Walter Feldman (b.1925 d. 2017)
Artist and Art Educator, Providence, Rhode Island
Interviewer: Robert F. Brown
Interview of Walter Feldman conducted by Robert Brown for the the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, in Feldman's home in Providence, R.I. on August 10, 1998. Feldman discusses attending classes as a youth, 1939-1942, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; attending Yale's School of Fine Arts, 1942; service in combat infantry in the U.S. Army, Europe, 1943-1946; completing his BFA at Yale, 1946-1950 and MFA, 1951; working as an instructor in painting at Yale until his appointment at Brown University (1953; professor 1961) where he taught; exhibitions and commissions; working in painting, printmaking, mosaics, and in fine book making. He discusses working as the sole studio art teacher at Brown University until mid-1960s; hiring of additional artist-teachers and the subsequent split of the art department between studio art and art history; bringing book arts to Brown with his establishment of the Brown/Ziggurat Press, which he directed and which mostly publishes poetry; the many visiting artists at Brown; frequent commissions which kept him young in spirit; and working in widely divergent media: medals, mosaics, and a huge mural commission in 1976; discussion of leading examples of his handmade books, including James Schevill's poetry, "Lager Lieder" (1991), a book of concentration camp songs, and Michael Harper's "Family Sequences" (1998); broadsides he's designed, sculptural "reliqueries" to memorialize the Jewish Holocaust; the prospering of his artists books; and his success as a teacher.
Total: 2 digital recordings; 0:59:02; transcribed 29 pages.