Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Strange unfinished carving

Found this guy in upstate New York. Maybe he was turning out too weird even for the carver.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Portrait on a menu

This is a drawing by Paul Gebo probably made in the 1930s. A number of Mr. Gebo's drawings were found at a flea market in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A clean tackle

American football seems a good bit more dangerous today despite high-tech equipment that's a lot more protective than those old leather helmets. Where I live, the Atlanta Falcons are a source of pride having locked up a playoff spot. In this drawing, there's no high head blow, no chance of a penalty. The artist has captured a clean tackle.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hunter and dog

An old carving from Jacksonville, N.J., which is roughly between Trenton and Philadelphia, made by a Mr. Saul. It was deaccessioned by the Philadelphia Historical Society several years ago.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bold sign painter's sign

A showy trade sign on masonite by a painter named Chott. Chott's work really pops. In fact, you might call it pop art or at least pop art influenced. The sign is from Illinois.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Good luck!

A small horseshoe with a little something extra. With an item like this, made between the world wars, I always wonder, who was the recipient? It seems a bit too risque to have been widely sold. And it's crudely cast. Was it made by a steelworker for a colleague getting married? It is from Pennsylvania. Was it in a gentleman's club? One could spend a good deal of time speculating. It is fairly heavy, so it could have been more than just a whimsy -- maybe a paperweight.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Transvestite takes a drag

A silver gelatin print, roughly 13.6 inches by 10.6 inches, titled "12th St. Rag." On the back it says in pencil "Henry Wohrer." A Henry Wohrer married in Manhattan in 1908. And Henry Wohrer of Milwaukee received patent approval in May 1949 for a humidostatic element. For those few of you who don't know what a humidostatic element is, the patent document explains that "the invention contemplates the use of a thin flexible strip of metal whose coefficient of thermal expansion is zero or so small as to be negligible, coated on one side with a closely adherent layer of material which expands as it absorbs moisture. In this way a flexing bar or coil characterized by very good response to atmospheric humidity may be produced." So is the cross-dresser pictured here the inventor Henry Wohrer or is Henry Wohrer the photographer? The photo was taken in the 1930s but the print was made later, possibly in the 1950s or 60s, according to the Collected Image, a dealer in Evanston, Ill. that used to own the photo.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Folky dated game board

A game board from Concord, N.H., made of three tongue in groove boards, 3/4-inches thick. Each corner has a different color scheme. The maker's initials, C.E.I., are prominently displayed above HOME.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The four-year still life

A painting begun in 1944 and completed in 1948. I like this funky still life a lot, but honestly it doesn't look like four years of work. Maybe four weeks. Perhaps World War II interrupted V. Simmons' undertaking. Wars tend to do that.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Giant Christmas ornaments

Vintage hand painted wood ornaments, 7 inches high, 10.75 inches high including the hooks. They used to be displayed in a department store in Maine.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Androgynous cement statue

A 46-inch tall weathered figure from Long Island, circa 1950. This is apparently a female, but just barely. Standing pigeon-toed, I'm guessing she held an umbrella.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein drawing

This is an ink drawing by the great outsider artist Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, who is currently the subject of an exhibition at the American Folk Art Museum. I bought this drawing years ago after spotting a tiny ad in the New York Times. It's dated Nov. 21, 1966. I'm not sure Von Bruenchenhein's penmanship here represents anything other than beauty. According to the NYT review of the show, these drawings "are the least known of Von Bruenchenhein’s work." Please pardon the shadowy striping from the porch railing; the photo was taken outside.