Thursday, August 30, 2012

Miss her

Glass-eyed woman in a primitive carved wood coffin with a rounded bark top. Painted lips and drawn facial features, bra and panties. Miss Her is written in fat letters on the side. 15 inches long. Formerly owned by a well known North Carolina collector.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A deal so good, IT'S INSANE!

Framed cardboard print possibly for the Servel Electrolux gas refrigerator, which was heavily marketed just after World War II. The silent fridge was especially popular with lunatics.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Variety show

Found in a box of snapshots at a flea market in South Coffeyville, OK. Looks like 1950s, maybe early 60s.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Found in a Nebraska farmhouse

Pair of naive drawings from 1905 or 1915 and signed. They were found in a farmhouse near Omaha, Neb. Sisters?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Party like it's 1979

As Prince so adroitly pointed out in his 1983 smash "1999," "life is just a party and parties weren't meant to last." Four years earlier, artist S. Baker went a step further and explored the aftermath of a party out of bounds in the unheralded painting "Hungover." Baker's throbbing colors nail the topsy turvy pain that comes after imbibing beyond the point of reason the night before. The artist, a Boomer, had obviously lived it. I hope for Baker's sake that following 1979's excess came success, although I would be surprised if it were in the field of art. Hard to top the masterful insights of Hungover.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Here's looking at you

Someone reamagined this gnarly tree part and now it's kind of a pet. Found in Florida. Vaguely reminiscent of the work of Tennessee artist Bessie Harvey (d. 1994).

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fred Alten horse

The carvings of Fred Alten (d. 1945), the son of German immigrants, were discovered at an estate sale in Wyandotte, Mich., 30 years after his death. Like many of Alten's animals, this horse was made with interlocking parts, in a style similar to the foundry patterns used in the family business. He lined up many of his animals in handmade cages. Alten produced "more than 150 animal figures" during a 20-year stretch, according to the Encyclopedia of American Folk Art.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Stone Jesus

This 9-inch-tall bust appears to be unpolished marble. At one time it was in North Carolina. Marble, N.C., is an unincorporated community in the western corner of the state so named because of all the marble quarries in the area (duh). Perhaps a miner in that area chiseled this handsome portrait.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

George Carr's Totem Tree

Civil War veteran George Carr lived on a farm south of Auburn, N.Y., in the Finger Lakes area and decorated his property with carved figures -- more than 1,000 of them, according to an old newspaper article. The totem is a maple tree that Carr started carving in 1911 and worked on for 10 years. He turned his farm into a tourist attraction, visited by people in their newfangled automobiles. The photo and text are from the book "George Carr's Totem Tree and Other Curious Things," published in 1924. Presumably that's he and his wife of more than 60 years. In 1926 a tornado knocked down the tree. "George Carr's Totem Tree and Other Curious Things" can be found on eBay and other places. What a shame his folk art environment is lost.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sofa siren

Painting by Lawrence Lebduska dated 1958 that sold last month at Capo Auction for just $475. Lebduska was born in Baltimore, then moved to Germany with his parents where he learned to make stained glass. After returning to the U.S. in 1912 as a teenager and moving to New York, Lebduska painted murals and made stained glass to support himself and submitted paintings to group shows. His first solo show in 1936 supposedly inspired Abby Aldrich Rockefeller to start her renowned folk art collection. Lebduska died in 1966. Thanks Galerie St. Etienne for the information.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Montreal stroll

Montreal's a real jumble of old and new, although these photos show mostly new. Like that.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

New Bright Idea in Old Montreal

I wish this iron lid on a building in Vieux Montreal were an old mystery waiting to be solved. But alas it's simply a sign that you've arrived at a well known restaurant, Garde Manger, whose chef, Chuck Hughes, hosts Chuck's Day Off on the Cooking Channel. My wife and I walked this street a couple times looking for Garde Manger but somehow, amid all the beautiful distractions, did not see it. It was only after arriving home some 1,200 miles away and searching New Bright Idea on the web that we learned we had reached our destination.