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Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

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Babalu posted on Sat, May 5, 2007 8:35 AM

Hey Tiki World,

I wanted to share this Universal Statuary Corp. lamp I found at an auction down the street a few years back. I must say that I've fallen in love with this darn thing. It has even directly influenced some carving that I have been playing with lately.

I haven't seen stuff from this Company around here lately, (might be some buried in the archives somewhere?) and am wondering if any of you other TC'ers might have collected any tiki objects made by Universal? I would love to see some other images of tiki objects made by these guys.

This lamp has it's original lamp shade and wiring. It has the words "Universal Statuary Corp. - Chicago 22 Ill (or Illinois) c (copy right) 1959 - 9899 carved and stamped into the base. The soft warm glow that it emanates through the shade makes this lamp a main focal point in my casa.

It's funny, if you look at the right side ear on this guy, you can see where a worker picked up this slip casting a little to early after it had been released from the mold and accidentally pressed the ear inward....they went ahead and ran it through production despite the flaw.

Best,

Babalu

Very cool modern primitive design, if I would have seen that before Tiki Modern got finished, I would have put it in there.
Duke Carter just published his research into Universal in the new issue of Tiki Magazine, it is one more Polynesian Pop mystery uncovered!

Maybe this would be a good thread to show all the other Universal/United Airlines Tikis, the old thread here

http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=1070&forum=5&start=30&hilite=United%20Airlines

does not have enough pictures of all the varieties.

duke mentions they had a big sale in the article...wonder if the plaster cast of your lamp was available..you should ask him if he remebers seeing it there...maybe he can pick it up for you and send it out...

[ Edited by: Tipsy McStagger 2007-05-05 14:00 ]

B
Babalu posted on Wed, May 9, 2007 2:29 PM

Thanks for the feedback Gents,

Big Bro - I just ordered your book "The Book Of Tiki" a few days ago and am looking forward to caressing the pages when it gets here.

I can't seem to find the "Tiki Modern" one here in the States yet...I will be in the UK next month...will try to grab it there.

Let me thank the rest of TC in advance for posting any of Universal Corps. Stuff that you might come across.

Peace

On 2007-05-09 14:29, Babalu wrote:
Big Bro - I just ordered your book "The Book Of Tiki" a few days ago and am looking forward to caressing the pages when it gets here.

Now now, don't stain them now, friend! :wink:

I can't seem to find the "Tiki Modern" one here in the States yet...I will be in the UK next month...will try to grab it there.

It's done, like at the PRINTER--not in the STORES yet. That'll be a while...like...August, I'm afraid. :(

Let me thank the rest of TC in advance for posting any of Universal Corps. Stuff that you might come across.

Yeah, right, where are the United Airlines Tikis? C'mon guys, I know you gottem, like the one that looks like the liquor bottle...!?

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2007-05-09 15:04 ]

B

Hey Rick, I emailed a buddy of mine who worked at Universal during the period when your lamp was made. Here's what he had to say about it:

"As to this lamp... it is not supposed to be a tiki...it is supposed
to be "african" tribal art of the style that Picasso was famous for
ripping off. After it came to light in the 50s how Picasso's works had been
heavily influenced by african art... there was a brief fling in the
states with this style and Universal had a lot of it in their catalog."

Instant art history lesson!

Dave

O.K. THIS is why I love these forums!

I loves to be edumacated !

B

Hey Dave,

Huge thanks for the research on the lamp; and good luck at the Tonga show man! Your talents are endless.

Big Bro,

Just got your book in yesterday and I love it. I have not had a chance to read it cover to cover yet, but I see that you also speak a little to Picasso and his inspiration from both Oceanic and African arts combined. When I look at Picasso's work, the two styles really do look intermingled to me...It also appears to me that in the 50's and 60's this was going on everywhere...the tiki mugs, the tiki carvings, etc. Picasso really launched a rocket. Am I wrong in this assumption?

Babalu, if I wouldn't know that you JUST got my book, I would think you're putting me on with that question, because, as the ones who know me can attest, it is sooo up my alley. In fact, my new book is based on that premise:

The avantgarde (Picasso and pals) were inspired by primitive art to create the modern art movement, which in turn heavily influenced modern designers and artists in the 50s and 60s. Here are two double pages from "Tiki Modern" that will give you an idea (sorry for the bad quality):

On the far left is an original Easter Island ceremonial paddle, whose bold black and white pattern is based on a Tatoo style on Rapa Nui and the Marquesas. Next to it is a Picasoo, next to that are two Tiki Modern pieces


This is more mid-century modern art work inspired by the European avantgarde, with a Witco piece on the upper right

On 2007-05-13 10:28, Tikidav wrote:
Hey Rick, I emailed a buddy of mine who worked at Universal during the period when your lamp was made. Here's what he had to say about it:

"As to this lamp... it is not supposed to be a tiki...it is supposed
to be "african" tribal art of the style that Picasso was famous for
ripping off. After it came to light in the 50s how Picasso's works had been
heavily influenced by african art... there was a brief fling in the
states with this style and Universal had a lot of it in their catalog."

It is the common notion that Picasso was influenced by African art only, but as I got to point out in the Book of Tiki he was called "an old adept of the Tiki" as early as 1919, and had an original Marquesan Tiki with him all his life. People just don't like to differentiate things and lumped "African and Oceanic" together into "African". My contention is that the inspiration was equally based on all "primitive art", so your lamp IS "Tiki Modern", or Pop primitivism.

B

Big Bro,

Hey thanks for giving me a little tasty of the new book, and for taking the time to dish up some great insight...I can see that "Tiki Modern" is a must have for me. Very interesting stuff!

I'm going to take some time this evening, and dive into "The Book Of Tiki" sitting in the light of my lamp.

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