Oral Histories

Interview of Lorser Feitelson

Los Angeles Art Community: Group Portrait, Lorser Feitelson
Los Angeles Art Community - Group Portrait
Biographical Note:
Danieli, Fidel
Feitelson, Lorser
Persons Present:
Feitelson, Lundeberg, Danieli, and Edie Ellis (Mrs. Fidel) Danieli.
Place Conducted:
Feitelson and Helen Lundeberg's studio and home in Los Angeles, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Fidel Danieli, freelance consultant to "L.A. Art Community: Group Portrait," Oral History Program; B.A., Art Education, UCLA; M.A., Pictorial Arts, UCLA. Professor of art, Los Angeles Valley Center in Van Nuys, painter, and critic.
Processing of Interview:
Editing was done by Lawrence Weschler, editor, Oral History Program. He checked the verbatim transcript of the interview against the original tape recordings and edited for punctuation, paragraphing, correct spelling, and verification of proper names. Words and phrases inserted by the editor have been bracketed.The interviewee checked and approved the edited transcript.Index, table of contents, and other front matter were prepared by Oral History Program staff.
6.5 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
This series includes interviews with prominent Los Angeles-based visual artists and other members of the art establishment whose careers span the period from the 1920s through the 1970s. It documents the art community of the pre-World War II period and the rise of Los Angeles as a nationally recognized art center in the postwar period. Funding for this series was provided by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Los Angeles as an art center in the 1920s--Art dealing in Los Angeles: rich cowboy stars--Not even an adversary role for modern art--A welcome absence of competition--Hollywood and art--Peter Krasnow and others--New York's view of Los Angeles--Dorothy Miller--"New York was easy for an artist compared with Los Angeles"--Galleries.
Plush galleries--Selling schlock--A concomitant indifference to modernist work--Personal collecting and selling--Comparing dealing in Los Angeles, New York, and Paris--Other comparisons--The decision to move to Los Angeles (1927).
Early years in Los Angeles: teaching--Edward "Tink" Adams and the founding of the Art Center College of Design--Students at Art Center--Misgivings about current teaching practices--Cultural misinterpretations--The function of the teacher--A brilliant student--Involvement with the Los Angeles Art Association (L.A.A.A.).
The L. A. A. A.--Art juries and juried shows--Mavericks--Building plans for the L.A.A.A.--Helen Wurdemann--Fund raising for the L.A.A.A.--Louise Nevelson--Selling work--Smoking : cigarettes as a prop--The television series.
The television series--Cameras and machines--Jules Langsner--The genesis and significance of the term hard-edge--The "Four Abstract Classicists" show (1959)--The organic transformation of art concepts: maintaining an open attitude--Hard-edge work: opposition and response--Shows in New York galleries--Relations with galleries in general.
Slim hope for the future--Dictator-curators--The years after World War II: the critical moment for American art--Magical form--Primitive Eskimo objects: art or artifact?--Art without rationalization--Developing a modernist vocabulary--Gradual flattening into the Magical Forms series--Ambiguity and balance--The function of sketches : renewing old themes--Stripes.
The psychological power of abstract images--Class exercises as the origin of work--Scrapbooks-- New York at the time of the Armory Show--Retrieving stolen work--Scrapbooks--Needlework leads to prints --Prints versus painting--Enamel--Kinetics--Color--Dissimilarities: "Who the hell wants niceness here?"
Appreciating art, especially "the majestic"--The persisting flame in every artist's life work--Color as adventure--The history of art as eternal dynamic--The decision to live in Los Angeles rather than in New York: conserving a private space--Cezanne--Art and business: the painter and his audience--Collectors : twists in taste--Cezanne.
Early years and exposure in New York--A sense of continuity in art history--The Art Students League and trips to Europe--George Bridgman--Studying sculpture with Carl Tefft--An aversion to exhibitions--Fixations--Dominant theme and variations in each person's life--Thomas Hart Benton--Involvement in New York galleries--Living in and leaving Paris--Los Angeles (1927)--The art scene in New York (1920s)--Pseudocubism or cubist realism?--Homosexuality--Sales at the Charles Daniel Gallery--Yasuo Kuniyoshi.
The art scene in New York (1920s)--Alexander Brook: bandwagons--The relative unimportance of "scenes"--The triumph of American impressionism--Andrew Dasburg--Indifference to modern work in New York (1920s)--The polarizing rigidity of approaches--Niles Spencer: black paintings--Walter Kuhn, the Armory Show, and an unpleasant incident years later--Various modernist locales--Decorative artists.
The art scene in New York (1920s)--Stan Macdonald-Wright and Willard Huntington Wright--The New York modernists ' yearning for Paris--The New York dadaists: The Baroness Elsa von Frey tag-Loringhoven--Accidental sculpture--" Dada est morte!"--Dada vivante--Other dadaists--Loners--The question of survival--Suicide--The world falling apart: the artist getting it from all sides--Finances in the early years.
The situation of the artist today compared with that of his counterpart in the 1920s--The Armory Show--A limited vocabulary--A lifelong taste for eccentrics and distortions--Matisse--A random sampling of early drawings.