Oral history interview with Reed Kay

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.kay95
Creators:
Kay, Reed
Brown, Robert F.
Dates:
1995 December 22-1996 October 4
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
54 Slides
232 Pages
Transcript
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
An interview of Reed Kay conducted 1995 December 22-1996 October 4, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art over seven sessions, in Kay's home, in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Scope and Contents
The cassettes are accompanied by 54 color slides of Kay's artwork executed between 1941 and 1993, including sketches, watercolors, and paintings.
Scope and Contents
Kay talks about his childhood in an immigrant Jewish community in Boston and the great encouragement he received from teachers and librarians; his entry into the difficult Boston Latin School at age 11; and his early entry into the art classes at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Scope and Contents
Kay continues discussion about the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston School; life-long friendships there with Jason Berger, Jack Kramer, and David Aronson; and instructors, including Karl Zerbe, head of painting.
Scope and Contents
Kay talks about his service in World War II; completion of education at MFA School; his marriage in 1946; his first teaching position at the MFA School's summer sessions under Mitchell Siporin and Leonard Baskin in 1948 and Oskar Kokoschka in 1949. He discusses Kokoschka and Zerbe as teachers and colleagues; and his travelling fellowship to Paris, Italy, and Spain, 1949-1950.
Scope and Contents
Kay continues his discussion of Karl Zerbe as a teacher; talks about the difficulty of beginning a painting career and teaching, especially in a university as Kay did from 1956 until 1989; and about various teaching colleagues at the MFA School.
Scope and Contents
Kay talks about the superb teaching of anatomy by Ture Bengtz and of perspective by Peter Dubaniewicz at MFA School in the early 1940s; on the precocious abilities of upperclassmen such as Conger Metcalf and John Wilson, and the stimulation their accomplishment gave Kay; on his work, from student drawings to his cityscape paintings of the late 1950s, which he continues to make, abandoning figural, narrative, and studio subjects.
Scope and Contents
Teaching materials and methods of painting at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (summers of 1952 and 1954-1960) and the high quality of instruction and students and his decision to leave; the pluses and minuses of teaching and the toll it took on his own work; his long tenure at the School of Visual Arts, Boston University (1956-1989).
Scope and Contents
On his writings, principally, "The Painter's Companion: a Basic Guide to Studio Methods and Material," (1961) [revised editions, titled, "Painter's Guide," (1972, 1983)], which was an outgrowth of the emphasis put on craftsmanship, permanence, and mastery of media at MFA School under Karl Zerbe; on his growing concern, expressed in writings and lectures, with the toxicity of some modern artists' materials; and his relationship with art conservators. He discusses his work, from 1959 into the early 1990s while viewing slides.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Reed Kay (1925- ) is a painter and teacher from Brookline, Massachusetts.

Administration
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 9 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 17 digital wav files. Duration is 12 hrs., 56 min.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Painters -- Massachusetts -- Boston -- Interviews Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kokoschka, Oskar, 1886- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Zerbe, Karl, 1903-1972 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. School -- Faculty Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. School -- Students Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture -- 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
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/