LGBT Oral History 120: Lawrence ''Larry'' Von Barann

Number of Pages: 
August 2 and 29, 2014

Abstract for Interview 1 (August 2, 2014): Lawrence von Barann was born on June 26, 1928 in Queens, New York to an American mother from New York City and an immigrant father from Germany. Lawrence spent the majority of his upbringing living in the Queens borough but left to live outside the city in Long Island about the time when he entered high school. Lawrence is an artist, primarily painting. He found his passion for art in middle school when he considered attending a specialized high school in the arts. Unable to make the daily commute to Manhattan Lawrence attended a local high school. Throughout his high school experience Lawrence was completely dedicated to his art. He had a teacher name Mr. Wickman that played a major role in developing Lawrence’s talents but also increasing his exposure to the art world. Lawrence discusses his adventures to the galleries and museums in New York during weekend class trips. Upon completing high school, at the end of WWII, Lawrence decided to enroll in art school but given the difficulties of applying during the G.I. admittance guidelines it was difficult to find a complete course load. Lawrence however did get an opportunity with the Brooklyn Museum art program. It was there that he received his first assistant position to his woodwork and carving professor in his private studio. Lawrence recounts his years working in the studio as well as his own business ventures at this early stage in his life. He also discusses some of his experience of living a “double life” as a gay man in New York City.

Abstract for Interview 2 (August 29, 2014): In this second interview with Lawrence von Barann he concludes his stories about living in New York and the events that eventually led to his move to central PA. Once he made the move to central PA, his business partner from New York got married so Larry was working independently. He started teaching at HACC (Harrisburg Area Community College) in fine arts courses. Larry also discusses the significant relationship he has had—including his life partner Bill as well as some others. He talks about his career evolved from not only working as an artist but becoming an advisor doing art appraisals and running a gallery. He discusses his never ending passion for the surrealist school is his own personal collection of famous works as well as encounters he has had with artists including Rothko, Pollock and Dalí throughout his life.

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Gift of Lawrence ''Larry'' Von Barann
LGBT Oral History - Von Barann, Lawrence ''Larry'' - 120
Dickinson College Archives and Special Collections