Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mystery Hawaiian Vase

Vase, 6" x 3", signed but illegible

This is a high quality, heavy porcelain vase that is marked as "Made in Hawaii" on the bottom and signed illegibly. This is a good piece, and must be from an established potter or pottery, so I am hopeful that someone will recognize the mark or the decoration on this vase.

Mitchell of California?

"Yacht Harbor", L. V. Mitchell, 8" x 12", watercolor, 1952

 I found this at a local thrift shop for $1.99. It was barely held in a modest frame and very dirty, so it did not look like much. I thought it had kind of a California watercolor feel about it and was pleasantly surprised to find a lengthy inscription on back when I opened it up: "Yacht Harbor from Coast Guard Landing Terminal (?)land Cal May 11, 1952". This might be the Oakland Marina, but I could not find any pictures that match the scene shown in the painting. Probably the work of a talented amateur, though I have seen works by well known California watercolor artists that is not much better. There is no mention of an artist named Mitchell with these initials in any art reference book I have examined, but I suspect there are other works by this artist out there, maybe more fully signed. Any assistance in identifying this artist is appreciated.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


unnamed, Tillett, 13" x 11.75", pastel

This work was framed in Providence, RI, but feels Caribbean, to me. There was an artist and gallery owner in St. Thomas named Jim Tillett who passed away around 2000 who may be the creator of this painting, but there is very little information available about his work as an artist.

Mystery "end of day" glass vase!

unnamed, unknown artist,  14" x  4", blown glass

This was another thrift shop find. The owner of this shop purchases his finds mostly at estate sales, so often nothing is known about the things he buys, except sometimes the name of the deceased. In this case he didn't remember where this piece came from. It is signed, but I can't make out the signature. I used to be a collector of factory art glass and in the early 20th century this kind of glass was called "end of day glass" because the scraps of the various different colored glass used during the day was combined to make the last objects of the day, which resulted in multi-colored pieces like this one. Illinois State University is nearby and they have a well known glass program, and I suspect this may be the work of a student from there. Any help in deciphering the signature is appreciated. Seems to be dated '95 or '99.

Fused glass vase mystery!

 unnamed, unknown artist, 12.75" x 6.25"-4.5", fused glass

This fused glass vase came from the same estate as the fused glass sculpture shown in my last blog entry.  Like the other piece, this one is not signed. My guess is that this is not a mass produced piece, as it has a domed shaped grind on the bottom, possibly where a pontil was removed. It seems to be a fairly complex piece as the part of the vase that bears the design is encased in clear glass. Other than that I have no clues about the maker and origins of this piece. One person I showed it to speculated that the artist may have made their mark in the decorative design. If so, I have not been able to identify it. Just hoping someone out there is familiar with this artist's work. He'p me!