The Arts

James W. Calhoun: An Oral History

James W. Calhoun and the Nevada State Museum

Interviewee: James W. Calhoun
Interviewed: 1986
Published: 1987
Interviewer: R. T. King
UNOHP Catalog #138

Gerlach History

The town of Gerlach sits about 100 miles northeast of Reno. More than a two-hour drive from any semblance of a city, the town has become known as an outpost for the Burning Man Festival, as well as the kind of place where residents can count on their neighbors for food and comfort.

The town, along with Empire, had a total of 499 residents in the 2000 census.

Gerlach was founded in 1906, when construction began on the Feather River Route of the Western Pacific Railroad. The route connected Oakland, California, and Salt Lake City, Utah.

Katherine Lewers

Katherine Lewers studied at the New York School of Applied Design for Women and St. George's Art School in Glasgow, Scotland. She joined the University of Nevada faculty in Reno in 1905 and taught a variety of disciplines until her retirement in 1939. Regarded as an eccentric old maid by some, Lewers lived on a ranch in Washoe Valley south of Reno and commuted to classes on the Virginia and Truckee Railroad.

James G. Swinnerton

James G. Swinnerton is not remembered strictly as a Nevada artist. However, mention the name "Jimmy" Swinnerton, and his popular cartoon series "Little Jimmy" in the Hearst newspapers might come to mind. Swinnerton's poor health was a major reason for his sketching and painting in the dry climate of Southern Nevada. His paintings have been characterized as straight forward, not influenced by the more expressive styles of his day. For a time in the 1930s, he resided in Las Vegas, and died in Palm Springs at age ninety-eight.

Hans Meyer-Kassel

Hans Meyer-Kassel, a classically trained artist from Germany, arrived in Nevada in 1937. From his studios in Reno, Carson City, and finally, Genoa, flowed a steady stream of landscapes, still lifes, nautical scenes, and the paintings for which he was most noted–portraits.

Gus Bundy

Gus Bundy settled in Nevada in 1941 after spending his youth in New York City; during his twenties Bundy traveled widely, both as a seaman aboard a U.S. Navy vessel, and as an art and curio collector in Japan in the late 1930s. Professionally, Bundy was a photographer as well as an accomplished painter and sculptor. In 1957, he participated in the founding of a portrait workshop in Northern Nevada that is active to this day. His photographs are archived in Special Collections in the University of Nevada, Reno library.

George Otis

George D. Otis was a widely traveled artist whose time in Nevada was intermittent. In addition to two periods in the 1930s during which he painted landscapes throughout Northern Nevada, Otis is remembered for his naturalistic paintings in dioramas at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City. Completed in 1941, they served for many years as the backdrop in a number of display cases featuring Nevada wildlife.

Below is reprinted with permission from the Nevada Historical Society Quarterly.

Cyrinus B. McClellan

Cyrinus B. McClellan settled in Virginia City at the height of the Comstock mining era. A versatile artist from Northern California, McClellan established himself as a portrait painter. He moved his studio between the Comstock, Carson City, and Reno, all the while serving his clients with portraits, panoramic landscapes, and historic scenes as well as signs.

Craig Sheppard

Craig Sheppard, a native of Lawton, Oklahoma, lived in two worlds during his college years. He was a rodeo bareback rider in arenas from Oklahoma to New York's Madison Square Garden, and an outstanding graduate student in art at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. He arrived in Reno, Nevada in 1947 to serve as chair of the University of Nevada art department.

Cliff Segerblom

Cliff Segerblom divided his creative energies between photography and painting. In 1938, he accepted a position with the Bureau of Reclamation and became the first official photographer of the Boulder Canyon Project. His pictures were featured in Life, Time, National Geographic, and one of his photographs is in the Museum of Modern Art collection in New York. Segerblom excelled in watercolor, and his studies of Nevada towns and terrain were often shown in exhibitions across the state.


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