Showing posts from November, 2023

Balmer, Boyd & Stewart / LAMA

Lot 123 Jean Balmer, Untitled Balmer, Boyd & Stewart By Dave Hampton Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the work of June Schwarcz, Kay Whitcomb and the Woolleys was exhibited repeatedly in the Pasadena Museum of Art's exhibition series California Design .  Jean Balmer Terrace Bottle, California Design 9 Pacific Beach-based potter Jean Balmer exhibited ceramics in California Design 9 . For California Design 10 , held in 1968, the prolific San Diego potter David Stewart contributed an elaborate handmade chess set. Described as a "limited production" item, it had ceramic pieces rendered in green and white animal forms on a tile surface playing board. David Stewart Chess Set, California Design 10 Stewart was studying sculpture at San Diego State in 1959 on the GI Bill when he saw a show of Marguerite Wildenhain's pottery organized by Martha Longenecker in the campus art department. He chanced upon Wildenhain in the parking lot and chatted with the Bauhaus master potter b

San Diego Enamel Scene / LAMA

Lot 107 Kay Whitcomb, Enamel Sculpture San Diego Enamel Scene by Dave Hampton During the mid to late 1950s, the Art Center in La Jolla was becoming an important hub for area artists and designer-craftsmen, including those working with enamels. When Ellamarie and Jackson Woolley began to focus on the medium in 1948-49 they lived in a unit at Rudolf Schindler's El Pueblo Ribera (above), (along with other Allied Craftsmen group member Harry Bertoia) and their important groundwork helped inspire a whole community of San Diego artists, including Barney Reid, Phyllis Wallen, Joann Tanzer, James Parker, Margaret Price and even the young sculptor Jack Boyd , all of whom eventually did significant work with enamel on copper.  Jackson and  Ellamarie  Woolley Certainly, the Woolleys defined and propelled this wave of enameling by San Diego artists, however, within just a couple of years of each other (1955 and 1957 respectively), Kay Whitcomb and June Schwarcz arrived in La Jolla to infuse t

Gilbert Watrous / LAMA

Lot 160 Gilbert Watrous Table Lamp Gilbert Watrous  by Dave Hampton A few design treasures connected to San Diego, the Esoteric Survey base of operations, can be found rather discreetly embedded within the one hundred and twenty-three lots Steve has selected/approved for the November 15th Design auction at LAMA . They almost all come from the hands of Allied Craftsmen* members and date from the 1960s and 1970s, with the notable exception of a table lamp made by the Heifetz Co. of New York that derives from Gilbert Watrous' celebrated contribution to the 1950 MOMA lighting competition .  A San Diego-based designer, who grew up in Escondido and attended San Diego State College (now University), the 31-year old Watrous was completing a course of study at the Chicago Institute of Design when the contest was announced. The museum quickly received more than 600 entries from 43 states of which just eight table lamps and two floor lamps were selected and made ready for production through c

Lane, Hill and James / LAMA

Lot 158 Tony Hill Lamp Tony Hill, Wilmer James and Doyle Lane were all black ceramicists in Los Angeles during the mid-century. They also all studied under Glen Lukens. Tony happened upon a night class Glen Lukens was teaching to “housewives and war workers” at the Pueblo at the Del Rio housing project ( Paul Revere Williams and Richard Neutra helped design the layout of Pueblo Del Rio). Tony was instantly inspired by the potential ceramics had to offer and was the first black student enrolled in ceramics classes at USC under Lukens. It was Lukens who encouraged Hill to start his lamp business.  The lamp can be seen here with a shade, to the right of Tony himself. He was in California Design 7 (1961) Photo: Jet, 1957 Tony Hill and Wilmer James  In 1944 Tony co-founded a studio in Los Angeles on South Arlington Ave with Wilmer James. According to a 1946 Ebony article, Tony tried to rent a store and “Security First National Bank wouldn't rent to a Negro”. A white friend rented the st