of view of twenty countries, and so on. In the long run, I'd have to say it was just too much for me to do, because the spade-work that had to be done in so many countries was not done, and you just could not do that on such a format.

FO: It's like my mural book.

SC: You are doing it. That's the idea.

FO: [laughter] It's been ten years. Digging it up.

SC: Because the work had not been dug up.

FO: There was nothing to begin with.

SC: So the more I got into it and in I my systematic way of looking at things, I went to South America very shortly after that, with the Longview Foundation.

FO: Shall we go on to that?

SC: Yes.

FO: The next point you have here is Hunter College. Do you want to talk about that very briefly?

SC: Yes. Briefly, I went to work on my book that summer, but I needed a job and Eugene Goossen, who was head of the Art Department, was also the across the street neighbor, and had come to our shows, was very anxious to have me teach a course on Latin American art in the art department. Now, the art department at Hunter College was art history and practical arts, so to speak creative studio art and it was the studio art department, I think, that was the biggest element there, and they had some very fine people on the staff.

FO: Tony Smith was there, wasn't he?

SC: Tony Smith was there and Doug Olson and Lenny Longo and Bob Swain and even the Latin American artist like Juan Downey and so on. The pay was good, the conditions terrible, but this department, as all such combination departments, was on two sides of a very high wall, and the art historians were very orthodox art historians. But what I wanted to do and what Goossens wanted me to do, was to bring that history of Latin American art course into the art historical curriculum. As long as he was there, it was fine. I gave a course for a whole year and as visiting associate professor, which was a godsend, and it helped me organize my materials for my book further organize them. Goossens was there during the movement against established institutions, including Hunter College and mounting and mounting and mounting, and resulted in almost the overthrow of that institution through the strikes of the students. It was touch and go the whole way. The elevators were crowded together with students who were on the rampage and his problems he was attacked, he was slandered the bulletin boards were covered over with the most scurrilous accusations, and I don't know how he kept his head. After a year, he resigned, and this left me sort of without my main support, trying to continue a program within the art history department, and their funds were being withdrawn, apparently. And so the proposals that I made in order to integrate Latin American art history into their program, which I thought was quite interesting, but I don't know whether it is really very good or not, was to take individual courses in Renaissance art, Baroque art, Roccoco art, according to standard curriculum of the art history departments in the country, and simply enlarge them by one or two or three classes, by giving time to the extension of these continental traditions into the Western Hemisphere. But there were two strikes against us. Spain was still itself on the fringes, marginalized, within the art historical curricula in this country, and no one was possibly going to give up their time turf, to an enlargement of this kind.

FO: Well, not to mention that the professorate might have to learn something new.

SC: Exactly. [laughter] Well, they first would have to recognize that it existed. But, there were nice people there a wonderful woman was one of the greatest scholars in Renaissance iconographical art Minella Levy D'Ancona, who did The Garden of the Renaissance under Panofsky. Absolutely wonderful, but there was a cleavage within the art history department there were those who wanted to go ahead and those who wanted to stay behind. After several sessions full faculty sessions, in which I had to make presentations it was turned down. So, I had to look for something else at this particular point, and I still have those programs as to how to integrate the extension of these traditions into the various time disciplines of the history of art, and I think that there are meetings, and there were some art historians, who were just clapping, and others that were just cringing. Well, it didn't get to first base, but, in any case, my appointment was not renewed in 1973, but I had the satisfaction, thanks to Professor Janson, of being able to organize, I think, a second (after a long, long period, decades) symposium or session of papers on Latin American art pre-Columbian and Colonial and present at the New York meetings of the College Art Association in 1973, where Janson made it possible for me to have the time to do, in an adjunct situation, but it was one of the best attended sessions, with excellent papers, excellent subjects, which, of course, were never published. Joyce Bailey on Siqueiros's Polyforum and Jean Charlot on the Italian journeys of Diego Rivera, all of his original notes and the XVIII century style as it was fulfilled in the Sagrada of Lorenzo Rodriguez in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City by Margaret Collier. It was really very good, but it got lost in terms of the bibliographies, and so on, and someone now Shifra Goldman, who is doing a history of Latin American art and who is going to be here this winter to chair, I think, the first real session of Latin-American art, in the announced program of the College of Art Association, had never heard of it.

FO: Mrs. Stern. Tell us about that. Who was she?

SC: Mrs. Edgar B. Stern is the daughter of Julius Rosenwald, the founder of Sears Roebuck and sister of Lessing Rosenwald, the great print collector, whose great print collection is now at the National Gallery in Washington. Some of the greatest treasures of this tradition were collected there in Philadelphia and Mrs. Stern, who is a very public his sister is a very public, spirited citizen, interested in museums, opera, music and so on, and a benefactor of many of these institutions in Philadelphia, and incidently, interested in Latin American art, of all things, and bought Latin American art through how this started, I'm not quite sure but, in any case, I had a call from her son-in-law, Tom Hess. He was married to her daughter, Audrey.

FO: Was this the Tom Hess of Art News?

SC: Yes.

FO: Okay.

SC: And because I had become known to Tom as interested in Latin American art, but that I was also an editorial associate for a brief time on Art News and he was interested in particularly interested in the show that was done in Minneapolis, got in touch with me because Mrs. Stern, his mother-in-law, was interested in a plan to convert her estate her estate house into a museum after she died or before she died, and she was enormously interested in horticulture. Her house was built around 1930, I think, by the Platt architectural firm here, in a rather severe but graceful, neoclassical style, by the firm that did Grand Central. It was in the Beaux-Art style of latter day. Well, I was having lunch with Tom, I mentioned my interest in the traveler reporter traditions and splendid horticultural artists that had been sent over under the Spanish crown before Humboldt in the eighteenth century the collections that were down there and so on, and he picked up on this, told her about it, and he said, "Would you like to talk to her about her future interests?" So, he invited me down there and I told her about my interest in this, and how anything about this had never been done in this country, and the wonderful botanical gardens there were and the sources there were in South America, she was immediately interested and she said, "Well, I think you should explore this." So, she made me a consultant to the Longview Foundation in order to get the materials for a collection to turn that house into a museum of the horticultural and the traveler-reporter art of the Americas, and so by March of 1973, I had another job, just at the time of the Watergate trials were opening in Washington, and so my wife and I went down there and she just could not have been more charming and more interested, and "How much will this cost? Will this cost one million dollars or two millions dollars?" [laughter]

FO: That's the spirit.

SC: [laughter] That's the spirit. Yes. Well, we were put up in all the best hotels and a chauffeur came out and we went on the nicest dinners and the restaurants, and everything else, and I put together a tour and she sent me off. But there was a hitch. Two things are crucial here. She also was a trustee of the Issac Delgado Museum, which has become the New Orleans Museum of Art, which had just gotten a new director a former junior curator at the National Gallery, John Bullard. Mrs. Stern was a trustee, and she was very concerned about why she wasn't being let in on more things. The answer I asked Bullard and he said, "We're afraid of the tail wagging the dog."

FO: What was the hitch?

SC: The hitch was that her house and estate and gardens they were very famous gardens, called Longview gardens and there are tours that are advertised to come and see it . . . .

FO: In Philadelphia?

SC: No. New Orleans. The Metairie section of New Orleans, but built up on a swamp that she built up with her husband, Edgar B., who was a fine, public-spirited, dashing citizen. She adored him, and they built this place where they had their dinner parties with the greats from around the world, and on this property that was built up, they sold certain parcels of the land to other people who built fine houses there, too, and they did not like the traffic that came in to visit the Longview Gardens. They wouldn't be there if it hadn't been for the development of this property very discreet and very best of taste, and when they heard that she was thinking of turning the whole house into a museum, they brought a suit. She had to go the fullest length that she could, I think, to forestall it, and that was by going through the city administration and getting the area declared municipal property. This was all going on while I was doing my tour in South America in 1973, and it didn't work out. Either she didn't win her case or couldn't swing it or it was too costly or there were consequences that I didn't know about. Or, and this is one of the caveats of how to conduct one's programs and proposals under certain circumstances, I think I may have been too ambitious in trying to make it more than just a horticultural garden, but also a museum of the traveler-reporter tradition. So when I came back, the interest wasn't there and she had decided to turn the house into a decorative arts house with her furniture the way the house had been planned, although it was not a house of great originality and first class pieces, but it was a fine estate house that fitted in with the garden plan.

FO: Well, let's talk about your tour, anyway. You got a great deal of research out of this.

SC: Oh, I did, and it was that research, really, that built up my basic specializations in the traveler-reporter tradition.

FO: How long were you away?

SC: I was away from March through August middle of August, and I visited went back to Colombia, went to Panama, because Panama had been part of Colombia. I went to Bogota, where the great Mutis had his headquarters in the eighteenth century. I went to the botanical gardens and the libraries and the dealers of memorabilia and rare books in Caracas, which was Humboldt's first starting-off point. I went to the scientific societies. I went to Rio, to the botanical garden, to the University of Sau Paulo, where they have these great volumes of what the French had done following the investigations of bird culture and all of that. I went to Buenos Aires, I went to Montivideo to the great collections there, and got a wonderful offer of a collection from Sr Ottario Assuncau went around and a month before the Pinochet revolution against Allende in Santiago saw the old collectors, just by luck, of the former diplomatic protectors of this kind of material among the Chilean amateurs, and then on to Peru and then back, and had a marvelous collection of material, from which a marvelous collection could have been made, but then it was dropped and nobody else was interested. Then Audrey was very ill and died not long afterwards, and then Tom was not well when I last saw him, and he died, and Tom and Audrey's son became the head of the Longview Foundation.

FO: We're talking about Tom Hess, right?

SC: We're talking about Tom Hess's son. Yes. And a very young chap and rather impulsive, I gather I don't think had too much interest in the arts of any kind, and when I went down there again, it was still a very shaky situation, and I thought I was probably lucky that it didn't work out, without the underpinning of the families.

FO: Now, you've just published most of that information in an essay, right?

SC: A consolidation of this, in a major essay I mean, the most major essay that I have written on it, for the "Art in Latin America" catalog of the show of that name, that has just been organized by the Arts Council of Great Britain. Actually, the Hayward Gallery, formerly the Arts Council of Great Britain, which is the exhibition of this, and most of this material is now about to open in Stockholm, and will go on to Madrid before it's over, but this is the first chance that the statement a scholarly statement and perspective could be written about this whole phenomenon, which is so little known about in the United States.

FO: You get glimpses of it, I guess, in something like Martin Johnson Heade.

SC: Heade and Homer and our artists who went down to the Latin-American world did it, and Frederick Edwin Church and others were latter-day artistic extensions of this tradition that began in the late eighteenth century, but you are quite rightly saying it is definitely a part of the discovery or the rediscovery, in terms of natural history of the Latin American World of the Western Hemisphere, of which probably a more directly American representative of the original tradition is George Catlin, who went to the West and did stuff himself, along with writing it up.

FO: And Bodmer, who did . . . .

SC: And Bodmer definitely. He was one of the very first, but he was employed by a German prince, who was a follower of Humboldt.

FO: Yes. I have been trying to find painted tepees by them so I can reproduce their illustrations rather than the Smithsonian's miniature tepees. If you ever see a beautiful, old, mid-nineteenth century portrait of a painted tepee I need it for my mural book. [laughter] I saw a lot of Bodmer in Omaha, where they have got most of his papers, and there were little pencil sketches of painted tepees, but there were no particularly clear images that . . . .

SC: Catlin must have some. I mean, North American Indians and McCracken and . . . .

FO: Well, we'll find it one way or the other.

SC: Into Syracuse University.

FO: Well, you are leaving you came back in August of 1973 and Longview enterprise has pretty much fizzled, though you have all the research material, and then the next stop is Syracuse, I take it.

SC: Yes.

FO: And this was just about the time I met you, if I remember. Isn't this around the time of the conference up at MIT?

SC: That's right. One further note, before we go to Syracuse. I cannot possibly go through this without mentioning my most generous, sympathetic, learned patron through all of this period, from the time of the Yale show, who is the Venezuelan historian and industrialist, Alfredo Boulton. Alfredo Boulton is probably one of the foremost patrons of the arts in the post-independence era of the whole Latin American world. A dynamic organizer of money-making projects that he is the inheritor of from the beginnings of the broadly European settlement of the South American world in the early nineteenth century to the most assiduous and painstaking and loyal and forgiving of people who sponsor the artist and the arts of Latin America, primarily, and within that, primarily of Venezuela. He's written a three volume history of Venezuelan art is one of the few places where . . . . End of side two, tape eight Tape nine, side one

SC: When Alfredo Boulton heard that I had been relieved of my position at the Center for Inter-American Relations, he called me at home from Caracas and said, "You will have a stipend for the next year from my John Boulton Foundation," or maybe it was from his firm, "to sustain you until you can get on your feet." I have just seen him again. I was called to Venezuela in April of this year and he is not too well, but he has, over the years, created almost not singlehandedly but has been the basic continuing element that has led to the cohesion, I think, of the artistic establishment the patron establishment of the arts in Venezuela more than any other person. He is a magnificent bon vivant with a house in Paris and a house in Margarita Island, in the hills of Caracas, and constantly entertaining people of all levels of creative life, to be his guests and to be his sympathetic helpers. His primary interest seems to have been in the Constructivist tradition of the arts, in which the artists Soto, and those others that subtend the Constructivist tradition in Europe have been given special recognition, he established a museum in Cuidad Bolivar well, toward the mouth of the Orevico, for Jesus Soto and their foremost Constructivist and optical artists, in which he's gathered Constructivist art from all over the world, and he sees this as allied to the wave of modern progress as technological progress, with his artistic component and phase. There are very interesting aspects of this that have been gone into too much, but he has not been particularly liked by the more expressionistic and free-thinking critics like like Marta Traba in the Latin American critical and artistic establishment. To me he has been really like a father. So none of these things that I talk about can be possibly after a certain date talked about without some feeling of his help and influence. So, Syracuse University: after returning from the Longview consultantship, I had to look for a permanent job. My children were growing into high school age.

FO: Did your children go with you to Latin America?

SC: No. My wife and my daughter and my son went with me on one trip to Venezuela, and Ri has been with me on several trips to Mexico, but never the circuit. Some of those circuits have taken a long time. But I was hoping to get a position in New York City, which, after all, is the center of everything. Yale University, after I had left Yale, was among the universities that I wanted to go to as either a professor or as a curator in one of the university museums, where we would have the resources to study and to develop the teaching of this particular field. None of them were interested. Yale really closed the door rather emphatically, not because of interest on the part of the Concilium on International Studies, but the Ford money had gone elsewhere with the change in interest on the part of the major foundations from area studies to domestic studies. And the history of art department, including the chairman, who was one of my friends on the junior faculty, and much to my disappointment, George Kubler did not want to see studies in the nineteenth and twentieth century of this part of the world in the curriculum of the university. And they didn't even want to keep the books that I had assembled the archives that I had assembled the yield of this enormous three-and-a-half year project kept there. Photographs everything. And so after I got to Syracuse, I was at pains to locate what they didn't want. Some of it has been located in the Library of Congress, where it is now absolutely an orphan without any supervision, and waiting for some sort of incorporation into their into . . . .

FO: Let's clarify this, because I am not clear about what you are talking about.

SC: Okay.

FO: The product of the Longvu research was given to Yale, and then Yale gave it to the Library of Congress. That's what I am hearing.

SC: The impression I gave that it was Longvu material, no. It was the Yale-Texas "Art of Latin America," that was a much larger comprehensive . . . .

FO: Okay. So, in other words, the materials that you had put together for that show at Yale . . . .

SC: At Yale, including thousands of photographs.

FO: They gave to the Library of Congress or dispersed.

SC: They would have dispersed they did not want them. They would have probably found some place to send them, but I had in my well, I don't know whether it was my contract at Yale or yes with my contract the overall contract for the preparation of that show with the lenders was that the material from that show, including rights of reproduction for educational purposes, could be so used wherever needed and wherever wanted, for education purposes.

FO: By you?

SC: By me. Not by Yale. But I felt a responsibility to preserve this material, including the rights for the making of the slides a whole slide collection was made the only one that exists, still today in a unit form by Sandak. I was terribly anxious to see that these rights be continued, and it was necessary to see that the material was located in an available place for that purpose. So I discussed it with Yale. It was turned down. The library needed the space. They had the problems with their asbestos there and had to reorganize the whole outfit and their collections were growing. They didn't want it. So I wanted it in a neutral place, but in the East, where all of the context of art historical research, out of which Latin American art as an extension of Western tradition in the interface of the indigenous traditions, all was. I didn't want it to go to Texas, and I didn't want it to go to California. Everybody who wants to study something in-depth had to come here, still. So the idea was to place it in the East, and my proposal was to have it come with me, if possible, with a chair or with a curatorship, but these institutions were not interested. I was afraid that the Museum of Modern Art would upstage it, even though they had the best collection in the East by far because of their own policies in defining what modern art was, which has become so which has relegated Latin America already to a sideshow and they are deaccessioning their material.

FO: Yes. And they have sold off quite a bit.

SC: That's right. So, I felt that this was not auspicious, even though this had not happened yet. I had a hunch that something was going to happen. So I said Washington, and so I went into negotiations with the Library of Congress.

FO: The Hispanic Division there?

SC: Hispanic Division. And my proposal was that they create a curatorship or a librarianship or an office for the research of Latin American artistic culture, along with the Hispanic Division. I first went to the National Gallery. The National Gallery Hank Millon was interested, but then they went to the library their library, and they said, "Well, we have nothing. They have the American stuff at the Library of Congress. Why don't you suggest they take it there?" I went there and met Bill Carter, who was the library's Hispanic Division chief. Alan Fern, who was in the rare books, I believe, came in. He had been there during Robert Smith's and Elizabeth Wilder Weisman's time with the Archive of Hispanic Culture, which had started with World War II and built up an enormous archive there of photographs of a broad cultural nature, but not necessarily art, and here, there and elsewhere and was completely dropped at the end of the war, and when Alan Fern heard about this from Bill Carter, they said, "My God, this is the way to save the Archive of Hispanic Culture. And Catlin's the guy to do it." So I was asked to present a program for the Library of Congress that would be implemented by a special office there that would make it possible to carry on the to do the history of modern Latin American art. They were both very interested they were equally interested and maybe more interested in the development of the photographic aspects of the archive of Hispanic culture than they were of a history of art. But they saw that these two could go together, and I thought this was the best chance, so I spent a year working on a very detailed, massive proposal and budget for the completion of the photographic archive and my establishment in the Library of Congress to carry this on. Went through all the stages. It was approved by the Library of Congress. Officially, I have a letter of approval to one condition. Funds have to be raised from the outside. The budget was something like four hundred and fifty thousand dollars and Bill Carter died of cancer, and Alan Fern became Director of the National Portrait Gallery. That's where it stands. I went to see it, and it's been split up. The photographs are in the photographs collection and the archives, the correspondence all of that sort of stuff, is in the Hispanic Division, which has been moved from where it was up on the third floor to the entrance area, and has gone through another change of direction and it's absolutely nowhere.

FO: But it will be moved back up to where the mural is when they finish restoring that area.

SC: Oh, has it been moved back?

FO: I'm saying that the Hispanic Division will probably get back . . . .

SC: Oh, do you think it will?

FO: But that whole floor has been evacuated in order to restore the whole area. All of the second floor of the Library of Congress is gutted now. They are restoring the . . . .

SC: The reading room is in the new building somewhere.

FO: Yes. Well, that may stay, but they will still bring something back up to where that mural is. So that didn't work?

SC: That didn't work.

FO: Were you hired as a consultant to do all of that?

SC: I did this free because it was my thing, and I had one entry to the Library of Congress the new librarian what's his name? it's a man Higgenbotham or Huntington or . . . .

FO: Yes. The Russian expert.

SC: No. He's a New England Brahmin.

FO: Daniel J. Boorstein?

SC: No, not the author of "The Discoverers."

FO: Yes.

SC: He's gone.

FO: Well, the new one is a Russian expert.

SC: Oh, is he?

FO: But I can't think of his name.

SC: He's a New Englander.

FO: Yes.

SC: Well, I met him through the representative from Missouri, James Symington, the son of Stuart Symington, who gave me an introduction to the librarian to the new librarian and he sent me to the associate librarian and the business manager librarian, and I can't remember his name a man of tremendous presence and bureaucratic and administrative authority, and I said, "Can't you put this into the quincentennial celebrations budget? I mean, after all," (I didn't speak to him that way) I said, "This has been sitting here, and surely you've got a lot of things coming up and there's money for them." I never heard from him. As something that reminds me of Buddhist priests the attitude and the superiority and inscrutability of some of these authorities [laughter] that one meets from time to time, but I did expect some sort of an answer. But there was something that I was told when I was there, by Steven Ostrow, the head of the Photographic Division, who seemed to be a very nice and able fellow. Now he said, "The worst sin you could do in the American government is a sin of commission. Not of omission it's commission." [laughter]

FO: Oh, yes.

SC: Well, I did this after I got to Syracuse and . . . .

FO: Did what?

SC: The Library of Congress proposal.

FO: Oh, okay. So, you're already at Syracuse.

SC: Already at Syracuse.

FO: Okay.

SC: God. The files I've got on this. And meantime, the stuff is sitting there. The National Gallery woke up when they got a new librarian, and they decided that they were very interested in this and came up and looked over my material in Syracuse a year ago, and all kinds of letters were written and the inventory begun, and so on, and then a new assistant director comes into the National Gallery, replacing [John] Wilmerding, and decides that they don't want to expand in that direction, so that's just dropped. So it goes.

FO: Well, at Syracuse now, who became director of the gallery?

SC: I was appointed director of galleries, because they had a gallery in New York at Lubin House 9 East Sixty-First Street, across from the Pierre Hotel they have a very fine town house there and it was bought by a Syracuse alumnus who turned it over to an alumni house it's one of the few colleges that has a real alumni house in the city of New York, which is now used mostly for recruiting and promotional purposes, but a nice little area for a gallery, and I was director of that, as well as the one in Syracuse, as well as the head of the museology program, and my job was to reorganize the museology program the museum studies program as a part of the art school, because the galleries were under the art school in the succession of authority and of deanship in the time of Laurence Schmeckebier.

FO: Shall we talk about Schmeckebier and his program, because in the sixties, he tried to give opportunities to many of the thirties artists, like Ben Shahn and Anton Refregier to continue the mural tradition that they had started in the thirties and a number of things were done there, and I suppose that by the time you got there, Schmeckebier was gone and those murals were pretty much neglected, and I wonder if you can give some insight into how that happened. I was up there, as you know, about six months ago, and . . . .

SC: You inspected the Ben Shahn mural.

FO: The Ben Shahn and the Refreiger, which is in that T.V. studio, all pockmarked as if they were shooting at it, and several other murals that are covered or in storage or have vanished or whatever, so that is a very serious problem there, and I gather all of this fell between the bureaucratic cracks of which department has responsibility for it.

SC: Well, at first, responsibility comes from Schmeckebier's succession. I don't know who immediately followed his retirement. The person in charge who hired me when I came was the dean of visual and performing arts, August Freundlich. He was my boss. Schmeckebier's name was very well-remembered with respect, and his reputation as a strong-minded, demanding, effective administrator and curator in a museum sense was well established. I learned about Schmeckebier long before I came to Syracuse, because he published one of the first books on the Mexican mural movement at the University of Minnesota Press back in about 1940, I think. No, 1939. As early as that. He was one of the earliest visitors to Mexico from the United States academic world. I first knew about those murals almost by hearsay because it was never a point of discussion in my interviews for the directorship of the art gallery, and part of the reason for that was that the art program the visual and performing arts school was under a cloud for having neglected all of the art collections of the university, which belonged under their authority as a result of the system that was established by Schmeckebier. Schmeckebier apparently had not the funds to develop the museum or the gallery program, not the museum there wasn't a museum program the gallery program at Syracuse that he headed was in a strictly museum sense, the way it is at Oberlin, at Yale, at Harvard and so on. This was partly because I think he wanted to keep control over both aspects the teaching of art as well as the collecting of art and not only the teaching of art history through a museum in a curatorial sense, but also in a creative sense. I next heard about Schmeckebier, of all places, in Lima, Peru, where one of his students a marvelous man, by the name of John Davis had married the daughter of one of the presidents of Peru and was running an art center of one of the suburbs of Lima, called Miraflores, as a community art center, but with great knowledge of the folk arts and the manual arts of and the arts in general of the Peruvian heritage. And he told me wanted to know if I knew anything about Syracuse and Laurence Schmeckebier, and I knew very, very little, but at that time, a great controversy was going on in Syracuse over the disposition of the fortune of Mrs. Everson, who had died and left a substantial inheritance for the erection of an art museum, but did not specify where it should be or under whose jurisdiction it should be. A controversy and then a real battle broke out between the university and the city over whether it should stay in the city or whether it should go to the university, and from John Davis, I learned about this controversy, and John said, "It's because Schmeckebier wants to be director of that museum." And therefore, I suppose he didn't say that to bring it under the umbrella of the university, because I think he really wanted a real museum there, and wasn't getting it, and I learned very soon how Schmeckebier ran that art department and the museum at Syracuse University. He shanghaied the art professors to come in and work nights to put up his shows. He didn't have a staff, and he wanted a staff, I guess, and therefore, he wanted a museum.

FO: Well, he also wanted an archive of thirties culture. I remember back in the late sixties when he was collecting archival material the Soyer brothers, for instance, and things and bringing it up there and storing it away in the library. When a colleague of mine, Belisario Contreras, went up to use it, nobody could find it. It had all been just forgotten because there wasn't any back-up any facilities for assessing it, cataloging. Eventually the Archives of American Art received all of that material because there was no way of following up after Schmeckebier died.

SC: Well, that's understandable. I'm sure it's absolutely true because Schmeckebier retired. Other people took over the responsibilities of the art school and then the art school was consolidated with the drama school and the music school for economy reasons in the post-war aftermath. Not only did these responsibilities fall between cracks. They didn't fall between cracks, actually, they were just neglected. And money was so short, or at least the allocation of funds for these responsibilities was not forthcoming to the point where they used up all of the funds that had been given the name funds had been given for acquisitions in the development of the collections, and when I got there, they were all gone.

FO: Yes.

SC: There was a list of paintings as to where they came from, but the funds were nowhere to be found, and there was no accounting for them, and there was no way of investigating them, because everybody turned their backs. And I must say that my erstwhile boss played the same game, because when I found later that the two trips I made to Syracuse for the job interviews the money used to pay for my trip and my hotel and so on had been docked from my budget at the art gallery and not out of his budget. I suppose this doesn't happen a few times in academe, but, in any case, I found my budget was reduced by things that they were dipping in for. Not only my trip, but other things. So, they were dipping into everything. And not only was the difficulty of controlling the collection under these circumstances difficult, if not impossible, there wasn't really the comprehension of the problem. When it was discovered that things had been stolen things had disappeared, they were moldering away in the Continental Can warehouse no one looking after them no director of the museuology program was told that this was part of his responsibility, or if it was, he didn't have time to do it, and my predecessor, who let the museum program go down to nothing, a Yale man, sat in his office and smoked a cigar all day and did nothing about it. Then he left and the place was a vacuum. At this time, the trustees had caught up with the idea that one of their major resources they began to see how art was worth money decided that this had to end, and they took it out of the hands of the dean of the visual and performing arts, and from the new director of the art museology program, and put it in the hands of a geneticist a scientist who was teaching education science, who was a friend of the vice-chancellor, and "Catlin, you have nothing to do with this." And I was coming in as a trained museum person, suddenly bereft of the collection. It's existed that way to this day since, and I think probably just as well, because as you said earlier, "Artists are not the people to put other people's interests before their own."

FO: No. And they are very bad administrators.

SC: [laughter] Impossible. Doug Olson at Hunter College, in the faculty, one of the best artists there, "Artists screw everything up." [laughter]

FO: Well, how did you console yourself in this situation? I remember you were teaching and quite active in museology courses, because your students would come to me.

SC: Well, I really, really took that over very seriously, and despite the fact that they said that we would go for museum accreditation of the AAM, within six months after I arrived, they said the decision had been reached by the board of trustees not to go for accreditation, which knocked the whole bottom out of the whole hands-on, eyes on, direct experience of training museum people.

FO: Of course you had the Everson.

SC: The Everson had just been run by James Harithas

FO: Oh, yes.

SC: Who had inaugurated his regime at the Everson.

FO: This was after he was at the Corcoran?

SC: After he had been thrown out of Corcoran and the famous fistfight and had sat up here in New York . . . .

FO: No. He didn't have a fistfight. That was Gene Baro.

SC: Was that Gene Baro?

FO: Yes. Gene Baro had the fistfight with his co-director. Harithas may have been thrown out, and I would have thrown him out quite happily, myself, because of what he was doing there, but he did not have the fistfight.

SC: Sorry.

FO: That was Gene Baro and the insurance man who was the co-director there.

SC: This is at a public opening . . . .

FO: Yes. I was at the opening. I came down the stairs. Gene Baro was coming up the grand staircase at the Corcoran, black-tie opening, I said, "Hello, Gene." And he just kept on, right by me, and normally he was the most affable of human beings. I went home. The next morning . . . .

SC: Feeling snubbed?

FO: Yes. Feeling snubbed. And the next morning I opened my Washington Post and there was Gene Baro's face on the front page, blood pouring from a great gash across his brow after he had had a fistfight with his co-director in the Rotunda Room, where he had realized that his co-director was being photographed with all the big cheeses and he was being left out of the pictures. [laughter]

SC: I never heard that.

FO: I wish I had followed him back in; I would have seen the great event. Let's go back to Dean Schmeckebier and his successes and on why those murals were neglected that were commissioned under his administration.

SC: The administration, as I just said, suddenly discovered that the art collection, and this includes movable works of art more than it does permanent works of art , was going to seed, was deteriorating and out of control. They couldn't locate them. They couldn't find things that they knew that they had and needed for a particular purpose and . . . .

FO: What was the reason for this?

SC: The reason was, there was no control over the collection. So that is why the administration moved it from a jurisdiction of the art school and put it under the scientist who had a passing amateur interest in art and was a friend of the vice-chancellor. Well, I stopped at that particular point. What I need to say is that the dean who brought me in as a trained museum person did so with a thought in his mind that I could do something about this, quite properly, and certainly would have, but the rug was pulled out from under him and me at the moment that I arrived, for what reason I have never understood, but I think there's some politics that have to do with the Everson here. Because I being there could not do a thing about it when they were outside of my control, and I was not allowed to have anything to do with them. Now, what I could do was teach a theoretical museum course, so that, with field trips, properly documented and properly used with the best experts in the country, I could inculcate a professional sense, and this happened in the course of eight years.

FO: So you did have a successful teaching career?

SC: I believe I really turned it around and made a generation of about fifty students, who are all over the country now, and I just heard yesterday from your Dennis Anderson that one of my students is now curator of the Vassar Art Gallery and is doing everything that she can to remove the art gallery from the jurisdiction of the art department. [laughter] And I consider that a successful teaching career. Well, this went on for eight years. What happened was that the collection, by one of those quirks of fate, under the geneticist, who was as interested in making money out of art as much as anything and knew absolutely nothing about art history, turned out to be a terribly good manager of objects and a terribly good fundraiser from within the administrative councils that he was allied to. He had gotten the support of the administration at least to put the collection into first-rate quarters and hired a curator who didn't have the credentials, but was smart enough to learn them and become a very good keeper-curator and so, that is in the best . . . .

FO: Now they are sort of expanding that gallery, though.

SC: No. The gallery doesn't have anything to do with it. I was director of the gallery and head of the museology program on the other side of the wall, teaching students without a collection, except as I could show them a few works every now and then. But over the long range, it has developed into a technically improved situation, so I think one can be proud of certain aspects of it, particularly in terms of the students, but the gallery is still under the jurisdiction of the art school. It's run for the benefit of the faculty and their students; it does not have internationally important teaching exhibitions for the sake of the humanities, and the art collection is still considered a capital resource and is probably used as collateral for building loans.

FO: All the while you were there, Clement Greenberg was living in the neighborhood, after he left New York and sort of went into theoretical eclipse. Did he have anything to do with the University or was he a force in the teaching or thinking?

SC: No. He was always, or very frequently, invited by my dean to come and talk to the art students, and always accepted, and always gave a terribly good talk.

FO: So he did have some influence?

SC: So he had influence on the I think he hoped he would have more than he did, but he had his input, according to his particular philosophy of the genesis of art and the directions it might be going and should be going perhaps at this point, and made had very good relations there, and I think was very well used and very well and served very well. I saw very little of him when he came up unless I went to his lectures, because my work with the Minneapolis Institute of Art was over and I was in Latin America and I think this has been particularly deplored by most of the critics or misunderstood, let's say one thing with Clement. I mean, we have very good relations, and I have great respect for him in many ways, but we had a little after one of his talks, in a reception at one of the artist's studios, I said something about I don't know whether it was Latin American art, or something like that and he said, "Well, Tod, I'm not interested in foetuses." I said, "Clement, I am."

FO: That's typical.

SC: And that sort of puts it square.

FO: Well, he cannot stand anything organic. The pure, the bland and the Apollonian ain't the foetus. [laughter]

SC: Okay.

FO: What else is significant about Syracuse for you?

SC: I was made emeritus professor.

FO: Yes.

SC: This was, I think, out of general respect that I had as a teacher, which got around, and also because Schmeckebier said something for me that was toward the end of my career, but anyhow, it didn't hurt.

FO: Oh, he was still around?

SC: He was alive. And he came up to give a talk occasionally, and the last time he was up, I had just been fired from my job as director of the gallery my dean had fired me and said, "You can leave the university or you can go on teaching as a professor, but you are no longer director of the art gallery." And the reason for that was a bit of skullduggery that I wouldn't go along with. I had and the other reason for my being held in some esteem there is that I was able to raise money for the university. The Lowe Art Gallery was a multiple-purpose building as it had been turned into by the art school the most atrocious conditions for teaching art students, and then it was decided that the college art school was going to move to another building, and the gallery it would either take over that old building or it would be moved to another part of the campus. And it was finally decided to move it to another part of the campus, next to the collections, which was good, and which I preferred. My students made the plans for it, and they were, up to a certain point, accepted. But they needed money to put it in order and to realize it. So I went to the Lowe Foundation, which had already given the building to start with, and I found out that the Lowe people had given the money in 1955 and had never received any correspondence as to how it was being used for the next fifteen years. They were furious. Well, I managed to turn them around. I said, "This is a new day." And they gave one hundred and fifteen thousand dollars to do it.

FO: Why did they fire you?

SC: Because the dean had been offered a three hundred thousand dollar, triple matching fund by the Ford Foundation, and he was trying to make up the extra two hundred thousand dollars, and was having a hard time doing it by holding bake sales, movie shows and all of this sort of thing. I mean, that's the way they tried to raise it.

FO: Bake sales?

SC: Bake sales.

FO: Let's go to Haiti. Papa Doc sounds more efficient. [laughter]

SC: But what happened was he heard that I got a hundred thousand and fifteen thousand dollars, like that, from the Lowe Foundation, and he came to me and he said, "If you will give me part of that for my Ford Foundation grant, I will double it. I'll get the Ford Foundation grant and return it to your Lowe Art Gallery Fund." And I said, "Can I have it in writing?" But I also said, "I will have to check this out with the chancellor." I checked it out with the chancellor. He said, "It's okay by me." So, I got the papers signed in a very illegible way a statement. I got the check from the Lowe Foundation and I was immediately ordered to turn the whole check over to someone that the dean designated. I refused to do it. It went to the treasurer's office. They investigated it and they found that there was a contract with the Ford Foundation that said no part of this grant of the Ford Foundation may be used for any purpose except for what it has been designated, and they have to be told how it is being used at various stages. The check was impounded. None of the money was given to him. It reverted, as it should have, to the art gallery . . . . End of side one, tape nine Side two, tape nine

FO: Shall we go to Haiti?

SC: Yes.

FO: What year is this now?

SC: 1981. It goes to 1983.

FO: You are now a professor emeritus in Syracuse?

SC: No, it's before.

FO: Oh, it's before. Okay. When did you leave Syracuse then?

SC: 1982. I was made Emeritus Professor and retired in 1982 because of the sliding scale for mandatory retirements under the sixty-five year old retirement law that was being shifted in stages, depended upon your birthday, to 1970, which it is for everybody now. The director of Vizcaya the Miami decorative arts museum that was the estate house of a figure in Miami and American life was Carl Reinhardt, who had been director of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts after my time came to New York and became director of the Hunting Hartford Museum of Modern Art at Columbus Circle and had, after that, become director of this museum in Miami. I think his career started at the Metropolitan, where he was in the print department with Hyatt Mayor. He knew about me because of my time in Minneapolis, and I guess he knew about my Latin American interests through the center and where I had done a show in Haitian art, in collaboration with Seldon Rodman. At the AAM's convention in Indianapolis in the year 1981 he said he had a curator of architecture, a Haitian who had been forced to leave Haiti by order of Papa Doc, and he had given him he was an architect trained in France a position as architecture inspector of the Vizcaya mansion. Now that Papa Doc was dead, Baby Doc had come to power, and he and his wife, through his curator of architecture, had been invited to come to Port-au-Prince and consider a problem in the park that surrounded the national palace. It seems that Papa Doc had had a mausoleum built for him by a French architect a substantial affair in this tropical garden that was actually an underground building properly for a mausoleum, but was a very beautiful site outside, because it had a lake on top of it a basin and beautifully decorated with mosaics and vegetation, and the underground entrance like a beehive tomb, as found, you might say, in Tyrins, in Greece.

FO: Yes.

SC: And he had suggested to Baby Doc and his first lady, Michele Bennett Duvalier, because they felt that this was too grand a structure to be appropriate for Papa Doc, his father, that it be turned into a museum. Perhaps a little too close to the palace and so on the symbolism is very obvious and Carl Reinhardt had suggested turning it into a museum. They were intrigued by this idea, and out of it came the concept that it would become a museum mausoleum in combination, but a mausoleum in the sense of a pantheon to commemorate the founders of the Republic of Haiti, which was founded got its independence from Napoleon in 1804 the first country in the Western Hemisphere south of the United States. And as a result of the revolution of the slaves, led by Toussaint L'Ouverture, and subsequent leaders Dessalines and Petion in the course of the battles that led up to the actual independence. Carl came to me to see if I would be interested in advising them on how to work this out as a museum, primarily.

FO: As a historical museum or an art museum?

SC: As an art museum.

FO: I see. So there would be a pantheon in the center of it and then galleries for art and historical material.

SC: More or less. That was a concept. Well, I said, "I'd like to go down and have a look." I was horrified at the idea of doing something that might ally me in my present and posthumous reputation with one of the most notorious dictators of the twentieth century in the Western Hemisphere.

FO: You survived the Rockefellers. [laughter]

SC: That's on tape. [laughter] Well, I don't know. You probably are going to use the words for me that Francis Taylor used for people that he didn't think terribly much of, and that is a pollyanna, but I tell you . . . .

FO: He said it, I didn't say it.

SC: He said it, you know? [laughter] But I . . . .

FO: This is the son of Papa Doc. This is Baby Doc.

SC: This is Baby Doc. And there was a certain amount of optimism that Baby Doc might be able to modify the reputation. I feel that my mission as a museum person is not to simply make everything right that is wrong, but to go about the idea of transitions toward the right thing as we see it as museologists, and to preserve the record of history, as well. And I also have a personal feeling that when dictatorships come along, those who stay behind are not always traitors. They are always they are sometimes people who keep alive the thread, and this happened to people in France after the occupation by Germany, and I had old friends in Prague who stayed through the Nazi occupation there.

FO: Okay.

SC: So, philosophically on the right track.

FO: Okay. What did you find?

SC: Well, I found absolutely a beautiful building, in a phase of architecture of the twentieth century of the 1950s. It was cultivated in France, and is very little known in our annals in this country of the treatment of architecture. That is, underground building for institutional purposes. They have one, a half-underground museum, in Berne in Switzerland, also, and I have a sneaking suspicion that Philip Johnson got the idea from this for his underground museum in New Canaan was never mentioned, and it's never I mean credited it's not attributed. I even mentioned this to Russell Lynes in a letter once when we had some sort of an exchange of conversation sent him photographs and everything he just disdained really deep interest in it, which increased my feeling that there is a loaded game going on in the architecture field, too, as is everywhere. But this is an extraordinary, beautiful building.

FO: How large is it? Can you compare it to a museum we all know?

SC: Well, I think it's a perfect circle in three levels three concentric circles, and I would say that it is as broad as the whole width of the Metropolitan's staircase facade. In other words, it goes beyond the stairs, into well twenty feet of the main building on either side.

FO: So, perhaps the width of the Hirshhorn?

SC: Not quite.

FO: Not quite. Okay. Fine.

SC: The Hirshhorn's pretty big.

FO: Yes. But it's also concentric circles.

SC: Yes. That's right. Maybe Bunshaft got it from there, too from the French, too.

FO: Okay. So, you have a substantial space to work with now.

SC: Right. But it is in concentric circles, and their idea was to put the symbolic tomb of the three founders of the country in the center, in a sarcophagus a white marble sarcophagus which was already there, because the concept was to bury Baby Doc but not Papa Doc there, but put the remains of Des alines, Petion and Toussait L'Ouverture . . . .

FO: In the sarcophagus together?

SC: Yes.

FO: Where were they going to put Papa Doc?

SC: They were not they put him out in the family cemetery on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, which I went to visit. My plan for the museum was to use half of this circular structure for exhibition purposes, because the entrance half at all three levels was given over to the names of heroes of the Haitian history with testimonials, from speeches and things of this kind, as made into brass letterings on the arc of the entrance area. The ceiling, I should say, was brown terra cotta, beautifully faced, in an undulating rotary way around each of the three areas of the concentric circles, and on top was a basin, marked by white marble curbes and through the basin were conical projections, almost like concave beehives in marble white marble that were open at the top and let the sunlight of the outdoors through into the well of the building itself, and the flooring of the basin was a blue and pink and yellow mosaic, so it had the aspect of a beautiful mosiaic azure sky. The other half of this circumferential space was given over as the area for exhibitions. The innermost area was to be of an historical panorama, showing the evolution of Haitian life from a pre-Columbian, pre-Columbus discovery in 1492, all the way to the present, from an official point of view official Haitian point of view. That official Haitian point of view, naturally, toward the end, extolled the regime of the Duvaliers. It also extolled the struggle of the blacks against the French colonial system. Their struggles for progress, the development of the country, such as it was, but mainly emphasizing the ideal of freedom and independence as well as the importance of their roots in Africa and in the period of the Arowac and the Carib and other Indian occupancies, before the discovery. Well, the next area I think that was the area the second area was the one with the historical, and the first area was the reveal, or the background to the catafalque, and the outermost area and the longest, was for art exhibitions.

FO: Did Port-au-Prince have a museum?

SC: They really did not. They are supposed to have had a national museum, but this was an archeological and historical museum, and the director of it, who is an elderly person, couldn't find the key to open the lock to get in. [laughter] And the doors wouldn't move once they got the lock open. It had some interesting material, pretty well deteriorated, and . . . .

FO: So your job was to produce exhibits for this outer ring of the . . . .

SC: The first exhibit.

FO: The first exhibit.

SC: And the man of whom I was to be in charge that is, the architect at Vizcaya was coming back to be the national cultural minister a young, very bright, very able man who had been the boyhood friend of Baby Doc. He had been brought up in the presidential family to a certain extent, as he had become the boyhood friend of Baby Doc, and so was very close to him, personally, although he had been exiled because of some palace situation that Papa Doc disapproved of sent him away. He was to be the director of what was to be called the National Pantheon Museum of the Republic of Haiti. The acronym for which was MUPANAH, and I was to advise them on how they could convert what was to be a mausoleum dead space, pretty much into a functioning, secure museum, and I really knew how to do this, even though the problem had never surfaced before in any of my museum classes or anywhere else that I know of, outside of the precinct of Philip Johnson, which I was not too informed of, although I had been in it. In any case, there were wonderful problems, like the whole electrical system had been put in according to French standards and French technology and terminology. All of the labels on the cardboards, the air conditioning system, it had to be re-introduced all of this. I knew all about this, because this is what I had done with Andrew Ritchie at the Yale University Art Gallery, so there were problems and it was difficult to get all the needed things in Port-au-Prince, and it was difficult to buy them in the United States and get them down there in time, but in any case, Hermantin Gaston Hermantin (Hermantin) was the name of the man who I worked with very closely and his lady, who was European and very bright, and very astute, and together we worked this sort of thing out. I making trips down there from time to time and they doing the work that had to be done in the meantime. My job was also to organize and collect the inaugural exhibition, which I proposed to be the masters of popular Haitian painting, which were the great figures of the movement that started there in 1945, under the aegis of DeWitt Peters, the American who was sent down there as a conscientious objector to teach the Haitians English under the exchange program, such as it existed at that time, and who really created what became the foremost popular art movement in the world, and led to the discovery of immense sources of talent and individuality and that led to, also, the Episcopal Church's involvement in the sponsorship of artists, themselves, and caused Bishop I'll think of his name in a moment Vogelie, the Episcopal Bishop of Haiti, to decorate the Cathedral of San Trinité with murals of the Christological cycle by the leading Haitian painters at that time, which is one of the masterpieces, I think, of Haitian art and of world popular art, and one of the foremost and one of the first of all the efforts on the part of institutions to lead the popular movements in art into a level of acceptance of a formal and institutional kind. It's a great forerunner of the movement that was started in Mexico what is that movement called where the popularization of the Christian ritual in the Catholic Church was begun in Mexico under the Bishop in Cuernaraca and led to the Misa Criolla the Misa Criolla in Argentina and the Misa Mexicana in Mexico, and so on; all of which started in the fifties, after the Port-au-Prince-Haitian thing. Something really kind of parallel here in the movement of Bishop Tutu in South Africa. A marvelous phenomenon that really has not been gone into too much from that point of view. In any case, I selected an exhibition from New York museum, of Haitian art the Museum of Modern Art was really the main museum and from private collections throughout the East. The most important of which was a private collection on Fifth Avenue that was made by a Dr. Serie Von Reis, who was a Ph.D. graduate student in ethnic botany at Harvard, who had studied ethnic botany in the Amazon and in Haiti, and had become enamored of the examples of ethnic botany that had been represented in the art of the Haitian popular art museum and had a wonderful eye and one of the best collections around here, plus works from the Museum of Modern Art. Jason Seeley, who had a marvelous collection at Cornell and had been on the faculty of the Centre d'Atr of DeWitt Peters, would not lend. He has since died, but his involvement there, I think, made it politically undesirable for him to do a loan under the Duvalier regime, but it took an awful lot of work to get this collection together to send it down there because of the revolutionary situation that existed in the island and the opposition to the Duvaliers and it was building up and building up and building up. Well, something that everything hung on was whether this Van Reis collection could go, and there were very many people who advised her against it, including the State Department. The only condition that her husband would let it go was if there were guarantees that if there were trouble in Haiti, that it would receive a protection of the United States through its embassy. And this was damn tricky. As one thing, one of directors of the Center for Inter-American Relations, whom I had known and who had become afterwards the Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs, I went to about how you would handle a situation like this. The Haitians are putting on an exhibition to honor their independence, and the Americans won't lend unless they get the protection of the United States against an uprising that the Haitians can't control. Well, he worked out a wonderful formula a statement that after endless, back and forth between the Haitian desk at the State Department and the various people who were involved. We got the statement of an inoffensive kind, and the Van Reises agreed, in spite of a bombing near the national palace and the museum. Two months before the pictures were supposed to go, she said, "We'll go with it." That wasn't the only problem. The Bishop of Haiti the new Bishop of Haiti in the Episcopal church had to give approval for the collection of the Episcopal Church of Haiti and the museum that they had established, with a really outstanding collection of Haitian art, to lend it to the Duvalier Government for this purpose, and the curator of their museum would have no part of it. I had to go to the Bishop, tell him what the purpose was and argue for it. None of the other Haitians wanted to lend either, because previous experience had shown that if they left things under the political system that existed, they never came back. So he agreed, provided they came back by a certain day. And so we got the collection together, it came down and it went on. I wrote the catalog there were endless other complications, especially under the protocols of who was to be invited to the opening, [laughter] which I screwed up absolutely thoroughly, [laughter] because I invited a lot of people in the United States whom I thought ought to know about this, and it didn't go through the protocol office of the palace, and all hell broke loose. So, it went on. The national symphony orchestra played. I was photographed with Baby Doc and Mrs. Doc and published in color, full-page, half-page in the Miami Herald taking them and the President of Haiti, Colonel Prosper Avril, who is now General Avril.

FO: You will deposit photographs of this event in the Archives of American Art, I take it?

SC: Oh, I'd be delighted to. [laughter] If they respect my wishes, so far as the privacy of this is concerned, until I approve. If not, I will blow the place up and I know how. I will kneecap everybody. [laughter]

FO: You learned some of their techniques, I take it?

SC: I tell you, one learns a lot when one is an adventurous museum man.

FO: Yes. Especially through the southern dictatorships. [laughter]

SC: Not just southern dictatorships.

FO: Well, you could go to Ireland also?

SC: I could go to Chicago. [laughter] You could go to other places. Well, in any case, it all turned out well, but I've got one thing to end it.

FO: Okay. We've got about twenty more minutes.

SC: I've been very criticized for having done this.

FO: I can imagine.

SC: And some of my most august academic colleagues say, "You are just being made a dupe of. They are using it for propaganda reasons to establish themselves." I have no doubt about this. But the museum has stayed and it was established on basic museological principles and the humanistic principles of the United Nations, which I wrote into my contract, which incidently, they never signed. But it was there that I will not participate in this, unless it is an exhibition that is based upon the principles of human rights, which is one of the key issues in the Haitian situation. I had the help of a young lawyer friend in Syracuse, who put this in words, and did the diplomatic representations not very successful with the embassy in rather amateurish terms, I think. They didn't want it to come down there.

FO: They being the Haitians?

SC: No. The embassy.

FO: The U. S. Embassy?

SC: Yes. And to start with, they allowed it after a while, after we went through all of these things.

FO: How long did Baby Doc survive after that?

SC: I think about three years.

FO: Oh.

SC: Then it really blew up, and he was forced out, and then it went all through all kind of terrible things.

FO: The museum still functions?

SC: The cultural director had to leave the country, naturally, you know, when the Duvaliers left, but they put a young man who had been assistant to the Episcopal Church's museum the Museé de l'Ecole de San Trinité, which was on the side of the park and which I had helped raised funds for when I was at the Center, because they came to me at the Center. But, in any case, he succeeded to the curatorship, and they were putting on international exhibitions, which was what my whole point was. You bring in international exhibitions in and you enlarge their horizons. That's the whole purpose of museums. So, I hope it's still there and I think it is, but who is the director, I don't know. But what really was my pride in this, especially, was and they loved this. Toussaint L'Ouvertore, the real liberator of this country, who took up arms against Napoleon, was captured around 1799 by the army that Napoleon sent over of twenty thousand troops, under the command of General LeClerc, one of his chief generals, who had married Napoleon's sister and who came and lived in Haiti during the war. They managed to trick Toussaint L'Ouverture under the guise of wanting to talk peace terms into their camp, captured him, sent him to France. He was imprisoned in an ancient castle in the Jura Mountains and died without ever having been released. Wordsworth wrote a very famous poem, sonnet, in honor of Toussaint L'Ouverture, a beautiful poem. It's a part of the whole revolutionary feeling of sympathy for the cause of independence and he died and was forgotten, except in Haiti. Several attempts in the nineteenth century were made to bring him back. Always turned down, because it's a part of the military tradition in France, and that's a different kettle of fish from usual cultural matters. But they made representations when this exhibition and this pantheon was being opened, was being planned. They turned it down and then at the last minute they said yes, and so the ashes of Toussaint L'Ouverture, such as they were, because they finally couldn't find them up there in the dusk and grime of that castle, were sent in a cask a special cask by plane by the French Embassy to the island outside of Haiti. I forget where the meeting place was, but Gaston Hermohn sent to meet and received the earth and brought it to Port-au-Prince a great haunting ceremony. A requiem was held in the Catholic cathedral and he was entered into the pantheon with full honors and is there today. And I think this was a triumph. Whether the philosophy of Toussaint L'Ouverture was put in the forefront of the announcements of this there were television programs, discussion of it, and so on, so I think it was a good thing all the way around.

FO: Have you any closing statements?

SC: You spoke a little while ago about the importance the significance lack of it of Latin American art.

FO: Yes. Its consequence.

SC: Its consequences.

FO: It's important for its own countries as a history a legitimate history of Latin American art. My basic question, if I may be devil's advocate is, what is the consequence of that history and the art that was produced across the board?

SC: The point that you raise as to its importance within the various countries, as a legitimate concern of art historians and artists and those who are concerned, which is the citizens, of any country for the art of that country is very, very well taken. You have asked the question as to its consequence, in terms, no doubt, of the international, historical perspectives that give it more than than local consequence. This question has to be answered in time. As I said in my article in the Art In Latin American exhibition book in London, we have to look upon this from a historical or an art-historical point of view in time, as a part of a process that is evolving. In accordance with the empirical tradition, which is not to wait until a masterpiece has been made in the course of an artist's career, but to study that career not just in retrospect, in the stages of its evolution toward becoming a master but as Picasso was studied, in the course of his evolution, from the time that Cubism was discovered through all the stages that it went, is important to the full understanding of what the masterpiece and the master have become in the course of their development, and if this had not been done by Alfred Barr and the Museum of Modern Art and the pioneers of the Cubist movement, including the photographers like Christian Zervos and the massive volumes of documentation that were taking place, how would we go about evaluating the stature of that person? When we consider the many things that go into the evolution of art today, as opposed, or as distinct from, the evolution of art as it has been up to the time of the modern movements. The evolution took place, but we did not keep track of that evolution. We don't know what happened at the very beginning of early Christian art, and if we had known about what happened in the evolution of early Christian art until the time of the mosaics of Hagia Sofia. If we knew what had gone into more in detail than our evidence of archeology and art history would provide us with, we would know more about how the humanistic tradition of Christianity and the reverence for the human soul and the human life, as related to the theological and the canonical evolution of the doctrine. I say the same thing really relates to the humanistic study of an art in formation as it has been in Latin America for the last one hundred and seventy-five years, with the added importance of knowing how they develop, the inflections that took place in this development in the various regions, where there is a mixture of Portuguese instead of Spanish, where there is a mixture of Indian tribes, where there is a mixture of different types of interpretation of the Catholic doctrine that was what they learned. So all of this is terribly important. Not just for itself, but for the potential of what it might become in the long range. A parallel: if one will read the book of Fromentin, the book called Maitres de autres Fois Masters of Past Time an artist, Eugéne Fromentin, of the mid-nineteenth century in France, who went through the museums of Northern Europe, not just studying what was in the Louvre not just going to Rome and so on but seeing the effects of Rome and Paris and Fontainbleau and the effects of the Venetian and the Florentine and the later Renaissance schools upon the painters who visited in Italy and these places, and come back to Flanders and created the Flemish and the Dutch schools. You will find areas of interests that have to do with the projection of human sensibility and the voices of are (not quoting Malreaux) that are terribly rich and terribly important to the general unfolding of the whole European tradition, not only in terms of local countries local interests of the people who have continued to live within those traditions but how those traditions have linked up with the overall concept and the reality and the inheritance of European art. And as time goes on, one sees that there are distinctions there that make art as worthy of other art of other times that has been distilled into these masterpiece ideas of what we consider the epicenters, the high achievements, of Western art. In Latin America you are getting mixtures that have never taken place before, and an infusion of pre-Columbian and continuing indigenous cultures that are creating a new kind of aesthetic sensibility, not just styles, but sensibilities and, eventually, voices of who which we are seeing really just the first beginnings. Now we do not know today, with the advance and the flood of technologies that is transforming everything so fast, how we are going to arrive in the twenty-first century or even before that into an integrated conception of art that is comparable to what the Renaissance has given us and which we live by and measure our artistic evaluations still, with the help of, so it is impossible to predict what is going to be great out of this, but what is important is the preservation of the sensitivities that have gone into the mix. The creation of these emergent styles, of which we have some masters already, if they be looked at for what they have come from, so that is more or less my interest in continuing.

FO: That you very much, Stanton. End of Interview

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 Stanton L. Catlin, 1989 July 1-September 14. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.