Jan 142021
 
Herb McLaughlin photographed Chapala in about 1950

Herb McLaughlin was a prolific commercial photographer who began his career in Illinois before moving to Arizona. These images of the church and waterfront in Chapala were published in Arizona Highways in November 1950. Herbert (“Herb”) McLaughlin was born in Chicago, Illinois, on 30 July 1918 and died in Phoenix on 19 February 1991. He […]

Jan 072021
 
Carol Shepherd McClain researched birth practices in Ajijic in the 1960s

It’s not often that obstetrics makes it into my random musings about the artists and authors associated with Lake Chapala. But there’s a first time for everything! Starting in the 1960s, Carol Shepherd McClain, a young California researcher, visited Ajijic several times in order to investigate “traditional” birthing practices in the village. McClain’s supervisor at […]

Dec 312020
 
Herbert Johnson's photos: Central Mexico (1940s)

Herbert Johnson (1877-1960) and his wife, Georgette (1893-1975), settled in Ajijic in December 1939. Shortly after Herbert died in Ajijic in 1960, Georgette returned to live in the UK. These photographs come from a photo album that once belonged to Georgette. For the story of its rediscovery by historian Dr Kimberly Lamay Licursi in an […]

Dec 222020
 
A Christmas Potpourri of Lake Chapala Links

A number of artists and authors associated with Lake Chapala have clear links to Christmas. Admittedly, some links are more tenuous than others. Here, in no particular order, are a few of those that come to mind: German-born photographer Hugo Brehme, who  photographed Lake Chapala, and many of whose superb black-and-white postcard images are hauntingly […]

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Dec 172020
 
Alfredo Navarro España exhibited at the "Third Annual Painting Show" in Chapala in 1948

The talented and versatile artist Alfredo Navarro España was a photographer and painter who first exhibited in Chapala in 1948 and was most active during the 1950s. One of his photographs of fishing nets at Lake Chapala was published by Arizona Highways in 1950, along with several of his drawings and paintings related to Mexican […]

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Dec 102020
 
John Upton: a sneak peek into a translator's notebook

John Upton, the translator of poets such as Pablo Neruda and Miguel de Unamuno, and of several seminal works of Spanish literature, lived (off and on) in Ajijic from 1949 to the early 1990s. Translator and educator John Upton moved to Ajijic in 1949 In the early 1950s, Upton submitted several colorful pieces about Ajijic […]

Dec 032020
 
Herbert Johnson's photos: Horsemanship and bullfights (1940s)

Herbert Johnson (1877-1960) and his wife, Georgette (1893-1975), settled in Ajijic in December 1939. Shortly after Herbert died in Ajijic in 1960, Georgette returned to live in the UK. These photographs come from a photo album that once belonged to Georgette. For the story of its rediscovery by historian Dr Kimberly Lamay Licursi in an […]

Nov 262020
 
Jesús Acal Ilisaliturri (1856-1902) and his poem "El Chapala"

Jesus Acal Ilisaliturri (sometimes “Ilizaliturri”) was born in Guadalajara on 16 August 1856 and died in the city on 25 September 1902. Acal’s parents were Ignacio Acal Ilizaliturri and Josefa Ilizaliturri. Acal left school after secundaria and was a founding member of two literary circles: “La Aurora Literaria” and “La Bohemia Jalisciense.” Acal, who married […]

Nov 122020
 
Non-fiction author Joseph Cottler first visited Ajijic in the 1950s

Educator, writer and musician Joseph (“Joe”) Cottler and his wife, Betty, first drove south from Philadelphia to Ajijic in about 1957. They returned to the village several times. About 20 years later, following Betty’s death, Joe brought his second wife, Harriet Linton Barr, to Lake Chapala. Cottler, a high school teacher, mostly wrote biographies of […]

Nov 052020
 
Herbert Johnson's photos: Archaeological Sites (1940s)

Herbert Johnson (1877-1960) and his wife, Georgette (1893-1975), settled in Ajijic in December 1939. Shortly after Herbert died in Ajijic in 1960, Georgette returned to live in the UK. These photographs come from a photo album that once belonged to Georgette. For the story of its rediscovery by historian Dr Kimberly Lamay Licursi in an […]

Nov 052020
 
Herbert Johnson's photos: Xochimilco (1940s)

Herbert Johnson (1877-1960) and his wife, Georgette (1893-1975), settled in Ajijic in December 1939. Shortly after Herbert died in Ajijic in 1960, Georgette returned to live in the UK. These photographs come from a photo album that once belonged to Georgette. For the story of its rediscovery by historian Dr Kimberly Lamay Licursi in an […]

Nov 052020
 
Herbert Johnson's photos from the 1940s

One of the delights of writing this blog has been the number of readers who have reached out to me with further information about the artists and writers I’ve written about. This has greatly improved the blog and resulted in some valuable virtual friendships. A case in point. A year ago, a chance find at […]

Oct 292020
 
Does anyone recognize the subject of this François de Brouillette painting?

François de Brouillette was an accomplished artist, art restorer and poet. Born in Vermont on 22 April 1906, de Brouillette died in Santa Barbara, California, on 12 February 1972. De Brouillette was especially well known during his lifetime for his sensitive and striking portraits. This painting was shared with us by a reader who found […]

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Oct 222020
 
Josefa, the "mother of Mexican fashion design"

Josefa, the fashion designer credited with showcasing Mexican styles on the world haute couture stage, lived and worked for many years at Lake Chapala. She successfully melded indigenous Mexican colors and elements with functional design to produce elegant and original dresses and blouses. Josefa designs were never mass-produced but made by local women in small […]

Oct 152020
 
The Ajijic Art Workshop in the 1950s

Educator, translator and all-round good guy John Upton had been living in Ajijic for about a year when he submitted an article about the village in 1951 to the  San Francisco Chronicle. The article focuses especially on the impact of the summer Ajijic Art Workshop, marketed in US colleges and universities. Upton opens by describing […]

Oct 082020
 
Roy MacNicol's adventurous life and artistic career

Roy Vincent MacNicol (1889-1970), “Paintbrush Ambassador of Goodwill”, had an extraordinary artistic career, even if his personal life was sometimes confrontational. The American painter, designer, writer and lecturer had close ties to Chapala for many years: in 1954, he bought and remodeled the house in Chapala that had been rented in 1923 by English author […]

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Sep 242020
 
Why did German artist Trude Neuhaus visit Lake Chapala in the 1920s?

In researching the artists and authors associated with Lake Chapala, I now have a long list of enigmatic references to lesser known artists, whose life and work remain very much a mystery. One of the more intriguing is a “Miss Trude Neuhaus,” a German artist, who, according to the New York Times of 1 Nov […]

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