Friday, November 25, 2011

Hotel Art?

 unnamed, H. Helgason, 10" x 8", oil on canvas

  Based on the amount of authoritative responses to my original post, I am updating this post in its entirety, instead of just adding an update section to the post.
  This is what I once thought was "Hotel Art", that is, art which was commissioned, or distributed, by a company that provided art to commercial institutions like hotels, motels, etc., perhaps copied from other works or maybe duplicated many times. A label on the back shows that the art was distributed by a company called Personal Preference Inc. (PPI) of Lisle, IL.
  Actually, PPI was a company that worked directly with artists to offer their original works to customers at "house parties", using a paradigm similar to that used for Tupperware parties of the 1950s. PPI used Tupperware's direct marketing strategy in which individuals contracted with PPI to present their wares, original art, at a house party. All of these art pieces had a PPI label verso, that contained PPI's contact information, the name of the person who brought the artwork to the party, an inventory number and sometimes the name of the person who purchased the artwork. All of the artwork was framed using frames made in Mexico. PPI worked mainly with unknown or new artists. Subsequently, some of these artists became successful, and even well known.
  I have other paintings, and a few collages, in my collection that were also distributed by Personal Preference Inc. of Lisle, IL, and all are quite well done.


  Regarding the painting from my collection used as an example of PPI's wares, the artist has been identified as H. Helgason by a former PPI consultant who knew the artist, who was her mother's favorite artist. This may be the work of Hallgrimur Helgason, an Icelandic painter, writer, translator and columnist. There is a fairly lengthy Wikipedia entry for him and several YouTube videos featuring him. Helgason lived in Boston in 1985-6 and in New York in 1986-9 where he painted and exhibited and was apparently a starving artist with numerous occupations to support himself, so it does not seem implausible that PPI may have been one of them. He returned to New York, briefly, in 1995. Helgason later enjoyed, and enjoys, success as an artist, writer and poet. I am, though, still trying to confirm the identity of the artist who created this painting.

H. Helgason's Signature

Sunday, November 6, 2011

California/Spanish mystery artist.

 unnamed, unknown, 10.75" x 8", watercolor

 I purchased this painting on ebay from a seller in California, so assumed it was by a California artist. Later, I spotted another work by this artist that was inscribed with the location of Granada, Spain and dated October 1967. The artist has a very unusual signature, which is totally illegible, but which I hope someone will recognize. The other watercolor was of Granada, Spain, from a distance, and I had to yoink on it with the Gimp image editor to get it squared up which probably somewhat distorted the proportions in an already poor photo. I did not purchase the second watercolor because the seller wanted too much for it, IMHO. Since my painting could also be a Spanish scene, I don't know if we are dealing with a Spanish painter or a Californian sojourning in Spain, or neither. Any help in identifying this artist is appreciated.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fetching etching

unnamed, unknown, 6" x 8", etching on thin paper

I found this etching at a local thrift shop. It is on thin paper, perhaps just regular printer paper. I think it might be the artist's first test of his etching plate. It is really good, I think, and I suspect there are more copies of this etching out there. Unfortunately, it is not signed or marked in any way, so I'll have to hope that someone has seen another copy of this etching. Any help would be appreciated.