Smith, Richard (5 of 24).  National Life Stories: Artists' Lives

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  • Recording date

    2010-09-15, 2010-09-16, 2011-10-03, 2011-10-31, 2011-11-04, 2015-06-24

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's studio at Patchogue, Long Island, America; British Library, London; Richard Smith’s 2011 exhibition at Flowers, Cork Street gallery; Richard Smith’s 2011 exhibition at Flowers, Cork Street gallery

  • Interviewees

    Smith, Richard, 1931-2016 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Courtney, Cathy, 1954- (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 5: [1:11:03] Details RS’s house in Telluride; BS had gone to Harvard to study landscape architecture, RS moved to apartment on West Broadway, Manhattan; had by this time had winter skiing in Telluride and had seen miner’s cottage for sale, which then bought; pattern of life split between Telluride and Manhattan for approx 10 years; social life. [5:55] Rug RS had bought in England with GH, furniture by Eileen Gray; cushions using two embroideries given to RS by Frank Stella [FS] [8:10] Pattern of working in Telluride; small kite paintings,; painted drawings on board, three dimensional; edition of paintings on wood, each with several elements; possible influence of lack of space in Telluride studio; relationship these drawings to later full-sized versions. [10:27] Friends in Telluride included Harley Brooke-Hitchins, Nancy B Frank, members of skiing group. RS first went to Telluride through connection with English friends. [14:54] Odeon restaurant, SoHo, Manhattan; anecdote about MM; mention of Donald Sultan, Robert Bell. [17:18] RS and failing eleven plus exam. Details sporting and academic life at Hitchin Grammar School. RS not a great reader, may be slightly dyslexic; reading whilst at Hitchin Grammar, awareness of avant-garde. Teachers. Drawings and paintings as schoolboy, art school a revelation; art room at Hitchen Grammar School. Maths. Further memories of school. [29:19] Girlfriend, Olive. Qualifications on leaving school. [30:43] RS said wanted to become a stage designer; careers master recommended going to art school; local art school was in Luton, Bedfordshire. [32:03] Aged 17 when went to art school. Description Luton; art school within Technical College; mentions made sculpture at Luton. Teacher, Mary Macarthy [RS unsure if this is correct name]. Fellow students included GH, who became good friend; details GH. RS did National Service after two years at Luton, after National Service went to Hatfield Art School; teacher, Norman Adams. [39:00] Further details RS’s period at Luton School of Art. [coughs] RS and dancing. Life drawing at Luton. Memories of trying to draw son, Edward. Importance of drawing in RS’s career. Role of life drawing in art education. Printmaking at Luton. Drawings RS saw in Radio Times. RS’s views about photographs in galleries. [46:50] Further details time at Luton; sculpture. Makes distinction between sculpture and three dimensional quality of some of his paintings. Mentions designing embroidery for friends. Interest in typography as student. Further details course at Luton. Penguin series of books important to RS as student. RS felt ‘a king’ at Luton, was doing right thing. [52:26] Clothes at Luton art school period (1946), RS and sense of style. RS money-earning jobs whilst a student. Memory of being given five pound note by cousin. Had grant to go to art school and allowance from CS. Beginning to drink alcohol. Had been to London and Leicester but otherwise no significant travel; visits to family in Leicester. [57:55] RS and National Service; posting to Hong Kong; RS drawing of in hotel room in Columbo; Singapore; RS a fighter plotter. Sexuality. Singapore. Friend, Michael de Viesey-Haig (sp), grandson Eric Gill. Singapore.

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