Oral history interview with George McNeil

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.mcneil68
Creators:
McNeil, George, 1908-1995
Sandler, Irving, 1925-
Diller, Burgoyne, 1906-1965
Dates:
1968 Jan. 9-May 21
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
82 Pages
Transcript
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
An interview of George McNeil conducted 1968 Jan. 9-May 21, by Irving Sandler, for the Archives of American Art. McNeil speaks of why he became interested in art; his early influences; becoming interested in modern art after attending lectures by Vaclav Vytlacil; meeting Arshile Gorky; the leading figures in modern art during the 1930s; his interest in Cézanne; studying with Jan Matulka and Hans Hofmann; his experiences with the WPA; the modern artists within the WPA; the American Abstract Artists (A.A.A.); a group of painters oriented to Paris called The Ten; how there was an anti-surrealism attitude, and a surrealist would not have been permitted in A.A.A; what the A.A.A. constituted as abstract art; a grouping within the A.A.A. called the Concretionists; his memories of Léger; how he assesses the period of the 1930s; the importance of Cubism; what he thinks caused the decline of A.A.A.; how he assesses the period of the 1940s; his stance on form and the plastic values in art; his thoughts on various artists; the importance of The Club; the antipathy to the School of Paris after the war; how Impressionism was considered in the 40s and 50s; slides of his paintings from 1937 to 1962, and shows how he developed as an artist; the problems of abstract expressionism; organic and geometric form; the schisms in different art groups due to politics; his teaching techniques; why he feels modern painting declined after 1912; the quality of A.A.A. works; stretching his canvases, and the sizes he uses; his recent works, and his approaches to painting. He recalls Vaclav Vytlacil, Hans Hofmann; Arshile Gorky, John Graham, Jan Matulka, John Marin, Wassily Kandinsky, Mercedes Carles Matter, Albert Swinden, Fernand Léger, Stuart Davis, Burgoyne Diller, David Smith, Edgar Levy, Leo Manso, Irene Rice Pereira, Willem de Kooning, Ilya Bolotowsky, Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb, Joan Miró, Robert Motherwell, George L.K. Morris, Albert Gallatin, Charles Shaw, John Ferrin, Ralph Rosenborg, Hananiah Harari, Agnes Lyall, Jean Helion, and many others.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
George McNeil (1908-1995) was a painter and printmaker from New York, N.Y.

Administration
Immediate Source of Acquisition
These interviews are part of the Archives' 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 others.

General
General
Originally recorded on 3 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hrs., 14 min.

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

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Art, American Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painters -- New York (State) -- Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Printmakers -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Abstract expressionism Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Philosophy Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Painting Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cubism Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Impressionism (Art) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Surrealism Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Harari, Hananiah, 1912-2000 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bolotowsky, Ilya, 1907-1981 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rosenborg, Ralph M., 1913-1992 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Matter, Mercedes Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Miró, Joan, 1893- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Motherwell, Robert Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Léger, Fernand, 1881-1955 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kandinsky, Wassily, 1866-1944 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smith, David, 1906-1965 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gorky, Arshile, 1904-1948 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
De Kooning, Willem, 1904-1997 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Matulka, Jan, 1890-1972 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pereira, I. Rice (Irene Rice), 1902-1971 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gottlieb, Adolph, 1903-1974 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gallatin, A. E. (Albert Eugene), 1881-1952 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Morris, George L. K., 1905-1975 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dlugoszewski, Lucia, 1931-2000 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Levy, Edgar Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hélion, Jean, 1904-1987 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Graham, John, 1887-1961 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Davis, Stuart, 1892-1964 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manso, Leo Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Vytlacil, Vaclav, 1892-1984 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Marin, John, 1870-1953 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hofmann, Hans, 1880-1966 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rothko, Mark, 1903-1970 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Shaw, Charles Green, 1892-1974 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. Work Projects Administration Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Abstract Artists 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/