Posts Tagged ‘ John Hilton ’

The John Hilton House in 29 Palms: Artists’ Playhouse Restored

When LA resident Jamie Caffrey went looking for Twentynine Palms real estate a few years ago, he knew he wanted a pool. Driving out to view one listing, he found smashed windows, busted children’s toys and debris strewn everywhere. There was indeed a pool–once a gathering place for the desert artists–but now it was just a dark hole in the ground. Jamie had never heard of the former owner, artist John Hilton, but he says: “The house had a mystery about it. It captured my imagination.” So it happened that the Irish-born Caffrey–he formerly worked in the music and film…

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Smoke Tree George: The Fabled Life and Times of George Frederick Gleich

My fascination with George “Smoketree” Frederick, quintessential desert artist and Wild West character, began innocently enough when I was asked by the Mesa Historical Museum to curate a small exhibit of artwork from the Buckhorn Mineral Baths collection. The Buckhorn, a now defunct mini-resort in east Mesa, Arizona, was owned and operated by Ted and Alice Sliger.  It catered to those wanting a long soak in hot, mineral water and for many years served baseball’s Cactus League athletes needing to relax sore muscles after long practices and hard-fought games.  Also, because of the Sligers’ interest in art and their innate…

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The Desert Art Dynasty of John and Kathi Hilton

The Desert Art Dynasty of John and Kathi Hilton

The painter Kathi Hilton Garvin, art dealer Dan Rohlfing and I had just finished dinner at the 29 Palms Inn. The sky was turning pink then blue, like a Technicolor Hilton painting, when Dan suggested that we try to find John Hilton’s old 29 Palms homestead, playhouse to movie stars and desert artists. As we crammed into my Subaru, I wasn’t so sure about this plan. It was getting dark and no one really knew where we were going except that it was out in nowhere. Dan, co-owner of Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery on the Sonoma coast, had never been…

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Indio Water Tower, Banning Art Scene, Samuel DeWalt Arner, Made in the Mojave and More

Indio Water Tower, Banning Art Scene, Samuel DeWalt Arner, Made in the Mojave and More

The Desert X team may want to look to Indio for an example of site-specific art firmly rooted in the desert soil. You start with a local ingredient, in this case a 95-year-old water tower that stood at the corner of Ave 48 and Jackson St. (now Coachella) on the old M.H. Whittier Ranch. The tower was moved to the Coachella Valley Historical Society grounds in 1993, as a memorial to a local date grower. The staff took up a fundraising drive to evict the pigeons and repair the scaffolding. Then you add indigenous art. Because water towers were often…

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Billie’s Taxi, Tribute to Edan Hughes, Adobe Dweller Frances Nugent and More

Fans of Cathedral City artist Agnes Pelton have long awaited the book by the City’s first mayor–and a friend to the early artists–Robert Hillery. At last Cathedral City: the Early Years 1925 to 1981 is in print. You can meet the author at a celebration June 14, 2015, at Bonta Restaurant in Cathedral City. While the book mostly covers small town life, of special interest is Hillery’s personal relationship with Agnes Pelton (she painted his mother’s portrait) as well as painter and art teacher Matille Prigge Seaman. The short section on Matille, known as Billie, is worth the price of…

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Smoketree Painters Included in Grand Canyon Exhibit

Smoketree Painters Included in Grand Canyon Exhibit

The Blue Coyote Gallery (Gary Fillmore’s gallery in Cave Creek, Arizona) and the Grand Canyon Association collaborate to present Canyon Magic, an artistic appreciation of “the world’s best known chasm”, now through June 10, 2010. The show is at the historic Kolb Studios on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The studio, dating to 1904, was home to the river-rafting photographers, brothers Emery and Ellsworth Kolb. Canyon Magic will appeal to readers of California Desert Art because many of “our” painters also ventured to the Grand Canyon—Paul Grimm, Edgar Payne, John Hilton, Hanson Puthuff and Jimmy Swinnerton, among…

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Desert Art Center: Clubhouse of the Legends

Desert Art Center: Clubhouse of the Legends

An institution that nurtured generations of Smoketree painters—the Desert Art Center—celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. This is not some moldy shrine to art history; it’s a working co-op gallery in downtown Palm Springs. Located at 550 North Palm Canyon, the center is a warm, light-filled space housed in the old Frances Stevens School. You can go next time you’re in town and see works by contemporary artists while soaking up the vibe of the early giants. The gallery nurtured the All-Stars of desert art including Carl Bray, Wilton McCoy, Darwin Duncan, R. Brownell McGrew, Jimmy Swinnerton, John Hilton, Bill…

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Gary Fillmore Speaks in Palm Desert

Gary Fillmore Speaks in Palm Desert

Gary Fillmore, a well-known authority on Arizona and Western art, comes to Palm Desert on Friday,  April 23rd to speak on the painters Marjorie Reed, John Hilton and Jimmy Swinnerton. All three once lived and painted in the Coachella Valley. Fillmore, owner of the Blue Coyote Gallery in Cave Creek, Arizona (near Phoenix), is the author of an acclaimed biography on Reed “All Aboard: The Life and Work of Marjorie Reed” as well a book on Swinnerton: “Desert Horizons: Images of Jimmy Swinnerton’s Southwest”. Fillmore will be speaking at a location essential to the history of desert art. LG’s Prime…

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