Monroe exhibit June 21 at Alpine museum
An art exhibit and reception celebrating the life and legacy of Alpine County artist Walt Monroe is 5-7 p.m. Friday at the Alpine County Museum.
The exhibit includes historic paintings from private and other collections being shown for the first time. The exhibit is free, but donations are being solicited to help support the museum.
Walt Monroe was born in the mining town of Monitor, south of Markleeville in 1881. The family moved to a small ranch just outside of Markleeville where seven more children joined the family. The family would eventually move to Bishop, Calif., and then to Oregon.
When Walt Monroe was 16 he had his first art exhibit at a hotel in Carson City.
“In Markleeville, Alpine County, California, lives a boy by the name of Walter Monroe,” the Nevada Appeal reported. “He is a genius in his way. There is on exhibition at the Briggs House some very superior hand carvings of horses and dogs done by this young life. His perfect work is done with a jack knife.”
Some of his carvings are on permanent exhibit at the Alpine County Museum.
“Walt was a prolific artist, you might even say compulsive,” according to his biography. “Canvas and art supplies were non-existent in Markleeville. If he didn’t have canvas, he painted on wood, cardboard, tin, even pans. Anything he could get his hands on. Every family member has a collection of envelopes and the back of the letters covered with sketches that have been saved for the artwork.”
He traveled on his motorcycle with sidecar packed with clothing, art supplies, canvas, and paints.
“He was a bit eccentric and a scavenger collecting whatever he thought might be useful along the way. Walt didn’t have a regular job. He was a competent carpenter and mechanic. Yankee ingenuity was a way of life in those days. His mechanic skills were tested regularly, keeping his motorcycle running”
He died June 13, 1945, in a Reno hospital and is buried in Woodfords with his grandparents.