Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ted Lewy Plaque

We had an artist here in California named Ted Lewy who captured day to day life of San Fransisco in the 40's and 50's.

He was widely collected.  I have two of his prints.

sticker on back of prints and plaque

Well, I came across, what I imagine was, a souvenir plaque but it had seen better days. So I decided to give it a little face lift and hang it on my wall by my two Lewy prints.

Sky missing, huge chip on right side

Most of the sky had been torn away. I carefully repainted the sky, let it dry and went over the whole background with some acrylic varnish in low luster to preserve the image.

Next I mixed some acrylic paint to match the inside border of the ceramic plaque and painted out the chip.  When that was dry I went over the chip with a little clear nail polish to match the luster of the pottery.

4" x 5" plaque

chip is hardly noticeable on right

And lastly I used my hot glue gun to cover the entire edge of the plaque with trim to diguise the chip as much as possible.

Now my little plaque will hang happily along side my two coordinating pictures.

I also have a couple Thomas Kincade's hometown prints he painted of our hometown of Placerville, also know as Hangtown. One is of my bakery and the other is of the house I lived in as a teenager.  I enjoy all the memories those bring back to life. Also have a couple of other works by local artists.

My advice is to collect what makes you happy.

Happy Collecting!

P.S.  I found this history of Ted Lewy's works on "collectingjourneys"

You’ve probably seen his art, but what do you know about Ted Lewy?
I have many collecting passions, but the longest lived and most enjoyable has to be my many forms of Ted Lewy art. A German Jew and survivor of the Holocaust, he trained as an artist in China and came to San Francisco during the World War II. After enlisting in the Army, he served as a military artist.
When the war was over, Ted Lewy took a job at the Emporium Department store on Market Street, where (I imagine) he sat hunched over his drawing board designing the shopping bags, cartons and hat boxes that most of our grandmother’s kept on the top shelves of their perfumed closets.
And then something wonderful happened.
Ted Lewy fell in love – with my home town, San Francisco.
It’s obvious from every splash of color in his work. Proof of his love for The City is there on every cable car he ever painted, in the plumes of smoke floating out of men’s pipes, from the riotously inked Union Square flower stands my 5-year-old brain recalls. The depth of joy and love for Baghdad-by-the-Bay is in every stroke.
His artwork, one-step removed from cartoons is also linked to the precise execution of oriental watercolors, which is not surprising as Lewy studied art in Shanghai. It speaks of one man’s love for a city that welcomed newcomers with car horn honks, bike jingles and cable car clang-clang-clangs.
Many of his scenes are commercial. I know that because of the oodles of playing cards and bridge tally books, calendars, postcards and Christmas cards I’ve collected. Sometime in the 1950’s Ted Lewy opened his own cottage industry from his snug little home in the Sunset District, where he paid housewives on the block a penny a unit to glue art stamps on tiny matchbooks. With a little help, he churned out thousands of cheaply framed souvenirs, perfect for the out-of-towners.

Lewy’s ballpoint pen signature
I first came upon Ted Lewy prints at the Marin flea market in the early 1980’s. Good condition 8 by 10’s in their original bamboo frames went for $2 or $3 dollars.
I must have a large wall full by now.
Although detailed, it seems to me that every element has somehow been cut and glued to the canvas with an unsteady hand. Colors are lurid and snappy. Reds like blues. Men’s hats have contrasting bands and shoes spar with trousers. Whites love greens. Anything dark, like a cable car man’s navy blue wool uniform, is spiked with something bright like gold buttons.
A cable car is on its tracks, yes, but the tracks weren’t necessarily parallel. Long, low sedans are parked here and there along miles of welcoming curbs; but look closely – one wheel is usually a bit kaflewey. The light posts sway. Clouds wheel through blustery skies. Stairs zip over hills with ankle twisting abandon.
San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen’s pal, artist Dong Kingman produced art in a somewhat similar style. I can remember that he did drawings for airline menus and his images were printed on cotton bed sheets. Kingman got a lot of respect, but I suspect Ted Lewy cornered the market on grins – and the tourist’s bucks.
I’ve only one very large original Lewy painting. It must be 2 feet by 3 feet and I framed it in thick bamboo. Paperwork attached to the back explained that it was an entry for a WWII art poster competition. The winners would have hung in every school and post office, I guess. But “Be a Hospital Technician” was hardly “Loose Lips Sink Ships.” No matter.
I’d still like to know more about Ted Lewy. In the only photograph I’ve ever seen of him, he wears a Hawaiian shirt. He has dark curly hair. He’s built like a wrestler. He married, but had no children and died of a heart attack in 1967 in his little house with a view of the Pacific Ocean.
But not before he produced a prodigious amount of joyful work that mostly moldered and got tossed out when tastes changed. Except at my house.

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