Thursday, October 28, 2010

R.C. Gorman Estate Part 2

There are many R.C. Gorman stories, most of them are probably true. We were on the special Gorman guest list because I'd brought RC cookies at Christmastime the first year we had moved here to Taos. It's my family tradition to bring home baked cookies to people that were kind to you the previous year, well RC was on my list and from then on I was on his. The poster here is signed, although faded, on each side by RC & Fritz Scholder, although Mr. Scholder was actually taller than RC, Mr. Gorman for this photo shoot thought to wear boots and his 10 gallon hat making himself seem tallest of the 2. After this exhibit in 1973 these two fine Native American artists careers were in full swing. At this point Mr. Scholder was teaching at the Santa Fe Institute of American Indian Arts. He had lived here in Taos nearby to the san Francisco de Asis Church Plaza on the Talpa ridge, his home 300 years ago was part of the lookout station for the Ranchos Plaza. Sorry but the above poster is SOLD a jewel in my personal collection. So far, so good, many of the smaller pieces from the Gorman collection are being snatched up, most of which have not been posted here. I do have 8 beveled mirrors with RCG inscribed at the top available for SOLD, a really nice inexpensive memento, or a great gift, ooh. 1760 Umbrellas California project 1991 in Gorman, California! The above Christo photograph signed: "Dear R.C. Finally Two Great Artists meet! Christo" This too is NFS Pottery Bowl with Long Beard Kachinas and woven handle w/coral beads 4"tall signed by Ottellie Loloma (Hopi 1922-1993) who began teaching at the Institute of American Indian Arts in 1962, married to Charles Loloma who was best known for his innovative contemporary style jewelry and who occasionally collaborated on pottery with his wife. SOLD Since you already know I'm a Kachina nut, this one made me gasp "Two Horn Society w/Rainbow" (or is it some sort of Social Dancer perhaps a Moth?) As I can not find anything at all in the books we'll just say it's extremely rare SOLD which I believe is very fair, size is 14" tall, perfect balance to stand probably ca. 1970's A TRUE collector's item. A collector recently emailed to say who he believes this doll may have been carved by, a bit more investigating needs to be done. This doll has been repaired and I now know it to be the Deity Asoaka which is not a true Kachina, it is in the category with Masau.
Photograph of Gorman family RC is either in the overalls or standing behind post to the left.
6 1/2" x 7" framed SOLD.
Pen and ink Magpie on paper, 3/12" x 5" SOLD
Gorman family photograph probably RC in cowboy hat 7 1/4" x 8" framed SOLD.
Crystal statuette looks like an award given to RC but no inscription perhaps a gift just for fun, sort of like an Academy Award Oscar, perhaps a gift from Elizabeth Taylor herself??? well we'll never know now... 9 1/2" tall SOLD.
Plastic life size Skull, another fun RC humorous item SOLD
Black Angel Candle stick holders Hecho en Mexico 5 1/4" tall & 4 1/2" tall (w/wing repaired) pair SOLD.
Yaki Indian Mask made from goat hide, I do not know the age but this is a nice collector's piece 4" tall (made as a souvenir piece not as a ceremonial dance mask) carved wooden nose and mouth, cardboard ears returned to the Gorman family. SOLD
Carved Oaxacan Leopard vintage 10" long SOLD My neighbor Orly has a pot from Mexico with these very same spots painted onto it.
Photograph of RC with one of his famous models 8" x 10" framed SOLD.
A miniature pottery version of Taos Pueblo village dwelling made of micaceous clay with little details and has a piece of felt attached to the underside
base is 5 1/2" x 6" height just over 4 1/4" SOLD My Buddy Brian seems to think this is by the sister of Bernadette Track but couldn't remember her name, (BT was one of RC's models). I am now told by Juanita Witkop, thank you JW that the Pueblo house is by Jeri Track of Taos Pueblo, and is Bernadette's Mom (not her sister). Jeri Track is in her early to mid 90's! She's been making these Pueblo houses of clay since at least the early 70's, (rather doubt she's making them anymore, but I stand to be corrected and hope she still does make them) quite the lady indeed.
The famous Taos Pueblo Rabbit hunt has been depicted in many of the early Taos Founder paintings, these are two Rabbit Clubs, they look unused and were perhaps given to RC as a token gesture, the rabbit hunt takes place right through RC's backyard to this day. SOLD 
Although this is unsigned and she was known to not sign everything this watercolor is a classic Ila McAfee (1897-1995) on a wrinkly paper that she enjoyed using 8 1/4" x 11 1/4" NFS
The inscription reads: "R.C. There is a certain class of eating that only the French know how to bring out! Michael Heller" I do not know who this person is but classic RC and one of his friends sharing a meal, yum! 7" x 9" framed SOLD
Navajo Family Mud Toy, typically these were made by the Navajo Folk Artist Mamie Deschellie b.1920 Fruitland, NM, and the early ones are not signed but this is a GREAT grouping. The seated figures are 4" - 4 1/2" tall each have a few repairs. I have decided to sell each figure separately they are all sold.
The RC Studio diorama box 4 1/2" tall x 6" wide x 4 1/4" deep with RC, cat, piano and his artwork in the background and on the 'walls' w/glass covering SOLD
PowWow Fancy Dancer Miniature, unidentified watercolor with round mat floating in a frame, amazing the artwork is 1 1/2" the frame is 5 1/4" square SOLD.
A Slender Navajo Hall Mirror wooden carved low relief, yup, it's dirty but wow,
what a find 5 1/4" x 24" priced at SOLD.
Photograph of a classic RC party 8" x 10" framed SOLDJust like old times!
Four Carved Pottery Shards mounted onto a Tobacco Felt Carved animal fetish with heishi eye, carved foot on striped potsherd, carved profile of RC, and a small abalone shell mounted onto potsherd collected at Oso Ridge, NM assemblage by Robert Auer 3 3/4" x 5 1/4" SOLDvery cool, very clever
"RC's Foot" ceramic life size pottery with soft white glaze filled w/glass marbles
length 9" Some of RC's collectors and critics believe that his ability to draw feet was outstanding, perhaps someone cast his fickled foot SOLD RC had big feet!
Below this poster of RC is signed by him with the quote: "Thank You for your Money, R.C. Gorman" currently not in the best of frames 18" x 24" SOLD One of RC's nephews tells me that this was an unauthorized poster, so it's rather odd that RC would have signed it, but it shows his great sense of humor and playfulness, a tribute!
Almost all of these items were purchased at the RC Gorman Estate Sale which took place in his former pottery studio today. There have been a number of Gorman related Estate Sales, today was perhaps the last. Two Graces is always looking for R.C. Gorman related items we have bought and sold a number of pieces over these 7 years. This collection on view and for sale right now in the store is a spectacular treat to behold. There are a few other items which I have not listed here, but if you come by for any part of this collection please ask about what else is available. We are also happy to ship items to collectors out of town. All items come with an attached provenance sticker.
As RC himself would say, Thank You for Your Money!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Taos Rock Art Petroglyphs

Water Color Post Card by Robert Ray (1924-2002), the reason I'm including this image is that I consider this the Robert Ray Petroglyph Site, which is what it should be named officially (and this is a painting which I own).
Above is a depiction of damage to petroglyphs from water run off. Although people get most of the blame for damaging petroglyphs, from walking on them, chalking in the outlines to get a better photograph, chipping at them to remove them, and making their own contemporary graffiti at sites. Please don't do any of these things!
Here's one of the best images I've ever seen! The Painter, the Guitar Player, the Teacher...
Petroglyphs lie along waterways and through canyons in the great southwest, here in Taos we are fortunate to have a number of sites, unfortunately they tend to be on Private Property. There are many just off Blueberry Hill on the Lower Las Colonias side but you'd need permission to go hunting for them. There are some great ones just south of Taos on the hillside overlooking the village of Pilar by the cemetery, (landmarks are a Water tank and a large Penitente Cross). These too, are fast becoming part of private property as more and more people build houses on this hillside.
All of the petroglyphs I'm showing here in these photographs are at a site next to the Rio Pueblo de Taos in Los Cordovas. From what I'm told this is a sacred site to the people of Taos Pueblo. In which case if you do get to visit this place, PLEASE don't disturb anything, such as bones, feathers, & the rocks themselves. On top of this site sits a house built and once owned by the Taos Modernist artist Robert Ray, the house was left by the estate to the Harwood Museum, which then sold it and is currently owned by people I have not met, yet. I consider the current owners the caretakers of a very important spiritual center, respect their privacy, do not climb the rocks to get a better view of the rock art. Above is the first panel you'll come upon.
A mixed panel of critters and symbols.
Note the ram on the bottom left with the extra long back leg. Rams and crosses are abundant here, crosses can be interpreted as signs of early Penitente activity, Or as Dragonflies, Or as Stars. Rams point out directions to go in and how many days it will take.
This site does not have spiral pictographs it does have many circles within circles, which can be interpreted as solar or to me a vortex.
Above and below are abstract depictions sometimes looking like faces and sometimes containing ritualistic bird figures. There are many of these at the Three Rivers Petroglyph park in the southern part of New Mexico, and some at the petroglyph park south of Albuquerque.
For better interpretive material than what I can provide here the books "The Rocks Begin to Speak" & "A Field Guide to Rock Art Symbols of the Greater Southwest" these books describe these authors interpretations, and I'll say no more. My own interpretations are from my own experiences, research, intuition and field studies.
Without getting too carried away with my own interpretations I would call the one on the left an emergence, possibly a figure coming out of the Sipapu into this world, with the one on the right looking like a cloud formation but I think it's much more than that more of a Kiva (sometimes referred to as Estufas) image.
A bird figure, possibly anthropomorphic. The difference between pictographs, and petroglyphs is basically the former can be painted onto rock surfaces with locally found mineral 'paints' and are usually found in caves or below shelf cliffs which help to protect the images from the elements, the latter are found on basalt or dark rock formations and can be found on boulders or on cliff faces the images are pecked or scratched onto the surface.
The Kokopelli figures found here have no indication of flutes, they do have the typical 'humpback', whch is why I will call them Kokopelli.
This figure is high on a rock surface, there are times when petroglyphs are so high up on rock walls you wonder how they got up there.
One of my favorites, human coming out of the earth, out of a Kiva, or again emerging from the Sipapu.
The Human figure to the left looks similar to the one in close up but is on a different panel. More Circles within circles, this panel with a snake/water symbol at the top. Water symbols will typically point the way towards a nearby source of water. As snakes are known to be near water sources please watch your step. Stepping over logs and rocks can lead to startling a snake from it's rest and it striking you with a venomous bite.
Another figure with hands over head in an emergence position, this one has horns, hmmm....
Typical signs of the Bear Clan on a large boulder, probably still to this day respectful caretakers of this site.
On the upper left another bear clan symbol. The moss and lichen which are true destroyers of many petroglyphs worldwide.
Steps leading away from the water source which the snake is pointing towards.
A deer image with large rack of antlers.
An enormous snake image but unlike most this one is rather straight. Images of Rams and Humans reaching to the...
Dragonfly Cross on top of Double Rams.
A large pecked Ram, missing head possible sign of vandalism or just chaffing of the rock formation. The worst thing about this site is that years ago people were going in with bulldozers and removing entire boulders for landscaping projects in Taos and Santa Fe. That is why today the area is blocked off to the nth degree with barbed wire fencing, plenty of No Tresspassing and Private Property signs, making for a rather foreboding place.
As you can see ceremonial activity from nearby Taos Pueblo and perhaps other groups of indigenous people still takes place here, respect this and leave it alone.
Here's my thing, I first came to the Southwest and Taos in particular to wander around and find sites like this for inspiration. I've been painting animal style rock art paintings since the early 80's, the gallery I showed with in NYC was formally called Pictogram, but eventually changed it's name to Trabia-MacAffee, and no longer exists. Nowadays, I'm here in Taos Painting in my Gallery, Two Graces, I still paint animal images in this manner and believe that if you love this sort of thing wouldn't it be better to have an artists interpretation on your wall rather than stealing these priceless examples. For more examples of my artwork please visit my gallery website If you are interested in seeing this particular site please get in touch and I'll be happy to give you a tour of it, when my schedule allows. I do have permission to visit this incredible place.