When is a pile of rocks considered art? Recently, an unusual table made of glass and "stone" was offered in an Andrew Jones auction in Los Angeles, with an estimated price of $2,500 to $3,500. It didn't sell, but other related sculptures by the artist, Woods Davy (1949-), have sold from $1,000 to $7,000.
He first collected natural stones and turned them into sculptures without altering the shapes. Then he started making "stones" that look like they came from a riverbed using concrete, metal and glass. He positions them in impossible, strangely balanced shapes, which are held together by concealed steel rods and adhesives.
This table is 22 inches high with a round glass top 42 inches in diameter. Poking through the glass is a rock with its top 28 inches from the floor. He used old natural forms in a new unbalanced way, which is known as postmodernism. That is the name of an unusual period of art developed in the 1950s that fuses past styles with the look of modern magazines, films and other unexpected sources.
But is this just a great table? Or is it art?
Q: I own a set of Dresden figurines purchased in Germany in 1952. Both figures are seated in red chairs. The man is dressed in red pants and a green jacket, the lady in a fancy, poufy white gown trimmed in blue. Markings on the bottom include "handgemalt Dresden Art; Made in Germany." They both have a green trademark and the word "Frankenthal." Can you tell me anything about this pair?
A: This mark was used by the F. Wessel Porcelain Manufactory in Frankenthal, Germany. The company was founded by Friedrich Wilhelm Wessel in 1949 and made porcelain figurines, gift items and household goods. The factory closed before 1964.
Wessel wasn't supposed to use "Dresden" as part of his mark because he wasn't located in Dresden. It was probably an attempt to make his porcelain seem to be the same quality as that made or decorated in Dresden.
Buddy 'L' shovel
Q: Is a Buddy "L" Steam Shovel worth "real" money? I have an early version with wheels, without the treads that are on some models.
A: Buddy "L" toys were made by the Moline Pressed Steel Co. of East Moline, Ill. The company was founded by Fred Lundahl in 1913 and originally made parts for farm implements, cars and trucks. The company began making toys in 1921. The brand was named after Lundahl's son, whose nickname was Buddy. He was called Buddy "L" because there was another boy in the neighborhood named Buddy.
The Steam Shovel toy was made in several versions, both with and without treads. Lundahl died in 1930 and the company was sold. Buddy "L" toys are collectible.
Write to: The Kovels, c/o King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019. The website is kovels.com.
Prices are from shows nationwide.
New Martinsville lamp, flowering vine, opaque mottled pink, chimney shade, brass collar, about 1904, 8 by 3 inches, $45.
Red Wing Pottery water cooler, No. 8, cobalt blue stripe, metal handles, 17 by 11 inches, $155.
Sextant, brass, ebonized wood, ivory inlay, oak case, Spencer, Browning & Co., 12 inches, $340.
Steuben vase, blue aurene iridescent glass, wide shoulders, tapers down to round base, flared lip, 6 1/2 inches, $520.
Inkwell, silver gilt, crystal, seated women, knight's helmet, grapevines, repoussé, Austria, 1800s, 6 by 7 inches, $780.
Chippendale tilt top table, walnut, molded dish top, urn shaped turned support, tripod cabriole legs, slipper feet, 28 by 34 inches, $940.
Lalique vase, Mossi, frosted, rings of clear droplets, 8 1/2 inches, $975.
Schneider vase, gourd shape, flat mouth, red, blue mottled splotches, signed, France, 17 inches, $1,235.