Thursday, April 26, 2012

Strangely, ANOTHER mid-century(ish?) painting!

I've had a long few weeks and I haven't been posting as much as usual, but I'm excited to show you what I found tonight!
I've been cutting back on thrifting due to drowning in inventory and a bit of a thaw in sales while everybody's busy enjoying Spring weather (I hope that's what it is!), but today was the Last Wednesday of the Month, and if you're a regular, you may know this is something of a thrifting feast day here at 2ndhand Moon.  A day when I simply have no choice but to stop by Value Village, and today it's like my Fairy Godthrifter saved all the best stuff for me!  Probably most impressive is this quite impressive addition to the "art collection" (which I showed you last week):

Huge (as wide as my car's interior - I almost didn't get it home!) oil painting - an oddly people-free Venetian scene.
With the orangey-yellowy-brown sky, I kind of have to assume a post-apocalyptic intent here, don't you think?
Signed Van Gaard
A little close-up detail.

So of course I had to find out a little about my new post-apocalyptic Venetian sofa painting!  A little chat with good ol' Google taught me this:

Van Gaard is not a real person, but a name used by Vanguard Studios.  From Artillery Magazine:

"In the late 1960s, Andy Warhol had glamorous lackeys silkscreen his canvases for him and called his studio The Factory. In the art-boom '80s, Mark Kostabi set up an art sweatshop where struggling East Village painters made Kostabi-esque works under his not-so-watchful eye. But in 1965, Lee Reynolds Burr and his Vanguard Studios were there first. His original "art factory" in Beverly Hills produced more painted canvases bearing one signature than any artist in history, but none of the artworks for sale were actually painted by him."

The way Lee Burr describes it himself in a statement posted on his website (Burr is apparently still alive and painting in his mid-70s), he had about 10 "staff artists" that painted these pictures over silkscreened guides printed on the canvas, or in my case board.

Apparently there were a handful of signatures used for this artwork, including Lee Reynolds, Lee Burr, Van Gaard and Stuart, which is the first name of Burr's brother and business partner.  Further googling for images turned up lots and lots and lots of paintings with these various signatures, but (until I publish this post, anyway), none that look like this one, which makes me happy.  I have no problem with the idea that they produced these in quantity for the regular consumer (you'll know that from the rest of my collection!), but it's nice that this is not the most common one around.  I imagine the size of it would have kept it from being too mass-produced.  Not every room can handle a monstrosity of these proportions, and not every psyche could bear up under the sight of Venice glowing with green/orange radiation, but I bed those who could were some hardcore individuals, no?  Anyway, I love it, and I love how insane the (I'm guessing here) late 60s/early 70s must have been to produce such a thing.  If you feel the same way, and have a room that can handle it, let me know if you're interested!  If not, it will no doubt eventually find it's way to Kenrick Antique Mall, booth 78 (once I'm done admiring it myself).

More of the Last Wednesday treasures, coming soon!

Monday, April 16, 2012

New painting/some of my "art collection"

I saw a cool mid-century looking abstract oil painting at the thrift store the other day.  It was in really bad shape - the backing is in tatters, the paint is cracked all over, and there's even a spot where it appears that the paint flaked completely off and some insane person scribbled in the paint-less area with a ball-point pen.  I don't know anything about repair or restoration of oil paintings, but you know what I did, right?  Obviously I brought it home.  I like the dark but colorful sort of flowers/fireworks look of it.  Here's a shot of it propped up on my (very busy) mantle:

Abstract oil painting signed ARAY or A RAY, 61.  Did I mention it's in terrible condition?
I could argue that thematically it looks kinda cool between my star burst clock (a couple of 'rays' partially visible on the left) and the photocopied hands on the right...  sort of.  Anyway, it's in entirely too bad of shape to sell as is, but for $5.00, I couldn't let the poor thing go unloved just because it aged poorly, could I?  Anybody got advice on at least cleaning an oil painting?  I've never tried, but at least that is definitely in order here.

Since I had this poor old guy on my mind today, I thought I'd share with you some more of the art work I've thrifted over the years, from super cool mid-century stuff to tourist purchases to art-school self absorption to  outsider art in a gilded frame.  Here you go!

Signed and numbered print,  #3 of 5 called "White Zinnia by Beej Nierengarten-Smith
I love the colors and energy of this print, and Google actually knows of this artist's existence, which is nice.  Apparently she's the former director of the most excellently awesome Laumeier Sculpture Park here in the Lou.  If you've never been, I recommend it highly.  As a teenager I enjoyed some clandestine sculpture-climbing there (shh, don't tell!), and more recently I love the trails in the woods where sculptures pop out around any given corner and there's an old concrete swimming pool there that was part of a country club many decades ago.  I like to sit there and imagine fast-talking posh Thin Man type couples sipping cocktails while ladies in Esther Williams costumes dive into the water one by one.  Anyway, from the Google entries on the artist, she was apparently pretty controversial when she was here, but this print is a feel-good image for me, so I don't mind at all!

Nice doubtlessly tourist-purchased oil painting of Montmartre street scene signed Brasso.
I really like the colors and movement going on in this picture, no matter how mass-produced it might be.  Unfortunately when I bought this I put it in my trunk and drove around for awhile, and the heat of the day in question along with my bad planning means I got a dent in the canvas.  The paint hasn't cracked or anything, but there's a sort of bullseye-shaped dent in the painting.  Oops!  So if anyone knows how to un-dent an oil-on-canvas, I'd love some advice!

Bold, unsophisticated, ornately framed, and I love the giant ball of hair! 

So sorry about the blurriness of this one.  I didn't notice it until I already had all the pics downloaded and re-sized and I'm too lazy to re-shoot it, but I think it's clear enough for you to see the bare feet, the bold colors and the regal neck of this lovely lady!  This one is unsigned, but clearly someone liked it enough to get a fancy frame made for it!

Mid-Century horse painting signed C. Russell - gorgeous colors!

This one's an extra bit of mystery to me, because it's really lovely, but the only sign Google seems to find of an artist called C Russell is of a "Cowboy Artist" from the 1880s.  So subject matter matches, but style and time frame are way off.  Perhaps it was some sort of mid-century homage to the original artist?  I don't know, but either way, I love the luminous color of this one, and I get a certain mood from it that's somehow quietly unsettling.  

This is St. Francis, contemplating a skull.
I know this because this barefoot monk is someone's rendition of a painting I've obsessed over since I was a teenager.  The original is at the St Louis Art Museum, here: 

As you can see, the version I have is a sort of graphic novel styled version of the original, by Francisco de Zurbaran, a Spanish painter from the 1600s.  I'm not sure who did the remake, but while I love having it since I've visited the original dozens of times over the years, it doesn't give off the same quiet mystery as its inspiration. 

Oil on canvas.  "Self portrait as an archaic kouros boy."
 I was perhaps a bit harsh to have described this one above as a self-absorbed art school piece, since it's not even signed, but it certainly does sort of cry out in that way to me.  Still, I love the grin on his little Kouros face.

Ink and watercolor street scene, signed Korthals

This is fairly small, franed under glass, and when I first picked it up, the glass was so filthy I couldn't really tell what it was, but I liked the look of it (see the tourist painting above), so I snatched it, unsure whether it was actual watercolor or a print of a watercolor.  When I got home and googled Korthals I pretty well assumed the latter, considering this, where Christie's sold an ink/watercolor by him for over $700 way back in 1995.  I doubt I stumbled across an original at a thrift store in the mid-west!  But I haven't taken it out of the frame for a closer look, largely because it's fun to imagine it still could be.

And then there's this:

This one is signed in pencil and I can't make it out.  It's Dorothy something, I believe, and it says "Opera Interiors" in the center and to the left, Ed. 90.

A close-up of the upper-left-hand corner
This is a signed print, very mid-century awesome, in great green/pink/gold/peach-y colors.  I can't really explain it, but I love it.  Someday I'm going to decipher the signature, but for now, I can't find any information on it at all.  If it looks familiar to anyone, let me know!

I have more in my "art collection", but they will have to wait for another time, because this little procrastination time was brought to you by the "I finally finished my 2011 taxes and I'm scared to death to think about 2012 since I started the booth" foundation, makers of "do I have to work on organizing inventory?"

But the answer is yes, I do.  So thank you all, have a lovely evening, and enjoy perusing Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share Monday.  I know I will, on my next Procrastination Break!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Some fun Spring thrifts

It was a long work week last week and with Easter this weekend, I didn't get to hit any estate sales, but I did manage one quick visit into a thrift store this last week, and that one 20-minute trip was well worth it!  I came away with a few choice items:

A cute little pair of ceramic owls on a log with a small pop of color from a pair of polka-dotted mushrooms.

Super sweet drip-glazed big-mouth frog complete with fly on his nose.

Dandelion design glasses - I got 3 of them.  Love!

I love dandelions.  I love that they are these bright, cheery, happy little flowers with a fierce etymology (dent-de-lion = lion's tooth).  I love that the fluffs look like delicate balls of lace and I love that as cute and delicate as they seem, they are strong and tenacious and no matter how hard people try to get rid of them, they just keep on coming back as cheery and cute as ever.  They don't care if you call them weeds, they know they are flowers and they will bring their simple beauty right back to you every time.  I think it's a beautiful metaphor.

Sorry for the digression; on with the thrifts!

Another piece of enameled cast-iron cookware!
The skillet says 26 France Nomar on it's base.  The company does not appear to be around anymore, although one reference I saw and then could not find again indicated that it was bought out/replaced by/renamed to become Staub.  The skillet is in good shape, but unfortunately the wooden handle is both split and blackened on the bottom.
Very cool patterened thermos.  It's missing it's inner cap, and it rattles, but the interior that you can see appears to be intact, so I'm not sure what the deal is with this one.  I wonder if it would look cute as a vase?
And best for last:
Awesome picnic set!
I love this.  The slide-top box you see looks like it would be good to hold sandwiches, and the thermos is in great shape - a little soup or coffee?  And the iconic Thermos Tartan plaid!  Originally the bigger, rattle-y thermos above was actually in this bag, and this smaller, matching thermos was found nearby, but as this one both matches and does not rattle, it was returned to its rightful place after purchase, and I will figure out what to do with the bigger one with the cool print but questionable noises later.  Now a nice picnic blanket is in order, and it's off to the park for a picnic among the dandelions!

Have you been finding any thrifty treasures lately?  

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Booth update - no more cockeyed suitcases

It bugged me all last week, those suitcases hanging crookedly like that.  When I did it, I thought it was jaunty, but when I saw the picture it just looked sloppy.  So when I went in on Tuesday, I rectified the situation.  I also found that the gorgeous Jens Quistgaard Dansk pot sold - my biggest-ticket sale ever so far - yay me!

I also learned that the month, in terms of sales, is actually the 25th-25th.  I apparently wasn't very observant last month, because it's written right there on the sheet.  So the pot wasn't on March's sheet.  But enough was on there that I still covered March's $125 rent and the commission and the extra 3% the credit card companies eat up when people pay with plastic, and the amount I paid for the items that sold.  But, like February, I only really made maybe five or six dollars actual profit.  Still, with the pot kicking off April sales, and the bunch of new items I put in the booth last week, and the (awesome) items I added today, I think I've got a good shot at beating that in April.  

So here's what I added to the booth this week:

The Disney Big Golden Books I showed you last week, plus one more (Uncle Remus Stories) and an awesome 1960s Better Homes & Gardens Handyman's Book.

The super cool Needlecrafts tote I also showed you last week, plus the cool orange trivet
hanging behind it.  I'm guessing both are 70s?

You know I had to replace the Dansk pot, and what better way than with a pair of Le Creuset Orange Flame saucepans from the late 50s-early 60s (love the handles) and a similarly orange flamey Dru Holland cocotte.  You may have seen both in this post awhile back.

A sweet little pair of softest leather vintage ecru peep-toe low-heels from Neiman Marcus.

And here's the booth-shot this week:

Kenrick Antique Mall, Shrewsbury, MO, booth #78 - come and get it!

And in appreciation of Springtime and the coming of Easter weekend, I leave you with a picture I took last Sunday that makes me smile:

Pretty fungus!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Estate sale Saturday

I had Saturday off this weekend and put it to good use.  There were a fair little bunch of estate sales near me and I hit up quite a few.  I haven't gotten pictures of most of my finds yet, but here are the few that I have done:

An awesomely well-loved old Campfire Girls
handbook with hand-made chapter tabs.
Beautiful pink and teal 25th anniversary party invitations
from whenever something so gorgeous went for 59 cents
(how is it possible that printing has become so much easier
and presumably cheaper, but stationary like
this is exponentially more expensive?)
As usual my picture doesn't do it justice,
but this cheery little jar is full of all manner of
colorful beads and patches and whatnot. 
A 1960s "As seen on TV" Password party game.
I can't explain how much I love the spinner!
I'm actually sneaking these in - they're really from last
Wednesday's half-off sale at Value Village - the two
hats I picked up along with my beloved new fez.

A headband/hat/crown/veil-holder thingy?
Beautiful little seed pearls and rhinestones.

I love this little crafting bag with all the pockets labelled!

If I were craftier, I'd keep this for myself, but I'm really not -
I spend too much time thrifting to learn needlecrafts!
Linking up to Apron Thrift Girl for Thrift Share Monday, later than ever this week!