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 Alexander Masley (1903 - 1996)


Printmaker, painter, and educator, Masley was born in Akeley, Minnesota.  He attended high school in Anoka and was 16 when he won a scholarship to the Minneapolis School of Art.  While attending school he held a variety of jobs, one being a commercial artist at an advertising agency.  While at the agency he worked at his wood engravings in the early morning and in the evening.  His wood engravings brought him recognition as a fine artist and, more importantly, the Ethel Morrison Van Derlip Foreign Traveling Scholarship in 1929, to study in Europe with Hans Hofmann.  Masley concentrated on printmaking during those years, and become a leading wood engraver whose prints were noted for their compelling technical skill and stylistic compositions of workers and Minnesota landscapes.


After studying with Cameron Booth, Masley went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in 1941, and postgraduate degrees from Columbia University in 1948.  As Masley was earning a doctorate at Columbia, the University of New Mexico invited him to launch its Department of Art Education in Albuquerque, which Masley headed until his retirement.  A few years after he retired, in 1969, the university formally named the art education building and its art gallery after him.


Masley was a prolific artist.  His interests lead him to focus on faces, birds and ballet dancers.  His works are held in collections at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of America Art, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota, the Walker Art Center, the Minnesota Historical Society, the Dallas Museum of Art, the University of New Mexico and many other art museums.   

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