Oral Histories

Interview of Craig Hugh Smyth

Director of Villa i Tatti under the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, Italy. Leader of first U.S. university-based conservation program at New York University Institute of Fine Arts.
Art Historian
Art History - Oral Documentation Project
Smith, Richard Candida, De Noriega, Taina Rikala, and Reese, Thomas F.
Smyth, Craig Hugh
Persons Present:
Tapes I-III: Smyth, Rikala, and Reese; Tapes IV-VI: Smyth and Rikala; Tapes VII-X: Smyth and Smith.
Place Conducted:
Tapes I-III and V: Hotel Dorset in New York City, New York; Tapes IV and VI, Smyth's home in Cresskill, New Jersey; Tapes VII-X; Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities in Santa Monica, 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 Taina Rikala de Noriega; B.A., Art History and Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz; M.Sc. Architecture, University College, London; Ph.D., Urban Planning, UCLA. Thomas F. Reese, Deputy Director, Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities; B.A., Art History, Tulane University; M.A., Ph.D., Art History, Yale University. Richard Candida Smith, Associate Director/Principal Editor, UCLA Oral History Program; B.A., Theater Arts, University of California, Los Angeles; M.A., Ph.D., United States History, University of California, Los Angeles. The interviewer, Rikala, prepared for the interview by consulting with Reese and Smith, the project director, about the goals and purpose of the project and possible lines of questioning. Rikala and Smith did background research by reviewing Smyth's articles and books.
Processing of Interview:
Alex Cline, editor, edited the interview. He checked the verbatim transcript of the interview against the original recordings, edited for punctuation, paragraphing, and spelling, and verified proper names. Words and phrases inserted by the editor have been bracketed. Smyth reviewed the transcript. He verified proper names and made extensive corrections and additions. Teresa Barnett, principal editor, prepared the table of contents. Alex Cline, editor, assembled the biographical summary. Kristian London, editorial assistant, prepared the interview history. Rebecca Stone, editorial assistant, compiled the index.
10.75 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
This series, a cooperative venture between the Oral History Program and the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, documents a generation of scholars who developed and elaborated paradigms of art history established in the late nineteenth century to forge a twentieth-century discipline.
Attends Princeton University; Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton; Theodore Meyer Greene; E. Baldwin Smith; art history at Princeton in the 1930s; travels during summers; Charles Rufus Morey; art history at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts; Erwin Panofsky; John Coolidge; Albert M. Friend; travels to Italy in the 1930s; spends a year at the National Gallery of Art; works at the Frick Collection; studies mannerism and Bronzino; offered position at the Institute of Fine Arts; Walter Cook; Institute faculty; decision-making process during tenure as director of the Institute; Robert Lehman; develops a museum-training program at the Institute; Robert Goldwater; the Institute for Advanced Study; Columbia University's art history program; Richard Krautheimer; Percy Strauss; Charles Wrightsman; recruitment of Institute faculty in the 1920s; Richard Offner; Karl Lehmann; pursues Ph.D. while director of the Institute; military service during World War II; becomes director of Villa i Tatti; art history programs at United States universities, 1950-1970; Myron Gilmore; Henry Millon; I Tatti's relationship to Harvard University administration and academic program; Bernard Berenson; poststructuralist influences on art historical scholarship; the Wrightsman Lectures; the Institute's board of trustees; James M. Hester; modern art program and Robert Goldwater; the cultural responsibilities of the Institute; Benjamin Sonnenberg; the American art program at the Institute; growth of art history after World War II; involvement with the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities; the relationship between museums and the academic world; the Institute's excavation program; job placement for Institute graduates; faculty involvement in the art market; historical method and judging quality in art; recent trends in art exhibitions.