Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Tom who?

unnamed, Tom Ackman, 11" x 14", watercolor on paper, 1977?

A thrift shop find. There is a month/day/1977 notation on the backing of the painting. Found in Bloomington, IL. I could not find any information about this artist after a quick search. Nothing in the work that really suggests a location. Could be Midwest or New England.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Color me purple

unnamed, unknown artist, 15" x 20", watercolor on paper

I thought this would be an easy one since the artist seems to have been fairly accomplished, though his/her color choices are a bit wacky. I found this in a thrift shop in Urbana/Champaign, Il. It was rusticly framed and had a dark green mat. Once I took a closer look at the signature, though, I realized that the third letter seems to be stylized and might represent two letters, possibly,IH, HI, LH, HL, etc. Not so easy after all! Help me!


Saturday, April 21, 2018

No outlet?

"Sidewalk", unknown artist, 6" x 4", Artist Proof, linocut on paper 

This was a $.25 thrift shop find. It was framed in a generic oak frame and the backing material showed lots of paint and ink stains,like it been lying on an artist's work table. Guessing the artist recycled an 8x10 frame and mat for this piece. It is marked "AP", for artist proof, titled and illegibly signed, verso. I am more hopeful that someone will recognize the print than the signature. I think I have seen this print before. The signature looks something like "G Anl...e"?

Inscription, verso

Enlarged signature

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Pitcher this!

Art glass pitcher, unknown maker, 8"h x7.5"w ( w/ handle)x5.5"w (w/o handle)

(MYSTERY SOLVED. See bottom of post.)This unmarked pitcher sat on a shelf for weeks at a local thrift shop that normally turns items over in a few days, at most. It was marked $2.99. Items that don't move quickly enough are relegated to a "Shelf of Shame" where the price is cut until the item sells or I guess it becomes landfill. Despite living in the shop long enough to grow roots, it never migrated to the dreaded shelf, though, I think because it is so obviously a good piece. It weighs about 5 pounds, I would guess. It is hard enough to manage empty and I think one would need to be a body builder to pour from it one handed when full. Probably why it didn't sell. It looked like a Blenko pitcher to me, based on the color of the glass (Yeah I know that several glass makers bought glass blanks from the same sources). I finally couldn't stand it any longer and, with my veterans discount (sweet) put it out of its misery and paid a whopping $2.64 out the door for it. 

I was convinced that I would get home and look through images of Blenko pitchers on ebay and there it would be. Nope. Sigh. Then I branched out to other makers. Re-nope, Re-sigh. Then just art glass pitchers. Re-re-nope, Re-re-sigh.

I feel sure that this is a an American art glass piece, not Italian, etc., or "shudder" Made in China. It is so unwieldy that I am not sure that it is meant to be used, or if it is, only with two hands. 

Even the bottom is textured. Not sure how this piece was made. I ruled out Pilgrim as maker, since there is no "strawberry" mark. There is no noticeable wear to the bottom, so it is either not too old, or was very gently used.

There is an annoying lip around the inside bottom that had collected a couple of grunge spots and after trying to remove them by hand, I finally gave up and soaked the inside in vinegar and water until they could be removed.

Yep, the handle is crooked and I think this may be intentional. I am a lefty and it felt awkward in my left hand, but as soon as I switched to my right had it was comfortable to hold. Maybe a coincidence? There is a suggestion of a mold line to the right of the handle, which can be seen and not felt, and some roughness on the neck of the pitcher where one would place their hand to support pouring from it. The roughness does not go around the whole neck, only for a few inches on either side of the neck. Not sure if this is wear from use or if it was made this way. I might be imagining the mold line... There should be a corresponding mold line on the opposite side of the pitcher, if it was made with a two piece mold, and I can imagine I see one there if I stare at it long enough. So maybe a molded piece? If so, a lot of care was taken to remove any mold lines.

Several shots of the join of the handle to the body. It doesn't look familiar to me....

A real elephant foot join at the bottom of the handle.

If we can't figure out who made it, I think that I will be buried clutching this pitcher to my chest as revenge against any archaeologists who tamper with my remains.


Morgantown Glass Works operated in Morgantown, West Virginia, from 1900 to 1974. Some of their wares are marked with an adhesive label that says Old Morgantown Glass.  This is an example of 'Crinkle' c1962; AKA: Ockner. A companion pattern called 'El Mexicano' was made using opaque glass.

Mine is about 56 years old and is in mint condition. I guess being too heavy to use preserved it.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

This really bowled me over!

bowl, Charley Reynolds, 8.5" x 3.25", glass, 1970

A thrift shop find. I believe that this is an example of the off hand glass blowing technique. I read the signature as "Charley Reynolds '70".  I found this in Normal, IL, the home of Illinois State University, which has a well known art glass program, though I believe that this piece predates the art program there by a few years. 

There is a well known glass artist named Charley Reynolds who is currently active, but he seems to exclusively produce glass smoking pipes. I contacted the editor of Glass Line magazine, and he did not think that this was his work. 

It is a quite striking piece, though, and I have taken to leaving the lamp on the table where this sits lit 24x7. Just a pretty thing to walk by and look at. 

I am not really expecting to find out much about this artist since this piece is nearly 50 years old and a quick search did not turn up any more potential candidates to be the artist. Possibly the work of a university student.

Got wood?

I am back from the dead! Actually, I have been retired for about a month and have both relapsed into my thrift shop addiction and also had time to very selectively add a couple of new items to my pile. Here goes!

unnamed bust, Vic Mason, 7"x3"x3", unknown wood, carving, 1987

This is just cute, in an eerie dead guy sort of way. It is very well done with fine detail and finish. The glasses are made from a single piece of heavy brass (?) wire which is not easily flexed, which may account for the fact that it is still attached to this bust.

The glasses are held onto the sculpture only by the tension of the wire.

The carving is finely finished and polished on all sides.

And, finally, it is signed and dated! The number 17  on the price tag suggests that it was displayed in an exhibition of some sort. I suspect it may have been produced as a project by a student at one of the nearby universities, Bradley University, Eureka College, Illinois State University, UIUC or Illinois Wesleyan University, since I found it at a thrift shop in Washington, IL. It seems perhaps a bit too finely done to be the work of a high school student. Really all guesses. It could easily be the work of a professional fine artist. I have found a significant number of works from all around the world in this area. The is possibly due to the travels of the faculties of these universities or by employees of a few large corporations in the region.

The only artist I have found to date that is a candidate to be the artist is Victoria Mason of Australia, though it appears that she is mainly a jewelry artist. I have sent an email to her asking if this is her work.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Who needs YouTube?

unnamed, unknown, 11" x 8", acrylic on MDF board w/etching

    I am always a sucker for cat paintings, and if there is a kitten in it too, well, what can I say?  This was an ebay purchase and was created using an interesting technique which might help to identify the artist. The painting is on MDF board. It appears that a gold colored base layer was laid down and then the images were loosely painted on top of that. The artist then refined the boundaries of the images of the cats and fish by etching the paint down to the gold under-layer. Of course, what appears to be a signature is really illegible. The frame may be a custom frame, since this is an odd sized painting. It appears to be of very good quality and could have been made by the artist. Any help is appreciated!
   The seller found this painting at an antique store in Roseville, CA. Maybe a California artist? I agree with the seller's assessment it probably dates to the 1960s or 1970s. Acrylic paint became widely used by artists in the early 1960s, so it can't be older than that. It has a kind of early 70s feel to me....

Framed painting

Signature? W. R/N.....?