Marion Greenwood


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Painter and printmaker. Remembered especially for socially conscious, Depression-era murals, she was born in Brooklyn and began her training at the Art Students League at the age of fifteen. There she worked with George Bridgman, Frank Vincent Dumond, and John Sloan until 1928. She continued her studies at the Académie Colarossi in Paris as well as in Woodstock with Emil Ganso and Alexander Archipenko. In 1931 she traveled to the Southwest to paint Pueblo and Navajo Indians. The following year, attracted by the work of Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, she went to Mexico. There, she completed two large mural commissions while absorbing the artistry and left-wing politics of the flourishing Mexican mural movement. In 1936 she returned to the United States and, until 1940, painted murals for federal art projects. Her fresco Blueprint for Living (1940), executed for the government-sponsored Red Hook Houses in Brooklyn, presented monumentalized figures constructing a better future for themselves. During World War II she served as an accredited artist-correspondent. Subsequently she traveled in China with her British husband, writer and adventurer Charles Fenn, and visited other foreign locales. In later years, living in Woodstock as well as New York and married to writer Robert Plate, she produced figurative easel paintings and prints, as well as two final murals. She died in an infirmary at Kingston, New York, following a long illness. Her sister, painter Grace Greenwood (1905–79), also born in Brooklyn, accompanied her to Mexico, painted murals there, and later also was employed on federal art projects. As Grace Crampton, she, too, subsequently resided in Woodstock.

Subjects: Art.

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