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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gutzon Borglum Commemorative Tondo "Remember the Maine" Up for Auction

Gutzon Borglum (1871-1941) “Remember the Maine”

 I received an interesting phone call today at our gallery Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Gallery from an unknown source notifying me of a major historical commemorative tondo marquetry carving coming up for auction next week in Madrid, Spain. The caller was pretty adamant about having the piece purchased and brought back to the United States where it belongs instead of potentially having it purchased and remaining in Spain. That's the reason for writing this blog, so for all of you Spanish American collectors and museums take notice.

The auction house Alcala Subastas lists this item in their February 16 & 17, 2011 auction catalog, lot # 206 with the description: Gutzon Borglum (1871-1941) “Remember the Maine” Tondo commemorating the victims of the sinking of the battleship Maine in Havana harbor on February 15, 1898. Tropical wood marquetry depicting the American eagle on the obverse and the reverse geometric marquetry woods.  A tondo is a Renaissance term for a circular work of art, either a painting or a sculpture. The word derives from the Italian rotondo, "round." This tondo measures 91 cm. in diameter or a hair shy of 36 inches, is inscribed around the outer edge, "ONLY THOSE FIT TO LIVE DO NOT FEAR TO DIE" and "HABANA YACHT CLUB" below.

Many collectors may ask "so what's so special about this piece? Thousands of items were produced after the end of the Spanish American War celebrating America’s coming out party as a world power." Read my recent blog titled "Spanish American War Collectibles- USS Maine & USS Olympia Frosted Glass Windows".  What makes this item special is that it is a commissioned piece produced for the Habana Yacht Club by the famous American sculpture Gutzon Borglum. For those of you not familiar with Borglum, he was the artist that created the monumental presidents' heads at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, the famous carving on Stone Mountain near Atlanta, as well as other public works of art. Here's a link to Wikipedia about (John) Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum.

Photograph of Gutzon Borglum, circa 1919.
 This is all that we have been able to put together (quickly) in order to get the word out in a timely manner. Please let us know if you have any other information to include about this Borglum work of art. We  also hope this information will encourage an American buyer to pursue this exceptional piece and bring it back to the USA. So, if you're interested in this item and buy it, please send me an E-mail and let us know. Good luck!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Marine Art at Skipjack: Featuring Impressionist Marine Paintings by Sandy Nelson

"Sailing the Bay" by Sandy Nelson. oil on panel, 12x16
"Sailing the Bay" by Sandy Nelson. oil on panel, 12x16
 "A beautiful summer day on the Chesapeake Bay is the perfect backdrop for a painting. I never cease to be amazed, and a little bit jealous, at the number of boats out enjoying the freedom of sailing. Often I try to feel the wind in the sails and the joy of feeling the open water when I'm painting."

 Featuring Impressionist Marine Art by North Carolina artist Sandy Nelson

Sandy Nelson's influences in her art are as diverse as the great Spanish, Russian and French impressionists to a childhood amid the dark hills of eastern Kentucky. In the latter she found a sincere appreciation for the beauty of the world around her, in the former, inspiration to express it. Sandy's work is not edgy nor avant-garde; it doesn’t follow fads or trends – it is simply truth, as she perceive it. That is what she hopes the viewer takes away with them.

The subjects of her painting may be a cloud, a boat, a figure or bowl of fruit – one is as monumental as another. The paintings are memories of a moment in time, a representation of her emotions and ideas, which is transferred to the viewer. In her studio she live with these words, which remind her that it is truly a gift to be an artist.
"Summerwind" by Sandy Nelson, oil on canvas measuring 24 X 36 inches.
"Summerwind" by Sandy Nelson, oil on canvas measuring 24 X 36 inches.
"In mid-summer, the winds beckon sailors to sail the marshes and intracoastal waters. A lazy afternoon is all that's needed to beckon participants out onto the water of the intracoastals"

"I believe in Michelangelo, Velasquez and Rembrandt; in the might of design, the mystery of color, the redemption of all things by Beauty everlasting and the message of art that has made these hands blessed: Amen. Amen." Bernard Shaw.

Most of Sandy Nelson's works were created in the beautiful Outer Banks of North Carolina, her home away from home and in the coastal area of Wilmington and the Cape Fear which stretches along the coast to South Carolina.

“Weekend Sailing”  by Sandy Nelson. Oil on panel measuring 12x16 inches.
“Weekend Sailing”  by Sandy Nelson. Oil on panel measuring 12x16 inches.
"To me, boats, especially sailboats, are floating sculpture. I love the way they move over the water and punctuate the sky, the way the sails reflect color and move with the wind. I imagine the sailors on them have a different way of enjoying them. What a way to spend a weekend!"

She maintains her studio in Leland, NC but travels extensively to paint. She is a member of ASOPA, the New Mexico Pastel Society, Pastel Society of the Southwest, Midwest Pastel Society and Women Artists of the West.

Biography: Sandy Nelson has been a professional artist for many years. She studied Fine Art and painting at the University of KY and the Scottsdale Art School. Her portraits and landscapes have been accepted to national juried competitions from Maine to California, many winning national awards. Her work is included in over 60 corporate and museum collections including those of Sam Walton, founder of Walmart and George Steinbrenner, owner of the NY Yankees. She was named one of the top 200 artists by the Artists Magazine and has been profiled in “The Rotarian” an international publication. One of Nelson's portraits was the cover of “Bench & Bar” magazine in 2007 and one of her marsh landscapes graced the cover of “Carolina Art” magazine in 2008.

You can preview Sandy Nelson's artwork by following this link here to Sandy Nelson on Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Galleries -Marine Art Gallery.  Sandy Nelson's marine paintings were also recently featured on Nautical Art Blogspot.