Gerald Ira Diamond Cassidy, a renowned painter of the Southwest, came to the region in the midst of what could have been a tragedy.
Cassidy was a native of Kentucky and a student of Frank Duveneck. He was already on his way to becoming an accomplished artist when fate stepped in. Cassidy contracted pneumonia and the illness had progressed enough where it had the potential to be fatal. He was sent to Albuquerque to convalesce and became intrigued with the people and the landscape.
He briefly moved to Denver, after recovering, but by 1912 he was in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Gerald Ira Diamond Cassidy became one of the first artists to live and work in Santa Fe which grew into a still-extant colony.
His style evolved over time, his first work being Art Deco and gradually showing a progression towards realism. He was highly-regarded, the recipient of several awards and one of his pieces was personally chosen by Pablo Picasso for inclusion in a showing in Paris.
Like many artists during the Depression, Cassidy went to work for the Work Projects Administration on their mural projects. His life was cut short when, during one such project, he contracted fatal lead poisoning.