Thursday, December 9, 2010

Vintage Thingie Thursday: Statuary

The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life. –William Faulkner

This pretty statue is one of the things I collected from my grandparent's house when it was being cleaned out to be sold. It, like most of the other items I picked up, was quintessential Grandma Betty, and even though it is not really my style, I couldn't bear to think of it being sent off to the thrift shop. I'm a practical person and so I decided that I would bring this little statue home and put it out in my gardens. I knew just the perfect spot, right near the hydrangea and just in front of the purple coneflower, and I thought she would look so lovely there. After closer inspection, I discovered that she is chalkware or plaster with a gold 'wash' and I decided that she probably wouldn't hold up to the natural elements in the garden very well. Still, I'd already decided to take her home and so here she is, without a real place to keep her. Right now she lives in my little office, because it is low-traffic and she's less likely to get broken in here, but she's shuffled back and forth from spot to spot when she gets in the way. I'm going to have to put my thinking cap on and find her a permanent location.

The statue stands 25" tall and is marked Universal Statuary Corporation, Chicago, Ill., 1967 along with the number 409. She lived at my Grandma's house for as long as I can remember, although I can't be 100% sure that she was actually made in 1967, because the date on the statues from Universal are design copyright dates and not production dates. There is a sticker on the bottom of the statue that says Hatch's Gifts, $36.98. The thing I remember the most about looking at this statue at my Grandma's house when I was little was how close to naked she was. I was a little embarrassed for her.

This second statue belonged to Grandma Betty's mom and was the reason for the first statue I showed you; Grandma Jesse had a pretty statue, so Grandma Betty had to have one too. When Grandma Jesse died, this statue came to live at Grandma Betty's with the first statue. I'm not sure of the details, but I think it involved Grandpa Homer sneaking it out of the house for Grandma Betty. I don't think this statue is as pretty as the first, but I had to keep the 'set' together. Her form isn't quite as feminine or proportionate and as a child, aside from me thinking that she was also very scantily clad, I thought she was rather hippy. However, having grown up to be rather hippy myself, I now find that she doesn't look all that hippy to me anymore.

She stands at 27", but her pedestal is also a little taller than the other's. She is also chalkware or plaster, but is not marked with any sort of company name. I don't have any idea how old she might be, except that by deductive reasoning, she is older than the other statue. I do not have any memory of her in Grandma Jesse's house. But that doesn't mean much. Grandma Jesse died when I was 13, so I don't have very clear memories of her house. She also had a lot of knick-knacks and her Grandfather clock and the small organ were my favorites things to look at when we visited. Sometime after this statue came to Grandma Betty's, one of the little grandkids knocked her over and broke her in half at the waist. They took her to an art school and had them repair her. If you click on the picture to enlarge {right click to manually open in a new tab, or center click to do it automatically} and then click on it again, you can see the fault line.

Perhaps someday when I have a fancy parlor, I'll put these two statues in there along with some pretty flowering houseplants and make my own sort of indoor garden/art museum. And when I pass on, perhaps one of my grandchildren will take the statues of the nearly-naked women home to their house and find a place to put them.

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LV said...

What an interesting post for today. I think the statues are very pretty and would be a shame not to find a place for them.

Postcardy said...

I hope you find a good safe place for them.

Rebecca said...

Great statues-and with a special spot in your heart-the best kind-I understand what you mean about not totally your style-but I love that you're keeping something that hopefully you're children will remember-thanks for sharing!

Shay said...

Yep-Im not into statues much either but I have some things of my grandmothers that I couldnt bear to throw out so I understand you completely .

I think it's lovely that your safe keeping them . And you never know at some point these could be worth squillions and be back in fashion!