E. Dewey Albinson

born Minneapolis, MN 1898-died Mexico 1971
Also known as
  • Ernest Dewey Albinson
  • Dewey Albinson
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
  • American

When he was twelve, Dewey Albinson was shot in the leg by a group of boys who had stolen his bicycle. He left high school and spent a lot of time at home, sketching and painting to fill his free time. He studied at the Art Students League in New York, then spent most of the 1920s and ’30s painting the towns, landscapes, and mines of Minnesota. He joked once that he had painted “every outhouse from Minneapolis to Canada” (Loran, “Minnesota Artists,” American Magazine of Art, January 1938). Albinson created images for the Public Works of Art Project and also acted as state director of the Minnesota educational division. In the late 1930s he spent several summers as a “recluse” on a small island on Lake Superior, leaving in the fall only after an inch of ice had formed in his wash pail. Albinson lived the last years of his life in Mexico, where he suffered paralysis caused by his childhood injury and had to pull himself around on a dolly in order to paint. (Swanson, “A Study of Dewey Albinson,” n.d., unpublished ms., SAAM curatorial file)

Related Books

1934: A New Deal for Artists
During the Great Depression, president Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised a “new deal for the American people,” initiating government programs to foster economic recovery. Roosevelt’s pledge to help “the forgotten man” also embraced America’s artists. The Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) enlisted artists to capture “the American Scene” in works of art that would embellish public buildings across the country. Although it lasted less than one year, from December 1933 to June 1934, the PWAP provided employment for thousands of artists, giving them an important role in the country’s recovery. Their legacy, captured in more than fifteen thousand artworks, helped “the American Scene” become America seen.