The Arts

Joanne de Longchamps

One can hardly return to Nevada letters of mid-century without reading Joanne de Longchamps (1923-1983). A student of two art forms, poetry and collage, she spent a lifetime piecing into them her love of Greece, animals, and the struggle between Eros and Thanatos—love and death. In her art were the dreams of those particulars, and she drew for the reader their multiple outlines. At times, her fascination with these themes became what sustained her, particularly late in life when she had so many health problems.

JoAnn Smokey Martinez

JoAnn Smokey Martinez and her sister Theresa Jackson were among the last members of the Washoe Tribe to be raised in their traditional Native American culture. They spoke only Washoe until they started school, and as children both helped their mother and grandmother gather willows for baskets.

James Lawrence

James A. "Jim" Lawrence pursued careers in both commercial photography and advertising in San Francisco before settling in Nevada in 1949. Lawrence, primarily a watercolorist, and his wife, Gerri, also a painter, established their home/studios at Rock Creek Ranch outside of Gardnerville, Nevada, and were founding members of the East Fork Gallery in that community.  

James Edward Church

Born in Holly, Michigan, February 25, 1869, Dr. James Church came to Nevada in 1892 to teach Latin and German, literature, and art appreciation. Despite initial misgivings about Reno, both its dramatic surrounding high mountain desert and its sometimes rough downtown, Dr. Church stayed. In 1894 he married his college sweetheart, Florence Humphrey; they had two sons, Willis and Donald. Vigorous and inquisitive, he was the first Euro-American to complete a winter climb of 10,776-foot Mt. Rose, just south of Reno, in 1895.

Italianate Style Architecture in Nevada

The Italianate style drew its inspiration from informal Italian villas. It began in England as part of the Picturesque movement, which was a reaction to the formal classical ideals in art and architecture. In America, the style was popularized by architectural pattern books.

Idah Meacham Strobridge

Idah Meacham Strobridge deserves her identification as the "first woman of Nevada letters" for the vivid evocation of the Great Basin and its people in her books In Miners' Mirage-Land (1904), The Loom of the Desert (1907) and The Land of Purple Shadows (1909). And the facts of her personal life reveal a resourceful woman of strength and determination as well.

Hunter Stockton Thompson

Journalist-anarchist Hunter Stockton Thompson (a.k.a. Dr. Gonzo and Raoul Duke) came of age in the 1960s with New Journalism—a reporting style that, according to writer Tom Wolfe, uses scene by scene description, complete dialogue, third person point-of-view, and careful reporting of everyday gestures. Thompson's exaggeration of the style became known as Gonzo Journalism, epitomized by his classic, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream (1971).

Hildegard Herz

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. 

Helen Hortense Lee Deffebach

While Lee Deffebach (1928-2005) is usually identified as a Utah artist, her ties to the former mining town, and now artist’s colony of Tuscarora, Nevada, some fifty miles northwest of Elko, were strong. Deffebach, a three-season resident of Salt Lake City, is considered by many Utah artists and critics to be the first significant female modern artist in the state. Her long time commitment to abstract painting is reflected in the energetic brushwork with which she delivered broad vibrant passages of color to her canvases.   

Harolds Club Mural

In 1949, Harolds Club commissioned a mural honoring the pioneers of the Old West. The design was created by painter Theodore McFall, and the mural itself was constructed by artist Sargent Claude Johnson of San Francisco, California, then fired into porcelain by Mordecai Wyatt Johnson at the Paine-Mahoney foundry in Oakland, California. Late that year the work was installed on the exterior of the casino.


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