A near-encyclopedic collection of brief biographies about 150 men and women who captured the characteristics of Lakes Tahoe and Donner and the vicinity through paintings, illustrations and sketches.
The first entry is Edwin Austin Abbey (1852-1911), who trained as a painter in his native Philadelphia, began working for Harper's Weekly in New York at age 18, moved to England to work for Harper & Brothers publishing company and became especially known for his â€œdetailed exhibition watercolors and elegant line drawings.” Those works include Boating on Donner Lake and Donner Lake, Crested Peak and Mount Lincoln. The excerpt from the Abbey entry suggests Lekisch's thoroughness: Tracking down so much art work related to a specific geographic area is a time-consuming task, as is compiling biographical information from a wide variety of sources on each of the artists–but tasks that she handles well. Eight works of art are reproduced in the middle of the book, three of them in color–a view of Mount Tallac from Lake Tahoe by artist Thomas Hill is especially striking. The clearly written biographical entries are supplemented by sections from the diary of James Lamson, who explored California from 1852 to 1861; the essay â€œArt Beginnings on the Pacific,” by Benjamin Parke Avery, published in an 1868 edition of Overland Monthly; a 1920 newspaper feature from the Oakland Tribune relating to Lekisch's theme; an index; and a useful bibliography.
A nice gift book for those enamored with the Lake Tahoe area, and an invaluable reference for scholars of the local geography.