English visual artist Eleanor Mason, a cousin of the British writer E. A. W. Mason, was born in the U.K. in about 1895 and studied art in France, Germany and Italy. Eleanor, variously known as Eleanore, Leonore, Evylin or Evelyn, lived in Ajijic for a short time in the 1930s, as the wife of German cellist Alex von Mauch, one of the earliest long-term foreign residents of Ajijic.
Mason lived in Pasadena, California, from 1917 to 1931 and briefly ran an art school there. She was a co-founder of the Laguna Beach Art Association in 1918 and a member of the Pasadena Society of Women Painters & Sculptors, serving as its president in 1928. Her work was exhibited at the Laguna Beach Art Association (1921, 1924), West Coast Arts, Incorporated (1923), the Pasadena Women Painters & Sculptors (1928) and the Santa Cruz Art League (1929). She was also a member of the British Water Color Society.
The precise circumstances surrounding her decision to move to Mexico and marry Alex von Mauch are unclear.
Sadly, Alex died only a few months later. After her husband’s death, Eleanor appears to have divided her time between Pasadena and Mexico. In January 1937, for example, her participation in the Pasadena New Year’s Day parade was noted in the Los Angeles Times because she was dressed as a giant butterfly, alongside a giant 20-foot rose, on the “Roses of Romance” float. The “body of the butterfly was Eleanor Mason of Pasadena, dressed in green and gold brocade, gold coronet on her head and a floral train.”
Romance must certainly have been in the air; later that year, in Guadalajara, Eleanor married Leif Clausen, a Danish-born and educated artist and writer based in New York. The notice of her marriage in the Los Angeles Times described her as “Mme Eleanor Mason von Mauch” of Laguna [Beach], and said that she was a member of both the Laguna Beach Art Association and the British Water Color Society.
After her marriage to Clausen, Eleanor’s trail goes cold and nothing further has come to light about her life and legacy.
- Edan Hughes. 1989. Artists in California, 1786-1940. Hughes Pub. Co.
- El Informador, 3 May 1936, 4; 8 May 1936, 4.
- Los Angeles Times, 25 Dec 1921, 36; 31 July 1935, 30; 26 Sep 1937, 66.
- Santa Ana Register, 10 Mar 1923, 14; 12 January 1924, 5.
Comments, corrections or additional material related to any of the writers and artists featured in our series of mini-bios are welcomed. Please use the comments feature at the bottom of individual posts, or email us.