Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

C. Jere

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

stone and metal tree sculptureCurtis Jere made lamps, mirrors, and table sculptures in the 1960s and 70s, but was probably best known for its metal wall sculptures. Like some of the other “designers” mentioned on Absolute Galore recently, C. Jere, as many of the works were signed, was not an actual person, but the design team of Curtis Freiler and Jerry Fels.

The pair became successful enough that they began bringing in other artisans to fabricate their designs. Many of the wall sculptures are kitschy, sentimental landscapes, others are great mid-century decorative pieces. The lamps mostly have an air of  high 70s chrome or brass glam. I picked up this table sculpture for five bucks at auction years ago. It’s unsigned, and although I do not believe it’s a C. Jere, it’s certainly “in the style of,” as I’ve seen similar silver dollar tree sculptures with the Jere designation. In any case, it’s the kind of mid century piece that fits well into an eclectic environment.

Jerry Fels passed away two years ago in November according to his son, sculptor Peter Fels. He was 90, and hit a hole in one the year he died. (Although Wikipedia lists his death as October 2008, several other sources in addition to his son site November 5, 2007.) Like the stories of Georges Briard and Catherine Holm, the full tale of C. Jere remains to be told. Artisan House, the company Fels and Freiler created in 1963 and sold in 1972,  still makes wall sculptures. In China, of course.


Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Richard Rupchuislias painting 196727Paintings can be fun to buy, especially fresh off the street. You never know when you might hit it big. The picker who brought me this one picked it up in front of a house where, years earlier, he scored one of his best finds.

I first heard the story as one of the other dealers in town related it. He told of painting he bought from a picker for a hundred or so that ended up fetching several thousand on eBay. When he saw the picker again, he mentioned that the painting had done pretty well, and the picker said, “Oh, maybe I should have taken the other one, too.” Years later, I became friends with this picker, and he related a cautionary tale about how he sold a painting once for way too little, the dealer even banging him down on the price. Much later he found out the dealer made thousands with it on eBay.

This is a small painting, roughly 11″ by 12″, signed on verso Richard “Rupchuslias” or something like that.  It’s dated 1967, and you can certainly see the influences of the heavy hitters of the day. It appears to be gouache on board. It’s a bit muddled, but it does have an attraction, which may explain why many looked and none bought when it was offered for sale at my old store.

The Earth is Blue

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

cosmonaut yuri gagarinThe other night my partner Stephanie and I went to the 3-hour breastfeeding class given by our birthing center. It wasn’t all just latching and double electric breast pumps. We got a poop color chart to help us read the diaper droppings. A poop with the consistency and color (I almost said taste!) of Gulden’s mustard is what good parents everywhere shoot for.

We eventually got off the poop and back on the breast, naturally. We learned about the womanly art of breast feeding. Lots of mothers are doing it. They say it  makes your kid smarter, and it has antibodies. It’s certainly hard to deny the bonding possibilities. A formula baby myself, as the class went on I started to wonder how I grew up capable of doing my own laundry without the benefits of my mother’s teat back in the day.

I learned breast fed babies poop a lot more than formula fed babies.  But not to worry, the poop doesn’t smell bad at all. It’s breast milk poop!

Sometimes I get ahead of things.  I imagine having conversations with the kid a day after he pops from the womb about girls,  sports, the philosophy of life, and why people should never, ever talk on a cell phone while driving, even if they have a hands-free device.  I guess there are a few poopy diapers to change before we get to that stage.

While I wait for a chat with someone able to control his bowel movements, I’m going to frame this Soviet poster of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, for the nursery. Yuri flew into orbit on April 12, 1961, on the Vostok 1. He was in space for an hour and 48 minutes. Gagarin died in a jet training crash in 1968. He was 34.

I bought the poster along with a few others from a guy who occasionally stopped by my old shop to buy or sell. This one I wasn’t too eager to let go, and I finally took it home when I closed up for good.

As soon as I unrolled it the other day, Steph fell in love with it—she lived in Moscow for a few years in the early nineties, and suffers from a mild case of Russophilia. Some posters are just posters, but this one of those that qualifies as a work of graphic art.

“The Earth is blue. [...] How wonderful. It is amazing.”
—Gagarin, to ground control.

Art à la commode

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

bathroom tissue painting 2It’s Art Thursday again. Here’s a painting that came from the secret giant charity tag sale. Like much of the art around my house, it was a survivor from my old store. This one got a few nibbles, but no overwhelming interest that I recall.

The paste-with-a-punch colors and the balance of  shapes across the canvas and the impasto paint all make me happy. I chose to hang it in the bathroom because in my mind it evokes colorful squares of toilet tissue. There is art over the sofa art, and there is art that makes you happy when you gotta go.

Mad Men Blues

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

geometric print from J Walter Thompson collectionI haven’t seen Mad Men yet, the television show about a 1960s ad agency, mostly because I don’t have TV service due to my addictive nature. Apparently, even most people with TV reception don’t watch it. But most of us read about it, as it’s become the darling of the punditocracy as well as your everyday TV critic.

This geometric silkscreen has a connection to a real-life advertising agency, a giant of the Mad Men era. A label affixed to the back of the print with masking tape reads J. WALTER THOMPSON ART COLLECTION across the top. Typed on one of the lines below is Miss Guffey’s Office X3054. According to the label, this piece of artwork was acquired on August 10, 1970.

This was another thing that inexplicably never sold at the Iron Fish Trading Co, my old store on Main Street. I have a second similar print by the same artist, identified only as Gaul on the back label, the same as the pencil signature on the front.

We are going to hang them in the nursery, which will be painted in a blue like the blue in this print. The rooms in our house are painted in shades of white. Not so much to show off the art, but to keep the light and shadow pure. That’s mostly my taste, executed pre-relationship. Steph wanted to paint the baby’s room. Blue is the baby boy cliche color, but I like this electric blue.

Weird coincidence: Yesterday’s post featuring a Sesame Street character and today’s mention of Mad Men come together in this somewhat unexpected scenario.