Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:00 - Interviewer’s introduction; birth and family background

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "If you would state for the record your birthdate, where
you were born..."

Segment Synopsis: Question: Talk about your birth and parentage. Answer: Kreilick was born November 8, 1925 in Oak Harbor, OH. She talked about Oak Harbor’s location and German heritage, as well as her mother’s and father’s birthplaces. She thought her father’s heritage went back to the Hessians of Revolutionary War era. Her parents met and dated in Oak Harbor for 9 ½ years before getting married because her father was a Marine for two years during WWI. She thought they married in 1922, and her father established a GM dealership in Oak Harbor.

Keywords: General Motors; German heritage; Hessians; Oak Harbor, OH; WWI

00:05:08 - Artists and creatives in the family

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "In view of your subsequent career and prominence in the
art world, was there any predisposition... do you come from a family of artists?
Were your mother or father artistic?"

Segment Synopsis: Question: Were you predisposed to art? Answer: Kreilick discussed her “extraordinary” grandmother, who attended a conservatory in St. Louis, MO; painted; owned a millinery shop; and taught High German. She also spoke of her paternal grandfather, who came from a family of textile workers in Germany. Follow up: Did you know your grandmother well? Answer: Yes, she spent time with her on special occasions though she never saw her paint.

Keywords: High German; painter; textile workers

00:08:08 - Childhood experiences

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "What was your childhood like?"

Segment Synopsis: Question: What was childhood like? Answer: Kreilick responded “idyllic” in a small town—she talked about childhood activities, being a kid in the morning and a lady in the afternoon. She talked about the school near her home as well. Follow up: Did that contribute to your self-confidence? Answer: Yes, she knew everybody in town, so it was a kind of sheltering experience. She remembered the formative experience of playing school with a friend Patty outside her house, and being very excited to go to school.

Keywords: elementary school; self-confidence; small town childhood

00:12:24 - Parents' education; early music study and additional childhood memories

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "Was [your mother] well

Segment Synopsis: Follow up: Were your parents well educated? Answer: Her mother went to Defiance College to study music—she thought they expected Marjorie to follow this path. Follow up: Did you keep up with music later? Answer: No, Kreilick thought they made the mistake of making her practice the music of others, rather than her own interests. Follow up: Were you strong willed? Answer: She told the story of climbing a long stairwell when she was 2 at her grandmother’s house, and her mother being angry at her grandmother who was supposed to be watching.

Keywords: Childhood experiences; Defiance College; Music

00:16:35 - Early artistic ability; elementary school education and art classes

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "Do you know at what point there was the emergence of the
recognition that you were artistically talented?"

Segment Synopsis: Question: When did you recognize your artistic ability? Answer: She said they didn’t teach art in elementary school, but did opt out of Home Ec to take Mechanical Drawing in high school. Follow up: Was the teacher supportive? Answer: Not necessarily, because she did better than the boys, but he let her know she was doing well. Follow up: Any notable elementary teachers? Answer: Kreilick talked about being joined in 7th grade with good students from 8th grade.

Keywords: artistic ability; drawing; elementary school

00:20:39 - Self-recognition as an intellectual; High school education and jobs

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "By seventh grade, you were recognized as one of the smart
kids? Did you know that you were smart?"

Segment Synopsis: Question: So by 7th grade you recognized you were smart? Answer: No, she just knew she was good at school—it wasn’t until college she recognized herself as intellectual. She talked about excelling at typing in high school, and so being invited to serve on the Sugar Ration Board in town. Her employer then invited her help him as a bookkeeper after school, a skill she’s used her whole life.

Keywords: Sugar Ration Board; bookeeping; intellectual; typing

00:25:03 - Impacts and memories of Depression

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "You having been born in 1925, you grew to maturity during
the Great Depression and WWII. What impact did these have on

Segment Synopsis: Question: How did the Depression and WWII affect you? Answer: Kreilick said the Depression had a greater impact—she remembered hobos coming to beg for food, which she thought intrusive; her father’s business decisions firing employees and working for barter; and hunting for food out of necessity. She recalled her father fixing boat motors on L. Erie, and knowing which boats were rum-runners and which were federal boats, and having mob bodies dumped on Erie.

Keywords: Bartering; Great Depression; Hobos; WWII

00:30:36 - WWII draft and women's employment; High School art classes, athletics, and additional experiences

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "Your class would have graduated in 1943. The young men in
your class would have all been drafted..."

Segment Synopsis: Question: Were all your classmates drafted? Answer: Most of her classmates served—the men as soldiers and the girls as nurses. Question: Was art taught in high school? Answer: Kreilick remembered one class, but called it “busy work,” not art. Follow up: Any other lasting influence from HS? Answer: Kreilick discussed being on the track team; appreciating learning Latin and French; but not taking biology in lieu of physics. Follow up: Your parents expected you to be educated? Answer: Yes, it was expected.

Keywords: Art classes; Draft; Nursing; WWII; track team

00:34:35 - Employment during and feelings about World War II

Play segment

Partial Transcript: 'What about World War II, anything you

Segment Synopsis: Question: What about WWII? Answer: Kreilick recalled getting a job at Camp Perry processing civilian contracts. She recalled seeing German and Italian POWs at Camp Perry. Follow up: How were you feeling about the war? Answer: She talked about following the Africa campaigns and being convinced the Germans would win the war.

Keywords: Africa campaigns; Camp Perry; POWs

00:38:03 - Decision to enroll at Ohio State University; early college experiences

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "Talk about the [college] decision making process, how you
picked Ohio, what you had to do..."

Segment Synopsis: Question: Talk about going to OSU. Answer: She remembered not knowing anything about the school, and so talking to a girl who’d gone there. She went to OSU to test herself because it was the biggest school around and it was good to stay close during the war. It wasn’t difficult to get in, and there were very few men on campus. Follow up: What was it like? Answer: She recalled nearly failing the first week because of an entrance exam which she didn’t know was timed.

Keywords: Dormitory; Exams; Ohio State University; Westminster Hall

00:43:33 - Early college experiences at OSU; first sculpture class

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "My parents paid for my Westminster Hall, and I paid for my
education at the University."

Segment Synopsis: [no question] Kreilick discussed choosing L&S because she didn’t know what she wanted to study. She discussed paying for school and her parents paying for housing; she continued to work at Camp Perry in the summers and one semester in Columbus. Follow up: Was Columbus life attractive to you? Answer: She liked the art museum and concerts there. Follow up: Significant faculty? Answer: Kreilick talked about taking sculpture class her second semester which “changed my whole life.” She said that taking sculpture before drawing was very good for her, because it taught her to see shapes with different eyes.

Keywords: Camp Perry; Columbus, OH; Letters and Sciences; Liberal education; sculpture

00:49:01 - Influential artists and faculty at OSU; Irwin Fry

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "The teacher was Irwin Fry, who always wore a tweed coat
and a paisley tie."

Segment Synopsis: [no question] She spoke very highly of her instructor, Irwin Fry, who asked her questions she couldn’t answer—she gave examples—and assigned The Golden Bough as the class text. Fry inspired her to read books and ask different questions. Follow up: Was it Fry or the subject that captivated you? Answer: She said Fry taught her to see things differently and go to the museum.

Keywords: Irwin Fry; The Golden Bough

00:53:27 - Fry as an early mentor; Decision to pursue a Masters degree

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "So you start with [Fry] in your Sophomore year, how much
did you study with him over the course of your years at

Segment Synopsis: Follow up: How much did you study with him at OSU? Answer: For financial reasons, Kreilick tried to finish in 3 years; when Fry found out, he discouraged this track and convinced her to get an MA and fill in areas where she lacked in her undergraduate years. Follow up: Was he a mentor? Answer: Absolutely; he taught her to think, to read, to question. She recalled also these years being wonderful because men coming back from the war “knew what they wanted”—she talked about a group of GIs walking out of a class in which the lecturer demeaned WWII soldiers, and the energy and perspective of the campus during those years.

Keywords: Masters degree; OSU campus climate; Ohio State University; WWII Soldiers

01:00:32 - Post-MA employment at Columbus Art School; Mother's illness; Toledo Museum of Art

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "What kind of sculpture are you doing at this

Segment Synopsis: Question: What kind of sculpture were you doing? Answer: Portraits and abstracts. Question: What after the MA? Answer: Fry encouraged her to apply for a job at Columbus Art School, only to find out her mother was ill with cancer. She talked about the decision to stay home to care for her sister and mother. After things improved, she applied to the Toledo museum as a docent and teacher, bought a car, and moved to Toledo. Follow up: Was TMA’s reputation as good then as now? Answer: Better. She said what they had was quality.

Keywords: Columbus Art School; Sculpture; Toledo Museum

01:04:49 - Working at the Toledo Museum of Art; Artistic influences

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "I told them when I took the job that I would lecture to
schools, that's what I was doing, mainly."

Segment Synopsis: [no question] Kreilick discussed her job at TMA, part of which was a school program to discuss art, literature, and music. Follow up: Were you working as an artist? Answer: No, she said she had no time to do so; but she met some important influences there, one of which (Marion Miller) was responsible for her moving to WI. She told an anecdote about her first experience teaching children, getting control of a rowdy class.

Keywords: Artistic Infliences; Marion Miller; Teaching; Toledo Museum of Art

01:09:07 - Work as a docent and teaching experiences at University of Toledo

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "Were you discovering you had a knack for

Segment Synopsis: Question: Were you discovering you had a knack for teaching? Answer: Kreilick didn’t know if she was very good at teaching, but she had material to convey. Follow up: Did you enjoy it? Answer: She said it was wonderful—she often gave her children the same problem she gave her U. of Toledo night school, and see how the solutions differed. Follow up: How were children chosen? Answer: Schools chose their best art students for Saturday classes at the museum. She then told an anecdote about controlling her classes—she turned one young boy’s subversive question upon himself.

Keywords: Docent; Teaching

01:20:42 - Sculpture program at University of Toledo; MK's own shows

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "You have your sister in college, your father is working,
you're at Toledo, talk about the next stage of your

Segment Synopsis: Question: Talk about the next step. Answer: Kreilick talked about establishing a sculpture program at UT and getting some time to put on shows of her own. She discussed her colleagues and their work installing shows at very minimal cost—efficient products in a certain year, ceramics of Ohio, etc.

Keywords: American School in Athens; Sculpture Program; University of Toledo

01:25:05 - Decision to leave museum employment and study at Cranbrook Academy of Art

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "What happens next, you're clearly having success at

Segment Synopsis: Question: So you’re clearly having success at UT? Answer: Yes, after three years, she began considering a career as an artist. Living in the museum, she began to reassess her views of paintings, and also noted very few women were curators of museums, so she thought she didn’t have a future in museums. She discussed going to study at Cranbrook Academy of Art (to work with Carl Milles) with her friend; but by the time she arrived Milles had left.

Keywords: Carl Milles; Cranbook Academy of Art; Paintings; University of Toledo

01:30:55 - Founding of Cranbrook and early experiences there

Play segment

Segment Synopsis: [no question] Kreilick explained that when Cranbrook’s buildings were built by Saarinen, artists brought in to do the textiles, etc., stayed to form the art school there. She discussed the accommodations, studios, and meals, in order that they could dedicate themselves totally to their art. She also talked about the exhilaration of the garden setting. She discussed having the freedom to branch into whatever area of art you wanted, which she did.

Keywords: Cranbrook; Saarinen

01:36:45 - Education at Cranbrook; reflections on fellows student Louis Redstone

Play segment

Partial Transcript: When you go to Cranbrook? One do you know how

Segment Synopsis: Question: Did you know how long you would go there and for what? Answer: No, she didn’t know how long it would take when she went. She had a maestro who advised her, but other than that, she was on her own. She related a story about having dinner with a former CAA student, Louis Redstone. She talked a little about his background and wife, and about being commissioned to sculpt a grill for a stereo speaker—her first commission.

Keywords: Cranbrook; First commission; Louis Redstone

01:41:56 - First sculpture commission for Louis Redstone; Cranbrook and Eero Saarinen

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "This was my first commission, really. I worked on it at

Segment Synopsis: [no question] Talking about this commission, Kreilick talked about working in the woodshop, and Redstone being pleased with her work. Follow up: Were you pleased with it? Answer: She said she’d have chosen a different subject matter, but Redstone became very influential in her life. Follow up: Did Saarinen ever visit? Answer: Yes, she talked about working with Peter Yang on a competition for a library, and about his war experiences.

Keywords: Cranbrook; First commission; Redstone; Saarinen; Woodshop

01:47:04 - Playing Chess with Peter Yang; Saarinen's legacy and architecture at Cranbrook

Play segment

Partial Transcript: And that was Peter Yang who did some of my

Segment Synopsis: [no question] Continuing talking about Peter Yang, she remembered playing chess with her at a bar, and talking with Saarinen and his colleagues. She talked about both the school’s and her philosophy being “architecture-first.” Follow up: Did this experience form you as an artist? Answer: Kreilick responded she hoped it didn’t “gel” her, but her emphasis on design comes from these years. She described the element of discovery and surprise that came from the design.

Keywords: Architecture; Cranbrook; Peter Yang; Saarinen

01:53:06 - Cranbrook thesis; movement and dance, animals in sculpture

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "So how long are you at

Segment Synopsis: Question: How long were you at CAA? Talk about your thesis. Answer: She attended for a year and a summer. She recalled being interested in movement in sculpture, so she wrote her thesis on how one makes animals or figures move and dance. She talked about experimenting with sculpting a gazelle in motion without propping it on all four legs.

Keywords: Cranbrook thesis; movement in sculpture

01:57:37 - Cranbrook exhibition of sculpture, graduation; Decision to continue education at a university

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "At the end of your studio year you have an exhibition.
What were you exhibiting at that point?"

Segment Synopsis: Question: What did you exhibit at the end of that year? Answer: Kreilick showed some of these animal sculptures, and talked about her work on Pan. Follow up: How was it received? Answer: She didn’t recall people saying much. Follow up: Where did you think you were going then? Answer: Kreilick recalled not knowing what she was doing next, but probably going to a university in order to improve and move up the ladder, rather than teaching intensively.

Keywords: MFA; artistic reception; sculpture exhibition; thesis

02:00:33 - Search for university teaching jobs; travel in Wisconsin and Harvey Littleton; getting the job at UW

Play segment

Partial Transcript: That was my thinking. So what do you....

Segment Synopsis: Question: Where did you start looking then? Answer: Kreilick began by submitting her resume at an art association meeting. Later, while looking for work, she talked about helping her friend Miller in Sheboygan with a project and visiting the Littletons in Verona, WI. During that trip, she left a portfolio with Littleton and discovered they were looking for a crafts teacher at UW. Follow up: What was the process of getting an interview/job? Answer: Once back in Oak Harbor, she received a call from Fred Logan to tell her she could have the job and to explain the situation.

Keywords: Art Association Meetings; Fred Logan; Harvey Littleton; Sheboygan

02:07:16 - Additional observations from session one

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "Any additional observations?"

Segment Synopsis: Question: Additional observations? Answer: Kreilick talked about becoming interested in geology at OSU; she recalled nearly being “hooked” on it, but seeing little future in it. She also talked about her painting and drawing professor establishing a “flash lab,” and choosing some art students and football players to participate in order to extend peripheral vision. She said this helped her develop what shape she was working on, and that she used it later with her students.

Keywords: Flash Lab; Football; Geology; Ohio State University

02:12:45 - Connections between experiences in Flash Lab and interest in geology

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Is it to ingenious for me to say there is a

Segment Synopsis: Follow up: Is there a connection here with geology? Answer: Kreilick saw a difference between the limited field of the flash lab and the wide field of geology. Follow up: Did you do this at the university level? Answer: No, she wouldn’t be able to get funding.

Keywords: Flash Lab; geology

02:15:41 - Circumstances of job offer and early years at UW

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "Talk about the circumstances of your offer from

Segment Synopsis: Question: Talk about the circumstances of your offer from UW. Answer: In summer 1953, she came, though with no contract. She reminisced about finding fly-tying equipment in her storeroom and ordering craft equipment for teaching occupational therapy students. Follow up: Was there a reception for you? Answer: No, no one came to see her that first week, but she recalled enjoying walking down Park Street through the school of music (where Mosse is now).

Keywords: 1953; Occupational Therapy; Park Street; School of Music

02:20:18 - McCarthyism and Communist scare on Campus

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "The first week of classes I was called down to the Dean's

Segment Synopsis: [no question] Kreilick discussed being called to the Dean’s (Fowlkes) office during her first week at UW to check her loyalty to the US—this was during the McCarthy era. She recalled thinking how absurd this was. Follow up: What did you say to him? Answer: She said she was cooperative, but denied being a communist. She also remembered being able to live on a dollar a day.

Keywords: Communism; Dean Fowlkes; Loyalty to the U.S.; McCarthyism

02:24:31 - First classes taught and culture of the Art Dept. at UW

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "And what are you teaching at this

Segment Synopsis: Question: What were you teaching? Answer: She remembered teaching beginning design and occupational therapy—carving bowls, chip carving, fabric design, but no fly-tying. Follow up: Who were you meeting. Answer: She discussed meeting Veirthaler, but no one else. Follow up: Other women? Answer: She said Helen Annen was there, but she didn’t become a mentor; her first social event with the faculty was a Christmas party, which she recalled being very awkward, and not feeling welcome. Follow up: Were you sorry you’d come to WI? Answer: She said she questioned it some, and was relieved to have survived the first semester.

Keywords: Helen Annen; Veirthaler

02:30:50 - Summer art program at Madison Unitarian Church; relationship with Herbert and Katherine Jacobs

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "Springtime came after that, and Katherine Jacobs—Mrs.
Herbert Jacobs in Madison—telephoned me..."

Segment Synopsis: [no question] During the spring, Kreilick remembered, she was contacted to teach art in the summer to children at the Unitarian church. She said the Jacobs (who’d offered her the job) filled a void of collegiality that no one at UW filled—she talked about who the Jacobs were and their sponsorship of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Keywords: Frank Lloyd Wright; Herbert and Katherine Jacobs

02:35:31 - Reflections on first year at UW

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "Did you become involved in the Unitarian Church yourself
through the Jacobs?"

Segment Synopsis: Question: Did you become Unitarian? Answer: No, she didn’t, but she did get to know Warrington through the Jacobs. Follow up: Did you intend to stay at UW? Answer: Kreilick recalled hearing that you weren’t a credit to your institution until after the first 3 years, so she felt she needed to stay. She remembered having to prepare her own slides, since the department had none.

Keywords: Staying at UW; Unitarian Church; Warrington

02:38:53 - Second commission for Louis Redstone for synagogue

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "So in the Spring of 1955, of my second year, I received a
letter from my Detroit architect friend Louis

Segment Synopsis: [no question] In spring 1955, Kreilick talked about another commission from Redstone for 12 mosaic panels in a synagogue—she did research and constructed them at L. Erie during the summer. She did OT miracles, the Solomonic temple, the dividing of the Red Sea, the tablets of the Law, Aaron’s blossoming rod, the destruction of the golden calf, Jacob’s ladder, and other stories.

Keywords: Lake Erie; Louis Redstone; Mosaic; Synagogue

02:44:21 - Promotions and bias in the department

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "Was Redstone pleased with them?"

Segment Synopsis: Follow up: Was Redstone pleased with them? Answer: Kreilick said the mosaics brought color to the entryway, but that the ethnic composition of the area has changed since. Follow up: Was your work displayed at UW? Answer: She talked about how the department monitored work faculty were doing—and the disproportionate numbers of pieces for sculptors and printers. Follow up: Were you worried about tenure? Answer: She responded she didn’t know what tenure was, and she’d be happy just to raise her salary after the first two years. She discussed going to the chair of the department about why she’d not gotten a raise—he claimed she didn’t need one because she didn’t have a family.

Keywords: Art Department; Discrimination; Mosaics; Printing; Promotion; Tenure

02:49:05 - Problem of color and form; decision to study in Rome

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "Professionally, I was thinking about the problem of color
changing form."

Segment Synopsis: [no question] Kreilick talked about “color changing form”—though without the impermanence of painting—as her professional interest at the time. She thought an inlay (intarsia) of mosaics would accommodate this goal, and researched classical mosaics to see “how the stones walk.” So in 1958 she took an unpaid leave from UW to go to Rome (staying with the housekeeper of her friend Miller and her husband Jacobs) to study mosaics.

Keywords: Calder; Color and form; Intarsia; Mosaics and sculpture; Rome

02:55:28 - Studying marble in Rome under Julio Giovanetti

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "Why don't you look up this fellow Julio Giovanetti, I
understand he takes a few students sometimes..."

Segment Synopsis: [no question] She related how she apprenticed with Julio Giovanetti in Monte Verdi Nuovo, and discussed travelling there, other students, studying marble-cutting, and Giovanetti’s assumption that she’d quit. Follow up: What was difficult about it? Answer: Kreilick discussed getting the angle of the chisel just right. She worked mornings and went to churches and museums in the evening.

Keywords: Julio Giovanetti; Monte Verdi Nuovo; Rome; marble cutting

03:00:20 - Experiences in Rome

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "Is Rome thrilling at this point, barely a decade after the
end of the war?"

Segment Synopsis: Question: Was Rome thrilling? Answer: Kreilick discussed evidence of WWII and the city being different now. She then talked about the Jacobs’ offer that she watch the house while they toured southern France for three weeks. She quipped about Luciana teaching her to cook and her teaching Luciana to dance; and showed Lange two pieces she’d completed in Rome. Follow up: You returned in the fall of 1959? Answer: Yes.

Keywords: Rome; WWII

03:05:01 - Return from Rome and wall mural project with Louis Redstone

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "Coming back, I had a letter waiting for me from Louis

Segment Synopsis: [no question] She recalled that upon her return, Redstone offered for her to design a 12’H by 114’ long wall for a shopping center. Follow up: Were you intimidated? Answer: No, she saw it as a great challenge and explained her idea of how to inlay marble into the long wall. She told a story of her Italian marble contractor stalling on her order because she was a woman, and Redstone enlisting a priest to work through this problem.

Keywords: Louis Redstone; Shopping center mural; gender discrimination

03:09:56 - An additional mosaic for Louis Redstone in the lobby of his building

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "That was when Luis mentioned, 'look I've got a place in
the lobby of my architectural office.'"

Segment Synopsis: [no question] Redstone at that point commissioned a mosaic from her for his architectural office. Follow up: This supplemented your salary? Answer: Some. She said Louis Weinberg had died in 1957, so she was able to fill his position teaching sculpture. She also discussed meeting Karel Yasko (the state architect) at a cocktail party, who invited her to attend a meeting about 10 murals for a state office building being built in Milwaukee.

Keywords: Karel Yasko; Louis Redstone; Louis Weinberg

03:13:31 - Further reflections on state mural projects

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "The contractor and these other men... said that what they
wanted were the industries of Wisconsin represented in these

Segment Synopsis: [no question] Kreilick continued talking about the murals—initially, the officials wanted the state’s industries represented there, which she wouldn’t do. Yasko, however, encouraged her to draw up a proposal, so she suggested that the murals represent the ecologies of WI and Indian contributions. Follow up: Where did the idea come from? Answer: She talked about the transitory nature of business, and bringing the warmth of the outside inside—and discussed the murals she made.

Keywords: Public murals; State architect; State industries

03:18:52 - Final mural on the state motto, "Forward"

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "I had one left over, that big mural on the lobby. I
decided I'd do the state motto, 'forward.'"

Segment Synopsis: [no question] Kreilick then discussed the large lobby mural which centered around the state motto “Forward.” Follow up: Was it well received by the commission? Answer: She didn’t know, but they commissioned it to be done. She talked about the materials, the time frame (’62-’63), her work on sketches and enlargement (at Lathrop Hall).

Keywords: "Forward"; State motto

03:22:03 - Climate for women and tenure; buying a house and applying for the Prix de Rome

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "I take it by this time you had developed a community of
colleagues at the University..."

Segment Synopsis: Question: So by this time you’d developed a community of colleagues? Answer: No, she simply knew who was where. It was difficult to meet people because there were very few women. Follow up: Did you have tenure by then? Answer: No, no one ever told her how. She talked about teaching summer school in 1960, buying and painting her current house, joining a group of ladies to practice Italian, and applying for the Prix de Rome in 1959.

Keywords: Priz de Rome; summer school; tenure

03:27:19 - Receiving the Prix de Rome in 1960

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "It's gotta be before 1960. Should have been around 1959,
because I got the Prix de Rome in 1960."

Segment Synopsis: [no question] Kreilick discussed receiving the Prix de Rome in 1960 after buying her house, the terms of the prize, and having a lawyer handle her rental. She told about being given Giovanetti’s martellina when she’d left in 1959 as a compliment to her. In Rome, she bought a car because bus transportation took too long.

Keywords: Giovanetti’s martellina; Prix de Rome; Rome

03:31:30 - Students and design classes at UW

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "When generally has been your experience with students at
the University up until this point?"

Segment Synopsis: Question: What had students been like up to 1960? Answer: For the first 3 years, her students were basic design students, so she hadn’t been able to tell about talent. She’d worked really well, however, with Leo Steppat. Follow up: Were students from WI? Answer: She never asked, but she did ask how many had taken world history—very few knew more than American history. Follow up: Were you glad to leave the classroom for a time? Answer: Yes, she just wanted to work on her projects. She talked about the untapped potential of mosaics.

Keywords: Design classes; Leo Steppat; Students at UW; Teaching at UW

03:36:32 - Second year of Prix de Rome; Salary, tenure, and culture in the Art Dept.

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "So you get to Rome in the Fall of 1960, you're there for
how long?"

Segment Synopsis: Question: Talk about Rome. Answer: She was in Rome for a year, and then renewed for a second year. Follow up: Did this affect your job at UW? Answer: She’d written to UW to see if it would affect her tenure process, but UW was glad to use her salary. Follow up: Talk about your experience in the department up until that point. Answer: She said it was an inbred department—nearly all of them had been trained in Milwaukee.

Keywords: Art Department; Renewal of Prix de Rome; Rome; Tenure

03:41:29 - Discrimination and climate in the Art Department

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "Did you respect any of them as artists or

Segment Synopsis: Follow up: Did you respect any of them as artists? Answer: Kreilick didn’t really know their teaching, but she knew later what their students didn’t know. She described one’s art as “unimaginative,” talked about there being a “token” African-American and woman, and discussed the unsupportiveness of faculty.

Keywords: Climate; Teaching; Tokenization

03:45:32 - Life in Wisconsin; difficulty in arranging the installation of mosaics

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "It was difficult in the department—an inbred, not an
adventurous department—when you are in Rome in 1960 and 61. At this point, are
you thinking about moving beyond Wisconsin?"

Segment Synopsis: Question: Were you thinking about moving from WI at this point? Answer: No, she’d put down roots in a house in Madison, and she was totally focused on finishing, shipping, and installing the murals. She talked about details of shipping the panels down the St. Lawrence to Milwaukee and a uniquely gifted craftsman who installed them. She told a story about washing down the mosaics and about haggling over a union contract.

Keywords: House in Wisconsin; Mosaic installation; St. Lawrence River

03:53:38 - Return to Wisconsin/UW and installation of office building murals

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "Are you back at the University?"

Segment Synopsis: Question: Were you back at UW at this point? Answer: Not yet; she talked about putting a painting in a show at the Academy in Rome which was bought by Joslyn Museum in Omaha. She talked about the experience of meeting Ernst Schroeder and installing her mosaics. After this she received word that she needed to remove her name from the lobby mural—she argued back that the state capital’s mosaics were signed, and was able to leave them as is.

Keywords: Academy in Rome; Ernst Schroeder; Joslyn Museum

03:59:09 - Reception of State Office Building murals

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "This may be too early to ask you, are those murals in the
State Office Building some of your best work?"

Segment Synopsis: Follow up: Are those murals some of your best work? Answer: She talked about refusing to make push-plates for the door out of mosaics, but being proud of her work on the mosaics. She also regretted some degradation of the lobby mural. Follow up: Did you get recognition for it? Answer: Other than an article for the Academy of Arts and Sciences, no; she thought the faculty hadn’t even seen them.

Keywords: Academy of Arts and Sciences; Hand plates; Office building murals

04:04:08 - Return to UW; teaching sculpture and color

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "What are your plans now when you returned to the

Segment Synopsis: Question: So you returned in 1962? What were your plans? Answer: She remembered looking forward to sculpture and working with Steppat; and talked about still working with color changing form. She talked about working at the foundries in Italy and working on a series of pillars. She discussed studying color, the German writers especially, suggesting adding a course on color, hiring a Yale graduate to teach it (who later moved to painting) and teaching the course herself.

Keywords: Bauhaus; Josef Albers; Return to UW; Steppat

04:09:08 - Developing and teaching color theory course at UW

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "I took over the color class but before I did, what I had
done, was to go to the Home Ec Department..."

Segment Synopsis: [no question] Discussing the color class, she recalled pitching the course to the Home Ec. department and the Theater department as being useful to their students. She discussed difficult conditions teaching in the new Art building and working with the theater department to get lighting—and building a working relationship with Gilbert Hemsley. She remembered thinking the course was going to fail until she went to the theater department.

Keywords: Gilbert Hemsley; Home Economics; Interior Design and Fashion; Theater Department

04:17:14 - Teaching the color course; legacy of the course

Play segment

Partial Transcript: 'Would you say that the color course was your your best and/or
most popular course?"

Segment Synopsis: Question: Was the color course your best/most popular course? Answer: Yes, both. She found it fun to teach and thought students found it fun to learn. Follow up: What were your demands? Answer: She said it was a lot of work—they had to produce something every week and then every Friday was “jury” in which students critiqued each other’s work—which honed critical thinking. She talked about her method of prompting critique.

Keywords: Color course; Critique; Most popular course

04:23:22 - Non-typical students in the color class

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "Would art history majors be in the

Segment Synopsis: Question: Were art history majors in the class? Answer: Only a few; she told the story of two older women who took the class and suggested it to others. She didn’t have problems filling the class, though, both semesters and even had continuing students. Follow up: Did it change your art? Answer: Yes, especially her painting—she gave some examples.

Keywords: Art history majors; Interior design; Senior auditors

04:26:28 - Mid-1960s commissions and projects

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "What else are you doing in the mid-1960s

Segment Synopsis: Question: What were you working on yourself during the mid-60s? Answer: Kreilick talked about painting more and working with Susan [Kaigh?] who commissioned her to make a mosaic for her kitchen. Follow up: Do you like working with clients? Answer: Yes, though you run into difficulty with some. She told the story of the one commission she really wanted badly—a church in Farmington, MN—which she didn’t get. She described the church in detail architecturally and where the mosaic would go.

Keywords: Farmington, MN; Shakers; Studio work; Susan Kaigh

04:32:37 - Farmington church project

Play segment

Partial Transcript: "He was thinking that what he would like to see in subject
matter was the Good Shepard. So I said I would think about

Segment Synopsis: [no question] Kreilick talked about working on the Farmington church project, which was to be about the Good Shepherd—she talked about researching sheep, discovering how different biblical sheep were, and debating internally between a realistic portrayal (which would look like Bin Laden shepherds) and an abstract “blessing.” She talked about her disappointment at not getting the commission.

Keywords: Farmington Church; Good Shepard; Sheep

04:39:08 - End of Interview (Part 1 of 2)