February 18, 2011

Curtis Jere


I was recently shopping for vintage furniture, when a fabulous wall sculpture caught my eye. Could it be I had just laid eyes on an authentic Curis Jere?  

I looked with cautious excitement, as there are many knock offs of the highly collectible work of the design team of Jerry Fels and Kurt Freiler. Together they launched Artisan House in 1964. They began creating costume jewelry and brightly enameled copper work in the 1950's and 1960's. Later, the team became known for their highly ornamental wall sculptures, like their best known 1970's composition above titled "Raindrops". 


So who was Curtis Jere anyway? All of the authentic work is signed "C. Jere", and notes the production date. The identification represents a creative contraction of the partners names, which lead many to believe it was the work of a single artist. Did my found object have the appropriate markings?  Yes!

This brand identity was marketed by retailers like Gumps. The tag, like the one pictured below, was often attached to artwork to convey a purchase of a one of a kind piece. The manufacturing process is most successful, as these jewel-like objects were in fact mass produced, yet look handmade.



The work of C. Jere has become so sought after, that interior designer Johnathan Adler has recently made arrangements with the firm to reproduce several of their most famous designs. Raindrops round mirror is one of the pieces offered by Adler. Prices are a fraction of an original at auction.


Original work of C. Jere can be found on Ebay and 1st Dibbs, or if you are lucky like I was, in vintage shops and estate sales.  Happy Hunting!


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