Back in the day – part 1

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1956 Chrysler De Soto Firedome Seville

Ah, how I love anything vintage and this display of classic cars has my name written all over it! I was not disappointed with any of them and secretly wished I could have a ride in at least one…or two…or all of them! As a child and young teen I would see some of these still on the road and now to see these restored and preserved is exciting. So, here we go with American Dreams.

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It’s delightful…It’s delovely….It’s De Soto! read the ads for the large sedan with a V-8 engine. And rightfully so as it featured a 12-volt electrical system to run a power radio antenna, power seats, and a Highway Hi-Fi record player (although I’m not sure how you would keep a needle on a record on a bumpy road). Consumers could choose between a 3-speed manual transmission or a push button transmission, the first to be offered in the United States.

 

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This Firedome has undergone extensive restoration.  Painted in factory correct tones of shell pink and irridescent burgundy it also has New Original Stock (NOS) upholstery.

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1954 Packard  Caribbean

Truly a luxury car only 400 Caribbeans were manufactured in 1954.  All came standard with leather upholstery and spare tire carrier on the back. The last true Packard would roll off the assembly line in 1956.

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California Dreamin’

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Chrome and stainless steel trim stretched the entire length of the car. During the mid-1950’s many of the smaller car manufacturers declined under competition with the Big Three – Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors.

 

 

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1957 Ford Thunderbird

Although the T-bird was fitted with a V-8 engine Ford promoted it as a personal luxury car rather than a sports car.   Chevrolet had the Corvette and Europe produced countless sports cars, but Ford had the Thunderbird. The large trunk accomodated the spare tire and the tail fins were elongated in the style of the day.

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This T-bird has been restored with all factory-stock materials.

All of these classic automobiles and more are on display at the McNay Art Museum until May 19th.  I’ll be featuring others in upcoming posts, so stay tuned!

 

Gross Domestic Product

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Ann Agee,Gross Domestic Product, 2010, porcelain and steel armature

My love of Blue Willow pottery drew my eyes to this piece immediately.  While the blue and white designs on porcelain attracted me it was the images on each plate that kept me staring.

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Domestic scenes fill the porcelain plates – scenes of kitchen tables, living room couches and chairs, empty dining rooms, and dishes drying on a rack  as seen above. The shapes and designs are captivating. Simple everyday scenes captured, frozen in time.

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The artist’s contemporary settings reference Northern sixteenth-century genre paintings and the household tableaus and goods (including Delftware) they captured.  Agee takes these stylistic ideas and reimagines them in clay and glaze as a reflection on domesticity, feminism, and artistic medium. (from the McNay Art Museum, Impressions, January/April 2017)

Made of what?

If you read  my Doorway Into the Past blog then you know about the McNay Museum of Art that I featured there.  Marion Koogler McNay bequeathed her Spanish Colonial-Revival home and surrounding 23 acres to be preserved as a museum of modern art.  Her collection of 700 pieces of European and Southwestern art pieces formed the core of the museum when it opened in 1954. Today the museum curates almost 20,000 pieces of art.

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A current exhibit titled “The Extraordinary Ordinary: Three Installations” has three artists using “the stuff of ordinary life to create extraordinary environments”.  While all 3 were interesting my 12-year old companion and I found artist Tom Burckhardt’s creation to hold us captive for quite a while.  He created an artist’s studio from corrugated cardboard, black paint, wood and hot glue and looked over nothing.

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We carefully went over every detail commenting over and over, “look at that” or “how on earth did he make that” as well as “I wonder how many times he had to re-do that”!

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There were brushes and various types of paint all with meticulously painted labels. The small stove held a pot and a can of Campbell’s tomato soup stored on a shelf above. A phonograph on the shelf was ready to play a tune and there were reference books on the table.

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The window, sink, overhead pipes all look real, don’t they?  Such creativity – who would have thought of this!

And, I have to add that I was just as thrilled when we entered a room and there on the wall was one of Monet’s studies of Water Lilies! I wanted to just bring it home with me, but perhaps buying a copy would be a little more prudent!

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