Smith, Richard 12 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

  • Interviewees

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

  • Interviewers

    Courtney, Cathy, 1954- (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 12: [2:53:52] Patrick Caulfield tapestry in British Library conference centre. RS’ tapestry made with Edinburgh Weavers. At time when British Library was going to be adjunct to British Museum, RS proposal for trapezoid piece of twelve canvases; model bought by Sydney and Frances Lewis, now in Richmond Art Museum, Virginia. [7:00] Degree to which RS has used assistants; worked in Wiltshire on the proposed British Library work; at this time no-one else ever applied paint for RS. More recently Martin Potts has on occasion applied paint; Potts came to work for RS aged 21 when RS was 42, has been consistent friend and helper. Changing method when painting kite pieces. Making large kite painting for Louisville Airport. Kites RS made as a boy. Difference works where RS would and would not use an assistant. Comments on kite paintings. Potts was a former student at Corsham; Charles Watson, his friend known as Chubby, both of whom came to work for RS and BS. Details Potts, who is now an American citizen and married to German girl, two children. [24:20] Longevity of key relationships in RS’ life despite adjustments of intensity; RS’ feelings about current family relationships. Bernadette O’Neil, who helped domestically when RS lived in Wiltshire, telephoned RS during lunch-break of today’s recording. [27:11] ICA in Dover Street; Fluxus; Toni del Renzio; French action painter in London mews belonging to del Renzio. Peter Reyner Banham. No recollection of Richard Morphet’s [NLS recording C466/338] recollection of RS being attacked at ICA debate for way he used advertising in his work. [32:20] Film RS made with Robert Freeman. RS film made with man possibly called Brian and possibly BBC re pairing of ideas. RS a devoted film-goer. [Interviewer reads RS memory of Richard Morphet]. Memories Diaghilev exhibition, curator Richard Buckle. Denny and RS did double-spread in Ark magazine with photographed street signs. [39:46] Richard Morphet. Sound track relating to film RS made with Robert Freeman. [41:28] Conversation re Formal Giant (1960), which RS bought back from James Mayor, may have been owned by Robert Rowan, collector in LA; falling out with Kasmin over Formal Giant. Memories of being with Kasmin in Italy when RS showed with Beatrice Monti [Beatrice Monti della Corte, Galleria dell’Ariete] in Milan; RS made three dimensional paintings in Italy; home of Beatrice and her husband, Grisha [Gregor von Rezzori]; Kasmin; RS’ studio in Italy; later returned to Italy and worked in [Enrico] Castellani’s studio; 3-D works made, including painting in Neal Street restaurant. [53:10] TC’s Neal Street restaurant; Oliver Gregory (who also worked on conversion of RS’s Wiltshire house); RS loaned restaurant a painting in exchange for food; Antonio Carluccio; Priscilla Conran. [57:00] Kasmin. Party RS gave for Kasmin, NYC. Party for Richard Hamilton with cake iced to imitate Hamilton painting Slip It To Me. BS and Kasmin. [1:00:00] Further discussion images in 1990 RS Knoedler catalogue: WADO (1961); Nassau (1962); First Fifth (1962); Garland (1962), association with Judy Garland, whom RS saw perform in London; Album (1962); RS and using black; YRS (1963), owned by FS. [1:08:00] Further comments relating to the paintings just discussed, where painted and shown, who might have purchased. [1:11:10] RS’ one man show at ICA, 1962, Robert Freeman poster including painting RS believes is now owned by Gulbenkian, silhouette of RS which he has since used to make paper pulp prints. Mentions Brian Clarke holding party for RS’ seventieth birthday. Painting in background of 1962 ICA poster. Degree to which RS was drawing c 1962. 1962 work in Kompass 11, Eindhovan. Difference making prints with Kelpra Press and St Petersburg Press; made lithographs with St Petersburg in Paris, Paul Cornwall-Jones. Other projects with Cornwall-Jones; cut paper prints; small scale metal replicas of RS’s paintings, Sphinxes, use of transfers to print on the surface; relationship of these to work RS made at Aspen when studio was vandalized; details Sphinx series, shown at Green Gallery; Alloway’s show at Guggenheim of shaped canvases. Paul Cornwall-Jones. Little memory of some of the 1962 shows in which RS was included. [1:23:35] Relationship Kasmin and Green Gallery. Description Kasmin Gallery in Bond Street [erroneously described as in Fine Art Society building]. Seeing Anthony Caro’s Prairie at Kasmin’s and on roof of Metropolitan Museum, NYC. Anthony Caro. Jane Kasmin. Paul Kasmin; Louis Hodgkin, Sam Hodgkin. RS stayed in Kasmin’s Regent’s Park house [1:32:26] RS got to know Howard Hodgkin, Julia Hodgkin well when both families lived in Wiltshire; Hodgkin’s painting of BS and RS, exchange for RS kite painting. Hodgkin’s work. Hodgkin’s painting of BS and RS, now owned by Charles Saatchi. Hodgkin. [This section closed for 10 years until September 2026: [1:40:15-1:41:00]] Bookshelf that RS owned. [This section closed for 10 years until September 2026: [1:42:11-1:42:50]] Getting to know Bruce Chatwin through John Kasmin. Elizabeth Chatwin. Frequency with which saw Hodgkin and Tilson families when all living in Wiltshire; John Hoyland. Peter Blake and RS, their American wives; BS calling herself ‘the artist’s wife’. Years when RS didn’t see Blake. [1:46:10] After separation from Anna, Robyn Denny was with Kate Reid, son Ned; Denny’s subsequent wife, Marjorie [Marjorie Abela]; RS and Denny inhabited slightly different circles; RS telephones Denny from America occasionally; mentions Anna Denny [Anna Teasdale]. [1:47:50] [This section closed for 10 years until September 2026: [1:47:50-1:49:15]] RS to Venice when Hodgkin in British Pavilion at Biennale. [1:50:20] RS one man show at Kasmin 1963; Gift Wrap; Robert Freeman photographs; learning Robert Kennedy had been killed; sales; painting, Piano; describes self as young and hot in art world terms. Further discussion paintings 1963 show, including Timepiece, now owned by Peter Findley, who has other RS paintings. Ted Power bought RS paintings from The Place exhibition. Alan Power, a friend and supporter. Sheridan Dufferin; Lindy Guinness. [1:59:50] 1963 painting, Fleetwood, bought by Lilian Somerville, one of the first shaped canvases. Somerville. RS’ relationship to Tate c 1963; Anne Seymour; Norman Reid. No memories of Tate exhibition, Painting and Sculpture of A Decade, 1954-64. [2:05:40] First met BS in London; RS present when Richard Hamilton photograph arranged by BS was taken, GH; BS and TC, 1950s. Meeting BS again in NYC; living together in RS’s sublet on Bowery; marriage; Ron Slowinski was RS best man, Richard Bellamy had declined. After Bowery moved to West 81st St. [2:13:44] 1966 Venice, showing in British Pavilion with Anthony Caro, Robyn Denny, Harold Cohen, Bernard Cohen; Edward [Edward Smith] had been born April 1966. Reactions to catalogue statement about RS. [2:20:08] 1966 painting, Ring-a-lingling shown at Sao Paolo. Painting, 1966, Quarter Past, bought by German architect for Berlin building. [2:22:56] 1966 busy year, birth of Edward, one man show at Whitechapel; problem getting work back from Heathrow. Whitechapel show; Bryan Robertson. Joe Tilson bought RS work from Whitechapel show for Arts Council. Purchases RS made for Arts Council, Richard Long, Bill Jacklin. Bryan Robertson. Whitechapel catalogue; RS comments that he has been unlucky with catalogues. Comments on there not being a book on his work. Bryan Robertson; RS Whitechapel show. [2:31:27] Birth of Edward; fatherhood; BS and motherhood. RS mentions gender of grandchildren. [2:40:38] Painting Clairol Wall (1967), painted in NYC; painting for exhibition at Jewish Museum, other artists in the exhibition. Larry Rubin. Bill Rubin [William Rubin] buying RS kite painting for MoMA. [2:49:00] Memories of Robert Fraser. [2:50:30] Recent exhibition, Utopias, in which Letchworth featured. RS going to Tate Modern to see Gerhard Richter exhibition after recording session.

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