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 Ione Robinson  (1910 - 1989)

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Lived/Active: New York/California/Oregon      Known for: mod figure, portrait

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Ad Code: 4
Ione Robinson
from Auction House Records.
Le Jeune Fille, 1932
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from C.J. Dallett, maternal grandson of Ione Robinson.

My grandmother passed away in Paris in November of 1989. She is survived by her daughter, Anne Ione Brady (my mother); and her son by another marriage, Michael Robinson. Besides the auctions listed, her last known painting, "La Familia, "was purchased by the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City (1993) where it is hung with a portrait of her by David Alfaro Siquieros (1931).

Ione's portrait of Frida Kahlo was purchased by a private collector through the Munson Gallery in Santa Fe, NM. Gerald Peter's Gallery of Santa Fe and New York purchased two sketches by Ione of the artists, Wols and Arp.

Two photographic portraits of Ione taken by Tina Modotti are featured in the
catalogue to the show of Modotti's work mounted by San Francisco MOMA. One of these portraits is with Throckmorton Fine Art in New York and the other is with a museum in Canberra, Australia.
Artist: Ione, Robinson
Submitted By: Jim Forbes
As a 21 year old traveling to Nigeria from the US in December 1974, I had a 13 hour layover at the Paris airport. Though I knew not a word of French (I took Latin as a second language), I was nonetheless determined to at least get into and perhaps walk some streets of the city. I boarded a bus identified as going to the city center. Almost immediately, an older woman across the aisle stated, " Youre an American, arent you?" I responded that I was. I recall wondering at the time how she knew. Now I know. The older woman was Ione Robinson.

When I admitted to my nationality, and told her it was my first trip abroad, Ms. Robinson became rather animated, not because I was from the US, but because I had never been to Paris, and she offered to show me the sights.
I have a picture in my head of Ms. Robinson, though its accuracy is open to question after the many years. She had thick white hair, perhaps back in a bun of sorts, with bright eyes. She wore a dark blue overcoat, with a scarf around her neck. It was, after all, late December, and I was traveling during a holiday break from my job. She was not slight, but was very quick on her feet, and obviously comfortable walking the city for hours.

Our first stop was her home, at 6 Cite Thure, Apt. 14. I noted a poster for a show featuring her work on the back of the door, and a picture on a bookshelf of her and a gentleman, which she identified, without fanfare, as Picasso. I recall it as a small, rather spartan place, in a wonderful old building, but full of memories, based on the items here and there. I specifically recall the "restroom" on the landing between floors, as an amazing way to add central plumbing to an old building! (Forgive me - I studied to be an engineer!)

We spent the day walking. We visited so many places, and spent a good deal of time sitting and looking quietly at a local favorite spot. Ms. Robinson told me that she wanted me to get a grasp of the city and its people, so we stayed away from commercial endeavors. We stopped frequently at what appeared to me to be a drug store (I now recognize it as a cafe or small grocery) where Ms. Robinson would ask for a cognac. It was somehow understood that as we toured, the cost to me was to pay for our refreshments. It was a steal.

One stop in particular that comes to mind was a moderately sized shop somewhere in the city. Ms. Robinson introduced me to her daughter, who I found to be strikingly, delicately, beautiful. I have no idea her age at the time, though perhaps close to mine. The shop sold, among other things, handmade quilts from the US, as art works, I believe. They spoke for a few minutes, Ms. Robinson having just arrived back from a trip, and we moved on.

We ate lunch in a small restaurant, the most striking feature of which, on the street, was the complete lack of any identification. As a resident of suburbia in the US, I marveled at how anyone would know it was there. We had the classic French lunch of cheese, smoked fish, bread, red table wine, and other things; not in that order, but those were the portions that made the biggest impression.

The day, of course, was a whirlwind, and has become a blur, beyond an overall impression of the incredible history, the utter suitability of the city to people living in close quarters, and the immense appreciation of the arts by folks who actually lived there, none of which apply to most US cities, in my opinion.

As the end of the day approached, we parted ways, after Ms. Robinson gave me a baggage tag with her name and address, so I could look her up when I next visited. Unfortunately, my next visit didnt occur until this past April, 2001. The city is the same, however, and Ione Robinson is still there in spirit.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Portland, OR on Oct. 3, 1903. Robinson studied at Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles and in Paris (1928). In 1929 she worked with Diego Rivera on the murals in the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City and modeled for him in his murals in the Ministry of Health. After her marriage to John Dallett in Connecticut in 1933, she pursued an art career on the East Coast and assisted Rockwell Kent in illustrating Candide. Her autobiography, A Wall to Paint On, was published in 1946 (E.P. Dutton Co., NYC). She died on July 23, 1991. Exh: LACMA, 1929.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Southern California Artists (Nancy Moure); California Arts and Architecture list, 1932; Who's Who in American Art 1938-53.
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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