Posts Tagged ‘ Bill Bender ’

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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Jimmy Swinnerton and Bill Bender in Monument Valley

Ed. Note: Gary Fillmore’s’ new book Shadows on the Mesa explores the interactions of artists who visited the Wetherill-Colville Guest Ranch in Arizona in the early 1900s. Among them are painters who also worked in the Coachella Valley: Clyde Forsythe, Carl Eytel, Ferdinand Burgdorff, Maynard Dixon, Guy Rose and others. Many artists made regular pilgrimages from the California desert to the Arizona Navajo lands. In this excerpt, Gary Fillmore looks at two such pilgrims: Jimmy Swinnerton and Bill Bender. James Swinnerton spent every year from 1906 until the late 1950s in much the same fashion. In 1938 his fifth wife,…

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So Long Ol’ Fren’ Bill Bender, Moonlight Merrell, Jennie Kelly Memorial…More

Bill Bender was the last of the desert painters–the original desert painters, that is.  Of the 13 artists profiled in Ed Ainsworth’s 1960 classic Painters of the Desert, Bender long outlived his compadres. He was a caring friend and a tireless resource for my incessant questions about the painters and places he knew. He’s been so energetic into his 90s–fixing pipes and feeding the wild birds at his Victorville ranch–that it seemed he’d live forever. But I regret to report that Bill died on his 97th birthday, January 5, 2016, at the old Route 66 homestead that had been in…

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