// BarryBlog //

A creative dumping ground for issues that interest me personally and professionally, with the thought they may interest you too. Issues such as the business of design, the design of business, the design of objects, design strategy, creative direction, innovation, creativity, thought leadership, observations, as well as recommendations, mid-century modern decorative arts and architecture, and the state of my thinking (and currently the state of my heart).

Friday, January 11, 2008

Harry Wysocki: Mid-Century Modern 3D Art



Last summer my wife and I vacationed in Golden Colorado to visit my brother-in-law. During the week he generously gave us full use of his car while he was at work, and we took it to downtown Denver one afternoon to visit Antique Row on Broadway street. We came across a place called Hooked on Glass, which for the most part specialized in, well, collector glass of course, but in addition to a bunch of Heywood Wakefield items and other great mid-century decorative art , we found these 3D pieces of art. The minute my wife and I saw it, we knew these were special.

Upon returning from Denver, I began my research. Each piece is hand signed "Wysocki" on the back. I found a ton of work by him, mostly Americana puzzles and impressionism painting. Some of his work is selling for big dollar on eBay, so I decided to call him. Harry as very kind to have spoken with me, and he was fascinating to talk to. A graduate of the former Art Center in Pasadena, he had a long career as an ad man. To make a long story short, he told me the whole story behind these 3D artworks. He told me they were ideas he had for art while he was working at an ad agency. He wanted to try and prototype these out, so he went to a machine shop and had a mold made first out of wood, then he took that to a plastic extrusion facility and had prototypes made. He then took these to a company who specialized in making art for office furniture stores, which he tells me was a rather common place for art to be sold then, at which point he and this company produced rather short runs of the cat, owl, plus a third which I can no longer remember. Suffice it to say these are super rare, and from my conversation with him believe these may be worth several thousands dollars each. Harry is alive today and maintains a studio.

This is some information about Harry from his website.

A dichotomy exists in Wysocki's present works as expressed by his ability to paint impressionism along with his fascination for nostalgia. His many collectors appreciate his diversity. He describes his Americana paintings as nostalgia: a time before computers, hi-tech movies and fax machines, when traveling by horse and buggy were the mode of transportation. He finds a lighthouse, an old hotel, a railroad station, and then the historical research begins. He delves into archives, haunts old book stores, or talks to old-timers who remember "the way things were", and the painting begins to evolve. The finished portrayal is history, nostalgia, and fantasy.
It is really fun for my wife and I to spend time together looking for collectibles and treasures. And for me, I have even more fun doing research and at times speaking with the artists themselves to hear the story behind the treasures. The truth is, neither of us have the desire or resources to spend very often, but admittedly we do have a knack for finding deals. Big time deals. And it's something we enjoy together. These two pieces were the most we ever spent on art. $240. But if my research is correct, this could represent a $4,000-6,000 profit. Not bad for an afternoon spent doing what we really enjoy. Next time you see a garage sale, flea market or collectible market, stop in and see what you might find.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Comments:

Blogger Liz Ness said...

WOW! You really do have an eye! Also, it's so cool that you've been talking with the artists and learning so much about these awesome pieces (the chairs and the 3D art)!

10:29 AM  
Anonymous dave said...

$240.. wow.. you got a great deal!

1:04 PM  
Blogger studiosmith said...

I've scoured the web and spoke to a couple people I consider rather knowledgeable in mid-century art of this nature, and everyone says these are rare and rather collectible in terms of saleability. At the least they are fun, right? Hey thanks for commenting.

7:21 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Those are a great find. I have a friend who goes to Kansas Auctions and seeks out Vintage items and sells them on their website. They especially collect Mid Century Modern. It is amazing what you can find. Check out their site at: www.enlightenedmatter.com

11:18 AM  
Blogger studiosmith said...

Thanks Chris. I'll check out your friends site. Thanks for stopping by!

7:31 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

I have renently rec'd a Harry Wysocki 3D original (I believe) It is of a mother swan with 3 babies and is signed in the front bottom left corner. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any info on line. Do you know where I can found any info on the work?
Thank you
Karen in Calgary AB Canada

11:35 AM  
Blogger studiosmith said...

Karn

He maintains a studio. If you read the post you will see this blog post is about as complete a story about your piece as exists, shy of calling the artist, as I did and discussed in this post. Did I misunderstand your question?

3:38 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts