For those who have been following along, you know I am a sucker for regional artists and do my best to authenticate and verify the items I have. Sometimes they find me by accident....or perhaps fate, other times, I see potential with a quick search and know I can find out more. Art is a very personal thing. Collect what you love, but also spend the time to learn about its creator and you may just find you love it even more for what is behind the piece. That case is true in the pieces I picked up the other week and also in the new items I won last week. Here is their story.......
BETTE FAST, wife of HOWARD FAST (author and 1953 Stalin Peace Prize recipient- amazing story here but he wrote stories of American History best known novel was Spartacus, which was self published after he was in prison for Contempt of Congress and he was banned. Like a celebrity scorn, he rose from the flames of being a Communist supporter in the states and had himself a highly successful career!), was a working artist from Connecticut. She produced sketches and paintings and ending up the last 35 years of her life doing sculpture. I found some lots of her work in an online auction and decided I found out enough about her in a quick search (not an insane amount of info, mind you, but enough to know she had a great story and I could learn more). I managed to win the original painting on canvas at a great price. Then moved on to a few lots of sculpture. I knew she was a sculptor by this point, but the pieces were not identified in the auction listing. This is where my instincts kick in and I decided i was going for them regardless, hoping to win cheap enough to be able to resell them if not what I was looking for. There was a single piece, and another lot with a pair. The pair looked suspect....like reproductions but I did not recognize them up front and decided to try for them all. Sculpture is such a great thing to have placed around your space, on bookcases and credenzas. Always a nice thing to add to my inventory. I was able to win both lots. Then I moved on to a pair of framed sketches by Bette. They were both nudes in red pencil. I was fighting someone for them so eventually dropped the battle. Not sure if they were a Fast fan, or just a fan of nudes. There was one more framed sketch in red pencil, a lying nude. I won this one very easily. So as weird as it is, you never know what drives your fellow bidders! I added another lot of cigarette cups and ash trays to my take....I love multiple items and this set will make 11 smoke sets! I can list them and forget it and they will continue to sell over the next year. Overall, I was thrilled. Pick up day last Friday meant a day spent with a friend hitting sales and thrifts on our way to and from the auction house. I get some of my best finds in this area and it is worth the drive! I gasp when I saw the painting! It was much larger than I had imagined....yes, the dimensions were on the listing and no, I did not make a visual. My friend reminded me that this is a bad move because she bought art that did not fit in her car once! haha The additional print was also a nice size. As soon as I got the sculpture in my hand and felt the texture and density of the material, I knew it was a legit piece and not a reproduction. It felt just like my Mankowski piece. I turned it over and found the siggy, FAST. Wow! I scored one of her sculptures!!!! I was so excited and the piece is an amazing abstract of a woman sitting with her legs crossed. Her head is much smaller than her body. Interesting. Meanwhile, I had already discovered that Howard published a book on his lovely wife's work so I located a copy on ebay and it was already purchased and en route to my house. Although I have no reason to suspect Ms Fast sold alot of art, I did find she only had 3 exhibitions, one in LA, and the other 2 I believe were both in Connecticut (New Canaan and somewhere else) during her years. I used the opportunity to inspect this piece with a magnifying glass and comparing to a Picasso print. Indeed, I do believe it to be an original as is the painting. The book arrived yesterday and there was a lovely forward by Howard and another by a friend of hers. The care and love she shared for creating filled me with joy. There were many photos and sketches in the book but none of my pieces were featured. It also said most of her work resides with private collectors. Apparently, I just found on of their estates. I will continue to look for more info on Fast and her works. It was an amazing find to say the least and they will be welcome into my collection.
The other sculpture lot was indeed museum reproductions and included SPANISH DANCER by Edgar Dagas, which I have just listed in my shops. 1988 Franklin Mint edition. Degas was known for his dancer and ballerina subjects. This lovely lady is a great example of form and function. His subjects were almost always MID MOVEMENT and in a position impossible to hold for long. She will make a great add to a collection. The other piece is a man hand holding a smaller female torso. I did not recognize it but after I uncovered the artist I had to say DUH out loud! Rodin. I have been to his museum more than once at the Philadelphia Art Museum. I also have a reproduction of THE KISS his most favorite work of mine. This piece is not pristine with some chipping, but I will add it to my bookcase with THE KISS. <3
I just added a bunch of items to the etsy shop and my latest finds are mostly there for the taking. The Lane bookcase/hutch has been sold and the only casework piece left is the Danish Hundevad piece that I moved into my space at the Fleetwood Antique Mall. I also came home with a great chandelier we are working on restoring and I listed a plastic swag light that just got a new fixture. Keep watching as I move quickly with this stuff and I would hate for you to miss out on something!
With the holidays fast approaching, shop early so you do not have to expedite your package! All of my shipping quotes are for standard shipping only. If you want to expedite, you will need to reach out! I am available TUES, WED, FRI for regional deliveries plus I have some weekend availability. It is not too late to add some great furnishings to your home! xo Malissa
chandelier coming soon!