Dec 022016
 
Where to buy "Mexican Kaleidoscope: myths, mysteries and mystique"

Mexican Kaleidoscope: myths, mysteries and mystique, by Tony Burton, with thirty original pen and ink illustrations by Enrique Velázquez, is available in both print and e-book editions from all major online retailers (prices in US$): Print edition from CreateSpace (our preference) – $19.99 Print edition on Amazon.com – $19.99 E-book edition for Kindle – $7.42 […]

Jan 152018
 
Did Somerset Maugham ever visit Lake Chapala?

Did the great British author W. Somerset Maugham ever visit Lake Chapala? A number of writers and websites, extolling the literary connections of Ajijic, have claimed that W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) has connections to the village. Some of these writers add that he lived in Ajijic for several months in the 1930s where he supposedly […]

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Jan 112018
 
Art mystery: Does anyone have a painting by Edythe Wallach Kidd who painted in Ajijic and Chapala in 1944?

Edythe Wallach (1909-2001) lived and painted for most of 1944 in Chapala and Ajijic. Her Lake Chapala paintings were exhibited in both Chapala and in New York. About a year after her return to the U.S. she married a fellow artist, Hari Kidd. Edythe (Edith) Gertrude Wallach (later Wallach Kidd) was born in New Rochelle, […]

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Jan 082018
 
Dorothy Bastien, author of juvenile fiction, wrote at Chapala in the 1970s

Dorothy Bastien, a writer of juvenile fiction, and her husband Clarence Bastien appear to have lived in Chapala for about a decade in the 1970s. A brief note in the Guadalajara Reporter in 1972 says that Dorothy, living in Chapala, has just received an advance for a book accepted by the Teenage Book of the […]

Jan 042018
 
A sampling of Bert Miller's evocative photos of Chapala in the 1970s

More than forty years ago, photographer Bert Miller lived in Chapala and took some fine images of the town and its surroundings. While we are unable to reproduce these images to the high standards of the original negatives and prints, here is a small selection of some of his evocative photos, starting with the lakefront […]

Jan 012018
 
American novelist Norman Mailer and sexual shenanigans in Ajijic

Several Lake Chapala websites boast that the talented and multifaceted American author Norman Kingsley Mailer (1923-2007) is among those writers who found inspiration at the lake. But is their pride in his visits to the area misplaced? Mailer’s biography has been exhaustively documented in dozens of books and there is no doubt he is a […]

Dec 282017
 
Award-winning Californian artist Priscilla Frazer spent a decade in Chapala

Priscilla (“Pris”) Frazer (1907-1973) was active in the Lake Chapala area in the 1960s and early 1970s. She made her home in Chapala Haciendas and spent several months every year at Lake Chapala with summers in Laguna Beach, southern California. Priscilla Jane Frazer was born in Battle Creek, Michigan, on 14 May 1907 and died […]

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Dec 212017
 
A Christmas Potpourri of Lake Chapala Links

A number of artists and authors associated with Lake Chapala have clear links to Christmas. Admittedly, some links are more tenuous than others. Here, in no particular order, are a few of those that come to mind: Regina Tor (deCormier) Shekerjian and her husband, photographer Haig Shekerjian, were frequent visitors to Ajijic from the early […]

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Dec 182017
 
Art mystery: Which photographer signed their work like this?

I have so far seen only two examples of this photographer’s work. Both examples are photographs of Lake Chapala and appear to date from about the 1970s. This one (excuse the poor quality due to reflections) shows women washing clothes on the beach. The photographer worked in both color and in black and white, and […]

Dec 142017
 
The Luis Barragan-Witter Bynner house in Chapala

The American poet Witter Bynner, who first visited Chapala in the company of D.H. Lawrence in 1923, purchased a house in the town in 1940. The original address of the house, close to the plaza on the main street down to the pier, was 441 Galeana, but the current name of the street is Francisco […]

Dec 112017
 
Novelist and playwright Ray Rigby (1916-1995) lived at Lake Chapala in the 1970s

English novelist and playwright Raymond “Ray” Rigby was born in Rochford, England, in 1916 and died in Guadalajara aged 78 on 19 May 1995. In 1972, Rigby turned his back on a successful Hollywood career to move to Mexico. He lived initially in Jocotepec and for a short time in San Antonio Tlayacapan. About two […]

Dec 072017
 
Art Mystery: Whose portraits were painted by Swedish artist Nils Dardel when he visited Chapala in about 1941?

Famous Swedish painter Nils Dardel (1888-1943) visited Chapala towards the end of his life at a time when he was mainly painting fine watercolor portraits. Does anyone have additional knowledge about his visit (or visits) or recognize a friend or family member in any of the following paintings? All of the paintings are believed to […]

Dec 042017
 
Swedish-American visual artist Carlo Wahlbeck worked at Lake Chapala in the mid-1970s

Swedish-American visual artist Carlo Wahlbeck lived in Chapala for two or three years in the mid-1970s. Wahlbeck was born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1933. At the age of 14, he started classes at the Stockholm School of Fine Art. Among his influences he credits the sixteenth century Italian artist Benvenuto Cellini and Swedish sculptor Carl […]

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Nov 302017
 
Charles Bogert, herpetologist and musicologist, documented mariachi music in Chapala in 1960

Charles Bogert (1908-1992) and his wife Martha (ca 1917-2010?) visited Chapala in 1960 and recorded a mariachi band – the “Mariachi Aguilas de Chapala” – playing several well-known songs. The recordings were released on a Folkways record later that year, and accompanied by explanatory notes written by the couple. One of the curiosities about this […]

Nov 272017
 
Artist and cactus collector Ferdinand Schmoll (1879-1950)

Ferdinand Schmoll (usually known in Mexico as Fernando Schmoll) was a German painter, born in Cologne in 1879, who owned a lakefront house west of the pier in Chapala for several years early in the twentieth century. It is unclear when Schmoll first arrived in Mexico, or in the Lake Chapala area, but he was […]

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Nov 232017
 
Eduardo A Gibbon described Chapala in the 1890s

Eduardo A. Gibbon y Cárdenas (full name Eduardo Anacleto Jesus Maria Antonio Gibbon) was born in Mexico City on 13 July 1845 and was a 19th century Mexican art critic, journalist, writer and diplomat. His father was born in England, his mother was Mexican. As a young man Gibbon was one of the private secretaries […]

Nov 202017
 
Internationally renowned sculptor Felipe Castañeda was born on the shores of Lake Chapala

Internationally renowned sculptor Felipe Castañeda was born on the shores of Lake Chapala. He was born on 16 December 1933 in La Palma (in the municipality then called San Pedro Caro, now Venustiano Carranza) at the south-east corner of Lake Chapala, where pre-Columbian artifacts are common. Castañeda’s lifetime in art shows the influence of millennia […]

Nov 132017
 
Famous American portraitist Everett Kinstler visited Ajijic in the summer of 1971

Famous American portraitist Everett Kinstler and his family spent the summer of 1971 in Ajijic on Lake Chapala. While staying in the village, he and his family became close friends of Kulla Hogan (now Kulla Ostberg), wife of journalist Don Hogan. Kinstler painted portraits of their two children who became good friends with the Kinstler […]

Nov 092017
 
The short-lived Ajijic-based West Mexican Society for Advanced Study

In the 1970s, Ajijic was the center, for a few years at least, of a higher education organization that specialized in archaeology, anthropology and history. An Ajijic couple – geographer Dr. William W. Winnie Jr. and his wife, archaeologist Dr. Betty Bell – were the driving force behind the creation in 1971 of the Sociedad […]

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