Oral history interview with Jacob Kainen

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.kainen82
Creators:
Kainen, Jacob
Berman, Avis
Mark Rothko and His Times Oral History Project
Dates:
1982 Aug. 10-Sept. 22
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
6 Cassettes
Sound recording
analog.
108 Pages
Transcript
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
An interview of Jacob Kainen conducted 1982 Aug. 10-1982 Sept. 22, by Avis Berman, for the Archives of American Art's Mark Rothko and His Times oral history project.
Scope and Contents
Kainen speaks about his family and educational background; early interest in art; his studies at the Art Students League and Pratt Institute; showing at the ACA Gallery; the community of artists in New York in the late 1930s; writing for ART FRONT; his employment by the graphic arts division of the WPA-FAP in New York; his move to Washington, D.C., in 1942, to work for the Smithsonian Institution; his first marriage to Bertha Friedman and their children; his career in Washinton, D.C. as a curator, painter, printmaker, writer, and teacher; the FBI investigation of his background; and the art scene in Washington, D.C. Kainen also recalls artists he has known including Stuart Davis, Joseph Solman, John Graham, Mark Rothko, Pietro Lazzari, Willem de Kooning, Max Schnitzler, Arshile Gorky, Gene Davis, Alma Thomas, George McNeil, Kenneth Noland, Boris Margo, Stanley Hayter, and Ad Reinhardt. He discusses Mark Rothko's influences, how he "hated the art industry" and was secretive about his art materials. Kainen also recalls encountering Rothko in Provincetown in 1968 and comments on his art and his suicide. Jacob Kainen's wife, Ruth, was also present and contributed her recollections.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Jacob Kainen (1909-2001) was a painter, printmaker, and curator from Washington, D.C. Studied at the Art Students League and Pratt Institute; died at age 91.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
Transcript available on line.
Author
Sponsor
Funding provided by the Mark Rothko Foundation. 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 was conducted as part of the Archives of American Art's Mark Rothko and his Times oral history project, with funding provided by the Mark Rothko Foundation.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Others interviewed on the project (by various interviewers) include: Sonia Allen, Sally Avery, Ben-Zion, Bernard Braddon, Ernest Briggs, Rhys Caparn, Elaine de Kooning, Herbert Ferber, Esther Gottlieb, Juliette Hays, Sidney Janis, Buffie Johnson, Louis Kaufman, Jack Kufeld, Katharine Kuh, Stanley Kunitz, Joseph Liss, Dorothy Miller, Betty Parsons, Wallace Putnam, Rebecca Reis, Maurice Roth, Sidney Schectman, Aaron Siskind, Joseph Solman, Hedda Sterne, Jack Tworkov, Esteban Vicente and Ed Weinstein. Each has been cataloged separately.

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 front Title Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Abstract expressionism Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Federal aid to the arts Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- Washington (D.C.) -- Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Printmakers -- Washington (D.C.) -- Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Davis, Gene, 1920-1985 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Davis, Stuart, 1892-1964 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
De Kooning, Willem, 1904-1997 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gorky, Arshile, 1904-1948 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Graham, John, 1887-1961 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hayter, Stanley William, 1901-1988 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lazzari, Pietro, 1898-1979 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Margo, Boris, 1902-1995 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
McNeil, George, 1908-1995 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Noland, Kenneth, 1924-2010 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Reinhardt, Ad, 1913-1967 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rothko, Mark, 1903-1970 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Schnitzler, Max, 1903- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Solman, Joseph, 1909-2008 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Thomas, Alma Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
ACA Galleries Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art Students League (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pratt Institute Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mark Rothko and His Times Oral History Project 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/