The oldest Reno art museum, the Nevada Museum of Art, will celebrate its 90th anniversary with an exhibit featuring Lorenzo Latimer, the plein air watercolorist renowned for his depictions of the Sierra and Northern Nevada.

The Reno art museum will showcase more than 100 paintings from the San Francisco-based artist and teacher Lorenzo Latimer, along with works by Nevada artists he mentored. Some of these individuals include Mattie S. Conner, Marguerite Erwin, Dora Groesbeck, Hildegard Herz, Nettie McDonald, Minerva Pierce, Echo Mapes Robinson, Nevada Wilson, and Dolores Samuel Young.

In 1921, these artists joined together to formally establish the “Latimer Art Club,” the founding volunteer organization of the Nevada Art Gallery, known today as the Nevada Museum of Art.

The Latimer School: Lorenzo Latimer and the Latimer Art Club opens July 31 and will run through March 27, 2022.

2 - Herz - Reno art museum
Hildegard Herz, Pyramid Lake, not dated, Watercolor on paper, 10 ½ x 13 ½ inches. James R. Herz Collection.

“Without the Latimer Art Club’s commitment to the visual arts in our region, the Museum wouldn’t be the institution it is today,” said Ann M. Wolfe, the Museum’s Andrea and John C. Deane Family Senior Curator and Deputy Director. “It is fitting to acknowledge the foresight of the Latimer Art Club. Our institution’s unique emphasis on art, nature, landscape, science and the humanities sets this museum apart from other interdisciplinary art museums and has its roots in the history of the Latimer Art Club.”

Wolfe co-curated the exhibition with Jack L. Bacon, a Reno-based art consultant and former gallery owner specializing in historical Nevada art.

Lorenzo Latimer first visited Fallen Leaf Lake on the south side of Lake Tahoe in the summer of 1914 to teach en plein air painting classes. En plein air, or plein air painting, is the act of painting outdoors. This method contrasts with studio painting or academic rules that might create a predetermined look.

In 1916, two students invited Latimer to teach a painting class in Reno. He ultimately became a cherished member of the Northern Nevada arts community, returning annually to teach his signature watercolor style to burgeoning artists of Reno. In 1931, the Latimer Art Club was invited by Dr. James Church, art collector Charles Cutts, and other community leaders to join together to incorporate the nonprofit organization known as the Nevada Art Gallery, now the Nevada Museum of Art.

4 - Robinson - Reno art museum
Echo Mapes Robinson, Untitled (Nevada landscape), not dated, Watercolor on paper, 10 ¾ x 13 ¾ inches. Collection of Jed and Susie Block.

Historic Latimer Art Club paintings featuring the Truckee Meadows, Washoe Valley, Lake Tahoe, and Pyramid Lake are foundational to the history of Northern Nevada’s outdoor painting tradition. The Latimer Art Club remains active today, with more than 90 members who come together for meetings, workshops and to paint regularly throughout the area.

“To truly understand the art history of our region, we must acknowledge the contributions that the Latimer Art Club has made over the years to enrich the cultural fabric of our community,” Wolfe said.

The anniversary exhibition will be accompanied by a lavishly illustrated 350-page book with an essay on the history of the Nevada Museum of Art by Wolfe and a biographical essay on Latimer by Alfred C. Harrison, a nineteenth-century painting scholar and art historian with a particular emphasis on California art. The book is co-published by Jack Bacon & Company in association with the museum and is available in the museum store or here.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum has organized The Latimer Art Club: Celebrating 100 Years – A Juried Exhibition from July 10 to September 1, 2021. This year, the Latimer Art Club celebrates its 100th anniversary. To honor this important milestone, the museum presents a juried exhibition of present-day Latimer Art Club members.

Several opportunities commemorating the museum’s anniversary are planned in the coming months.

Reno Art Museum Events

In addition to the exhibition, the Reno art museum will also host several events that delve into the importance of the Latimer Art Club, including:

1 - Pierce - Reno art museum
Minerva Pierce, The Latimer Tree, not dated, Watercolor on paper, 14 x 11 inches. Private collection.

Art Bite: Latimer Art Club Yesterday and Today

When: Noon, Friday, July 30

Discover the origins of the Latimer Art Club with Eileen Fuller, the Club’s current Art Show Chair

Ann M. Wolfe on Art, Nature and the Founding of the Nevada Museum of Art

When: 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 10

Ann M. Wolfe, Andrea and John C. Deane Family Senior Curator and Deputy Director, looks back at the history of the Nevada Museum of Art. With an emphasis on the museum’s early ties to the San Francisco Bay Area, the Bohemian Club, Fallen Leaf Lake, and the University of Nevada, Wolfe will review the roots of the Latimer Art Club from the 1910s to the critical role the Club played in the founding of the museum.

Jack Bacon on The Latimer School

When: 6 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 9

Nevada art specialist Jack Bacon and co-curator of the exhibition The Latimer School will share stories of the Latimer Art Club’s founding members, many of whom came from pioneer families as far afield as Tuscarora, Virginia City, and Carson City.

A Closer Look: Landscapes in Nevada

1 p.m., first Fridays, Aug. 6, 2021 – March 4, 2022

Experience a guided tour of The Latimer School. Docents will host conversations centered around landscapes in Nevada and beyond.

The Nevada Museum of Art is the only art museum in Nevada accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). A private, nonprofit organization founded in 1931, the statewide institution is supported by its membership, sponsorships, gifts, and grants. Through its permanent collections, original exhibitions and programming, and E.L. Cord Museum School, the Nevada Museum of Art provides meaningful opportunities for people to engage with various art and education experiences. The Museum’s Center for Art + Environment is an internationally recognized research center dedicated to supporting the practice, study, and awareness of creative interactions between people and their environments. The Center houses unique archive materials from more than 1,000 artists working on all seven continents, including Cape Farewell, Michael Heizer, Walter de Maria, Lita Albuquerque, Burning Man, the Center for Land Use Interpretation, Great Basin Native Artists Archive, Ugo Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains, and Trevor Paglen’s Orbital Reflector. Learn more

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