Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical / Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Interviews with art historians
    Date (inclusive): 1991-2002
    Number: 940109
    Creator/Collector: Getty Research Institute. Research Library
    Physical Description: 6 Linear Feet
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles 90049-1688
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/askref
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: Transcripts, audio recordings, and computer disks preserve interviews with contemporary art historians, archaeologists, bibliographers, and selected key individuals from the J. Paul Getty Trust.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record   for this collection. Click here for the access policy  .
    Language: Collection material is in English .

    Biographical / Historical Note

    The Oral History Documentation project was begun in collaboration with the Oral History Program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1991. Seventeen interviews were completed, most by interviewer and historian Richard Cándida Smith, in collaboration with UCLA. The Oral History Program owns the tapes and electronic versions and this collection includes only the transcripts of these interviews. Transcripts of those interviews jointly sponsored by the Getty and UCLA are also located at UCLA and in the Bancroft Library at Berkeley. UCLA is digitizing transcripts of the seventeen oral histories and making them available online. Connect to the digital versions.  
    The project has been continued by the Getty Research Institute alone, and is an on-going effort to document and contribute to the history of the discipline of art history and closely related fields, particularly archaeology. Interviews, thus far, are with art and architectural historians, archaeologists, a bibliographer and historian of the book arts, a collector of artists' papers, and leaders of art institutions, including the leadership of the Getty Trust. The GRI is digitizing these transcripts and making them available online. Connect to the digital versions.  

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers with the following exceptions. Sound recordings are unavailable until reformatted. Selected transcripts and recordings are temporarily sealed and restricted, as indicated in the container list. Computer discs are restricted.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Interviews with art historians, 1991-2002, Research Library, The Getty Research Institute, Accession no. 940109

    Acquisition Information

    Produced by the repository in collaboration with the Oral History Program, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Processing History

    Processed by J. Gibbs and Beth Guynn. This collection of interviews with art historians was developed from 1991 through 2002. Tapes, discs, and transcripts have been added to the collection from the following acquisitions: 950033, 950067, 950087, 960010, 960041, 960073, 970050, 980051. J. Gibbs created this finding aid in June 1998. Beth Guynn processed additions and revised the finding aid. Jan Bender rearranged the finding aid.
    The audio tapes that were reformatted by the repository have 4 generations: originals, archival and copy masters, and use copies. Use copies are available in the repostory for researchers.

    Digital Collection and Use Copies

    The Getty Research Institute has digitized most of the transcripts and made them available online for research purposes only. Connect to the digital collection.  
    UCLA has also digitized transcripts of their oral histories from the collaborative project. Connect to the UCLA digital collection.  
    The interview with Sherman E. Lee was digitized in 2017 and is is available only to on-site readers and Getty staff. Connect to the digitized version: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/940109s1av 
    Use copies of some of the audio recordings are available, as indicated in the container list.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection of interviews with art historians includes bound transcripts and also, for those interviews conducted by the Getty Research Institute alone, audio cassette tapes of the interviews and computer disks for the transcripts. The project was begun in 1991, in collaboration with UCLA's Oral History Program, and continued by the Getty Research Institute when the collaboration ended. This was a multi-year project to document the history of the discipline of art history through the major contributors to art history and closely related fields.
    The purpose of the project was to document the institutions, personalities, philosophical debates, pedagogical and field practice, the relationship of European and American scholarship, the impact of German émigré scholars, the role of women, post W.W.II collecting and connoisseurship, and the professionalization of the museum field.
    Interviews in the field of classical archaeology are meant to explore the contributions of foreign archaeological schools in the Mediterranean, the changing politics of national archaeological superintendencies, the synthesis of classics, anthropology and art history, the impact of the "new archaeology" and other theoretical approaches, debates surrounding collecting and dealing in ancient art, and methods of interpretation.
    Interviews document the professional, and sometimes the personal, lives of art and architectural historians (including Agnes Mongan, Julius Held, Manfredo Tafuri, George Kubler, James Ackerman, Otto von Simson, Otto Wittmann, Craig Smyth, among others) archaeologists (Phyllis W. Lehmann, Lane Faison, Griselda Pollock, Colin Renfrew, among others), a bibliographer and historian of the book arts (J. M. Edelstein), and a collector of Fluxus artists' papers and works (Jean Brown). Interviews have been made with selected individuals at the J. Paul Getty Trust (J. M. Edelstein, Nancy Englander, Harold Williams). The interviews complement the archives of scholars' papers held by the Getty Research Institute, Research Library.
    The repository has numbered the cassette tapes, C1-C45. Some duplicate audio cassettes came with the archive. When available, these duplicates serve as use copies. The repository has reformatted some sound cassettes, and use copies are available as indicated in the container list. Some tapes do not yet have use copies; these audio recordings are unavailable until reformatted.


    Arranged in 2 series: Series I. Transcripts and sound recordings, 1991-2002; Series II. Computer disks of oral history transcripts, 1991-2002.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Ackerman, James S.
    Barocchi, Paola
    Argan, Giulio Carlo
    Boardman, John, 1927-
    Baxandall, Michael
    Buchthal, Hugo, 1909-1996
    Brown, Jean, 1911-1994
    Cándida Smith, Richard
    Englander, Nancy
    Edelstein, J. M. (Jerome Melvin), 1924-1996
    Heckscher, William S. (William Sebastian), 1904-1999
    Held, Julius S. (Julius Samuel), 1905-2002
    Haskell, Francis, 1928-2000
    Heckscher, Roxanne
    Hamilton, George Heard
    Harrison, Evelyn B. (Evelyn Byrd)
    Faison, S. Lane (Samson Lane), 1907-2006
    Grabar, Oleg
    Kubler, George, 1912-1996
    Lee, Sherman E.
    Kitzinger, Ernst, 1912-2003
    Kubler, Elizabeth
    Hoffmann, Herbert
    Herrmann, Wolfgang, 1899-1995
    Himmelmann, Nikolaus, 1929-
    Ridgway, Brunilde Sismondo, 1929-
    Renfrew, Colin, 1937-
    Proske, Beatrice Gilman, 1899-2002
    Pollock, Griselda
    Nochlin, Linda
    Mongan, Agnes
    Lewis, Samella S.
    Lehmann, Phyllis Williams, 1912-2004
    Vermeule, Cornelius C. (Cornelius Clarkson), 1925-2008
    Thompson, Homer A.
    Tafuri, Manfredo
    Steinberg, Leo, 1920-2011
    Smyth, Craig Hugh
    Simson, Otto Georg von, 1912-1993
    Sekler, Eduard F. (Eduard Franz)
    Wittmann, Otto, 1911-2001
    Von Bothmer, Dietrich, 1918-2009
    Weitzmann, Kurt, 1904-1993
    Wittkower, Margot
    Coolidge, John, 1913-1995
    Williams, Harold Marvin, 1928-

    Subjects - Corporate Bodies

    University of California, Los Angeles. Oral History Program
    J. Paul Getty Trust

    Subjects - Topics

    Art historians -- United States -- Interviews
    Archaeologists -- United States -- Interviews
    Art -- Historiography -- Study and teaching

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Sound recordings
    Oral histories (document genres)
    Floppy disks


    Brown, Jean, 1911-1994
    Getty Research Institute. Research Library
    Buchthal, Hugo, 1909-1996
    Coolidge, John, 1913-1995
    Baxandall, Michael
    Boardman, John, 1927-
    Argan, Giulio Carlo
    Barocchi, Paola
    Ackerman, James S.