Oral history interview with James Lechay

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.lechay98
Creators:
Lechay, James
Brown, Robert F.
Dates:
1998 July 9-Aug. 26
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
70 Pages
Transcript
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Interview of James Lechay, conducted by Robert F. Brown for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution at Lechay's home in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, on July 9-Aug. 26, 1998.
Scope and Contents
Lechay speaks of his early childhood in the Bronx, N.Y.; copying paintings at the Metropolitan Museum under the tutelage of his elder brother Myron; discontinuing his study of psychology at the University of Illinois in 1929 to return to NYC to paint; taking odd jobs to counter his extreme poverty in the early 1930s; his first exhibition at Another Place (1936), a gallery run by De Hirsh Margules; praise from David Siqueiros, the Mexican muralist; his first trip to Provincetown (1930); exhibiting several times at the Whitney Museum (and others) but not at MoMA; touring NYC galleries on Fridays; meeting Marsden Hartley and Alfred Stieglitz; his friendship with Arshile Gorky; serving as a juror for the 1940s Momentum exhibition with Jackson Pollock and Max Weber; teaching at the University of Iowa in 1945, succeeding Philip Guston; his luck in having, since 1935, a New York dealer; his work as self-referential; being repelled by art fashions and not compromising his work in order to sell; the appearance of simplicity in his work. Lechay also recalls Raphael and Moses Soyer, Abraham Walkowitz, and others.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
James Lechay (1907-2001) was a painter from Wellfleet, Mass.

Administration
Existence and Location of Copies
Transcript is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
Author
Sponsor
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 2 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 4 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hrs., 17 min.

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
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Painters -- Massachusetts -- Wellfleet -- Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gorky, Arshile, 1904-1948 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hartley, Marsden, 1877-1943 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lechay, Myron, 1898-1972 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Margules, De Hirsh, 1899-1965 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pollock, Jackson, 1912-1956 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Siqueiros, David Alfaro Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Weber, Max, 1881-1961 Personal 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/