Archives of American Art

Oral history interview with Irving Petlin

Collection ID:
Petlin, Irving, 1934-2018
McElhinney, James Lancel, 1952-
2016 September 13-15
Physical Description:
6 Items
sound files (4 hrs., 27 min.)
digital, wav
103 Pages

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
An interview with Irving Petlin conducted 2016 September 13 and 15, by James McElhinney, for the Archives of American Art at Petlin's home in New York, New York.
Scope and Contents
Petlin speaks of his childhood in Chicago, where he attended the Art Institute Children's school; his grandparents; his early artistic influences, including Munch, Van Gogh, Redon, Matta, and Gorky; the influence of the Chicago Imagists; studying art at Yale University; his military service in Army Intelligence; his studio on the Monkey Block in San Francisco; the Dilexi Gallery; living and working in Paris; working as a visiting artist at UCLA; his decision to use primarily pastels in his work; his series on Edmond Jabes, Primo Levi, and others; his witnessing of the Paris protests against the Algerian War; his involvement in protests and artworks against the Vietnam War in the U.S.; his involvement in the Art Workers Coalition; and his practice of working in series. Petlin also recalls Leon Golub, Claes Oldenberg, Nancy Spero, Joseph Randall Shapiro, Josef Albers, Varujan Boghosian, William Bailey, Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, Jim Newman, Eva Hesse, Robert Birmelin, R.B. Kitaj, Ed Kienholz, John Weber, Virginia Dwan, Mark di Suvero, Leo Castelli, and others.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Interviewee Irving Petlin (1934-2018 ) was a painter in New York, New York. Interviewer James McElhinney (1952- ) is a painter and educator of New York, New York.

Funding for this interview was provided by the Lichtenberg Family Foundation.
Existence and Location of Copies
Transcript is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
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.

Digital Content

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001