Mar 242016
Winifred Godfrey, one of America's top floral painters

Winifred (“Winnie”) Godfrey is best known for her floral paintings, but has also produced a number of fine, figurative works, including a series based on the Maya people of Mexico and Guatemala. She first visited Mexico, where her aunt was then living, in 1965, and spent about a year in Guadalajara. In 1966 she taught […]

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Mar 212016
Richard Zdenko Moravec, chemist and film-maker

Author and filmmaker Richard Zdenko Moravec is known to have visited Ajijic in about 1945, where he met Barbara Keppel-Compton who later wrote To The Isthmus, a novel which includes fact-based passages about their time there. The pair, both of whom had previous marriages, became husband and wife in 1951. Artist Sylvia Fein remembers Moravec […]

Mar 172016
What's the connection between sculptor Mym Tuma, artist Georgia O'Keefe and Jocotepec?

American sculptor and painter Mym Tuma had her studio in San Pedro Tesistan, near Jocotepec, the town at the western end of Lake Chapala, from 1968 to 1973. Tuma, formerly known as Marilynn Thuma, has become an important figure in the contemporary American art world. Tuma was born 23 September 1940 in Berwyn, Illinois. She […]

Mar 102016
Gerald Collins Gleeson (1915-1986) painted watercolors of Chapala in 1981

Gerald Collins Gleeson (1915-1986) was an American artist, primarily known for his superb watercolors. He is known to have painted several watercolors in the Lake Chapala area in 1981, including a street scene titled “Chapala, Mexico” and a picture of the former Railway Station in Chapala (the historic building that is now the Gonzalez Gallo […]

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Mar 072016
Barbara Compton, author of "To The Isthmus", a novel partly set at Lake Chapala

Barbara Joan Keppel-Compton (1902-1999), also later known as Barbara Keppel-Compton Witt, and Barbara Moravec, used the name Barbara Compton for her novel To The Isthmus, partially set at Lake Chapala in the 1940s. The novel is largely autobiographical, and events and characters are only thinly disguised. (We look more closely at the novel’s links to […]

Mar 032016
Leo Matiz (1917-1998) photographed Lake Chapala in the 1940s

Leonet (“Leo”) Matiz Espinoza was a Colombian photographer and caricaturist who lived and worked in Mexico in the 1940s. In 2011, eight gelatin silver prints in a series called “Fishing on Lake Chapala” came up at auction with an estimate of 8000 Euros; one of these eight images appears below. Matiz was born on 1 […]

Feb 292016
Poet Robert (Bob) Hunt was a regular visitor to Chapala for several decades

Santa Fe poet Robert (“Bob”) Hunt (1906-1964) visited Chapala regularly with poet Witter Bynner (1881-1968) for about thirty years, starting in the early 1930s. Hunt, whose full name was Robert Nichols Montague Hunt, was Bynner’s long-time partner, as well as being a poet in his own right. Born in Pasadena, California, on 19 May 1906, […]

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Feb 252016
Californian artist Jack Rutherford lived and worked in Ajijic in the 1960s

Jack Harris Rutherford lived with his first wife, Dorothy, and their four children, in San Blas in 1963, before moving to Ajijic in about 1966. He remained a resident of Ajijic, making occasional visits to San Blas, until 1971, when the family relocated across the Atlantic to southern Spain. Rutherford was born in Long Beach, […]

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Feb 222016
Novelist Elaine Gottlieb (1916-2004) wrote a short story based in 1940s Ajijic

Elaine Gottlieb (1916-2004) was a novelist, author and teacher who lived for several months in Ajijic in the second half of 1946. She traveled to Mexico shortly after completing her first novel, Darkling, which was published the following year. She used her experiences in Ajijic as the basis for a short story, “Passage Through Stars”, […]

Feb 182016
Roy MacNicol's adventurous life and artistic career

Roy Vincent MacNicol (1889-1970), “Paintbrush Ambassador of Goodwill”, had an extraordinary artistic career, even if his personal life was sometimes confrontational. The American painter, designer, writer and lecturer had close ties to Chapala for many years: in 1954, he bought and remodeled the house in Chapala that had been rented in 1923 by English author […]

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Feb 152016
Mary Starr MacNicol and her flower cookery book inspired by Chapala

Mary Blanche Starr MacNicol was the fourth wife of Roy MacNicol, an American artist who in 1954 bought and remodeled the D. H. Lawrence house in Chapala. From spending time in Mexico, she became interested in local Mexican cuisine, especially that involving flowers, and later wrote Flower Cookery: The Art of Cooking with Flowers (New […]

Feb 112016
Artist John Liggett Meigs co-owned a house in Chapala in the 1970s

John Liggett Meigs (1916-2003) was an American artist and designer who was a student of Peter Hurd. Meigs sought out Hurd in San Patricio, New Mexico, in 1951, and in 1953 began to assist Hurd on his fresco mural in Lubbock, Texas, at the West Texas Museum (now the Holden Hall at the Texas Tech […]

Feb 082016
Pioneering feminist Elsie Crews Parsons visited Chapala in 1932

Elsie Worthington Clews Parsons (1875-1941) was a woman way ahead of her time. Variously described as a “relentlessly modern woman”, “a pioneering feminist” and “eminent anthropologist”, she was all of these and so much more. Parsons, born to a wealthy family in New York City on 27 November 1875, became one of America’s foremost anthropologists, […]

Feb 012016
Poet Willard "Spud" Johnson visited Chapala in 1923

American writer Walter Willard “Spud” Johnson (1897-1968) and acclaimed poet Witter Bynner accompanied English novelist D. H. Lawrence and his wife Frieda, during most of their time in Mexico in 1923. Johnson had been a student of Bynner at the University of California in 1919 (in the same class as Idella Purnell from Guadalajara) and […]

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Jan 302016
Charmin Schlossman (1917-2002) lived and painted in Ajijic in the early 1940s

Charmin Schlossman lived in Mexico, mostly at Ajijic on Lake Chapala, from 1942 to 1945, while her first husband Marc Levy (they married in 1939) was on military service during the second world war. In Ajijic, she shared a house with Guadalajara-born artist Ernesto Butterlin (better known as “Lin”) and renowned surrealist painter Sylvia Fein. […]

Jan 282016
Eccentric artist Lona Isoard lived in Ajijic in the 1960s and early 1970s

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 Sep 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 […]

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Jan 252016
Emma-Lindsay Squier describes Chapala and Jocotepec in 1926

In an earlier post, we looked at the multiple achievements of Emma-Lindsay Squier, an extraordinary woman who visited Guadalajara and Lake Chapala in 1926. Emma-Lindsay Squier (1892-1941) and a Lake Chapala folk tale In this post we take a closer look at just how Squier described her visits to Lake Chapala and Jocotepec in her […]

Jan 212016
Artist and musician Peter Hurd visited Chapala several times in the 1970s

American artist Peter Hurd (1904-1984) spent most of his life in New Mexico, but also had connections to Lake Chapala. In about 1968, together with  fellow artist and former student John Liggett Meigs, Hurd bought the home in Chapala previously owned by poet Witter Bynner. Although there is no evidence that Chapala influenced Hurd’s work […]