Jun 272019

The Clique Ajijic was a group of eight varied and talented artists who formed a loosely-organized collective for three or four years in the mid-1970s. One of the members, Synnove Pettersen, recalls that “We never painted together as a group, just had shows.” Another member, the late Tom Faloon, once commented to me that Kate Karns, the wife of Todd Karns, sometimes posed for the artists in Clique Ajijic.

Image courtesy of Gail Michel.

The eight artists in the Clique Ajijic were (below, left to right): Sidney SchwartzmanAdolfo Riestra, Gail Michel (aka Gail Michaels), Hubert Harmon, Synnove (Shaffer) Pettersen, Tom FaloonTodd (“Rocky”) Karns, and John Peterson (the only member of Clique Ajijic who had been a member of the earlier Grupo 68).


See also: Photo of Clique Ajijic and friends at Galería OM, 24 October 1975.

The group’s first shows were organized by Katie Goodridge Ingram who ran the Galería del Lago art gallery, located at that time on the main highway in Ajijic.  The shows of Clique Ajijic included:


  • Chapala: Villa Monte Carlo, opened 16 March 1975
  • Ajijic: Galería del Lago (Colón #6, Ajijic), 15 August 1975
  • Ajijic: Hotel Camino Real, 13-16 September 1975
  • Guadalajara: Galería OM, 24 October 1975
  • Manzanillo: Club Santiago, 29 October 1975


  • Cuernavaca: Akari Gallery,  7 February 1976
  • Guadalajara: American Society of Jalisco, 21 February 1976
  • Ajijic: El Angel boutique, 10 June 1976 (dinner and studio sale)

By the end of the year, two of the original 8 artists of Clique Ajijic had left the village – Pettersen to the U.S. and Riestra to Tepoztlán (Morelos) – and the remaining members had added Richard Frush to their number. David Olof is also mentioned in one list of artists at the following show:

  • Ajijic: The Old Gold Mill, 15 December 1976 (a wine and cheese ($50 pesos a person) to benefit “Deaf Children of Ajijic”).
Image courtesy of Gail Michel

Image courtesy of Gail Michel


  • Ajijic: Posada Ajijic, February/March 1977 (exhibition, auction, charity fundraiser, precise date unknown)
  • Ajijic: Posada Ajijic, 18 December 1977

The Clique Ajijic auction of artwork held at Posada Ajijic in February 1977 included works by Richard Frush, Tod Karns, John Peterson, Gail Michel and Hubert Harmon raised $24,000 pesos, “of which 10% went to help children in treatment and training at the Hearing Improvement Center in Jocotepec.” The auctioneer was popular Posada Ajijic hotelier Morley Eager, who gave 10% of all the pesos paid for drinks to the same cause.

In December 1977, another art exhibit of Clique Ajijic work, which proved to be the final throw of the dice for the group, was presented at the Posada Ajijic. The advert for this exhibit stated that the Clique had 9 members, presumably still including Pettersen and Riestro who had left the previous year.

Note: This is an updated version of a post first published on 4 May 2015.


  • My sincere thanks to Synnove Pettersen (via email), Tom Faloon (interviewed in Ajijic in February 2014), Katie Goodridge Ingram (emails and telephone), and Gail Michel and her daughter Angelina Guzmán (emails and telephone) for generously sharing their knowledge and memories of Clique Ajijic.


  • Colony (Guadalajara) Reporter, 19 Feb 1977; 5 March 1977, 10 December 1977
  • Martha Fregoso. 1975. “‘La Galería OM’ y el Buen Gusto en Exposiciones, Esta vez Ocho Pintores de Ajijic.” El Diario de Guadalajara, 24 Oct 1975.
  • Mexico City News: 13 Feb 1977.

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

Dec 202018

After 1974, when Neill James, the Grande Dame of Ajijic, closed her store and retired, the wonderful gardens of her home—Quinta Tzintzuntzan—were no longer normally open to the public.

However, in 1977, James agreed to open her grounds every Sunday afternoon as an art garden (jardín del arte) for a new artists’ group, the Young Painters of Ajijic (Jovenes Pintores de Ajijic). Most of these young artists had started out by taking the free weekly classes at the children’s libraries James had started. Those classes were the very beginning of the very successful Children’s Art Program, now run by the Lake Chapala Society.

Pintores Jovenes de Ajijic. Credit: Dionicio Morales.

Pintores Jovenes de Ajijic. Standing (l to r): Javier Garabito Tovar, ?, ?, Dionicio Morales López, José Manuel Castañeda; seated: Félix Vargas. Credit: Dionicio Morales.

The members of Young Artists of Ajijic included organizer Dionicio Morales López, Antonio López Vega, Daniel Palma Pérez, Julián Pulido Pedrosa, José Manuel Castañeda, Alejandro Martínez and Victoria Corona.

The first show by the Young Painters of Ajijic was held from 11.30am to 4.30pm on Sunday 28 August 1977. The show included oils, acrylics, watercolors, charcoal drawings and prints, and the artists had combined sales totaling over $12,000 pesos ($550). Exhibitors at the event, besides those named above, included Antonio Cárdenas Perales and Victor Romero. Entertainment was provided by the Folkloric Dance Group of Ajijic and the wind music group of Luis López.

Poster for inaugural event [Handwritten year should be 1977]

Poster for inaugural event [Handwritten year should be ’77]

The Sunday “garden of art” shows were a regular weekly event for some time. The first non-Mexicans to exhibit with the group were Diana Powell and Sid Schwartzman.

The following year, in mid-March, the artists held what was billed as Ajijic’s “first annual cultural week” in the gardens, with art exhibits, guitar concerts and ballet recitals, among other attractions. On this occasion, the entertainment included the Folkloric Dance Group of the University of Guadalajara (directed by Rafael Zamarripa), concerts performed by the U. de G.’s School of Music and a group conducted by Javier Garabito Tovar (standing on the left of the photo), as well as a stage play – “El Demonio Azul” (The Blue Devil) – directed by Félix Vargas (seated in the wheelchair in the photo).

Despite hopes for a repeat event the following year, sadly the 1978 week-long show was the only “Ajijic cultural week” ever held.

The Young Artists Group was the forerunner of the Asociación de Artistas de Ajijic (AAA).


My sincere thanks to Dionicio Morales and Antonio López Vega for generously sharing their memories of the Ajijic Young Artists Group.


  • Guadalajara Reporter, 13 August 1977, 10 September 1977, 8 April 1978.

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.

Apr 132015

The art group known as Grupo 68 was founded in 1967 and initially comprised Peter Huf, his wife Eunice (Hunt) Huf, Jack RutherfordJohn Kenneth Peterson and Shaw (the artist Don Shaw). Jack Rutherford dropped out after about a year, but the others remained as a group until 1971.

Grupo 68 exhibited regularly (most Sunday afternoons), from early in 1968, at the Hotel Camino Real in Guadalajara, at the invitation of the hotel’s public relations manager Ray Alvorado (a singer) and also held many group shows in Ajijic, both at Laura Bateman’s Rincón del Arte gallery, as well as (later) in “La Galería”, the collective gallery they founded at Zaragoza #1, Ajijic. In addition, the group also showed in Guadalajara with José María de Servín, El Tekare, and at Ken Edwards store in Tlaquepaque.

Grupo 68 came to an end when the individual artists went their separate ways. Jack Rutherford returned to the USA in 1971, and later settled in Spain. Peter Paul Huf and his wife Eunice Hunt returned to Europe in 1972. The only member of Grupo 68 who remained in Ajijic was John K. Peterson, who subsequently joined with seven other artists – Sidney Schwartzman, Adolfo Riestra, Gail Michaels, Hubert Harmon, Synnove (Shaffer) Pettersen, Tom Faloon and Todd (“Rocky”) Karns – to form a new group known as The Clique Ajijic.

Partial list of Grupo 68 exhibitions:

January 1968 – 20 January 1968 – All four artists included in a group show at Ken Edwards (El Palomar), Tlaquepaque – 9 artists in total. Opened Saturday 20 January 1968. Artists: Eunice Hunt, Peter Paul Huf, Shaw, John Kenneth Peterson, Coffeen Suhl, Hector Navarro, Gustavo Aranguren, Rodolfo Lozano, Gail Michaels [“Michel” on invite].

1968 – 1971  Camino Real Hotel, Guadalajara. Grupo 68 members held weekly shows most Sundays by the hotel pool. Participation varied, but usually included works by all four artists.

July 1968 – Tekare penthouse, 16 de Septiembre #157, 10th floor, Guadalajara. All four members of Grupo 68 (Eunice Hunt, Peter Paul Huf, Shaw, John Kenneth Peterson). Opened on Tuesday 23 July 1968, and was very favorably reviewed by Allyn Hunt in “Art Probe” (Guadalajara Reporter, 27 July 1968) :

“four highly independent artists (with four very different styles) who have the discipline, while regularly showing together, not to adopt a group means in approaching pictorial problems.”

“Most immediately charming are Eunice Hunt’s acrylic and pen and ink pieces, “Fleurs du Mal”, “Ophelia” and “Aurora”.”

“Peter Huf exhibits two serigraphs of exceptional strength… these are among the show’s best works.”

“Donald Shaw is probably this group’s most exploratory imagination, the one that when working at peak thrust, dominates technique and pictorial concepts most thoroughly.”

“John Peterson displays several mosaic-like watercolors, the best of which are his ferris wheel pictures and “Butterfly”.”

September 1968 – “re-opening” of the Rincon del Arte gallery in Ajijic – Calle Hidalgo 41, 21 Sep 1968 – 10 October. Group show, including all four Grupo 68 members, opened Saturday 21 September – Eight painters, one sculptor (Joe Wedgewood, recently arrived from Santa Monica, California). Artists: Tom Brudenell, Alejandro Colunga, Coffeen Suhl, Eunice Hunt, Peter Paul Huf, John K Peterson, Jack Rutherford, Donald Shaw, Joe Wedgewood. [by then Shaw had been identified as Donald Shaw]

October 1968 – Works of  Jose María de Servín and Grupo 68, at Galería del Bosque, Calle de la Noche 2677, Guadalajara; opened 24 October 1968. All four members of Grupo 68 (Shaw, John Kenneth Peterson, Eunice Hunt, Peter Paul Huf) in a joint show, as part of the Cultural Program of the International Arts Festival for the XIX Olympics.

December 1968 – “Art is Life; Life is Art” at La Galería, Ajijic. All four Grupo 68 members joined with other artists in a group show “The Group” (“El Grupo”) at the re-opening of La Galeria in Ajijic; show ran from Friday 13 December 1968 to 10 January 1969. Artists: Tom Brudenell, Alejandro Colunga, John Frost, Paul Hachten, Eunice Hunt, Peter Paul Huf, John Kenneth Peterson, Jack Rutherford, José Ma. De Servin, Shaw, Cynthia Siddons, Joe Wedgewood. A review in Guadalajara Reporter said that,

“The very entryway bristles with such attention-grabbing pictures as Paul Hachten’s etching of the map of the United States, John Frost’s delicate photoprint nude, Eunice Hunt’s haunting “Labyrinth” – in which webs of gentle orange have been deftly squeezed against a gray and black background. One of the best works in the show is hung here: Donald Shaw’s tour de force serigraph, “Spore Box”, presenting us with brilliantly-conceived chromatic ideas and imaginative forms which do not relay on optical illusionism, excessive optical vibration or three-dimensionality. This is undoubtedly the best serigraph Shaw – who has executed several series of rewarding prints – has produced.”

February 1969 – Three of the Grupo 68 exhibited at the Tekare penthouse restaurant-gallery, 16 de Septiembre #157, 10th floor, Guadalajara; opened 4 February. Artists: Eunice Hunt, Peter Paul Huf,  Shaw.

April 1969 – All five members of the original Grupo 68 showed works in a collective exhibit that opened 18 April 1969 at La Galería, Ajijic. The announcement in Guadalajara daily Informador (20 April) lists the artists as John Kenneth Peterson, Charles Henry Blodgett (guest artist) and “El Grupo” (John Brandi, Tom Brudenell, Eunice Hunt, Peter Paul Huf, Jack Rutherford, Shaw, Cynthia Siddons and Robert Snodgrass).

Grupo 68

June 1969 – Grupo 68 show at Instituto Aragon, Hidalgo 1302, Guadalajara, opened 25 June. All four Grupo 68 artists (Shaw, Eunice Hunt, Peter Paul Huf, John Kenneth Peterson) were involved (see image).

September 1969 – (3 September for a month) – Three Grupo 68 artists exhibited together at Galeria 1728 (owned by Jose María de Servin), Hidalgo 1728, Guadalajara. The show was entitled 7-7-7 (7 works each by Eunice Hunt, Peter Paul Huf and Shaw, the show’s title derived from the Olympics scoring system); opened on Wednesday 3 September.


Peter Paul Huf and Eunice Hunt (interviewed in 2014); photos and gallery invitations in collections of Peter Paul Huf, Eunice Hunt, Tom Brudenell and others.

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