Study Guide

Haddock

by Ernesto Mayans

Haddock Analysis

Haddock (Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Arthur Haddock was born in Wallace, California, a railroad stop in Calaveras County, in 1895. He was introduced to painting as a nine-year-old boy in a country schoolhouse; the fascination never left him. Encouraged by the older artist Maynard Dixon, who became his mentor, Haddock received favorable notices in the late 1920’s and 1930’s but no large-scale attention. A quiet, in-turned man, not a self-promoter, he supported himself with a railroad job in Stockton, where for thirty years he worked the four-to-midnight shift as a ticket and baggage clerk. In 1947, he and his wife moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. He spent the rest of his life there and in Prescott, Arizona, painting the mountains and deserts of the Southwest and the California foothills of his childhood. He died in Santa Fe in 1980, little known outside New Mexico.

Reviewing a one-man show of Haddock’s work in Santa Fe in 1975, a critic wrote, “It has been a long, long time since I have seen landscapes so unobtrusively compelling as these by Arthur Haddock. They are marvelous statements of the power of truth and honesty in art.” Many readers of this beautifully produced book will have the same reaction. The purity and intensity of Haddock’s vision give his landscapes an uncanny vividness. HADDOCK: A PAINTER’S LIFE includes 167 illustrations, seventy-nine in color. Ernesto Mayans’ excellent text is supplemented by an extensive bibliography.