Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Noted Artist of Haciendas Schooled at WRA

It recently came to our attention that a noted artist who spent many years documenting haciendas in Mexico began his schooling at WRA in the 1920s. Paul Alexander Bartlett was born in Missouri in 1909, was a WRA boarder from Indiana, but did not graduate with the Class of 1928. He earned a degree at Oberlin and continued his studies in art at the University of Arizona, the University of Guadalajara, and the Academy of San Carlos in Mexico City.

Bartlett lived in Mexico from about 1940 until the 1970s during which time he traveled extensively throughout the country visiting hundreds of haciendas, photographing them, and doing pen-and-ink drawings of the buildings, their chapels, furniture, statuary, farm implements and barns. This effort was Bartlett's life work, culminating in the publication of The Haciendas of Mexico: an artist's record (1990) with a foreward by James Michener. Bartlett also wrote two novels, Adios mi Mexico, and When the Owl Cries (1960). The latter novel is set during the Mexican Revolution of 1910.

Bartlett taught art at various colleges, and for several years was editor of publications at the University of California at Santa Barbara. His papers and drawings are now in the special collections at the University of Houston and at the University of Texas at Austin (in the Benson Latin American Collection). Bartlett died in 1990 at the age of 81.