The fabulous folks, Jen and Gough from Wowie Zowie came over on Wednesday night to buy some West German Pottery for their wonderful shop. They had very kindly brought us a gift:
It’s actually signed by Tretchikoff himself and has a good little back story to it. Wowie Zowie bought it from an old woman who comes into their shop often. They described her as being a bit of a ‘scenester’ back in the day. She bought the print and had it signed by Tretchikoff when he visited Manchester in the 1970s to do a signing at, what we think, was Fenwick’s Department store. Very often with these pictures, we have no idea who or how many people owned it before we did, so it’s lovely to have the story of the original owner with this one.
Like all of the retro and vintage things we own, I did the usual quick internet search to see what I could find out about the ‘Melon Boy’ print before posting it. It seems that this particular picture is one of Tretchikoff’s more controversial. See here and here for two sides to the debate. In a nutshell, this painting, and others by Tretchikoff, has been criticised as a racist piece of work. The connotations of a young black boy with a watermelon are possibly lost on a white woman from England, but many people in America – where the associations are the strongest it seems – find this picture and its peers uncomfortable viewing. The curator of the Tretchikoff exhibition in South Africa, Andrew Lamprecht, argues that these associations are not apparent in South Africa (as in England), and if anything, Tretchikoff ‘was accused of critiquing the government’s policies’ (http://www.mahala.co.za/art/deadly-serious/, 5th July, 2011) through his paintings.
It’s an interesting debate.
I see a fantastically joyous child and the picture makes me happy; as I’m sure it does many other people. Part of me thinks if you see anything more than this in it, read into a racist undertone or something similar, what does that actually say about you? Or is a stereotypical image that has been perpetrated within fairly recent history to the detriment of some people, and therefore should rightfully be abhorred? Art is meant to provoke discussion and debate.
“I am interested in people thinking about that and, if they wish, taking pleasure or not in his work. I do want them to talk and discuss and argue, just as they did in his day.” Andrew Lamprecht, mahala.co.za
What do you think or feel about this? Let me know via the comments. Either way, I’m happy with our fantastic gift and it will take pride of place next to our other beautiful Tretchikoff prints.
What kind of woman comes to be described as a goddess? Clearly not someone who walks amongst us mere mortals. J.H. Lynch captured the goddess-like features in many of his prints, and aptly named this picture ‘Woodland Goddess’:
Despite her luscious looks, I cannot begin to tell you how difficult it was to take a photograph of this… and not because I kept swooning at her loveliness. The flash! Turn it off, you can’t see the picture; leave it on, you get a massive glare. I have done my best.
She was a gift from Aidan’s dad at the weekend. He brought it over Sunday night and we were extremely pleased. It’s one of the biggest prints we own now; not entirely where she’s going to fit yet! We still have the giant ‘Chinese Girl’ print (a.k.a ’The Blue Lady) by Tretchikoff to hang as well. Perhaps we should wait until we’re in a much bigger house to put them up.
This print was also used as the cover art for the book ‘Fantasia’ by Alfred Birney (Information from jhlynch.org).
It is notoriously difficult to find information on J.H. Lynch but a good place to start is the website jhlynch.org. If you have any queries about work by, or even possibly by, Lynch, there’s a useful gallery and forum on there.
We’ve only got two more in the Tina/Lisa series to obtain now. We’ll have to do A Clockwork Orange style and display them all together… oh hang on, already there with a trio up in the living room:
- Mass Market Art: Female Prints (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
One of the trends of the 1960s and ’70s appears to be that of the gypsy lady. Gold hoop earrings, dark hair and eyes, busty and a bit saucy of eye… these ladies are exotic and enticing.
If ‘Carmen’ by Turino looks familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen ‘Ilonka’ by H. Walter:
Similar to the duplication of ‘Tina’ and ‘Nina’ by J.H. Lynch and Van der Syde, there appears to be some kind of plagiarism going on here as well. We’ve had a few copies of ‘Ilonka’ now, which makes me believe that could be the original ‘gypsy lady’. I must say, I prefer ‘Ilonka’ to ‘Carmen’. I like the background and her face more; bit daft as they’re so similar!
Possibly the most hideous picture we have is this:
This one’s an actual oil painting as opposed to a print. I can’t quite read the name: it looks something like ‘A. Rauch-akers’. It brings up zilch on t’internet though, so I’ll have to keep guessing and searching. Aidan brought this scary lady back on his last solo trip; she lived in the car for a few days as we couldn’t bear to bring her indoors. Having said that, things seem to have been going well in the J-H household since she arrived. Perhaps she’s the antithesis of the infamous crying children portraits…
Something a little bit different is this:
Our house is fit to bursting with women of different ethnicities in varying states of undress… this is a refreshing change, really. It took me a while to realise it was even a face! We do not have a sausage dog of an idea of who this is by, but it is so funky and simplishly stylish. I love it!
Last but not least… how could a Tretchikoff wait til last? Well, it’s probably the piece de resistance of Tretchikoff ‘s work – in most people’s eyes, anyway. (My favourite is either Zulu Warrior or Balinese Girl, but I digress…).
Every single trip without fail we’ve brought back a retro print. ‘Chinese Girl’ was found on the last trip and – for once – by me! Usually I walk past everything but I actually found this buried in a cellar room of pictures in a charity shop. The most we’ve ever paid for a Tretchikoff, but they’re always worth it.
Which is your favourite? Of these, it’s the Tretchikoff. It has to be. Although the blue face could sway me…
- Tretchikoff at the Iziko Gallery (minutesofmayhem.wordpress.com)
A burgeoning collection within the house is that of the ‘Big Eyed’ mass market prints. They’re definitely an acquired taste! I was pretty pleased when Aidan brought this Dallas Simpson print home from the last trip though:
I haven’t been able to find any similar prints to this one by Simpson, but she was a very prolific artist, selling over 60 million prints at the height of her popularity!
More interesting Dallas Simpson links to be found here:
- Mass Market Art: Vintage Prints (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
By now, you should know that I’m a bit partial to a semi-naked lady or two… more so if they have a slightly green sheen and I can hang them on my wall (what were you thinking…?). I also like many other mass market art prints; not just of the female variety!
I think this says ‘Gliey’ in the top corner, but I’ve not been able to find anything out about it. I can’t even decide if it’s a girl or a boy in the picture! Aidan is currently selling it on Ebay – I think he snuck it on there before I could lay proper claim to it!
Painted by Fernandez Diaz in 1957, this clown seems to be one of those prints that people recognise but can’t remember where they’ve seen it. We’ve also had warnings about trying to sell it on – apparently it can evoke fear and panic in people! Well, I hope no-one with a phobia of clowns comes to visit: we’ve got it up in the kitchen at the moment.
Although they all are to some extent, this one is a real mystery. The signature could be any number of things: Gingy, Gingyo, Ginsy, Ginsyo. In some ways, this vintage print almost looks like a Maio; but, the signature is clearly there and completely different. If anyone happens to recognise the signature, please do let me know via the comments. I’d love to track the artist down. This is another one I’m really keen on – it’ll probably get swapped with the clown picture at some point.
Another variation on the ‘child with animal’ theme… this one is my least favourite of all of them. Yet again, I can’t quite make the name out. It appears to say ‘Foust’ but – once again – I’ve hit a wall in trying to find out anything about it.
I’m not sure yet what we’re going to do with these; whether, we keep them or sell them on. At the moment, I’m thinking of keeping them to swap on the kitchen wall, depending on what mood I’m in. I also fancy beginning a wall of mass market art/big eyed prints. Our friends already think we have some dubious pieces of retro stuff – what will they make of these?
- Louis Shabner ‘Melanie’ Vintage Print (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
- H. Walter ‘Ilonka’ Vintage Print (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
On all of our trips (bar one) we’ve come back with a semi-naked lady… Usually to be found languishing on the back seat of the car, showing off her attributes to all and sundry who may peer into the back seat. The last roadtrip was no exception: this time we brought back not one, not two but three sultry-looking females. Oh, it makes you go all a-flutter…
I’ll let you into a secret… we actually bought two of these! It took me a while to convince Aidan to even buy the first one. I’m not sure why… have you seen her?! Anyway, I’m glad we did as we’ve sold one to Wowie Zowie and kept one for ourselves. So, if you’re a bit keen on Ilonka, get yourself down to Wowie Zowie in Chorlton, Manchester (opposite the Unicorn Grocery store).
If you look at my post about Melanie earlier in the week, you’ll notice that the sticker is the same so they must have been sold at the same shop or department store. I’d pay a fair amount of money for a catalogue of that era from that store!
I’ve tried researching H. Walter and ‘Ilonka’ print, but just can’t seem to find anything. Perhaps it’s a one-off? What I have found was this:
I found this at the Tretchikoff.au website. Startlingly similar, no? A bit like the Tina/Nina similarities by J. H. Lynch and Van der Syde. Unfortunately, without being able to find anything more about either artist, I’ve got little chance of finding out which picture came first.
Perhaps I should rename this post ‘Sexy Saturday’ in honour of these two foxy ladies? It’s enough to get you all hot under the collar…
- Louis Shabner ‘Melanie’ Vintage Print (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
We were lucky enough to find a few more Mid Century Prints in Germany the last time we went. See, we don’t just pick up amazing West German pottery pieces; increasingly, we’re find a lot of glass, mid century and other bits and bobs.
This might be my favourite picture yet found:
You just can’t beat a Louis Shabner Glamour Girl print. I mean look at her: she’s gorgeous!
I’ve seen her referred to in Wayne Hemingway’s Just Above the Mantelpiece book as the Girl with Red Ribbon. Luckily for me, this print had a sticker on the back with her name:
Once we get around to it, she’ll be taking pride of place somewhere in the house. I’d quite like her in the bedroom, I think as she’s a bit saucy looking. Probably too much so for the living room. Incidentally, the Wayne Hemingway book is fantastic but I would recommend checking for it on Ebay before buying.
Like this? Look here:
Not only are my vintage Woman’s Own magazines gorgeous to look at, many of the short stories are illustrated by various well known people. I’ve been surprised by each name that I’ve looked up so far; the sheer amount of work these men produced is staggering!
According to AmericanArtArchives.com Jon Whitcomb gained particular popularity for capturing the essence of couples on love. Perfect then, for a pre-Valentine post.
He was also good at capturing cars, planes and other objects; meaning he produced quite a few posters and advertisements as well as his illustrations for stories.
I actually can’t find the magazine I had out originally with a Jon Whitcomb illustration! I’ve got many grand intentions to catalogue them somehow, or at least take some colour photocopies of the best pictures to frame up.
These last few pictures aren’t of couples, but I thought they were too good not to share.
Is that Marilyn Monroe, perhaps?
Possibly my favourite one.
There are hundreds and hundreds of his pictures all over the internet. These are just a few of my favourites of the ones I found. There’s also a lot of information to be found on Whitcomb:
Aha! The Eagle Eyes have been at it again. Look very closely…
We’re planning to put one of ours in the exact same spot! ‘Zulu Girl’ is waiting to be hung up – as soon as I’ve convinced Aidan to buy a new drill capable of getting through our stone walls.
This episode (Episode 6 of Series 3) of Father Ted is when he kicks Bishop Brennan up the arse. Apart from the Tretchikoff sighting, it also has my favourite ever bit from Father Ted in it: when Father Jack says, “I’m soooo, soooo sorrryyyyy!” Closely followed by, “I love my brick!” for best line, in my opinion.
I need to go to bed. Or get out more. One or the other…
- Presents: Pottery and Pictures (littleowlski.wordpress.com)
We found this on our last trip:
It’s a print by Bernard Buffet, a French painter. Once again, we appear to have found something that, despite not knowing anything about it, could actually be quite interesting. To me, this seemed to be an example of mass market art; standing quite well alongside the Tretchikoff and Lynch prints we love so much. Don’t get me wrong, I really quite like his style.
Even more so when I found this online:
Could it be more perfect for this blog?
Anyway, I digress… Just a quick look at some of the websites dedicated to Buffet seem to indicate a far greater acceptance of his work than other mass market artists working at the same time. Is this because his work does not feature big eyed children? Or busty, semi-naked or green-skinned women? What makes one person’s work ‘arty’ and prestigious, whilst another is considered vulgar or mass-produced? A question I’m sure I’ve asked before (and will probably ask again).
Whatever the answer, I quite like his work. And - as always – I don’t need much of an excuse to indulge in lots and lots of pictures of things I like…
He also liked birds of a different variety:
There are tons more. Some useful and interesting links are below: