I’m not in Kansas anymore…

November 10, 2009

Quick quiz:

What do Draper and Thorpe have in common?

a) Both have the first name Dorothy

b) Both have designed Hollywood Regency pieces highly coveted by collectors

c) I have recently found pieces designed by both (one at a thrift store and one at a yard sale)

d) All of the above

In case you haven’t figured it out, the correct answer is “d”

So, what did the Dorothy deities bestow upon me, you ask?

First there’s the Dorothy Thorpe lucite and chrome candelabra I found at a yard sale for a couple of bucks.  Actually, I have to give my father credit for this one, as he spotted it before I did.

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Dorothy Thorpe Candelabra

Long story short, I sold it on ebay. 1 week and 19 bids later…drum role please………. $330.00

The second item, may be even better than the first. A Dorothy Draper Espana three drawer  chest.

dorothy_draper_dresser_in_black__gold

Dorothy Draper Espana Dresser

Mine is white with gold accents and the brasses need to be cleaned up. It is not a Heritage Henredon version……but still a good score.  The prices these go for on 1stdibs (even painted in funny colors) is INSANE.

Haven’t yet decided whether to sell or keep it.  Once my wife finds out that they made an appearance in Sex in The City, I have a feeling my white Draper chest might not be going anywhere.

Sex in the City


Jerome and Evelyn Ackerman Launch New Website

November 5, 2009

 

Meet the Ackermans

I received a message last night from Jerome and Evelyn Ackerman that they have just launched a new website  

I’ve checked out the site and its fantastic. Its loaded with great images of Jerry and Evelyn’s work and offers facinating biographical  information as well.

If you have kids, make sure to check out the “Toys” section of the site. You’ve gotta love the finger puppets and cloth dolls.  I’ve always suspected Marilyn Neuhart couldn’t have been the only game in town.

t1

Finger Puppets

t3

Cloth Dolls


Modern Scandinavian Enamelware

July 30, 2009

Sorry I have been so Lax (pun intended) in posting recently.  That said, I have had some great finds.

Earlier this week,  I found a minty, yellow Dansk Kobenstyle paella pan at a local thrift store.  This will get added to my always growing collection of Scandinavian enamelware.  I can’t get enough of it.  Best of all, there is plenty of it out there for the finding.

Today, I thought I’d present a little enamelware photo-essay. Many of these items are abundant and can be found easily and inexpensively.  Some, however, remain elusive and expensive.

Enjoy the rainbow of yummy colors.

Rosenslew, Timo Sarpaneva, Finland

Saturnus

Saturnus

Handle removes to lift lid

Handle removes to lift lid

Finel/Arabia Kaj Frank, Seppo Mallet, Antti Nurmesniemi, Finland

Finel Pot

Finel Pot, Seppo Mallet

Finel (and a little Cathrineholm

Finel (and a little Cathrineholm

Enamalox, Norway

Enamalox

Enamalox

Dansk Kobenstyle, Jens Quistgaard, Denmark

Blue 3 Qt. Casserole

Blue 3 Qt. Casserole

il_430xN.69278111

Krnenit,  Herbert  Krenchel, Denmark

risomsale-krenit1

Copco, Michael Lax ,USA

Michael Lax Fondue

Michael Lax Fondue

Cathrineholm, Greta Prytz Kittelson, Norway

Cathrineholm Lotus

Cathrineholm Lotus


Check Mate

July 10, 2009

I’ve had a few exciting finds lately including a Florence Knoll Model 65 lounge chair (that I pulled out of the garbage) and a Dieter Rams/Hans Gugelot Braun radio/phonograph console in a spectacular teak case designed by Herbert Hirche. I will be photographing these items this weekend and be posting shortly.

In the mean time, I thought I’d telll you the Story about my Austin Enterprises chess set and show you the nifty Austin Enterprises “Hang Up Sculpture” I got this weekend. For those of you unfamiliar with Austin Cox and his fantastic anodized aluminum chess set, here are a few images.

Austin Enterprises- Chess Pieces

Austin Enterprises- Chess Pieces

Box

Box

Box with Cover Removed

Box with Cover Removed

The set was commissioned in 1962 by ALCOA to designer-craftsman Austin E. Cox A.S.I.D. of “Austin Enterprises” and the advertising agency of Ketchum, McLeod & Grove. The pieces are modern in form-the Queen represented by a crown, the bishop is a cross, the knight is a shield and the King, is fittingly, the symbol of ALCOA.

Last summer, I stumbled on one of these sets in its original wood and blue plexiglas hanging display case on Craigslist for $40. I was excited, but there were a couple of issues that had me concerned. First off, the set was in Roslyn, which is a 40-minute drive from NYC. Second, instead of using the traditional dollar bill or Campbells soup can to show scale, the seller used a handgun….a GLOCK no less. I KID YOU, NOT!

Well, for a $40 Austin Enterprises chess set, I am willing to assume certain risks. A scary sounding, gun-owning seller, is one of them. I drove with my wife and two small daughters to the house, parked around the corner and told my wife if I wasn’t back in 20 minutes to call the police. Fortunately, I was put a ease when I was greeted at the door by a nice looking older man. His son’s Bar-Mitvah picture hanging in the hallway  was a reassuring sign.

Alas, my wife didn’t have a need to call the police and I walked away with a chess set I had been wanting for a long time. This weekend at the yard sales, I scored a very interesting Austin Enterprises “Hang Up Sculptural Puzzle”. This immediately reminded me of the chess set/GLOCK story.

Austin Enterprises- Sculptural Puzzle

Austin Enterprises- Sculptural Puzzle

It is also crafted of anodized aluminum. This time, in blue and orange and it comes in a wood hanging case.

Blue and Orange Anodized Pieces

Blue and Orange Anodized Pieces

According to the text on the back of the box, “the challenge is to arrange the twenty five triangles to form a perfect square”. Apparently, it is rarer than the chess sets and even better, “the solution dates back to the Pythagorean Theorem” Looks like I have a little puzzle to solve in the near future.

Back

Back


Chow’s On- Boltabest Trays

July 1, 2009

A couple of years ago I found my first Boltabest tray at a thrift store in Florida. It was the large version of the infamous China Shop pattern designed by Irving Harper for The George Nelson Studio.

Nelson China Shop MustardNelson China Shop Gold/RustNelson China Shop Tin/BluestoneNelson China Shop Olive/Tan

As I am a collector by nature, I was not satisfied with just one. Turning to my good friend the world wide intraweb, I have since been able to round up several more.

While these were used as cafeteria trays in the 1950’s, it appears that Bolta, the company that manufactured the trays, chose to use designs by several well known industrial and textile designers.

There are these two below, also attributed to Nelson and/or his design studio

Then there is the “Wheels” tray designed by Bernard Rudofsky
https://i1.wp.com/www.treadwaygallery.com/ONLINECATALOGS/Sept2005/salecatalog/images/1146.jpg
The “Babylonia” tray designed by Abel Sorenson
https://i2.wp.com/www.treadwaygallery.com/ONLINECATALOGS/Sept2005/salecatalog/images/1147.jpg
Lastly, there is the mystery “Tempo”  tray below, currently on Ebay.

I found a version of this in red last year and have wondered for some time who might have designed the pattern.

For an interesting discussion on these trays, check out the following thread on one of my favorite forums Designaddict


Sweet Deal on Arts & Architecture 1945-54: The Complete Reprint

June 25, 2009

 

A cover

A cover

I love mid century architecture/design books and periodicals.  I’ve spent way too much time over the years searching for these books and magazines.  Fortunately, in the process, I have amassed a nice book collection.  Hint: Keep your eyes peeled for publications by Reinhold, Praeger, F.W. Dodge and Braziller

One of my better book/magazine finds, was a huge pile of 1950’s Graphis magazines in a recycling pile on 86th and West End Avenue. (I am not above digging through trash)  Many of these are now held in a Mathieu Mategot magazine rack in my office. This story, though, is not really on point.

Another publication I have always hoped to find in the trash is Arts & Arcitecture from the late 1940’s & 1950’s.  This is primarily because of Arts & Architecture’s comprehensive documentation of the Case Study House program.

Arts & Architecture has a fantastic web site dedicated to the CSH program where you can view the articles documenting the program. If you haven’t seen it, go take a look.

If you’re like me and prefer the tactile experience of turning paper, Taschen recently released a collosal 10 volume set called, “Arts & Architecture 1945-54: The Complete Reprint”  

 

The Full Set

The Full Set

Ten boxes, each containing a full year of the magazine-it’s almost too much.  The only problem, the $700.00 price tag.

But don’t lament.  I was cruising the internet last night and discovered that Barney’s NY has the whole set on sale at half price….yup half price.  That’s  $350.00. This purchase now seems reasonable….or reasonabler. Even better, free shipping. 

Beware, however, if you live in NY- you will have to pay Sales Tax. 

Click here for the link to the Barney’s website


What Ever Happened to Paul Eshelman?

June 23, 2009

A couple months ago, I purchased this interesting turned bowl at a church thrift shop on West 96th Street.  It has the name Paul burned into the bottom and identifies the wood as cocobolo.

Cocobolo bowl signed "Paul"

Cocobolo bowl signed "Paul"

Signature

Signature

After bringing the bowl home and giving it a thorough cleaning, I put my fingers to work on another task, trying to identify a maker.  I worked at it for about an hour and  having had no luck, gave up.

Last week, while searching on Ebay, I came across a teak or walnut turned bowl by Paul W. Eshelman.  Due to the similarity in shape, I began to wonder if my bowl might be an Eshelman?

 

Eshelman Bowl

Eshelman Bowl

Eshelman Signature

Eshelman Signature

A bit more research turned up three wood bowls by Eshelman in the collection of the NYC Museum of Art and Design.  Digging a little deeper, I also found that Eshelman  was one of five woodworkers whose work was featured in the American Pavilion of the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair.  The other four participants: Wharton Esherick, Bob Stocksdale, James Prestini and Bruno Groth. (Big names in wood) I wonder why Rude Osolnik wasn’t there?

Eshelman Bowls in MAD Collection

Eshelman Bowls in MAD Collection

These five individuals were also included as part of a 30 man show in Manhattan entitled, “The American Craftsman.”  According to “The Furniture of Sam Maloof”,  this was the most significant show of modern crafts, that had been organized to that date.

Taking this into account, one would expect to find many more works by Eshelman in museums, auction houses and private collections.  Amazingly enough, this does not seem to be the case. Where did all of Eshelman’s work go….and what of his legacy?

Now, I realize my bowl is likely not attributable Eshelman.  Alas, the signature only says Paul.  That said, it was $3 well spent.  Knowledge, my friends, is priceless.