Jan 282016

Lona Mae Isoard (1904-1992) lived in Ajijic for some years in the 1960s and early 1970s. She was born 8 November 1904 in Colorado, and died 22 September 1992 in Walnut Creek California, aged almost 88. Her husband Max C. Isoard (1900-1974) was a physician. The couple appear to have lived most of their lives in California, with addresses in San Francisco (1928), followed by Sacramento (from 1930-at least 1955). In September 1951, Lona and Max Isoard arrived back in New York from Le Havre, France, on board the Liberte.

A 1938 newspaper article reveals that Isoard was a well-known polo player: “Among the players in the first game, will be Mrs. Lona Isoard, prominent in state polo circles” (Santa Cruz Evening News, 14 May 1938).

Did she have a daughter? In about 1936, a  Lizzie Lona Isoard (their daughter?) was born in Sacramento. In 1957, a Lona Isoard (unclear whether mother or daughter) was in the graduating class at Sacramento State University, California.

Lona Isoard: Still Life with Fruit. (ca 1972)

Lona Isoard: Fruit Still Life (ca 1972)

By all accounts, Lona Mae Isoard was quite an eccentric character. The late Tom Faloon commented to me that she was a “nutty lady”, adding that her sister and brother-in-law also lived in Ajijic. Katie Goodridge Ingram, former gallery owner, remembers that Lona lived at one time in the small, lakeside cottage belonging to “Russian” dancer Zara. (This cottage later became known as “Iona’s cottage”, taking its name from another eccentric American, a former teacher and world traveler, Iona Kupiec, who lived there from 1962).

Isoard was active in the local Ajijic art scene and occasionally exhibited. For example, her work was included in the May 1971 group show, “Fiesta of Art”, held at the private home of Mr and Mrs E. D. Windham, Calle 16 de Septiembre #33, Ajijic. (The other artists involved were Daphne Aluta; Mario Aluta; Beth Avary; Charles Blodgett; Antonio Cárdenas; Alan Davoll; Alice de Boton; Robert de Boton; Tom Faloon; John Frost; Dorothy Goldner; Burt Hawley; Peter Huf; Eunice (Hunt) Huf; Michael Heinichen; John Maybra Kilpatrick; Gail Michael; Bert Miller; Robert Neathery; John K. Peterson; Stuart Phillips; Hudson Rose; Mary Rose; Jesús Santana; Walt Shou; Frances Showalter; Sloane; Eleanor Smart; Robert Snodgrass; and Agustín Velarde.)

An example of Isoard’s work, a still life of fruit, was included (along with works by many of the other artists in the 1971 group show) in A Cookbook with Color Reproductions by Artists from the Galería (Guadalajara, Mexico: Boutique d’Artes Gráficas, 1972).

Sombrero Books welcomes comments, corrections or additional material related to any of the writers and artists featured in our series of mini-bios. Please email us or use the comments feature at the bottom of individual posts.

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