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Dewey Albinson Mrs. Increase Robinson

ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW WITH DEWEY ALBINSON
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA
OCTOBER 27, 1965
INTERVIEWER: MRS. VIRGINIA NAGLE

(This subject of this excerpt from the interview relates to Mrs. Increase Robinson)

VN: MRS. VIRGINIA NAGLE DA: DEWEY ALBINSON

VN: This is an interview with Dewey Albinson, Minneapolis painter. It’s taking place on the 27th of October, 1965. And I’m here to talk with Mr. Albinson about his involvements with the WPA Art Projects during the Thirties and the Forties, and we hope to have our conversation recorded. We’ve had some very interesting conversations up to this point. I don’t think we should have mike fright at this point so let’s get back to this because you were talking about the way the artists met around in small groups in homes and . . . .

(later in the interview) -

VN: Yes. Now, were you ever involved with any of the competitions that the Federal Art Project sponsored? Much of the work was finally awarded by competition, you see, and judged and juried. I’m curious about whether you ever served on . . . ?

DA: Oh, some of these first funds . . . . I made a mural in the Cloquet Post Office . . . .

VN: You did! Well, I didn’t . . . .

DA: “Lake Superior Yesterday and Today.” I’ll give you a photograph of it. I think I have . . . .

VN: Well, fine! Wonderful!

DA: And that was made . . . Forbes Watson had full charge of that. Oh! Here’s what happened: There was an Increase Robinson, Mrs. Robinson of Chicago. She was supposed to be the regional supervisor for this project. She came out here and a little clique monopolized her and they didn’t invite, oh, any number of the artists here. She notified some group that she wanted to meet the artists here. And I finally got word from Washington that I should submit a design or two for her as a project for a mural. So I sent a drawing to her in Chicago and I got it back that I was completely off the beam. It wasn’t what they had in mind at all. They wanted Americana or something. The American scene was then the cult. So I just smiled and forgot about it. And then a little later when a commission came through, I submitted the same thing to Washington and it was accepted. So that’s the mural for the Cloquet Post Office.

VN: I see.

DA: I really chuckle over that one.

VN: Oh, indeed. If at first you don’t succeed . . . .

DA: Well, this gal in Chicago had an idea I had to do American, the American scene, or something; I don’t know what she had in mind. It had to be social conscious.

VN: Yes. Yes.

DA: That was the big issue at the time.

VN: That was. This is the time of social consciousness in art.

(This excerpt is quoted verbatim from the on-line transcript at the Archives of American Art site – copyright AAA)

The following museums have Dewey Albinson collections:

  • San Diego Museum of Art, Balboa Park, PO 122107, 1450 El Prado, San Diego , CA 92112-2107, Phone: 619-232-7931, www.sdmart.org
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum Smithsonian Institution8th & G Streets Washington , DC 20560 Phone: 202-357-2700 www.nmaa.si.edu
  • Addison Gallery of American Art Phillips Academy Andover , MA 01810-4166 Phone: 978-749-4015 www.andover.edu/addison
  • The University of Michigan Museum of Art University Of Michigan 525 South State Street Ann Arbor , MI 48109-1354 Phone: 734-764-0395 www.umich.edu/~umma
  • Frederick R Weisman Art Museum The University of Minnesota333 East River Road Minneapolis , MN 55455 Phone: 612-625-9494 www.weisman.umn.edu
  • American Swedish Institute 2600 Park Avenue Minneapolis , MN 55407 Phone: 612-871-4907 www.americanswedishinst.org
  • Minnesota Museum of American Art 505 Landmark Center75 West 5th Street St. Paul , MN 55102-1486 Phone: 651-292-4380 www.mtn.org/mmaa/