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!


  1. That's some cool art you have there. Wish I knew more about mid-century artists so that I could go out and find pieces like this.

    1. Ah Nick, there's your problem right there: I know essentially nothing at all about the subject, I just thrift a lot and always check behind the Anne Geddes prints! ;)

  2. I love the horse picture. It's so hard for me to find good art at the thrift shops!

    1. I must confess that particular one came from an estate sale. It was Sunday afternoon and they just wanted to go home I think, so I got it for a thrift store price. :)