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Boardman Robinson

(1876—1952)


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(1876–1952).

Painter, printmaker, and illustrator. His accomplished murals contributed to enthusiasm for wall painting in the late 1920s and 1930s, while in the first two decades of the twentieth century he invigorated American drawing and illustration with a forceful, sketchy style derived from French precedents. Later he illustrated many classic literary works with bold designs. Born in Somerset, Nova Scotia, Robinson lived as a child in Wales. In the mid-1890s he arrived in Boston, where he studied art at the Normal Art School. He then went to Paris, where he imbibed the graphic style of Jean-Louis Forain and his antecedents in the work of Honoré Daumier and the impressionists. Upon settling in New York, he had difficulty selling his advanced work but eventually found full-time employment as a newspaper artist. His already leftist social views intensified in 1915 as he traveled in eastern Europe with the radical journalist John Reed. Robinson contributed regularly to The Masses and The Liberator. In 1919 he began teaching at the Art Students League and redirected his energies chiefly to painting, drawing subjects from history as well as the contemporary world. In 1927, with his first mural commission—ten scenes depicting the history of commerce for a Pittsburgh department store—Robinson helped to initiate the revival of mural painting that proved central to art of the 1930s. After moving to Colorado in 1930, he often essayed heroic mountain scenes inspired by the dramatic surroundings. He died in Stamford, Connecticut, not far from the home of his final years in Darien.

Subjects: Art.


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