Saturday, April 17, 2010

Article on Duff Tweed - New Additions: Happy Golfer and The Cheater

Hello again.  Hope you enjoyed the first posting of the Duff Tweed carvings collection.  I received some nice  feedback from several of you.  Thank you kindly for your comments. 

Today I have just a few new items to share.  When I purchased the Slaughterhouse Four, I was fortunate enough to receive an article that accompanied the four pieces.  The article is continued on a separate page, so I have added both pages below.
As you can see in the pictures above, He's working on the Slaughterhouse Four.

...and below is the article continued...
The best part of this article is Duff's humility.  He calls himself an artisan vs. an artist stating he's not good enough to be an artist.  What do you think?  How many of us could carve this well?  Duff, you're an artist!

If you read my first post, you may recall I was waiting to hear back from a person who had two Duff Tweed golf related carvings.  I had posted "The Happy Golfer" in the April 6th post after capturing the picture online.  Well, 11 days later I now own that exact carving which I received with a limited edition Duff Tweed carving known as "The Cheater".

This guy really does look happy!


I was extremely fortunate to have stumbled upon "The Cheater".  Not only is it a limited edition Duff Tweed carving (number 7 of 100 total), but the background is completely different from any other Duff Tweed carving I have seen.  The background is a compilation of the same golf score card in which the players were Mark Deception and John Gullible.

The Cheater - Limited Edition Duff Tweed Carving 7/100


The Cheater also had a different frame (not pictured) and an attached plate displaying the name of the piece, that it is a limited edition and that it was number 7 of 100.  See plate below.

That's it for now.  As always, I welcome your comments, pictures from your Duff Tweed collection and your Duffy stories.  All the best! -Joe

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Duff Tweed - Sharing Collections

Hello.  Where to start?  Well, as you must have gathered, this is a blog where all of us Duff Tweed collectors and fans can come to share information and learn about the works and life of Duff Tweed.

I am hoping many of you Duff Tweed wood carving collectors will write comments and send pictures of your carvings thus enriching our shared "Duff Tweed" experience.  His carvings are cool! 

I presently have 15 Duff Tweed wood carvings along with a couple of ceramic/molded copies made when Duff's carvings came into demand.  Many of Duff's early carvings were done in the late 1950's and early 1960's.  I got started collecting Mr. Tweed's carvings as a result of my love for golf.  I was collecting vintage and antique golf items as a tribute to my grandfather who gave me the golf bug.  While searching Ebay I found my first Duff Tweed set of three carvings and I was hooked.  I paid twice what I paid for future sets of three, but being new to Duff's carvings, I simply didn't know better.  A positive result; they are the most pristine set of three that I own and came from the estate of a very well known golfer who obviously cared for them. 

Below is a picture of my first Duff Tweed acquisition of three golfers:

The caddie on the far left is actually a carving of Duff Tweed himself.  These three carvings seem to have a very light finish on them which makes them more reflective to flash photography. 

Below are the same three characters.
As you may have noticed, Duff did all his backgrounds in linen, hand wrote his name and often added "Pasadena", where he lived at the time.  Often times, the paper on the back is inscribed by Duff to the purchaser.  This particular set has no inscription.

It was about a year later or more until I added additional carvings to the collection.  Below is the next set of three I acquired from a woman whose husband was clearing out a house for an elderly gentelman who was moving in with his daughter.  I actually purchsed two sets of three carvings from her, but the second set (not pictured) is identical to my first purchase of three golf carvings pictured above with a different caddie.  I have another set of three which includes this "different" caddie (pictured several pictures below in this blog).

These were really neat and this is when I diverged from only collecting Duff's golf carvings. You may notice some water damage/aging to the linen.  The linen does tend to fade and yellow over time, but what you're really looking for is the quality and condition of the carvings.  Remember, these are over 50 years old!

Up close and individual:
Duff Tweed carvings cleverly display actions and emotions.  The three above do a great job of just that!  Take a look at the frustrated golfer breaking his club over his knee.  You can feel that frustration; how many golfers have experienced that emotion?  The next guy with the booze bottle in his hand is just classic.  He doesn't have to speak for you know this guy wants to be left alone with his hootch.  Love that jacket!  The third guy puzzles me.  He's reading the Wall Street Journal and is contemplating what he has read.  Wish we could read the other side and see. 

Below we have a more recent acquisition from March 2010.  I met a gentelman locally here in Southern California who had four framed sets of Duff Tweed carvings left to him by his father.  The reason these treasures are resurfacing is because the generation that purchaed them and looked after them is passing on.  As a result, family members are receiving them and selling them to clear out the clutter they have inherited.  This is a good time to be adding to your collection or to start one.
Of course I had to buy this one. . .it's golf related! 

Below is the red caddie carving I referred to in the beginning of this blog entry. It's the one that is also on another set of three I own, but not pictured due to water stains on the linen background.

For the next two carvings I am going to do a little comparison of Duff's wood carved figures to those copied and made with a ceramic or plaster base.  Many of Duff's golf carvings were highly sought after by golf courses all around the United States.  I am not sure if he allowed these copies of if someone did them without his permission.  The figure below is known as The Happy Golfer.

As you can see there are significant differences in the look and painting of Happy Golfer figure.  The originals are wood, have white linen backgrounds, are signed by Duff Tweed and have different frames (frames not pictured).  The copies are more of a smooth plaster, have a green linen background (which look neat and vintage), have obviously cheaper, thinner frames and are unsigned.  Below are two more for comparison purposes.

You can see here that the painter of the copied version (right) didn't know where the golfers legs ended and his socks began.  He looks like he is wearing capris under his golf shorts.  Believe it or not, these copies are more difficult to find than originals, or at least that has been my experience.

Another Happy Golfer (see picture below).  I do not own this one but have seen it and have contacted the owner.  Just waiting for a reply.  He looks pretty happy!  An inscription on the back reads:

"Duff Tweed, born in Canada, was an artist with Walt Disney Studios where he worked on such Disney classics as "Alice in Wonderland", "Song of the South", "Cinderella", "Lady and the Tramp" , etc.  He also represented the Disney Studios on a coast to coast national good will tour on television.  His hobby has always been woodcarving and he has done woodcarvings for H.L. Hunt, Gene Autrey, Ernest Breech, chairman of the board for Ford Motor Company, and many well-known people over the entire United States. Duff is semi-retired. He is a humorist, and his carvings are much in demand by collectors."

Pictured below is the other carving I picked up from the gentleman in Southern California, March 2010.  It is titled The Low Bidder.  Many collectors refer to this carving as the Hobo carving. Mine (left) is not titled, but pictured next to it is another one up for sale on Ebay (April 5-13, 2010).  Starting bid on Ebay is $180 w/free shipping. In addition to the different painting on each, Duff did some variations.  If you look closely at the characters right shoe, Duff added a piece of leather falling off the shoe. Love his details!

Below is a Duff Tweed carving titled "Sue The Bastards".  This was auctioned on Ebay late March to early April 2010.  I bid $230 and lost to a bidder who bid $2.50 more.  It is by far the most I ever offered on an individual carving.  The reserve was not met, so I do not know if it was sold privately or if it will be relisted.

I had heard of Sue the Bastards, but had never seen one.  This particular carving went for more because Duff had not only personally dedicated it to the buyer, but drew a Pluto figure on the back as well.  As you can see, it is in excellent condition.

OK, I have one more Duffalicious treat for you in this blog entry.  It is a collection of four carvings known as The Slaughterhouse Four.  I purchased them yesterday (April 5, 2010) from a wonderful couple in Las Vegas.  The gentleman was 70 years old and his father had purchased them in 1959.  Want to know how crazy us collectors get?  I woke up at 2:30 a.m., drove to Las Vegas from So. Cal, bought the set of four and then drove back to Los Angeles arriving before 12 noon.  You might get the impression I wanted these; well I did!  Best part. . .no speeding tickets!

The inscription on the back of one of them reads as follows:
June 8, 1959

Dear Rose and Irwin:

These four characters were carved from life, they are known as the Slaughterhouse Four and live in Mesa Arizona.

Fat Henderson, I tried to capture his sour "take" - he didn't care too much for Slim's singing!

This is Jack Harris who used to be a world champion bronco buster.

Old Dad Peterson plays the fiddle - he is the Jack Benney of the plains - he works as a camp cook.
Slim Reese has a voce that would shatter glass - Slim plays the guitar.

Thank you both for your appreciation of my work.  I hope they bring you continued good luck!
Duff Tweed

In addition to this magnificent set of four which is the only set I have framed in worm wood, I also received an article from the couple in Las Vegas.  I have tried to upload it, but think I have reached my limit on pictures for this entry.  I'll be sure to add it in on my next entry.  All the best! -Joe