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From the Archives: Artists of the Claremont colony

From the Archives: Artists of the Claremont colony
May 1961: Claremont artists, from left are James Strombotne, figuative artist; Lindley Mixon, potter; Jack Zajac, painter turned sculptor; and Zajac's wife, Corda, who has become a painter. (Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA)

In 1961, Claremont boasted a thriving artist colony based around the Claremont Colleges. For a May, 22, 1961, Los Angeles Times article, four Claremont artists gathered at the studio of Jack Zajac for a group portrait.

In the accompanying article, Cordell Hicks wrote: “All over the world artists group together by choice. There is the Left Bank in Paris, Greenwich Village in New York, in Mexico at Puebla there is the ‘Barrio del Artista.’

“And then there is the colony of talented men and women in Claremont.”

“Why Claremont?” continued Hicks. “An informal survey of six of the 35 or 40 who live in the college town and pursue their several art fields there brought answers with many points of similarity.

“Of the six, four are married – three of them have children. All have homes in Claremont and three have separate studios. They range in age from 23 to 32. All have attended either Claremont Men's College, Claremont College, Harvey Mudd College, Pomona College or Scripps College, or used the art facilities of the five associated schools.”

Today, artist Zajac is known for his bronze and marble sculptures and figurative paintings. He has been artist in residence at UC Santa Cruz, the American Academy in Rome and Dartmouth College.

Zajac’s wife is painter Corda Eby. She’s had over 20 one-artist shows of her work.

Painter James Strombotne has had over 75 one-artist shows and 12 retrospectives. He taught for 40 years at UC Riverside.

I could not find current information on Lindley Mixon. I did find one of his 1970s lost-wax bronze sculptures for sale on etsy.com.

See more from the Los Angeles Times archives here

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