Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Victorian erotica

Apologies if some people find this posting offensive. I find it very interesting, seeing as it was made at a time when proper people did not openly celebrate sexuality. Whoever drew this woman joyfully exposing herself made no attempt to be tasteful. The fact that the artist didn't care is daring. Or maybe he was oblivious to the mores of the time and did not know it was shocking. That too is interesting. An artist who frets about what viewers might think and holds back is a decorator.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A head for business

A painted lead bust, very heavy, c.1930s. It was once part of a larger display. Would make a heckuva doorstop.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Caps please me

A felt advertising banner c.1920. When people wore hats.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Yellow sky

The subject matter of most vintage paint-by-numbers paintings is too insipid for my taste. But being a guy, I was drawn to this train. And the yellow sky from the low-rise sun at the edge of the mountain.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Antique seed broadcaster

My understanding is a farmer would have this tool strapped to his body and turn the chain drive to disperse seed as he walked. A bag of seed would be attached to the container at the top. I like the old color.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Brother, sister act

Painted photographs showing what I would assume to be a sister, left, and her brother, both in costume. The mat openings have sawtooth decoration. Kind of whacky.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Lord's Prayer

Philip Germann of Centerville, Iowa, made this drawing on paper on May 18, 1936. Germann attached a note to the back of the drawing that says so. The note, done in Germann's fanciful script, further says that Germann was born in St. Clair County, Illinois, on Nov. 12, 1856.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


An antique foundry pattern mold. Put this on your desk and next time a visitor says something that makes your blood boil, don't verbalize your anger -- just point to the mold.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fishing weights mold

This is a heavy iron piece, possibly 19th century, used to make lead fishing weights of different sizes. I'm not a collector of fishing items but was drawn to this mold because of its strong sculptural look. It would look great on a stand.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Little black dog

Have to admire the artist who does just enough carving and no more, and sticks to one color. This folky wood dog has a "fetching" minimalist look.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Big brown cow and contented farmer

A 19th century watercolor from New York State signed Mr. Loy. The farmer is enjoying his pipe and the day in general, and the cow seems to be enjoying itself watching the farmer. Ah, to live the life of simple pleasures.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Unusual doll with leather handle

This old large doll comes from Athens, Ga. The legs are jointed, the arms are stuffed and a leather handle is attached on the back so someone could make her dance. At 18.6 inches tall, this homemade toy must have provoked a lot of laughter from its youthful audience.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The beautiful world of soap bubbles

Next time you're soaking in a bubble bath, think about all the wondrous worlds in which you're immersed. Proof comes from the Hamill Gallery in Boston. One of the gallery owners and a friend invented and patented in the 1980s a way to photograph the interiors of bubbles. They took thousands of photos over several years before digital photography. The photos were first exhibited in Boston in 1982. Look and be amazed.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Rocco Nicola De Dominicis, Medical Examiner

Dr. Rocco N. De Dominicis investigated unexplained deaths in Erie County, N.Y., in the years around 1941. I say 1941 because I read that Dr. De Dominicis was summoned when the body of a lumber company president was found floating in the Niagara River in June 1941. The plaque was displayed in his office and the ornate box with angels, which says Mom on the lid, was made for his wife or mother. The same artist, possibly a family member, carved both pieces. Dr. De Dominicis graduated from the University of Buffalo in 1917 and was a veteran of WWI. He died in the mid-1960s. Italians began immigrating in large groups to Buffalo in the 1880s. Some worked as stonecutters, skilled craftsmen and laborers during construction of the Pan-American Exposition, held in Buffalo in 1901. Nina Morgana was a child singer at the Exposition and later sang with Enrico Caruso. Most of the first Italians in Buffalo started at the bottom rung of the employment ladder, so Dr. De Dominicis' ascension to medical examiner must have been a source of great pride in the Italian-American community.