Dec 022021
 
Watercolorist Ben Shute painted Ajijic in 1951

Watercolorist and art educator Ben Shute enjoyed extended trips in Mexico on several occasions and visited Ajijic in 1951. Two watercolors from that visit are now in the permanent collections of art institutions in the US. Benjamin Edgar Shute was born in Altoona, Wisconsin on 13 July 1905, and studied at the Art Institute of […]

Nov 182021
 
American poet Anthony Ostroff was underwhelmed by Lake Chapala

Anthony Ostroff (1923-1978) was born in Gary, Indiana and educated at Northwestern University, the University of Michigan, the Sorbonne, and the University of Grenoble. Ostroff wrote a short poem entitled: “Lake Chapala” which was published in 1977 in his A Fall in Mexico (Garden City, New York: Doubleday). Ostroff traveled widely in Mexico (the date […]

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Nov 042021
 
Do you have an Arthur Merrill painting of Lake Chapala?

A chance find in a New Mexico newspaper mentions that artist Arthur Merrill and his wife visited Phoenix, Arizona, in February 1952, with plans to continue on to Lake Chapala. Arthur (“Art”) Joseph Merrill (1885-1973) took up art later than most, but forged a successful career in commercial art and as a watercolorist. Merrill certainly […]

Oct 282021
 
Brian Boru Dunne and the Chapala-Santa Fe nexus

The Lake Chapala-Santa Fe literary-art nexus has had many distinguished members over the years: D. H. Lawrence,  Witter Bynner, “Spud” Johnson, Betty Binkley , Josefa (the “mother of Mexican fashion design”), Jorge Fick, Clinton King and his (first) wife Lady Twysden, Clark Hulings, John Liggett Meigs, Alfred Rogoway, Don Shaw, photographer Ernest Walter Knee,  poet […]

Oct 212021
 
Jan Sullivan painted her plein air "Lakeside Life" near Ajijic

Jan Sullivan (1921-2016) was a regular visitor to Ajijic and the surrounding area for more than 35 years. She accompanied noted American artist Hazel Hannell, who chose to spend the winter months in Ajijic for several years in the 1980s. Other members of this small loose-knit group included the noteworthy artists Harriet Rex Smith (1921-2017) […]

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Oct 142021
 
"The White Rebozo," a short story by Gwendolen Overton

The earliest known English-language short story related to Lake Chapala is “The White Rebozo: A Vision of the Night on the Mystic Waters of Lake Chapala,” written by Gwendolen Overton and first published in The Argonaut in July 1900. The story was subsequently reprinted in newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic. In the following […]

Oct 072021
 
More than 120 years ago, Gwendolen Overton wrote a short story set at Lake Chapala!

Is this the first English-language short story about Lake Chapala? More by luck than judgment, I recently happened upon a short story titled “The White Rebozo,” which turned out to be set at Lake Chapala. The story was written by Gwendolen Overton and first published more than 120 years ago in 1900. Research into the […]

Sep 302021
 
Hungarian-Canadian artist Michael Fischer painted Lake Chapala in the 1990s

Hungarian-Canadian artist Michael Fischer visited Lake Chapala several times in the early 1990s, including a lengthy stay one winter at San Juan Cosalá. He was in the final stages of planning to bring a group of artists and art students from Canada for a three-week stay at Lake Chapala when his wife was taken seriously […]

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Sep 232021
 
Erik Erikson: Identity Crisis in Ajijic in 1957

Erik Homburger Erikson (1902-1994), who coined the term ‘identity crisis’, spent several weeks in Ajijic in 1957 while writing Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalyses and History, published the following year. Erikson had been persuaded that Ajijic was a quiet place in which to write by Helen Kirtland and her husband Dr Larry Hartmus. […]

Sep 162021
 
American artist Hazel Hannell worked in Ajijic in the 1980s

Noted American artist Hazel Hannell was already in her eighties when she chose to spend the winter months in Ajijic. Hannell became a regular visitor for several years in the 1980s. This charming costumbrista woodblock from those years was sold on eBay. Hannell continued to paint and produce artworks until she was 103 years old. […]

Sep 092021
 
Dr Leo Stanley described San Luis Soyatlán and Tuxcueca in 1937

The following excerpts come from the detailed account written by Dr. Leo Leonidas Stanley (1886-1976) after visiting Lake Chapala in October 1937. (For ease of reading, accents and italics have been added and spelling standardized.) Note that early descriptions (in English or Spanish) of the villages on the south shore of the lake are exceedingly […]

Aug 192021
 
Charlotte Wax painted in Ajijic in 1947-48

I would love to learn more about Charlotte Speight, aka “Mrs Melvin S. Wax,” who held an exhibit of paintings and drawings of Ajijic at the Carpenter Art galleries at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, in July 1947. The exhibition included “six oils, several pen and ink sketches and a gouache, depicting scenes in […]

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Aug 122021
 
Dr Leo Stanley stayed overnight in Jocotepec in 1937

The following excerpts come from the detailed account written by Dr. Leo Leonidas Stanley (1886-1976) after visiting Lake Chapala in October 1937. (For ease of reading, accents and italics have been added and spelling standardized.) On 11 October, Stanley and his two Mexican companions, José Alonzo and Ramón, rode from Chapala to Jocotepec, where they […]

Aug 052021
 
Albert Alfredson painted at Lake Chapala in the early 1950s

Little is known about Albert Alfredson’s visit to Lake Chapala, though a realist oil and crayon painting by him entitled “Humble Homes” with the notation “At Lake Chapala Mex,” and believed to date from about 1950, was offered for sale on eBay in July 2021. Alfredson was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1907 and died […]

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Jul 292021
 
The mysterious author "A Gringo" visited Chapala in the 1880s

“A Gringo”—an English-speaking traveler about whom very little is known—arrived in Mexico in 1883. He was an observant and enthusiastic visitor. In the preface to his book Through The Land of the Aztecs or Life and Travel in Mexico (published in 1892), “A Gringo” states that his objective “is simply to give a plain account […]

Jul 152021
 
Physician Leo Stanley kept a detailed diary of his 1937 trip to Lake Chapala

Dr. Leo Leonidas Stanley (1886-1976) visited Guadalajara and Lake Chapala in October 1937 and kept a detailed diary of his trip. Stanley was the physician for the California State Prison at San Quentin from 1913 to 1951, and was a meticulous observer. Fortunately for us, his detailed typewritten account of his trip, illustrated by dozens […]

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