Theme/Style Social Realism, WPA themes, Spanish and Mexican motifs
Media Oils, murals, sculpture, lithographs
Artistic Focus Maxine Albro’s world travels inspired many of her landscapes and street scenes, and she often paid special homage to her tutelage by Mexican artist Diego Rivera in works featuring Spanish and Mexican themes.
• Maxine Albro was born in Iowa in 1893, after which her family moved to Los Angeles, where she grew up.
• After graduation from high school in 1920, Albro moved to San Francisco, where she worked as a commercial artist to finance studies at the Art Students’ League in New York and the Ecole de la Grande Chaumière in Paris.
• After a year in New York and Europe, Albro returned to San Francisco and attended the California School of Fine Arts from 1923 to 1925.
• During one of her many trips to Mexico, Albro studied mural painting with Diego Rivera.
• In 1933 Maxine Albro was one of 26 artists commissioned by the Public Works of Art Project to paint frescoes and create one bas-relief in the newly constructed Coit Tower. Albro’s contribution was her 1934 striking and colorful mural depicting seasonal scenes of California’s agricultural abundance.
• Following the destruction of the Diego Rivera mural in New York’s Rockefeller Center because it included a portrait of Lenin, Albro’s politically progressive views prompted her to present her fellow Coit Tower muralists with a resolution that called the destruction “an acute symptom of a growing reaction in the American culture which has threatened for years to strangle all creative effort...”
• In addition to her murals, Albro produced many canvases, as well as frescoes painted on the walls of private homes in California. She also exhibited widely, at Delphi Studios in New York and the Berkeley Women’s City Club, as well as in San Francisco at the S.F. Art Association, Beaux Arts Club, Gump’s, and the Golden Gate International Exposition.
• Albro married fellow Coit Tower muralist Parker Hall in 1938, and the couple settled in Carmel, California. Albro passed away in Los Angeles in 1966.
Additional biographical material and full bibliographic
references are available upon request.
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