Smith, Richard (11 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; RS’s 2011 exhibition at Flowers, Cork Street gallery

  • Interviewees

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

  • Interviewers

    Courtney, Cathy, 1954- (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 11: [Session four: October 4 2011] [2:50:13] Jack Youngerman, his work. Relationships among the circle of artists RS knew 1959-61, NYC. [2:11] 1961; Henry Geldzahler; visit of Karp, Bellamy, Alan [Solomon] later director Jewish Museum, to RS’ studio, 1960; retelling Christmas in Canada, problems with passport; skiing for first time. RS’s first show at Green Gallery. Bellamy and Karp’s previous gallery; list of names for future galleries they would open; details Bellamy and Karp. Robert Scull, backer of Bellamy’s gallery; RS won Robert Scull prize 1966 Venice Biennale; Warhol’s portraits of Ethel Scull. [18:59] RS’ painting made in Bowery studio NYC, 1963 canvas box supported by wood structure; anecdote re difficulty getting it out of building; refers to painting, Piano. [25:23] RS’s three-dimensional works not sculpture; stretcher-maker in London. RS not being a sculptor. Admiration for sculpture; mentions David Smith. Admiration of metal cube by Tony Smith whom RS visited in New Jersey with Kasmin and Barnett Newman. Newman, his wife Annalee; Newman’s visit to RS’ studio, 1961; Newman’s zip paintings; Newman’s painting in recent MoMA Abstract Expressionist exhibition, RS first saw it in Newman’s apartment. [42:57] RS’ view of England in 1950s; difficulty of buying jeans. [44:36] Impact of American Abstract Expressionists on RS; refers to John Minton’s comments on RS and Denny in relation to the American artists; experience of seeing recent Abstract Expressionist exhibition at MoMA. [54:00] General context re RS’s time NYC for Harkness Fellowships`; working pattern; Ron Slowinski shared loft space [RS coughs] studio within loft where RS lived; growing confidence re painting. Light in loft studio. Artist visitors to studio. Slowinski. Degree to which RS witnessed different lifestyles while on Harkness Fellowship. Mentions visited Richard Brown Baker, Mr and Mrs Scull, Barnett Newman, Clement Greenberg. Robert Motherwell and [Helen] Frankenthaler’s home. Myron Stout, his work. Motherwell and Frankenthaler; Motherwell as editor of documents of modern art, RS read some of these in 1950s. [1:20:00] RCA studios led into the V&A, RS would visit National Art Library, journals and pamphlets, interest in typography; lessons with RCA typographer. RCA painting studios; mentions enjoying life drawing, life painting; Frank Auerbach in RCA drawing classes. RS met Leon Kossoff at gathering at Tate Modern to photograph British Venice Biennale artists; Kossoff’s work. Lucian Freud’s work. Francis Bacon’s work. [1:30:50] Degree to which RS kept in touch with people in Britain during Harkness Fellowship; graphic designer, David. First show at Green Gallery; effect of time in America on RS. [1:34:40] Ideal lighting for forthcoming Flowers exhibition. [1:35:25] Longevity of career since first Green Gallery show; periods of being less engaged with his work; confidence at time of first show. Remaining months in America following first Green Gallery show; Panatela. [1:39:25] Finding Bath Street loft space on return to London, 1961; fitting it out, mentions Derek Boshier. Circle of people back in touch with on return to London. Joe and Jos Tilson; RS godfather to their son, Jake; Tilson family. Peter Blake; Jann Howorth. [1:51:08] RS painting when first in Bath Street studio; winter; Old Street area; Tony Shafrazi in whose NYC gallery RS showed in 1995. Galleries with whom RS has shown include: Green Gallery, Richard Feigen; Jill Komblee (kite paintings); Kasmin. [2:02:25] RS works with paper pulp made in San Francisco; approach to Pace Gallery. Black and white works made in NYC in West Broadway studio, shown with Shafrazi. Kite paintings shown with Komblee. Black and white paintings; fluent period of work. Opportunity to work with paper pulp. Experience of the different dealers with whom RS has shown. Mentions showing with Gimpel, prints at Waddington, kite paintings at O.K. Harris. RS made prints with Bernard Jacobson, showed in his gallery in late 1970s, 1980s. [2:11:15] RS seldom met collectors of his work; was socially close to Bill Erlich [?] Further comments dealers with whom RS has shown. [2:13:50] Financial position on return to England after Harkness Scholarship; work made at this time using spotlight motif; painting, Nassau; tended to work on several paintings. No romantic relationships at this time; earlier affair with Enid Irving, Spain; Prado collection. [2:20:25] RS teaching at St Martin’s School of Art; earlier teaching at Hammersmith prior to going to America. [2:24:14] 1961 RS and Harold Cohen on jury for Young Contemporaries. Patrick Caulfield’s diamond ring painting which RS owned; RS in Paris making lithographs with Paul Cornwall-Jones, who bought the diamond painting. Patrick Caulfield, his work. [2:31:40] Harold Cohen. Bernard Cohen. [2:34:53] RC’s studio exhibition, July 5-8 1962. Robert Freeman, mentions meeting Beatles. Freeman’s slide presentation at ICA. John Lennon, Cynthia Lennon visiting RS’s studio; RS’ record collection. RS’s 1962 studio exhibition. [2:42:55] Joining Kasmin’s gallery. RS’ Bath Street studio used for party scene in Ken Russell film, Pop Goes the Easel; Russell filming William Green at RCA. [2:47:20] Photo of RS in Private View by Tony Snowdon, John Russell, Bryan Robertson; party for Princess Margaret, Tony Snowdon; Princess Margaret at Hayward Gallery. Private View image of RS is in Bath Street studio. Parties.

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