Oral history interview with Gene Crain

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.crain99
Creators:
Crain, E. Gene, 1934-
Anderson, Susan
Dates:
1999 March 7-May 22
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
107 Pages
Transcript
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
An interview of Gene Crain, conducted 1999 March 7-May 22, by Susan Anderson, for the Archives of American Art, in the law offices of Gene Crain, Newport Beach, California.
Scope and Contents
Crain describes the focus of his collection of some 1000 works of art, and how it grew out of his longstanding relationships with artists Millard Sheets, Phil Dike, Rex Brandt, and others. He recalls his relationships with Sheets, Dike, and Brandt at some length, including their feelings for the land as well as their personalities and work. He discusses urban growth, disappearance of the locale and nostalgia in the context of art collecting, and his collection as an important record of a certain time and place. He discusses convenience, climate, and topography as contributing factors to the emergence of the watercolor school as well as other important influences: Pacific rim culture and Far Eastern Art and philosophy; Mexican art and culture; the film industry, especially the Disney Studios; and the federal art projects as a catalyst and support system. Crain discusses the impact of social and economic factors in Southern California during the Depression, contrasting them with harsher conditions in other parts of the country; the development of his eye an aesthetic taste and his patronage of the artists beginning in the early 1960s; the artists' critical standing in the post-World War II period and the "crowding out" of the school by other movements such as Abstract Expressionism and Pop; and the viability of the school in the post-war period, its legacy, and comments on the present market value of the art.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
E. Gene Crain (1934- ) is a lawyer and art collector from Newport Beach, California. Full name Ernst Gene Crain. Crain's art collection includes extensive holdings of prominent artists of the California School, a West Coast watercolor movement that arose during the Depression era.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
Transcript available on line.
Author
Sponsor
Funded by the Orange County Museum of Art Historical Collections Council. 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 on 8 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 13 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hr., 38 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
Art -- Collectors and collecting Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Economic aspects Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Abstract expressionism Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pop art Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Depressions -- 1929 -- California Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dike, Phil, 1906-1990 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sheets, Millard, 1907-1989 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Brandt, Rex, 1914-2000 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Walt Disney Productions 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/