Saturday, April 13, 2013

Elementary, my Dear Watson.

unnamed, S. Watson, 20" x 8", watercolor on board

I found these two paintings at a local thrift shop. The watercolor appears to be dated 2012, but elements of the painting seem to mingle with the date and it may be a coincidence that it appears to be a date.Both appear to be the work of at least a talented amateur. 

unnamed, Watson, 8" x 8", pastel, crayon and watercolor on paper

Though this painting measure 8x8, it is matted to about 6" x 8". It reminds me of the work of Josephine Mahaffey. 

Both paintings are framed, and one frame appears to be fairly new, while the other has some age to it. The colors are a bit brighter than shown, as I photographed them in the frame, under glass.

S. Watson signature

Monday, March 25, 2013

Key West Watercolors mystery

"Key West Watercolors - Back street", unknown, 12" x16", watercolor on rag paper

    This was a $10 thrift shop find. I had forgotten to take my jeweler's loupe with me that day and was convinced that I would find this was a print, at best maybe a very good quality lithograph, when I got it home. It is in a good quality 20 x 16 wood frame, deep enough to accommodate a canvas, so figured it was a good purchase. I was amazed to discover that it a was an exceptionally well executed watercolor on high quality rag paper, and probably about 50-60 years old. There was a framing shop stamp, verso, that dates the painting to the 1950s. The framer, Helen Ritter appears in several Peoria, Il city directories during the 1950s and the 5 digit telephone number in the stamp supports this date range. The two girls in the image appear to be holding a hula hoop, which was "invented" in 1958 and became a huge fad in 1958 and 1959. There are few other clues, though, as this painting is not signed. There is a lightly pencilled notation in the lower right corner of the painting that appears to be 144, or possibly the initials of the artist. The back of the mat bears the notation "Key West Watercolors Back street". My guess would be that the title of the painting is "Back street", but I am not sure what the significance of "Key West Watercolors" is, besides perhaps indicating that this is the location of the scene. This is obviously the work of a talented artist, but as it is solidly glued to the mounting, if there is any more information verso, we will never know. It may be that the framer copied information from the back of the painting to the mat, prior to laying the painting down. The mat was also glued to the backing and a bit of the mat stuck to the painting when I separated them. Any help in identifying this artist is appreciated.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Mystery Glass Maker

 Opalescent vase, 17" x 10"

     I found this vase at a local, upscale thrift shop for about $5. It measures approximately 17 inches tall, the base is 6 1/2" in diameter, the mouth is 7" in diameter and it is about 10" at the widest point. There is a sticker on the bottom that reads: "American Hand Blown Glass - Hand blown glassware may show blisters, seeds or thin lines which further enhances it's handcrafted uniqueness". The glass is fairly thin and the finish is applied only to the exterior of the vase. The interior of the vase is pure white. There are many examples found,  using a Google search, of blown glass vases and lamps bearing this label dating from the early and mid 1970s. Many of these lamps can be identified as the work of EF & EF industries, a decorative lamp company located in Chicago during the 70's. I don't know if this company made the glass used in their lamps and if they also made vases, or if they contracted that work, perhaps to one of the many West Virginia glass companies active at that time. This is a fairly fragile piece of glass, and it is somewhat surprising that it has survived, perhaps as many as forty years, in perfect condition. Any help in identifying this glass maker would be most appreciated.