Archives of American Art

Oral history interview with Robert Cremean

Collection ID:
Cremean, Robert, 1932-
Karlstrom, Paul J.
1996 September 5
Physical Description:
54 Pages

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
An interview of Robert Cremean conducted 1996 September 5, by Paul J. Karlstrom, for the Archives of American Art, in Cremean's studio, Tomales, California.
Scope and Contents
The focus of the interview is Cremean's withdrawal from the commercial art market in early 1980 and his subsequent arrangement with the Fresno Arts Center (now Fresno Art Museum) to serve as the main center for his work. Cremean discusses the Fresno project and a related book undertaken by George Blair, the main funder of the museum collaboration; the philosophy behind the arrangement and the desire to take the market out of the relationship between artist and audience; Cremean's commitment to small museums and breaking the pattern of large, wealthy institutions defining culture through limited sampling; Cremean's family background, education, and career; study at Cranbrook; Fullbright to Italy; teaching at UCLA (1956-1959); his move to San Francisco Bay Area (1958); move to Tomales (1963); his relationship to galleries/dealers, mostly in Los Angeles; L.A. "culture wars" of the late 1950s and 1960s; Ferus Gallery against all others; and the victimization of Rico Lebrun's romantic humanism; a series of galleries and several important museum shows including 1976 exhibition of "Vatican Corridor" at the M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco; autobiographical quality of work and the description of recent series as "opera"; the importance of place; and "love affair" with his valley home in Tomales.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Robert Cremean (1932-) was a sculptor from Tomales, California.

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. Funding for this interview was provided by the Pasadena Art Alliance.

Digital Content

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

More Information
Originally recorded on 2 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 8 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 5 min.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Art -- Marketing Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sculptors -- California Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fresno Arts Center 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