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Oral history interview with Tony Vevers, 1998 July 9-August 25

Oral history interview with Tony Vevers, 1998 July 9-August 25

Vevers, Tony, 1926-2008


Collection Information

Size: 2 sound cassettes (165 min.) : analog.

Format: Originally recorded on 2 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 4 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 49 min.

Summary: An interview of Tony Vevers conducted 1998 July 9 and August 25, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art, Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Vevers discusses being sent by his parents to the United States in 1940; secondary schooling in Madison, Connecticut and at the Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, Connecticut (1944); serving in the U.S. Army infantry in Europe, 1944-1946; attending Yale University on the GI-bill and graduating with a BA in painting and drawing, 1950; further art training in Florence, Italy and at the Hans Hofmann School, NYC (1950-1953); his marriage to Elspeth Halvorsen, fellow artist, 1953; living in poverty in NYC and Provincetown until 1963 when became lecturer at UNC-Greensboro and then full-time teacher at Purdue University (retiring in 1988); being active in various Provincetown art groups from 1960s onward and full-time resident since his retirement.

Vevers discusses further his studies in Italy, and his friendship with Stephen Pace and Lawrence Calcagno; on the unexciting nature of contemporary Italian art; contemporary art in Paris, where Picasso impressed him but work of Hans Hartung and (Marie Elena) Vieira da Silva did not; in England excited by the work of Henry Moore and Victor Passmore; move to NYC; studying with Hans Hofmann; summer of 1953 in Monhegan, Maine; working at the non-profit City Center Gallery, which was designed to give younger artists exposure through juried exhibitions; meeting Milton Avery, Adolph Gottlieb, Jack Levine (Levine and Gottlieb irately debating Abstract Expressionism), and Franz Kline; poverty in NYC and the resourceful ways he and wife coped; his first visit in 1950 to Provincetown and at urging of Fritz Bultman decided to stay because younger New York friends regularly visited; and his admiration of artist Myron Stout who had also moved to Provincetown.

Biographical/Historical Note

Tony Vevers (1926-2008) was a painter from Provincetown, Massachusetts.


This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.


Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.

Use requires an appointment.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Tony Vevers, 1998 July 9-August 25. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.