Oral history interview with Edgar Anderson

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.anders02
Creators:
Anderson, Edgar, approximately 1922-
Gold, Donna, 1953-
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America
Dates:
2002 September 17-19
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
78 Pages
Transcript
24 Items
Sound recording: 24 sound files (5 hr., 52 min.)
digital wav
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
An interview of Edgar Anderson conducted 2002 September 17-19, by Donna Gold, in Morristown, New Jersey, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America.
Scope and Contents
Anderson describes his philosophy of nature, and the genetic affinities between trees and humans. He discusses childhood in Jersey City, New Jersey; his parents; his grandfather, who was a bookbinder and leather craftsman; and other influences from his childhood, including his uncles and the Stickley family's Craftsman Farms. He recalls that his mother was an accomplished painter and amateur architect; his father was responsible for constructing the foundations for the Chrysler Building. He describes his early admiration for Frank Lloyd Wright, and a meeting with Wright to inquire about the Taliesin Fellowship. Anderson did not join the Fellowship. He briefly discusses Ayn Rand and The Fountainhead. He recalls his architectural studies at Pratt Institute, including a structural investigation of Wright's Fallingwater house, and studying architectural rendering with Caleb Hornbostel. He describes his service during World War II, serving in Italy as a platoon commander for the Army Engineers. He talks about meeting his wife, Joyce, and the genesis of their working partnership. After the war, he and Joyce studied at Pratt under Philip Johnson; he recalls his student projects and the continuing influence of Frank Lloyd Wright. He also studied at Chicago Technical College. He recalls his apprenticeship building boats with his uncle. He describes, in technical detail, the early years of the practice, including a discussion of his wood supplier, the Monteath Company. He comments at length on his personal creative process, which includes elliptical references to a wide variety of sources, including Umberto Eco and the film 2001. He describes several projects for Lou and Sandy Grotta, including an anthropomorphic grandfather clock in the shape of a hand and wristwatch, an illusionary headboard, and the Knight table. He also comments on the Grotta house, designed by Richard Meier. He briefly mentions the editorial strategy of American Craft, and later Craft Horizon, and his relationships with editors such as John Kelsey, Paul Roman, and Rose Slivka. He mentions having taught at Philadelphia College of Art. He recalls racing in a demolition derby. He discusses his attitude towards criticism, mentioning Paul Smith, the director of the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, at length. He briefly describes his design for a 9/11 memorial at Liberty State Park and the political character of his work. He also reflects on his work relative to the culture at large. He talks about new technologies and new tools, and the evolution of the partnership. He describes his involvement in the craft community at Peters Valley, New Jersey. He comments at length on his apprentice Rob Sperber, and their development of the chainsaw mill.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Edgar Anderson (1922- ) is a woodworker from Morristown, New Jersey. Donna Gold (1953- ) is an art writer from Stockton Springs, Maine.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
Transcript available online.
Author
Sponsor
Funding for this interview was provided by the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America. 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.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
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.

General
General
Originally recorded 5 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 24 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hr., 52 min.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
2001, a space odyssey (Motion picture) Title Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Craft Horizons Title Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Political aspects Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Decorative arts Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001 Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Woodwork -- Equipment and supplies Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Woodwork -- Technique Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Woodworkers -- New Jersey -- Interviews. Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
World War, 1939-1945 -- Campaigns -- Italy Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Liberty State Park (Jersey City, N.J.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Memorials Function Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Anderson, Joyce, 1925- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Eco, Umberto Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Grotta, Lou Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Grotta, Sandra Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hornbostel, Caleb Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Johnson, Philip, 1906-2005 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kelsey, John, 1946- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Meier, Richard, 1934- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rand, Ayn Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Roman, Paul Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Slivka, Rose Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smith, Paul J., 1931- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sperber, Robert Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wright, Frank Lloyd, 1867-1959 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Crafts Council. Museum of Contemporary Crafts Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fallingwater (Pa.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Philadelphia College of Art -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pratt Institute -- Students Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Taliesin Fellowship Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Woodstock School of Painting Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/