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Tiki Central Forums » » General Tiki » » In Search of Frank Bowers...
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In Search of Frank Bowers...
JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2694
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2012-05-17 12:09 pm   Permalink

I'm hopeful because Senor Derek referenced a Bowers using the PRESENT tense...

"...MY NAME IS ALFREDO DEREK IM WORK IN CONVENTIÓN CENTER RIVIERA IN ENSENADA MEXICO , IN THIS PLACE WE HAVE A PAINT OF FRANK BOWERS..."

And although the (non-Beachcomber) mural that Tom posted could be a Bowers, it looks to be in a style evocative of Bower's earlier work in the 1930's. I doubt that a single location has 2 Bowers' murals separated by that much time. Thus the Bowers mural being referenced by Senor Derek is most likely the Beachcomber mural (I hope, I hope, I hope).

(Edited to remove the double napkin on this page)

[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2012-05-18 09:50 ]


 
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TikiVato
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 03, 2009
Posts: 400
From: Whittier, CA
Posted: 2012-05-17 11:13 pm   Permalink

My first stop was at the Rosarito Beach Hotel. I was able to track down a bartender (Fernando) that has worked there for 39 years. He was unaware of any paintings or murals by Frank Bowers. He said most of the murals in the hotel were painted by Diego Rivera. (Not the famous Rivera but someone before him)Circa 1943



He was unaware of any murals ever in the Beachcomber bar. I went to the Beachcomber bar and was disappointed to find that the walls were made of glass. Fernando said that this bar was never remodeled during his employment.



I found Alfredo Derek at the cultural center. He said that the painting above the bar was wrongfully called a Ramos Martinez painting. Derek has a college degree in Art and art restoration.

Derek said his research found that Frank Bowers painted the Mural at the Playa Hotel in 1929 while the casino was being constructed next door to the hotel. The hotel and casino were left abandoned for decades. Derek was hired to restore the mural and that took him 5 months to accomplish. There is no signature on the mural.

I took several pictures (with no flash) of the murals. I am by no means an expert on Frank Bowers and have only seen a handful in person. Although the mural was disappointingly not the beachcomber we were hoping to locate, it appears it might be a Bowers. I will leave it to the experts to declare.
I must say, the more I drank at the bar, the more it looked like a Bowers. I will return to the cultural center and try and interview Derek. I will show him the picture of the napkin and try to locate the Hotel Riviera del Pacífico. Derek was adamant that there were no other paintings or mural by Frank Bowers in Ensenada.
This was a long day but I will try to gather more information tomorrow.
The lighting inside the bar was poor and caused some glare on the pictures. Some of the glare was caused by the restoration. Derek said the mural was covered with filth and an oily film.











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TikiVato


 
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nui 'umi 'umi
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 21, 2011
Posts: 1114
From: La Mirada Atoll
Posted: 2012-05-18 01:35 am   Permalink

You are thee sleuth!

 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11197
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2012-05-18 01:44 am   Permalink

Thank You Vato for your research. The style of the painting is very early Bowers, if he indeed painted it in 1929 he was only 24. As John-O mentioned, he worked with another California artist during that period:

Quote:

On 2009-10-02 11:38, JOHN-O wrote:
In an earlier post, I noted there were 1930's-era Bowers murals at South Gate City Hall......I noticed that works of this era were done in conjunction with an Arthur Prunier.



>>A painter, teacher, designer and commercial artist, Arthur Prunier studied at the Massachusetts Normal Art School; Washington State Teacher's College; the Art Students League of Los Angeles; the San Diego School Art & Crafts........During the 1930s he was active with the Federal Art Project. Under their auspices, he painted a mural in the Ruth Home School in El Monte with Frank Bowers.<<

Prunier's style seems to have had more of an "Old Master" feel:



...and have leaned more towards picturesque romanticism than Bowers, as for example in the Sunkist fruit growers mural that they did together in 1935:



This romanticism is more in keeping with the style of the mural at the Ensenada Civic Center. I would say it is definitely a Prunier/Bowers:



Now for Vato:
Quote:

On 2012-05-17 23:13, TikiVato wrote:
I will return to the cultural center and try and interview Derek. I will show him the picture of the napkin and try to locate the Hotel Riviera del Pacífico. Derek was adamant that there were no other paintings or mural by Frank Bowers in Ensenada.



As far as I understood TikiTom's research, the Civic Center IS what used to be the Hotel Riviera del Pacífico. So the thing to do would be to find out which room in the Civic Center might have been the Beachcomber Bar, and IF there was a mural (the existence of which we are so far only assuming by the existence of the napkin). Maybe there are some old timers around (like the bartender in Rosarito) that would remember...



The interesting thing is that while the existing back bar painting is more Prunier in style, the rendering on the napkin is definitely full blown Bowers. The typeface is also more early 50s in style, so maybe the Beachcomber Bar was put in later, and Bowers did the paining by himself, decades after the Hotel was built and the first mural was painted by him and Prunier.


 
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TikiVato
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 03, 2009
Posts: 400
From: Whittier, CA
Posted: 2012-05-18 07:44 am   Permalink

Thanks for your quick response Big Bro. I am on the way to town and the cultural center. I will try and speak to Alfredo and clarify his understanding of the name of the hotel and any and all bars in the hotel and the adjacent casino area.
ALfredo Derek is about 29 years old and is eager to learn as much as he can on the life and works of Frank Bowers. I will direct him to this site and have him read the threads that everyone has written about Frank Bowers. I did get his email address yesterday and I will check with him if I can post it here. At the least, get his permission to give it to Big Bro and John-O. I will try not to drink as much as yesterday and stay on course.
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 999
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2012-05-18 09:42 am   Permalink

TikiVato, I thought the drinking was a big part of the fun?!!

Awesome field reporting, and great photos too. I vote that we take a collection for your "bar fund" to help you keep circulating out there a bit longer.
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11197
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2012-05-18 10:13 am   Permalink

I agree: As Tiki archeologists, we work for cocktails! Your valiant efforts are much appreciated, but your vow of abstinence for doing field research is entirely uncalled for. The seasoned Tiki explorer knows that it is essential to join in in the imbibing of native potions to gain the trust and confidence of the local populace. Your skills of recollection of the imparted secrets must be honed by practice.

 
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nui 'umi 'umi
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Joined: Feb 21, 2011
Posts: 1114
From: La Mirada Atoll
Posted: 2012-05-18 12:12 pm   Permalink

Superb Job little brother. your tenacity has paid off again! . TC'ers how about a big shout out for El Alfredo Derek down south.

 
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TikiVato
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 03, 2009
Posts: 400
From: Whittier, CA
Posted: 2012-05-18 12:38 pm   Permalink

I never said I wasn't going to drink today, I said I wasn't going to drink as much as yesterday. But I think I was telling myself a lie.
I got to the cultural center about eight this morning. Bars don't open til 10am in Baja. I so wanted a bloody mary to ease the pain.
Alfredo Derek had not arrived to work yet. I was able to track down the operations manager (Alfonso Gonzales Vega) who has worked there nearly as long as the place had started with the renovation. Alfonso took me on a one on one guided tour of the Hotel and Casino. This is his account and history of the cultural Center:

The Hotel was first named the Playa Hotel. It was later renamed "EL Hotel Riviera del Pacifico". The bar that I went to yesterday was part of the hotel. When the hotel was completed, construction was started on the casino and in between the casino and the hotel was a lounge area used for dinning and dancing (Emperado dinning and Emperado Lounge), now called the Salon Catedral).


Attached to this area was a separate room that housed a bar. I was able to convince Alfonso to grant me access to the room and allow me to take photographs. There were several paintings behind the bar. At first glance, my jaw dropped. The paintings appeared to be done by the same artist of the bar in the hotel. Unfortunately the signature read "Ramos Martinez". The mural had demons and all, I could have sworn this would be a Bowers mural and I was devastated that I found the Martinez signature.






Read "Ramos Martinez"



I asked him if he knew anything about a bar within the hotel or casino named the beachcomber. Alfonso contacted the curator, Maribel Quintero. She told Alfonso that there was a bar on ground level, below Los Emperado. That bar was named the Beachcomber. Alfonso said the bar was completely destroyed by vandals and looters. It was turned into an art school.The Beachcomber was located on the other side of these windows.



I was able to convince Alfonso to use his key and let me into the place just to say that I was there. He allowed me in and I took photos of the area.
Bar area:
more bar area:



Kitchen area for the Beachcomber:



Alfonso and Maribel were extremely gracious and I hope to do a return trip with anyone wanting to see the cultural center and drink a $4.00 Casadores margarita. Sven, I did purchase a book the the 75th anniversary of the Del Hotel Ensenada. Lots of pictures of a lifestyle long ago. Unfortunately no pictures of the Beachcomber bar. I can take it to IMP at Don's in June and you can browse through it or borrow it for a few weeks.
_________________
Mahalo,

TikiVato


 
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TikiTomD
Grand Member (5 years)  

Joined: Sep 20, 2009
Posts: 682
From: Flagler Beach, FL
Posted: 2012-05-18 1:06 pm   Permalink

Very fine field work, TikiVato! Regrettably, the news on the Beachcomber Bar is sad, but at least we know. Bosko’s napkin may be our only taste of the glory that was once there… And best regards to Alfredo Derek for his help and interest.

I was about to post this when I saw your latest, so some of it covers the same ground, like the original name of the hotel...

Sven, as you observed, the The Journal of San Diego History article previously cited states that the Centro Social, Cívico y Cultural Riviera is the site of the former Hotel Riviera del Pacífico. When originally constructed, the hotel and casino was known as the Hotel Playa de Ensenada, according to this
web site that has historic photos of the hotel under construction and of the bar with the mural, known at that time as the Bar Andaluz, one of the sites claimed for the origin of the Margarita cocktail...

Bar Andaluz


Hotel Playa de Ensenada viewed from the sea


Dolores del Río and friends at Hotel Playa



Here’s another web site that goes into the Margarita story a bit and has some historic photos as well. After using the Google translator, here’s an excerpt...




-Tom

[ This Message was edited by: TikiTomD 2012-05-18 16:18 ]


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TikiVato
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 03, 2009
Posts: 400
From: Whittier, CA
Posted: 2012-05-18 1:24 pm   Permalink

Tom,

Thanks for corroborating the information I was able to research. I did purchase a book with a complete history and photographs. I am taking it to Don's in June if anyone wants to browse through it. Sven and John-O have first crack at it.
_________________
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TikiVato


 
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2694
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2012-05-18 2:56 pm   Permalink

Great work Joe !! Your identification of those Ramos Martinez paintings may very well be a significant discovery in itself. That one with the devils and the nude is pretty kinky, very "Boweresque" !!

Thanks for filling in the missing puzzle pieces, I'm sure your command of Spanish enabled the mystery to be solved much more quickly and completely than if one of us Tiki "gringos" made the jaunt down there.


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TikiVato
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 03, 2009
Posts: 400
From: Whittier, CA
Posted: 2012-05-18 3:07 pm   Permalink

John-O,
You and Sven are welcome to come with me on my next trip down. I have a Yukon that seats 8 and my place on the beach is 6.1 miles south of the cultural center. I have been coming down here for over 40 years and have never had a problem. I know where to go and where to stay the hell out of. ROAD TRIP???
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TikiVato


 
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TikiVato
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 03, 2009
Posts: 400
From: Whittier, CA
Posted: 2012-05-18 3:18 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2012-05-18 13:06, TikiTomD wrote:


I was about to post this when I saw your latest, so some of it is covers the same ground, like the original name of the hotel...

Sven, as you observed, the The Journal of San Diego History article previously cited states that the Centro Social, Cívico y Cultural Riviera is the site of the former Hotel Riviera del Pacífico. When originally constructed, the hotel and casino was known as the Hotel Playa de Ensenada, according to this web site that has historic photos of the hotel under construction and of the bar with the mural, known at that time as the Bar Andaluz, one of the sites claimed for the origin of the Margarita cocktail...

Bar Andaluz

-Tom

By the way Tom, the bar is still called Andaluz. Very historic looking, well restored with great Margarita's. They make all their drinks with a stiff pour.

_________________
Mahalo,

TikiVato

[ This Message was edited by: TikiVato 2012-05-18 15:31 ]


 
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TikiTomD
Grand Member (5 years)  

Joined: Sep 20, 2009
Posts: 682
From: Flagler Beach, FL
Posted: 2012-05-18 4:29 pm   Permalink

TikiVato, now you're tempting me to cross the continent and join you in the Baja. I love my tropical cocktails, but a well-made, stiff Margarita is a thing of bliss...

-Tom


 
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