We have been watching a lot of Dark Shadows at our house over the past few months. The 1960's & 70's daytime soap is awash with vampires, ghosts, the supernatural, and more than a few passing references to classic horror films. I have not heard that Edward Gorey was ever an avid watcher of the show, but it seems to be the kind of daytime entertainment that he would have enjoyed for its high camp tone and occasional, questionable production values.
Humbert Allen Astredo, the actor who played warlock Nicholas Blair, I came across the fact that Mr. Astredo played Van Helsing in the 1985 national tour of Edward Gorey's Dracula. The tour starred Martin Landau as Dracula, and came to the newly completed Ordway Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota on February 4 & 5, 1985. Bill and I attended both performances of the play.
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
As many followers of this blog know, I co-own Century Studios, a stained glass studio in St. Paul, Minnesota with Bill Campbell. Each year, we like to create and donate a stained glass window hanging to the Edward Gorey House which they can auction or sell. The piece relates to the theme of the current exhibition, and each is a one-of-a-kind creation.
In 1963, The Vinegar Works was published as three separate books housed in a decorated slip case. The design of the box features a skeleton family dressed in their Sunday best. This year, we have chosen one of the skeletal children who appear on the spine of the box as the theme for our stained glass suncatcher.
The piece is completely hand made using American-made art glass. We chose an unusual textured red glass for the background of the figure. The figure and decoration are hand painted by Bill onto the surface of the glass and is kiln fired to become permanent.
To find out how you might obtain this one of a kind piece, contact The Edward Gorey House.
Saturday, May 25, 2013
I am showing three pieces of original artwork that Edward Gorey created in October 1975 to be used as pinback buttons for the ballet. This artwork was offered to me many years ago by Gotham Book Mart, but unfortunately I was unable to acquire them at the time. I am especially fond of the image at the bottom with the dancer being held aloft. The composition of this design is both gravity defying and amusing. I do not know how dancers are trained to hold their hands when striking a pose, but this ballerina's hands have a manic look about them even though her expression is confident.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Since originally publishing this post, a friend generously gifted me with the two buttons I was missing from Edward Gorey's Cape Cod theatrical productions. The revised post follows:
Edward Gorey created pinback buttons for most of the theatrical entertainments he was involved with. He also created a number of pinback buttons for the New York City Ballet. These buttons were usually made in very limited quantities and were sold in lobbies and gift stores at the events. Extra buttons were usually sold by Gotham Book Mart. Even though they were inexpensive souvenirs, they can be quite difficult to find today, making them a challenging collectible to acquire.
Mr. Gorey usually drew a unique image for the pinback buttons, making each button the only place you will find the image. If the image also appeared on a program or poster, he would redraw it to size for the button rather than reducing it down. Each design is a vignette that often includes the title of the production it was created for. Below I am showing a complete collection of the buttons from his productions on the Cape.
From 1994 onward, Figbash makes frequent appearances on the buttons, as well as on posters, programs, announcement cards, and even on stage. I own one of the earliest white hand sewn Figbash dolls that was included as part of the set decoration on Chinese Gossip.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Les Roses bleuatres l'ouldiette dans ea cuisine which was included in the 1975 Graham Gallery Problem Pictures show. I have recently run across two black and white reprints of artwork that must have been created as companion pieces for the show. If Edward Gorey used the same size and format for each of the three paintings, the images are heavily cropped in the black and white photos, but perhaps he created the images in different shapes and sizes.
Finding two more images makes me wonder if there might be more to this series. Some enigmatic story line is indicated - in the first piece (or possibly the final piece) we have an exterior view of the cutaway building, while the other two images indicate strange domestic events.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Edward Gorey created a total of three cover images for Lilliput Magazine around 1948/1950 and each is signed with Mr. Gorey's early form of initial signature, "EStJG" in block letters. I previously wrote about the two other pieces created for this magazine (see my post from July 9, 2011 & April 15, 2013). It is unclear if they were ever sent to the magazine itself or if Mr. Gorey created them as examples of his work for exhibition.
Mr. Gorey obviously intended all three pieces to be viewed as covers (or potential cover designs) for the magazine. The name is boldly featured in each composition and two of the three have the price indicated in the upper right hand corner of the paintings.
This third Lilliput cover painting again shows a sophisticated use of white space in the composition of the image. Foreground, middle and far depth is achieved simply and economically with the bleak snowy landscape indicated by using the white of the paper. The grey winter sky would become a favorite theme in Edward Gorey's works, and in this image it is effectively painted in. The detailing on the image is remarkable. The image is 5.25" x 7.75" and the two figures having tea in the snow are very tiny on the original, yet they are rendered with precise details and shading. The gentlemen remain unexpectedly unmoved by the cold desolation of the countryside, and this is one instance where a fur coat appears to be needed.