Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sterling Dickinson and Leonard & Riva Brooks

San Miguel de Allende has been fortunate to have had some great people who are responsible for the town it is today. I was fortunate to have known Dickinson, the Brooks and many others of the art colony! John Virtue has written two books in which I just finished reading on Sterling Dickinson and Leonard & Riva Brooks.
"Model American Abroad" is a biography of Sterling Dickinson. Sterling first traveled into the interior of Mexico with his friend and co-author, Heath Bowman, in 1934. Back in Chicago, they published a book on their escapades, "Mexican Odyssey" which also illustrates many of Sterling's woodcuts. Sterling returned to Mexico and settled in San Miguel three years later.
The biography tells of his passion for the Mexican people and how he was one of the driving forces of putting San Miguel on the map as a world class art center.
"Leonard and Reva Brooks" by John Virtue tells of two artists also responsible for creating the culturally famous art colony it is today. They arrived in San Miguel in 1947 thinking that Leonard would be there only one year to teach painting at the Bellas Artes. Leonard is widely recognized in Mexico and Canada for his water colors and later on for his collages. Also a musician, he became director of the music department for 25 years in which he loved to teach the Mexican children, many who went on to become famous musicians. Riva was regarded as one of the top woman photographers of all time. Not only was Leonard a world class artist, he authored several art instruction books on painting. My father, a writer and photographer, helped Leonard with one of his books and above is a note to my father that Leonard wrote along with a little sketch of San Miguel in the inside cover of
"The Many Ways of Water & Color."

San Miguel de Allende is the magical and creative town it is today thanks to so many that settled in the storybook, colonial town in the 1930's and 1940's that only had a population of 7,000 in 1930, later growing to 10,000 in 1945.

Note: You may find these two books on Amazon.

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