Oral history interview with Hans Barschel
Portions of this collection are digitized

Collection ID:
Barschel, Hans Joachim, b. 1912
Brown, Robert F.
1994 September 14
Physical Description:
2 Sound cassettes
Sound recording (2 hrs., 1 min.)
50 Pages

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
An interview with Hans Joachim Barschel conducted 1994 September 14, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Scope and Contents
Barschel discusses his childhood during World War I and the 1920s in two Berlin suburbs, Charlottenburg and Pankow, as the son of a civil engineer and his wife, whose father was a factory foreman; the contrast of the ludicrous militarism of the late Wilhelmine Germany with the straightened but liberalized circumstances of life in the Weimar Republic which followed; and his first acquaintance with foreign cultures during a 1929 excursion with his free-spirited aunt and uncle.
Scope and Contents
He remembers the enlightened teaching and loose curricula he experienced during 1930-35 in advertising design study with George Salter at the Municipal Art School, Berlin, and then in graduate studies in design, painting, printmaking, and photography at the Academy of Fine and Applied Arts, Berlin-Charlottenburg. He talks about his disgust at the onset of Naziism; his brief career (1935-37) in Berlin as a free-lance graphic designer and as head graphic designer for the Reichsbahn; his getting his beloved teacher, George Salter, a Jew, out of Nazi Germany; his emigration in 1937 using forged documents and his rapid establishment as a designer in New York thanks to his friendship with Dr. Robert Leslie of The Composing Room.
Scope and Contents
He discusses advertisements, posters, and book jackets designed for American publications and companies and (1948) for the United Nations; his move to Rochester, New York, in 1952, as a designer for printing companies and beginning the teaching of design at the Rochester Institute of Technology at the invitation of Stanley Witmeyer, Director of its School of Art and Design; fellow teachers at RIT, including the ceramists, Hobart Cowles and Frans Wildenhain; and the importance of continually refreshing the creative powers by sketching in nature, a principle instilled in him as a student which he carried into his teaching at RIT.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Hans Joachim Barschel (1912-1998) was a graphic designer and art instructor from Rochester, New York.

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.
Existence and Location of Copies
Transcript is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
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.

Originally recorded on 2 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 3 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 1 min.

Digital Content

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
This transcript is open for research. Access to the entire audio recording is restricted. Contact Reference Services for more information.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Design -- Study and teaching -- United States Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Design -- Study and teaching -- Germany Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National socialism and art Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art teachers -- New York (State) -- Rochester -- Interviews Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Designers -- New York (State) -- Rochester -- Interviews Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cowles, Hobart E., 1923-1980 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wildenhain, Frans, 1905-1980 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Witmeyer, Stanley Herbert, 1913-2011 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rochester Institute of Technology -- Faculty 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