Hildegard Herz was from a prominent Reno family, and a founding member of the influential Latimer Art Club. She was a prolific watercolorist who often went on sketching trips with fellow Reno artists. Herz’s numerous excursions abroad also served as an inspiration for her paintings, and for presentations to cultural groups in the community.
The family of Hildegard Herz has been active in Reno business circles since 1885 when her father, Carl Herz, co-founded R. Herz & Bros. Jewelers. Born in 1894, she was raised in the Herz family home just north of the Lake Mansion which was located at the corner of South Virginia Street and California Avenue. The artist, known to friends and professionally as Hilda, attended Reno schools. She graduated from the University of Nevada in 1919. As an undergraduate, she studied painting and drawing with professor Kate Lewers, the sole instructor in the art department. Herz was a founding member of Phi Beta Phi, a sorority on the university campus.
While still a student, Herz became acquainted with San Francisco teacher and watercolorist Lorenzo P. Latimer (1857-1941), who arrived in Reno in 1916 following an interval of painting at Fallen Leaf Lake near Lake Tahoe. Latimer traveled to Reno each fall thereafter for nineteen years, offering instruction and developing a cadre of pupils who remained loyal to him and his approach to painting. In 1921, a group named after the artist was established, and Herz was one of the charter members of this Latimer Club, an organization that remains active to this day.
Herz also studied with Craig Sheppard (1913-1978) at the University of Nevada, took workshops offered by noted painter Elliot O’Hara (1896-1977), and enrolled in woodblock printing classes with noted printmaker William S. Rice (1973-1963), whose approach was derived from Japanese Ukiyo-e prints.
Unmarried and an avid traveler, Herz spent 1910-1914 traveling through Europe with an extended stay in Dresden, Germany. She returned to France and Germany in 1929. In 1956, Herz took a trip around the world. She could be seen on painting field trips around Reno well into her eighties, magnifying glass in hand, attempting to get things just right. Her style of watercolor painting could best be described as traditional with in-focus treatment of objects in the foreground and soft cool washes to describe distance vistas. Herz died in 1979.
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