University of Nevada, Reno

Etienne Maizcorena: Arborglyph Artist

Portrait of Etienne Maizcorena

One of the legendary tree carvers of Northern Nevada often identified himself on trees as "E.M." His arborglyphs are found in the Lake Tahoe area, where he herded sheep in 1931 and 1932, and also in Humboldt County, where he worked from 1940 to 1942. His carvings of people, animals, and other subjects are detailed and complex, and have been preserved not only through photographs, but through drawings (#1, #2, #6 & #10) and wax rubbings (#1, #3, & #4). Maizcorena was born on a farm in the Northern (French) Basque Country in 1890, and died in Elko, where he is buried, in 1963.

Aware of the merit of his art, Maizcorena chose a site for his "gallery" near a kanpo handia in Humboldt County, where all his arborglyphs "hang" some eight or nine feet above the ground. Obviously, he did not want anyone touching, overcarving, or disturbing them ... Maizcorena either stood on his horse, or he used a ladder.

— Joxe Mallea-Olaetxe in Speaking Through the Aspens, p.147
Drawing of a couple from tree carving

From Basquos

Tree carving - Standing woman Tree carving - Cross and initials E.M Tree carving - Man on horseback Drawing of previous tree carving, man on horseback

Black Wax Rubbing