Originally recorded on 4 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hrs., 15 min.
Access Note / Rights:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
An interview of Reuben Nakian conducted 1981 June 9-17, by Avis Berman, for the Archives of American Art.
Nakian speaks of his childhood, growing up in New York City; his early interest in art; early ventures in sculpture; working for Paul Manship; meeting Daniel Chester French; teaching; early influences; his European travels; techniques and materials; the relationship of artists and suffering; his portrait busts of other artists; dealers he has been affiliated with, including Edith Halpert and Valentine Dudensing; animal sculptures; his Babe Ruth sculpture; critical and public reaction to his work. He recalls Constantin Brancusi, Marcel Duchamp, Raoul Hague, William Zorach, Gaston Lachaise, and J. B. Neumann. The third voice heard on the tape is that of Nakian's assistant, Don Ross, who helps prompt Nakian to recall certain incidents.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Reuben Nakian, 1981 June 9-17. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Transcript available online.
Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service. Funding for this interview was provided by the Wyeth Endowment for American Art.
Reuben Nakian (1897-1986) was a sculptor from Stamford, Conn.
These interviews are part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001