I was born in New Kensington, Pa., and grew up in Creighton, across the river. My father was a glass worker at the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company. My mother worked for the county. I studied art education at Youngstown State, then at Carnegie Mellon.
Collecting is an addictive passion. My wife and I collect architect-designed chairs, carved and inlaid wood items, textiles, bakelite dress clips, pre-Revolutionary maps of New England, miniature hats and, perhaps the strangest, glass swizzle sticks with a Pittsburgh provenance.
Sometimes when trying to assess the importance of any one artist, I am reduced to playing the auction trick. What’s it worth? People who have pooh-poohed Andy Warhol think twice when they hear one of his paintings sells for $14 million. It may be the wrong road to art appreciation,…
What might be described as the great collections built up by Pittsburghers — those of, say, Henry Clay Frick, Gertrude and Leo Stein, Duncan Phillips, Andrew and Paul Mellon respectively, and Walter Arensberg — are perhaps best understood as being financed by Pittsburgh. The actual collections were built up elsewhere.