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 Ajijic, a primitive Tarascan Indian village bordering Lake Chapala, where Mr and Mrs Wax lived last winter.”
Charlotte Frances Speight (of British heritage) had married Melvin Sumner Wax the previous year and the couple had spent several months in Mexico as a wedding trip.
Born in Berkeley, California, on 15 April 1919, Charlotte graduated from George School in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and then attended Swarthmore for a couple of years, before studying art in Paris, France. She also studied art at the Yale School of Fine Arts and the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills.
She married Melvin Wax, a journalist, on on 29 September 1946, and their daughter Martha Anne was born on 25 July the following year.
A semi-illegible news clipping strongly suggests that Charlotte Wax exhibited some works in a joint show in January 1947 at the Villa Montecarlo in Chapala. Other artists with works in the show included Charmin Schlossman, Ernesto Linares, Muriel Lytton Bernard and Dick Kitchin.
By the 1960s the family was living in Sausalito, California, where Charlotte taught art at Dominican Upper School for about four years and did set design and costumes for Sausalito Little Theater and the Marin Shakespeare Festival. At about the time her husband was elected mayor of Sausalito, Charlotte began studying sculpture at the San Francisco Art Institute, from where she graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree in sculpture in 1967.
Please get in touch if you have any more information about this artist or examples of her work.
- Daily Independent Journal, San Rafael, California, 5 June 1967, 13.
- Rutland Daily Herald (Rutland, Vermont), 26 July 1947, 7.
Comments, corrections or additional material related to any of the writers and artists featured in our series of mini-bios are welcome. Please use the comments feature at the bottom of individual posts, or email us.
Tony Burton’s books include “Lake Chapala: A Postcard History” (2022), “Foreign Footprints in Ajijic” (2022), “If Walls Could Talk: Chapala’s historic buildings and their former occupants” (2020), (available in translation as “Si Las Paredes Hablaran”), “Mexican Kaleidoscope” (2016), and “Lake Chapala Through the Ages” (2008).