Zalce's 95th

2003 Zalce Birthday Trip to Morelia

Although I had arranged an appointment to visit with Maestro Zalce the day after his birthday on January 12th, when I called to confirm I found that he was unavailable. The reporter, in writing the below article, was told that Maestro Zalce was down with a virus and could not be interviewed. So this year I didn’t get to visit with him. You can read one of the several birthday newspaper articles, this one based on an interview with Maestro Zalce's daughter (in Spanish), by clicking here:

Birthday Article from REFORMA

BUT, although I was disappointed at not seeing Maestro Zalce, the trip was both enjoyable and rewarding. You will find too, that the remainder of this page is very informational!

What I learned about Zalce's Art in Morelia

Morelia is finally waking up to the realization of what they have in Maestro Zalce and his art. In Morelia, Maestro Zalce's art has appreciated very rapidly in value. Here is what I learned:

Shown above is a small printed copy of a large original work by Maestro Zalce. It is signed--but no title and no number--and is for sale for $3500 pesos (about $340 dollars).

Two very small statues (which don't BY A LONG SHOT represent Maestro Zalce's best statues, but may represent his smallest statues), had been for sale at roughly $7,000 dollars each, but were recently withdrawn from the market.

This original work on leather is being offered at $6,500 dollars.

A 1988 folder of 10 printed and signed works was being offered at an asking price of $52,000 pesos (around $5,000) dollars. The last time I knew a price for it some 6 years back, the going rate was around $800 dollars.

Also, two of his large and important artworks have recently been sold at high-end prices.

What a photogenic town, Morelia!!

I hadn't taken a STROLL in years! Clean air, clean streets now that there are no street venders, and a totally colonial atmosphere. Between the time I discovered I would not get to see Maestro Zalce and the time my bus left, I took an hour's stroll, and here are a few of my pictures:

Also, the mural damage that I mentioned and showed after my visit to Morelia last May IS being repaired (see picture below of beginning repairs). I’m told that this time they are also repairing the leaking roof, which causes the damage.

Department of Tourism's promotion of Maestro Zalce

Jim Rigney, my friend in Yakima, Sister City to Morelia, had arranged an appointment for me on the 12th with Ing. (Engineer) Humberto Morales Marin, Administrator of the Dept. of Tourism in Morelia. Ing. Morales is a collector of art and anthropological items, and is a great fan of Maestro Zalce, whose art he also collects (see the Zalce statue on his desk). He has a number of plans that will greatly promote Zalce's works. It was truely a pleasure to meet and visit with Ing. Morales!!!!

Things that I had hoped to show to Maestro Zalce, and with permission, can also share with YOU.

Thanks to this domain, "," I have gotten to know several members of Maestro Zalce's family who live in the United States.

A few years ago I began communicating with Mrs. Pat Harris, who lives in Albuquerque. Although I have not met her, I believe we now consider one another good friends. She has shared a great deal of interesting information with me about her Aunt Fran....who was at one time married to Maestro Zalce. Maestro Zalce was married three times.

Thanks to Pat, I spoke with Maestro Zalce about Frances. Among other things, Maestro Zalce said that she was a fine cook and that everyone wanted her recipes--which she seldom gave out;-) She was very well liked, very beautiful, and she loved children. Children loved her too. Maestro Zalce gave me this picture of Frances:

A little over a year ago, again thanks to this domain, I began communicating via e-mail with Mrs. Paula Claycomb, another niece of Frances, who lives in Taos. I have since gotten to "know" via e-mail several members of Paula's talented family. Paula's Mother, Frances' younger sister, has sent some pictures and interesting information about Zalce, who they know as "Guero" (an affectionate Spanish term for fair-skinned people).

In a letter to her younger sister for Christmas, 1948, Frances wrote:

"Dear Clare and Bill,

“Here we are--rurals--or starting out to be in a big way-with banana and coffee trees and a small vegetable garden. Chickens too, that lay honest-to-goodness eggs (I think it’s always a mystery to city slickers as we are).

"We’re undecided as to whether we should start a big ranch here in Uruapan or devote all of our energies to growing coconuts on the coast. General Cardenas is giving us 50 hectares for the coconuts, but it looks like an expensive and lengthy experiment to me. However the committee (Guero, Ray, and myself) will have to decide.

"Cardenas invited Guero here to start and direct a new type of art school where the students apply their art to projects, etc. The painters will do murals, illustrations, posters, etc. The sculptors will do monuments, etc. Of course working under the close supervision of teachers. It might be interesting to you both, so how about a vacation here with us?

"We’re getting quite a few of the ex-GI’s who want to study with Guero. They‘re moving here with their families. I wonder what the natives will think of the invasion?!

"We hope your Christmas is good, and that the 1949’s will be the best ever.

Loads of love,

Frances and Alfredo"

Accompanying the letter, an original Christmas card from Frances, drawn by Alfredo Zalce.


here are a couple of small pictures from Paula of Maestro Zalce. On the back of one is written “Dec 26, 1941” and on the back of the other, “good hike-back at 11 p.m.”

Frances' Sister also recalls:

"I was probably 5 years old or so when Frances got married and went to Mexico to live with her husband, Alfredo Canessi. At some time I am not aware of, Frances and Canessi were divorced, and she met Guero who helped her a lot during that period and they became married.

"He was what you'd call a struggling artist, I guess. Fran always wrote lovely letters about her life in Mexico, Guero's successes, their friends, the people, the children...

"When I was in my 20's both Frances and Guero came to Chicago for a nice visit. I went downtown with them to visit some friends of theirs and I had a taste of "the artists' life", pretty thrilling for a twenty year old. Guero was a good looking man and very very nice...sweet, almost...very pleasant. Frances was a beauty and pretty wonderful to me, too."

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Posted January 15, 2003. Spanish translation posted April 9, 2003.

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