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.
Before I bring on the beautiful images, I should tell you I’ve really struggled to find any information on Gerry Fancett. I just can’t believe that an artist, a fantastic illustrator, who was so prolific and created such beautiful images can disappear from the public consciousness with half a century.
It seems a little strange to begin with a picture from Christmas, especially in the midst of an Indian Summer (thanks, by the way, to the tweeps who led me to the meaning of this phrase!), but this picture shows so much about public perception of family life in the 1950s. It is such a stereotypical picture: the perfect children and stylish parents. I particularly like the matching grey shoes and hair of the mother.
The Christmas theme continues… Perhaps I should have saved these pictures until nearer the time! Well, if the shops can start putting out their Christmas stock now, then I can do the blog equivalent. Love ‘Prue’s’ jewellery and the way the two men are looking at her rather than the tree.
Some of the pictures aren’t as brightly coloured in the magazines, presumably it was more expensive to use more colours. I’m not as keen on this particular picture, but I do like the use of pink and white. This picture is much more to my liking:
There’s something about the faces that I don’t like here though; I don’t think the girl’s facial features are in proportion somehow. The woman in ‘An Exile in Soho’ doesn’t look right either. Thankfully, some of the other pictures are much better.
This picture I’ve featured before:
It still makes me smile to look at this one: it really does seem as if he’s about to conk her over the head with what looks like a policeman’s baton. I think it’s actually an umbrella.
My final two pictures are my favourites.
It’s the story behind this one that captures me; the romance of it. You can see in the woman’s eyes that she loves this man, yet something is troubling her. Perhaps it’s the last time they can see each other?
I adore this picture. My eyes are captivated by her stunning dress, the rosy pinkness and sparkles cascading down the front. One day, I will find the occasion where I can wear a dress like that.
All I’ve managed to find about Fancett is that he worked at Grestock & Marsh in the mid ’60s, thanks to a page on a colleague of his Frank Haseler. Today’s Inspiration also has some information and artwork on some more of his colleagues here. It would be good to find out some more about Fancett, but like so many of these illustrators, it seems that time has not been a great preserver.
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)
It’s been a lovely Christmas – and it’s still not really over for us. The weekend before Christmas, we had the early one with my family. Then we’ve spent Christmas Day in Glossop, had friends over on Boxing Day. This week, we’ll be seeing Aidan’s family as well; all before we have to start thinking about going back to work… Ah well, we knew it couldn’t last.
Anyway, how else to celebrate a wonderful Christmas than by sharing pictures of the retro and vintage goodies we gave and received?
To kick things off:
I absolutely love this. Another present from Aidan, and it’s probably one of my favourites. If you’ve not visited the site already, it’s worth another trip to the Tretchikoff website to have a look at all of his prints.
Luckily for me, I got lots and lots of presents! A green Casio watch, a Spirograph, a Tamagotchi… yes, I am a grown woman, if you can believe it?! I also received three new Scheurich 414 pots, but unfortunately the pictures have come out quite blurry. I’ll take some more another day; maybe even attempt to take some vaguely stylish ones… you know how that normally goes.
Here are two things I got Aidan:
A book all about retro and vintage prints by Tretchikoff, J.H. Lynch, Shabner, Maio and those 70s big-eyed children pictures. It’s fantastic, even if I do say so myself. Aidan seems to quite like it too. I bought his copy from Ebay (and America, no less) but you seem to be able to buy it on Amazon here. Review of the book as well. Even if you’re not a fan of these types of prints, it’s still a gorgeous book to look through.
I also got him one of these:
The teatowel, not the pots! It’s pretty good. I’m not sure if we’ll ever actually use it though; it’s a bit too swanky for wiping pots and pans. The seller, skinnylaminx, is on her holidays at the moment. When she returns you should definitely have a look at her shop on Etsy.
So, what’s the best retro or vintage thing you got this Christmas??
- Scheurich 414: Updating a Look (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:
If you’ve ever heard of Etsy but curse the fact that many sellers seem to be in USA (adding on postage charges for British buyers), then Folksy might be the one for you. I’ve just found it and had a good look, before finally deciding on buying these:
I had been eyeing up some amazing raindrop tights that I’d seen on Conversation Pieces but unfortunately I discovered that they were a whopping £39! Thankfully, these bird print ones were less than half the price.
There are some other interesting bits and bobs on Folksy and I think I’ll keep checking back from time to time. Etsy itself has some interesting things on there – but I can’t say too much in case I end up purchasing something for Aidan’s Christmas present!
The following press release has been sent to me by Natasha, grand-daughter of Vladimir Tretchikoff. How amazing would it be to get over there and see it??
“Hi, Tretchi was my grand dad. We are having a retrospective of original works next year in the South African National Gallery. See press release below…
If you have or no of anyone with original Tretchikoff Artworks, please do let me know. Thank you!
Call for ORIGINAL ARTWORKS for Tretchikoff exhibition at Iziko South African National Gallery
A major retrospective of the artist Vladimir Tretchikoff, entitled Tretchikoff: The People’s Painter, will open at the IZIKO South African National Gallery in 2011. The exhibition organisers are issuing a general call for people who own original works (as opposed to prints) to be exhibited on this show. Originals paintings tend to have a textured, layered surface.
While Tretchikoff is undoubtedly one of South Africa’s most controversial artists, much maligned in the 1960s and onwards by several members of the established arts community, there can be no doubt that he has become a cultural icon and remains a favourite artist to many South Africans. Sales of his work have recently reached record levels at auction and there is a considerable revival of interest in his iconic paintings amongst designers, younger artists and critics. Despite this there has been almost no serious assessment of Tretchikoff’s art and his legacy. This exhibition aims to examine Tretchikoff anew and place him in contemporary perspective.
In his heyday Tretchikoff’s exhibitions drew record audiences at home and abroad and he pioneered the idea of selling affordable copies of his works, enabling working class people to own art which they proudly displayed above their mantelpieces. Works such as The Chinese Lady, The Dying Swan and The Lost Orchid have become a vital part of popular culture.
Readers who own original Trechikoff paintings or sketches (as opposed to prints) are encouraged to contact Andrew Lamprecht or Natasha Swift for further information:
Issued: 2 November 2010″
So, just because it’s a great excuse, here are some of my favourite Tretchikoff prints (I’ve not added ‘Balinese Girl’ despite it being one of my faves, mainly because I’ve featured it so much recently!):
We found Clemence in a Belgian street market for two Euros. Two Euros! What a bargain. Well, she did come with a filthy, broken, sprayed-gold frame that we subsequently ripped off in The Great Unpack of Tina ’10. Clemence made it all the way back from the Continent to Glossop lying face down under half a ton of West German pottery.
She’s marked with a name: Mai0. So far, my searches have proved fruitless in discovering who the mysterious Maia is. *Update – I’ve since found out that it’s actually ‘Maio’; hence I couldn’t find anything before!* However, Pop Boutique in Manchester is selling a very small print featuring the same woman in a different post for twenty squids… I’m actually tempted by it.
My friend, Rachel, also loves ‘Cat Lady’ as we’ve christened her. I’m trying to persuade her to come as Cat Lady to our Halloween party this year. If she doesn’t do it, I might. That or Tretchikoff’s ‘Balinese Girl’. I’ve always wondered what I’d look like with green skin.