Oral Histories

Interview of Walter Hopps

Curator and director of the Pasadena Art Museum. Co-founder of the Ferus Gallery. Director of the Washington Gallery of Modern Art and the Menil Foundation.
Pasadena Art Museum: Walter Hopps
Oral History of the Pasadena Art Museum
Biographical Note:
Curator and director of the Pasadena Art Museum. Co-founder of the Ferus Gallery. Director of the Washington Gallery of Modern Art and the Menil Foundation.
Ratner, Joanne L.
Hopps, Walter
Persons Present:
Hopps and Ratner.
Place Conducted:
Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Joanne L. Ratner, UCLA Oral History Program; B.A., American Studies/Art History, Scripps College; M.A., Art History/Museum Studies, University of Southern California.Ratner prepared for the interview by reviewing a variety of materials directly related to the Pasadena Art Museum, including minutes of the board of trustees from 1965 to 1974, minutes of the executive committee from 1958 to 1974, calendars of events, exhibition catalogs and reviews, scrapbooks, newspaper and magazine articles, California Design files, essays, and brochures and speeches pertaining to the museum's early history. In addition, Ratner read relevant interviews conducted by the UCLA Oral History Program for its Los Angeles Art Community: Group Portrait series.
Processing of Interview:
David P. Gist, assistant editor, edited the interview. He checked the verbatim transcript of the interview against the original tape recordings, edited for punctuation, paragraphing, and spelling, and verified proper names. Words and phrases inserted by the editor have been bracketed. The edited transcript was sent to Hopps for review in July 1988. Hopps did not return the transcript. As a result, the transcript was completed without interviewee corrections or additions. Richard Candida Smith, principal editor, prepared the table of contents. Alex Cline, assistant editor, prepared the biographical summary and interview history. Richard Losty, editorial assistant, compiled the index.
4 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
This series focuses on the history of the Pasadena Museum of Art and its role as a pathbreaking venue for contemporary art in Southern California in the 1960s.
TAPE NUMBER: II, Side One (October 11, 1987)More on museum staffing--Security problems--Arranging and documenting the theft of a Paul Klee--Why Leavitt resigned--Shows planned by Leavitt and Hopps--The "Robert Motherwell Retrospective" opening--Bringing the professional art world into the Pasadena Art Museum--Shift of the Los Angeles art scene to the Westside--Anti- Semitism and the museum board of trustees--Jewish art collectors--The board refuses a $500, 000 gift from John Factor--Modern art collections in the United States in the 1960s--James T. Demetrion hired as chief curator--The Paul Klee retrospective--Conflict between Demetrion and Rowan over Larry Rivers exhibition--Other examples of Rowan's interference with museum exhibitions--Carmelita Park--Reasons why the board of trustees wanted to move out of the Grace Nicholson building--The Edward Durrell Stone design for a new building--Wesley I. Dumm--Thornton Ladd and John Kelsey chosen as architects.