Wednesday, July 29, 2009

PBN's and Retro Wall Art

One of the downsides to collecting vintage artwork is that you get it after it may have hung on a wall for years getting caked with dust and cigarette smoke. Or it was hidden away in a damp basement or an attic full of mold and/or creepy-crawlies.

These are great vintage paint-by-numbers, both coated with shellac that has turned dark over time (the photos have actually been lightened!). They're in wonderful matching wood frames. Obviously the gouger at America's Thrift Store isn't a PBN aficionado as they were priced at $4.88 each. Yay for ME for a change.

I found the Three Kings painting in an indoor flea market in Tylertown, MS.
It was one of those places that had an incredible amount of cheapo junk Made In China but then you'd find something really cool, though I did learn rather quickly not to put my hand inside or behind anything--this place was the mother of all things cobwebby and spidery.

The painting itself measures 24"x36" and the frame is in great condition--that much I could see. It was sitting on top of a cabinet and my poor eyes couldn't quite make out the price on a tiny little sticker. After I'd asked the proprietor to get it down, I saw that it was marked $20.00 and when I asked if he could do a "little better" he said, "Well, I paid $20 for it--my wife hates it and just wants to get rid of it." OK, that was acceptable to me . . . until we turned the painting around and there on the back someone (probably the previous owner) had written $5 in big black letters. He looked at me, I looked at him, I laughed that kind of, "ha ha, you're a lying s**thead" laugh and I bought it. I'm no good at haggling, by the way. I know they can sense that.

The painting is on masonboard and is considered to be "decorative" art and consequently not all that valuable, though this type of artwork is definitely becoming more and more collectible. It's 60's-70's and was manufactured by Vanguard Studios of North Hollywood, California USA (stamped on the back). The signature "Van Gaard" doesn't refer to a person but is rather a studio signature. There's an interesting website on the founder of Vanguard Studios, Lee Reynolds Burr, and he may have actually created this work at one time but it was recreated many more times by studio artists. I tried Googling it but while I found a HUGE amount of works by Vanguard, this one didn't ever pop up, perhaps because it's obviously seasonal (maybe I'll be luckier closer to the holidays). The painting is done in what's called "drip art" and I think it's just cool as can be, man. It will definitely add a punch of retro-ness during the holidays.