NEW YORK — The story of the iconic Indian motorcycle began in 1901 in Springfield, Mass., when bicycle maker, racing promoter, and former racing champion George Hendee hired Oscar Hedstrom to build gasoline engine-powered bikes as a way to pace bicycle races. Hendee had previously started and run a bicycle company. In 1902, the first Indian motorcycle was sold. That same year, an “Indian” made its public racing debut, winning a competition that started in Boston and finished in New York City.
NEW YORK – It isn’t often that the words “grotesque” and “highly collectible” are used to describe decorative objects, but such is the case with Martin Brothers birds. The wildly eccentric stoneware avians were the offbeat creations of British siblings who operated from several locations between 1873 and 1923, although little was produced during or after World War I. “Grotesques” was the common (and affectionate) term often used to describe their offbeat flock.
NEW YORK – Long before we carried around photos of family and friends on our phones, there were portrait miniatures. First used to decorate handwritten books in the 1500s, miniatures were then framed and, owing to their size, well suited to be carried around by people whether as tokens of worship, loyalty to a king or queen or as a cherished reminder of a loved one. Portrait miniatures were immediately popular and still are today.
NEW YORK – Although the mane of fiery red hair that gave him his nickname as a young man has gone white over his 81 years, Red Grooms is as much a provocateur and firecracker today as he has ever been. He has spent his career distilling pop culture into his art, incorporating sports, political figures and other aspects of daily life – always with his customary dash of humor and whimsy. In nearly five decades of creating art, Grooms has effortlessly mastered a variety of artistic disciplines, from painting and sculpture to printmaking, filmmaking and theater design. He even did a stint as a performance artist in the late 1950s, mounting innovative art “happenings.”
NEW YORK – The highlight of going to the supermarket with Mom as a youngster was being given a nickel or a coin to put into a candy machine and be rewarded with a brightly colored gumball of sweet goodness. In the modern era the machines are fairly utilitarian, but a century earlier these machines were artistic, often featuring smiling or frowning clowns and bold wording. They were produced in countertop and floor models.
NEW YORK — Digital downloading has forever changed the music industry, but the interest in vinyl is on the uptick. Some music labels, especially small indies, even continue to release new music on vinyl. For collectors, there is a thrill to removing a record from its artfully-adorned jacket and placing it on a turntable to enjoy. It’s an experience that cannot be matched by downloads from iTunes or other digital-music services.
NEW YORK — George Rodrigue (1944-2013) created art that has its roots in the Cajun country of southwest Louisiana, where he was born and raised, but his legacy in the art world is wholly as an American artist, not just as a Louisiana regional painter. His body of work has sometimes been unfairly reduced to just the whimsical Blue Dog paintings, but his career was much deeper and more layered.
NEW YORK — In years past, a cane, or walking stick, wasn’t just an aid to mobility; it was more of a gentleman’s fashion accessory.
NEW YORK — There’s a universe of collectors monitoring the auction marketplace for rare and desirable Star Wars memorabilia, from action figures and pinball machines to toys, games, LEGO sets, movie posters and even housewares. The Star Wars phenomenon began on May 25, 1977, when the film Star Wars — later retitled Star Wars: Episode IV— A New Hope — opened in theaters to rave reviews. It went on to win seven Oscars and rake in nearly $800 million dollars worldwide.
NEW YORK — North Carolina has a long and rich history in pottery-making with over 1,000 potters plying their craft in the state today. Given the state’s abundance of clay deposits, it was only natural for pottery to take a foothold here. Native Americans began shaping coil pottery and when British citizens settled here, they embraced the art of pottery and began turning out functional and elegant earthenware items. From the Moravian potters who settled here from Pennsylvania to the Catawba Valley and the Piedmont and Seagrove communities, North Carolina pottery is renowned for its exuberant slip-decoration and lead glazes.