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Posted by IONEROBINSON.ORG:  
Spanish Republican combatants, Barcares Concentration Camp, Barcares, France 1939

 

 

Portrait of Ione Robinson by Tina Modotti, Mexico 1929

Portrait of Ione Robinson by Tina Modotti, Mexico 1929
Spanish Republican Combatants, Barcares Concentration Camp, Barcares, France 1939

 

 
 
Posted by IONEROBINSON.ORG:
Spanish Republican Soldier, Argeles Concentration Camp, Argeles, France 1939

In 1936 inspired by her friends, the Mexican muralist, David Alfaro Siquieros and the Spanish artist, Luis Quintanilla, the American artist, Ione Robinson (1910-1989) began a concerted effort to raise awareness of the Spanish Republican cause in America. Officially, America joined her allies, Great Britain and France in a policy of Non-Intervention in the Civil War (1936-1939)- a policy which had severely disadvantaged the Republicans in their fight against Franco's Nationalist Forces which received arms and material support from Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. On April 26, 1937, the Nazi Luftwaffe bombed the Basque city of Guernica at the request of the Spanish Nationalist leader, Francisco Franco. Despite the atrocity, the Allies continued Non-Intervention policies. The sentiment of the Chamberlain government in Britain was appeasement with Hitler's Germany.

In 1938, Robinson received permission from the Spanish Republican Prime Minister Juan Negrin to travel to Barcelona to paint and draw the inhabitants of the besieged city despite the American prohibition on travel to Spain.

On September 12, 1938, just before her departure to Barcelona, Robinson met with Winston Churchill at Chartwell Manor in Kent, England to plead the case for lifting the arms embargo to the Spanish Republic. Churchill expressed his disillusionment with the Republic and their arms agreement with the Soviet Union. His final rejoinder to her, "Don't you know the world is working itself up to a real war?" But he did charge her with the task of speaking out about the Fascist menace in Europe, and to fight against the isolationist policies in the United States.

 

 

 

Argeles Concentration Camp, Argeles, France 1939  
   
   
Posted by IONEROBINSON.ORG:  
Spanish Republican soldier, Argeles Concentration Camp, Argeles, France 1939

Days later, on her way through Paris, Robinson met with the American Ambassador to France, William Bullitt, and the American financier and Roosevelt confidante, Bernard Baruch. Her efforts, in some small way, began to change the sentiments about the Republican cause with these American policymakers. The growing sentiment with these two men was that as Spain goes, so will the rest of Europe.

In September 1938, Robinson arrived in Barcelona. Over the course of two months, Robinson produced a series of drawings and paintingsin the Catalan munitions factories, refugios, hospitals; and on the Ebro front with the Republican 5th Army . As she writes in her 1946 memoir, A Wall to Paint On, "...in the drawings I have made here in Spain I have tried to express-through simple line-the agonizing effect of war upon the innocent victims: the women and children...through what I felt and saw in their eyes-and hands." She left Spain at the end of October, 1938.

She visited Berlin on November 7, 1938. She witnessed the Kristallnacht progroms.

Argeles Concentration Camp, Argeles, France 1939  
   
   
Posted by IONEROBINSON.ORG:  
Spanish Republican orphans, Escuela Mexico-Espana, Morelia, Mexico 1939

Later that month, in New York she exhibited the Spanish drawings at the Julien Levy Gallery to benefit the Rehabilitation Fund for the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. She also spoke at the Fulton Theater demonstration against Fascism.

In February, 1939, she exhibited the Spanish drawings at the University of Mexico, Mexico City. Carlos Merida curated the exhibit and wrote the catalogue notes. She traveled to Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico to photograph the relocated orphans from the Spanish Republic. While in Mexico, Barcelona fell to the Nationalist forces on January 26, 1939. Of the Morelia orphans, she wrote, "The dream of the Republic will never leave these children because their fathers were possessed by it." Within a month she had returned to her home in Paris. The Republic had fallen. Waiting for her on her arrival were letters from Spaniards she had met while in Barcelona. They wrote plaintively from the concentration camps the French had established for the Republican refugees in southern France.

 

 

 

Spanish Orphans, Escuela Mexico-Espana, Morelia, Mexico 1939   
   
   
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Orphaned sisters from Guernica, Escuela Mexico-Espana, Morelia, Mexico 1939

United in Paris with Bibbiano Ossorio Tafall, the former Commisar-General of the Republican Army, Robinson begins to work for the S.E.R.E, the immigration service for Republican refugees organized by the Spanish Republican Government-in-Exile.

On May 3, 1939, Robinson visits the camps at Argeles and Barcares. As a member of the S.E.R.E delegation she clandestinely photographs the refugees in the French camps. She is accompanied by Hamilton Fish Armstrong to observe the condition of the refugees.

Robinson continued to photo-document the refugees, focusing on children refugees in Bordeaux, and aboard refugee ships engaged to take Spanish refugees to Mexico and South America. in July, 1939, Robinson traveled to the camps in French Algeria. Upon her return to Paris, the political situation had deteriorated in the capital. Escaping Paris to Le Havre, Robinson finally secured passage with her daughter on the Manhattan which left for America on September 9,1939.

Orphaned Sisters from Guernica, Escuela Mexico-Espana, Morelia, Mexico 1939   
   
   
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Spanish republican Orphan, Escuela Mexico-Espana, Morelia, mexico 1939

In 1940, Robinson returned to London where she worked as a War Correspondent. In 1942, she worked for the OSS coordinating Resistance activities in Europe.

IONEROBINSON.ORG was established as an online archive of the diverse works of the American artist, Ione Robinson (1910-1989). During the course of her life, she distinguished herself as a visual artist, writer, journalist, and political activist.

Spanish Republican orphan at Escuela Mexico-Espana, Morelia, Mexico 1939  
   
   
Posted by IONEROBINSON.ORG:  
drawing of Spanish Republican Loyalist, Argeles,  France 1939  
Loyalist, Argeles, May 15, 1939  
   
 
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drawing of Spanish woman, Barcelona, Spain 1938  
Barcelona, Spain 1938  
   
   
Posted by IONEROBINSON.ORG:  
drawing of Spanish mother and child, Barcelona, Spain 1938  
Barcelona, Spain 1938   
   
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Guernica orphans, Bordeaux, France 1939  
Guernica Orphans, Bordeaux 1939 (unrestored negative)  
   
   
Posted by IONEROBINSON.ORG:  
Guernica orphans dancing 'La Jota', Bordeaux, France 1939  
Guernica Orphans, Bordeaux 1939  
   
   
Posted by IONEROBINSON.ORG:  
Guernica orphans dancing 'La Jota', Bordeaux, France 1939  
Guernica Orphans, Bordeaux 1939  
   
   
Posted by IONEROBINSON.ORG:  
Spanish Republican girl aboard S.S. Winnipeg to Chile, Bordeaux, France 1939  
Spanish Republican Girl aboard S.S.Winnipeg to Chile 1939  
   
   
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Spanish republican family aboard S.S. Winnipeg to Chile, Bordeaux, France 1939 S
Spanish Republican Refugees aboard S.S. Winnipeg to Chile, Bordeaux 1939 (from negative)  
   
   
Posted by IONEROBINSON.ORG:  
Spanish Republican family aboard S.S. Winnipeg to Chile, Bordeaux, France 1939  
Spanish Republican Refugee family aboard S.S. Winnipeg to Chile, Bordeaux 1939 (from negative)  
   
   
Posted by IONEROBINSON.ORG:  
Spanish Republican orphans at Escuela Mexico-Espana, Morelia, Mexico 1939  
Spanish Republican orphans at Escuela Mexico-Espana, Morelia, Mexico 1939 (from negative)  
   
   
Posted by IONEROBINSON.ORG:  
Spanish Republican orphan at Escuela Mexico-Espana, Morelia, Mexico 1939  
Spanish Republican orphan at Escuela Mexico-Espana, Morelia, Mexico 1939 (from negative)  
   
   
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Spanish Republican girl, Escuela mexico-Espana, Morelia, Mexico 1939  
Spanish Republican girl at Escuela Mexico-Espana, Morelia, Mexico 1939  
   
   
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Spanish Republican Combatant at Argeles Concentration Camp, Argeles, France 1939  
Spanish Republican Combatant at Argeles Concentration Camp, Argeles, France 1939  
   
   
Posted by IONEROBINSON.ORG:  
Spanish Republican rphans at Escuela Mexico-Espana, Morelia, Mexico 1939  
Spanish Republican orphans at Escuela Mexico-Espana, Morelia, Mexico 1939  
   
   
Posted by IONEROBINSON.ORG:  
Spanish Republican Combatant, Argeles Concentration Camp, Argeles, France 1939  
Spanish Republican Combatant, Argeles Concentration Camp, Argeles, France 1939  
   
   
Posted by IONEROBINSON.ORG:  
Spanish Republican boy, Barcelona, Spain 1938  
Spanish Republican boy, Barcelona, Spain 1938  
   
   
Posted by IONEROBINSON.ORG:  
Spanish Republican combatant, Argeles Concentration Camp, Argeles, France 1939  
Spanish Republican combatant, Argeles Concentration Camp, Argeles, France 1939  
   
   
Posted by IONEROBINSON.ORG:  
Spanish Republican combatants, Argeles Concentration Camp, Argeles, France 1939  
Spanish Republican combatants, Argeles Concentration Camp, Argeles, France 1939  
   
   
Posted by IONEROBINSON.ORG:  
Argeles Concentration Camp, Argeles, France 1939  
Argeles Concentration Camp, Argeles, France 1939  
   
   
Posted by IONEROBINSON.ORG:  
Spanish republican orphan and Mexican children, Escuela Mexico-Espana, Morelia, Mexico 1939  
Spanish Republican orphan and Mexican children, Escuela Mexico-Espana, Morelia, Mexico 1939  
   
   
Posted by IONEROBINSON.ORG:  
Spanish Republican orphan, Escuela Mexico-Espana, Morelia, Mexico 1939  
Spanish Republican orphan, Escuela Mexico-Espana, Morelia, Mexico 1939