Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Will the Real Duff Tweed Step Forward? - Damn I'm Good Tennis Player

Dear Duffy collectors and followers:

We recently had the honor of hearing from Melinda, owner of this wonderful Tennis Player carved by Duff Tweed.  It is titled "Damn, I'm Good" and is limited edition number seven of one hundred.  Melinda contacted us inquiring about it's authenticity.  It's definitely Duff's work!  We enjoyed her note as she thought we were Duff Tweed.  Several people have contacted us with the same thought, but unfortunately Mr. Tweed passed away in the late 1980's.

Her original contact note is below: 

My name is Melinda and I am the fortunate owner of one of your wonderful carvings, "Damn I'm Good! 
My mother purchased it when we attended one of the Disney for Cal Arts Institute fundraisers at Walt Disney's daughter's home in Hancock Park many years ago.  She gave it to me shortly before she passed away a few years ago (at 92!) and I have been enjoying it ever since. 
The piece has a small brass plaque at the bottom of the wooden frame that says, "Damn, I'm Good" and another line that says, A Duff Tweed Limited Edition - 7 of 100.  There is also a typewritten bio on Duff taped to the back of the frame.
I went online to read about your other pieces and noticed that they all seem to be signed by you - Duff Tweed     Pasadena. Mine is not signed and I am concerned that it's authenticity might be questioned in the future.
I know it is a legitimate piece because of where she purchased it.  If you were in attendance, she probably met you at the event since many of the artists also attended to represent their art.
If you have a few moments, could you please email me back and let me know what you think I should do. I live nearby in ???????? if you would consider meeting with me to look at the piece.
Many thanks,

What really got us excited about Melinda's communication is the history that she shared below as to how her family obtained the carving.  It clearly displays yet again, Duff Tweed as an important animator at Disney Studios.

Duff Tweed Carving of Tennis Player - “Damn I’m Good”
                      A Duff Tweed Limited Edition – 7 of 100

My family acquired this playful wood carving when we attended an art auction at the home of Sharon Disney Lund in Hancock Park, Los Angeles, CA.

The event was held to raise funds for Walt Disney’s dream of creating a private university in Valencia, outside of Los Angeles, for students of the visual and performing arts.  It became a reality in 1961 with the merger of Chouinard Art Institute and L.A. Conservancy of Music, both existing institutions and both experiencing financial difficulties.  Thus, The California Institute for the Arts, “Cal Arts” was formed.  Many of the Disney artists had been students or instructors at the Chouinard Art Institute and that gave the family an idea of how to raise funds to support the school.

In the early 1970’s they commissioned Disney artists (many quite famous by then for their private works) to create and donate a piece of their art, (paintings, sculptures, etc) to be displayed at a private invitation only evening at the home and grounds of Sharon Disney Lund, Walt’s daughter.   

Since my parents had purchased an oil seascape by Peter Ellenshaw, a renowned Disney artist, from a private art gallery in Beverly Hills, they were invited to attend.  The cost per person was $25.00!  That included fabulous catered food and access to most of the home and grounds.  The interior walls of the home where covered by linen temporary walls which held the paintings, as well as the backyard gardens, where temporary linen walls were erected to display the art.  Sculptures and other unique art (one by Mary Blair who created the characters for It’s a Small World at Disneyland), were displayed all around the pool and tennis court area.

These were memorable evenings and one of the nicest things was that the artists were also in attendance to discuss their art. Each year, two artists were selected to create a painting for sale and Disney had limited edition replicas made for each attendee.  So, even if you did not act fast enough to buy the original, you were always assured of two limited edition prints to take home.

My mother was not a tennis player, however, she just fell in love with the “Damn, I’m Good” tennis player wooden carving and bought it. She said it put a smile on her face.

I am not familiar with other works that Duff Tweed did for Disney; however, if he was invited to create a piece for this event, I am sure he was involved in quite a few other Disney projects on film. These artists were the cream of the crop who created the magic of the Disney films, since computer generated backdrops and scenery were not common then.

Duff Tweed's Damn I'm Good Limited Edition framed and numbered carving #7/100

Melinda's carving is so clean and the limited edition frame really adds depth and character to the piece!  

We're making a huge shout out to Melinda in Southern California for sharing not only her wonderful tennis player carving, but also her Disney tale which clearly includes Mr. Duffield Tweed.  

"Melinda, you have an authentic Duff Tweed carving!
May it make you smile for years to come."


All the best!

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