Mar 052015
 
Charles Frederick Surendorf (1906-1979)

Born 9 Nov 1906 in Richmond, Indiana, Charles Frederick Surendorf was an artist and printmaker, whose intricate linoleum block prints were often compared in quality to the much-acclaimed work of Thomas Hart Benton. Surendorf studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students League in New York, as well as two semesters at […]

Mar 022015
 
Joe Rayter's "Stab in the Dark", a murder mystery set in Guadalajara

American sculptor and art historian Mary Fuller (McChesney) and her husband Robert Pearson McChesney, also an artist, spent 1951-1952 in Mexico, living in Ajijic and San Miguel de Allende. Shortly afterwards, Mary Fuller wrote three detective novels, one of which was set in the Guadalajara art scene, using the pseudonym “Joe Rayter”. She also wrote […]

Feb 262015
 
Painter and musician Gustavo Sendis (1941-1989)

The distinguished painter and musician Gustavo Sendis divided much of his time between Guadalajara, where he was born in 1941, and his family’s second home in Ajijic. He became interested in art at an early age and studied drawing with Jorge Navarro and Ernesto Butterlin. His love of guitar music and painting took him to […]

Feb 232015
 
Jocotepec in the mid-1950s: Lysander Kemp's "The Perils of Paradise"

Lysander Kemp (1920-1992) was a writer, poet, professor and translator. He was head editor of the University of Texas Press from 1966 to 1975, during which time he collaborated with numerous great Mexican and Latin American writers to publish superb translations of their work. Kemp lived for several years in Jocotepec, at the western end […]

Feb 192015
 
Robert Pearson McChesney (1913-2008), abstract painter

Robert Pearson McChesney (1913-2008) was a noted California abstract artist, a pioneer of the abstract expressionism (ab-ex) movement, and one of the leading figures of American Modernism. Robert “Mac” McChesney and his second wife, sculptor and author Mary Fuller McChesney, moved to Mexico in 1951 as a direct result of losing their jobs during the […]

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Feb 162015
 
Bart Spicer, writer of detective and spy mysteries

Journalist and novelist Bart Spicer was born Albert Samuel Spicer on 13 April 1918 in Richmond, Virginia. He legally changed his name to Bart in 1964. He was married to Betty Coe, and died 15 February 1978 in Tucson, Arizona. While the precise dates are unclear, Spicer certainly visited Ajijic several times, mainly in the […]

Feb 122015
 
Sculptor and author Mary Fuller McChesney

American sculptor and art historian Mary Fuller (McChesney) and her husband Robert Pearson McChesney, also an artist, spent 1951-1952 in Mexico, living in Ajijic and San Miguel de Allende. They moved to Mexico as a direct result of losing their jobs during the McCarthy era. Mary Fuller McChesney was born 20 October 1922 in Wichita, […]

Feb 092015
 
Arthur H. Lewis, reporter who wrote 17 books

Arthur H. Lewis was born in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, on 27 September 1906, and died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 25 January 1995. He spent about five weeks in Mexico, in Ajijic on Lake Chapala, in the spring of 1964, working on his book Lament for the Molly Maguires, published later that year. His wife Juliet Blum […]

Feb 052015
 
Inside job: Alfredo Santos, muralist and painter

Alfredo Santos spent some time painting, and dealing in art, in Ajijic (and elsewhere in Mexico) in the early 1960s. However, before we look at that period of his life in more detail, it is worth considering his extraordinary backstory. Alfredo Santos was born in San Diego in 1927, the third of five children. He […]

Feb 022015
 
Jack Gilbert, poet (1925-2012)

The American poet Jack Gilbert was born 18 February 1925, and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, and then spent some time in Paris and several years in Italy. From 1956 to the mid-1960s, Gilbert made his home in the San Francisco Bay area. during which time he worked with […]

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