Sunday, October 14, 2012

Unique Caricature by Duff Tweed – Pre-Walt Disney Experience in Canada

Hello and welcome back to what is an exciting article covering a one of a kind caricature drawn by the one and only, Duff Tweed.

Today, we were contacted by Dwight in Canada who was kind enough to share his story and actual pictures of the unique caricature done by Duff Tweed.  This piece pre-dates any and all items shared in this blog.  We couldn’t wait to post this story and pictures.

Today, Dwight and his son in Canada were discussing Dwight’s father.  His son had asked him what his grandfather did in “wide-open” Montreal back in the 1940’s and 50’s.  Dwight explained the story to his son which we will share below   It’s these kind of stories that make writing this blog so rewarding.  Truly a gift from Dwight to all of you. Enjoy!

Original contact email from Dwight to Duff Tweed Carvings:


I was just telling my son about his grandfather, my dad, and his early years in a 'wide-open' Montreal. I showed my son a caricature of my dad that Duff Tweed did in one of the Montreal nightclubs - undoubtedly before Duff went to California.

I am wondering if you would be interested in seeing it?

Well, yes, we certainly were interested and here is what Dwight shared:

My dad was the eldest son born to an immigrant family from Latvia. His dad was in the 'rag and bone trade' - that is, Grandfather drove a horse and cart around the wealthy neighborhoods of the city and 'recycled' discarded furniture and scrap metal that he found. He died when my dad was around 16 years old - leaving Dad as the principal breadwinner for his mother and 4 younger siblings. Dad, a very promising student, left high school and found work as a 'chalk boy' for a large bookmaking operation - writing up the odds and results on a blackboard - just like in the movie, The Sting. He rose to become quite a popular and successful figure in the wide open Montreal scene of the 40's and 50's.

Dad knew Duff from the nightclub scene where Duff would do caricatures of the people that were a part of that era that Mordecai Richler has written about. Many of the actual characters from The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz were well known to my family. In fact, Dad used to refer to Richler as 'that kid who followed us around and scribbled notes' about the comings and goings of the older boys.

This caricature by Duff shows my smiling and confident dad in tails, with a cocktail in hand.

I was telling this story to my son today over breakfast when he asked me what his grandfather, who he never met, did for a living. When I showed him the caricature, my son decided to 'Google' Duff Tweed. Little did we know that Duff must have moved out to California only to become part of Disney legend.

Its a thrill to share this with you. I had to angle the picture due to reflection from the glass - and also did a closeup of the signature.



What a great story rich in color and history.  We feel privileged to share it with you.  Now for the eye candy!  Without any further delay here is Dwight’s Fathers Caricature drawn and signed by Duff Tweed:
Caricature of Dwight's Dad - by Duff Tweed circa 1940-50.

Close-up displays Duff's recognizable printed signature.

What a fantastic piece of Duffy history!  

UPDATE, December 18, 2012:  Dwight just sent us this beautiful computer scan of the same caricature.  Now you can really see it clearly.  Thank you once again Dwight!  This is awesome!

We’re making a huge “SHOUT OUT” to Dwight and his son for sharing this truly unique piece of Duff Tweed’s history.  Thank you!!!!

We were previously made aware that Duff had worked in a bomb making factory in Canada as a bomb checker years before joining Walt Disney Studios.  Back then when he had to report something, he was known for illustrating the issue as opposed to writing words to describe that same issue.  We now know, thanks to Dwight and family, that Duff also did caricatures of local neighbors and friends.  Thank you Dwight for sharing this truly special story and caricature!  It will live here for all the world to see!

Readers, if you’re family came from Canada or you still live there, go ask your older relatives about Duff Tweed.  You may just have a treasure sitting in Grandpa’s or Grandma’s attic.

Wishing you all the best for the coming winter! Stay warm, stay happy and come back soon!

All the best!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Duff Tweed's Our Fearless Leader from Reuben

Hello and welcome back to Tweedom online!  :-)  Hope you are had a wonderful summer.  Time certainly is flying by.  What's new?  Not a lot here, but we have one neat carving to share with you.

We recently heard from Reuben H. who after seeing one of our more recent posts was kind enough to share his Duff Tweed carving with us.  We replied to Reuben asking if he would like to share his Duffy story as to how he came to own his "Our Fearless Leader" carving..  We have not heard back yet, but if we do, we will edit this post to include his story.

The timing is wonderful for this as our fearless leader, Barack Obama could probably use a swig or two of the hootch!  Truly crazy times we're living in as we at Duff Tweed Carvings applaud President Obama's efforts in attempting to bring this country back to its previous greatness.  Very tough to do when a Republican majority house and senate vote down every good bill put forth to them, or slip in horrific riders that only serve to strengthen the money and power controlled by the richest 1% of our nation.  You are about to see the largest smear campaign against a President in the history of the U.S..  Republican billionaire controlled Romney or more commonly referred to as Rmoney has over a billion dollar advertising war chest to spend between now and November 6, 2012.  Sheldon Adelson promised another billion to assure his win so Romney can "pardon" him for Adelson's illegal acts including money laundering .  Today, it's all about how much money you have and how much control you can buy with it!  Sorry for going off as you are here to read about Duff's carvings.  I apologize for taking advantage of my small, yet consistently followed pulpit.  Want to laugh?  See picture below of Rmoney:
Probably the biggest political Freudian slip in modern history!

Moving on . . .
Below are four pictures taken by Reuben of Duff Tweed's "Our Fearless Leader":  

When we see all these carvings of drunks, it makes me wonder how much Duff drank.  He did many carvings of golfers for which we are aware of 17 unique golf carvings and we know Duff was a lover of golf.  We also know from a previous neighbor of Mr. Tweed that Duff enjoyed carving and sipping his gin in the warm Southern California evenings.  We know of at least 8-10 carvings by Duff that portray characters drinking or are simply sauced! So, what does this tell us?  Duff golfed twice as much as he drank!  *laugh* In the 1950's and 60's men drank, not boys, but men!  Nowadays, men have ulcers and boys go "clubbing". *hehehe*   There is something about times gone by that seems more real, more substantive.  Also, we don't trust a guy who doesn't have a vice.  He's hiding something.

Here are two additional pictures shared by Reuben of Duff Tweed's "Our Fearless Leader":

Want to give a big SHOUT OUT to Reuben H. for taking the time to share his wonderful Duff Tweed carving with the world.  Reuben, we would love to hear more from you and add it to this blog entry. Thank you once again.

Wishing everyone a wonderful last week of summer and positive vibes for a great remainder of the year!

All the best!

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Trio of Duff Tweed's Carvings sell today on Ebay


We have been watching and bidding on a set of three Duff Tweed carvings, two of which we have never seen before.  After being contacted by a fellow collector, we bowed out of the bidding and allowed him to add them to his collection.  Final sale price was $405 for the set of three.

This post will be short and sweet.  Just wanted to share these three with you.

The first carving is one we have seen several times in the past.  It is titled "The Low Bidder" and you can see it below.

Next we have a piece that is just perfect.  How many times have you had a conversation with the boss? Pictured below is Duff Tweed's "Nothing Serious, The Boss and I just had a Short Chat".  It doesn't take a trained eye to see he literally had his ass chewed out (or should we say bitten off!?!). What a great piece!

The third piece in the collection is also a work related piece titled "He Wants it When?" where it looks like our hero is rushing somewhere and holds a paper in his pocket that says "Rush".

All three pieces are signed "Duff Tweed" on the lower left and "Pasadena" on the lower right.  A very neat set of three Duff Tweed carvings.

These original, never before seen carvings by Duff Tweed continue to pop out of the woodwork.  It is very exciting and rewarding to discover so many new pieces carved and designed by Duff Tweed.

Please continue to send us your Duffy stories and pictures of your works of art!

All the best!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Duff Tweed Sells Ten Carvings to One Owner

We’re baaaaack, and a lot quicker than expected. 

We were contacted on May 6, 2012 by a wonderful couple, Margaret and Joe who reside on the west coast of the United States.  They first wrote to inquire about selling their collection of TEN, that’s right, ten Duff Tweed carvings.  We were thrilled to find another collector of Duff Tweed carvings who had actually put together a full collection of carvings, three of which we have never seen before.

From what we gathered from our conversation with Joe and Margaret, was that they had purchased all ten carvings directly from Duff in the late 1970’s.  Joe had a diesel engine shop where he built diesel engines for automobiles.

One day this man appears, sharing his association with Disney and walks in with ten unique carvings.  That man was Duff Tweed and he had all these carvings stored in his car and was making sales trips to find interested buyers.  This is how Duff sold most of his carvings and we have had this verified by many other Duff Tweed carving owners.

Joe took one look at the carvings and purchased all ten directly from Duff.  We asked Joe if he could share any particulars, but it was a long time ago and he recalled Duff walking in, displaying the carvings, selling them and then driving off on his merry way.

We had actually made a deal with Margaret and Joe to purchase all ten carvings, but quite understandably they decided to hold onto them for a while longer.  There were only three that were of particular interest to us, as we do not yet have them in our collection.  Below are all ten carvings from pictures sent by Margaret and Joe.  Some were smaller, so I attempted to crop them, make them larger and hopefully clearer.

 The first picture to the left is a trio of Duff Tweed carvings.  The first one pictured is named “Our Fearless Leader”, one of the three carvings we do not have in the collection. Then we have the ever so familiar “Sue the Bastards” and “Wall Street Hobo”.

Next we have Duff Tweed’s fisherman. We only recently acquired our carving of the fisherman and absolutely love it.  Makes you want to go fishing, doesn’t it?  If not, then you can just get in the boat and drink. Hehe.

To the left is the Duff Tweed carving we named The Laughing Golfer.  We have two in our collection, but this is the first time we have seen the carving elsewhere.  As far as we can tell, Duff did more carvings of golfers and hobos than any other topic.  We are aware of over 14 different golfer carvings made by Mr. Tweed.

Speaking of Duff’s Hobos, here are two of them. The one on the lower left is Duff’s “The Low Bidder” which we own several of in different painted patches and colors.  The second carving to the lower right is a hobo resting on a post.  This second carving is not yet a part of the Duff Tweed collection, but we have a friend who was going to sell it to us.  Time will tell.  We’d love to add the one below to the collection. He's a happy guy!

Below we have a set of three Poker Players by Duff Tweed.  We absolutely love this set of carvings and are aware of four in existence.  We have two sets of this carving in our collection, but the color of the paint does differ on some characters.  Joe and Margaret have a nice clean set of three.  We have always loved this carving and over payed for our first set.  Note the expression on each carvings face.  Did you catch the guy in the middle cheating by reaching under the table to get more cards?  His face tells the entire story.

Last but not least, we have Duff Tweed’s tennis players.  The picture to the left below is of a carving we do not have.  The carving is of a tennis player poised to receive his next serve.  We have never seen this carving before and think he pairs wonderfully with the tennis player below and to the right.  The second tennis player which is also really neat, is a member of the collection twice.

We’re sending out a HUGE thank you to Margaret and Joe for taking the time to share their wonderful collection with the world.  THANK YOU!!! 

We believe they were surprised by the lower values presently attributed to Duff’s carvings.  We do look forward to picking up some of their pieces in the future, but knowing they own and are enjoying their wonderful collection is the best reward ever.  

It is the collective group of Duff Tweed carvings owners that truly contribute to the future value of these priceless pieces of vintage art and culture.  What we appreciate most about our fellow collectors is that they have these carvings purely for their love and appreciation of Mr. Tweeds work, and not for the dollar value they will have in the future.  Duff Tweed collectors, you are a special breed, apart from the rest!

All the best!

Duff Tweed Winters in Florida - The Happy Golfer

It's been way too long since we last posted to this blog. Are you missing our Duffy news? *laugh*  Been working on the golf game which has been occupying most of our time.

A month ago we were contacted by an owner of a Duff Tweed carving affectionately named "The Happy Golfer".  There are actually two versions of the golfer which can be seen here in previous posts.  Go check them out!

Jay from Ottawa Ontario, Canada was kind enough to share his "Happy Golfer" with us.  Here's his treasure below:

Jay also took this picture of the Happy Golfer.  Slightly different angled photo.
Jay was given this Duff Tweed carving by his mother-in-law, Holley.  Holley and her husband Ed were close friends with Duff and his wife and "wintered" together in Florida.  We continue to learn more about Duff and his life from every little tidbit of information we gather from various collectors around the world.  Thanks Jay!

Below is a picture of the back of the frame where Duff dedicated this piece to Holley and Ed.  You should note, he signed it "LOVE", which tells us they were definitely close.  We have never seen another Duffy dedication where he used the word Love.  A special piece indeed.
This isn't the clearest writing by Duff, as the ink has faded over time.  You can still make out that he dedicated the piece to Holley and Ed on May 15, 1966, included his home address in Pasadena, CA and "Love Duff Tweed" is rather clear at the bottom.

Want to send out a big shout out and thank you to Jay W. in Canada for sharing his cool Happy Golfer carving which looks to be in excellent condition.  That carving is over 46 years old!

We'll be back soon to share a collection of 10 Duff Tweed carvings, three of which have not been previously seen or shown in this blog.

Hope you're all having a great summer of 2012!

All the best!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fishing for Duff Tweed Carvings

Welcome back, or simply welcome to any and all newcomers.

It’s been several months since our last entry into the Duff Tweed Carvings blog and for that there is a good reason. We have not had any new carvings come our way. We did pick up a Hobo carving for a friend, but you have already seen several of them here in previous entries. We’re hoping to add and share some new Duff Tweed carvings with you once a trade occurs between us and a fellow collector. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.

Recently, we added this wonderful Duff Tweed fisherman to the collection. He is drinking a beer and laughing while fishing. The carving was listed on Ebay and the sale closed at $61 plus shipping and handling. Just last year collectors were bidding between $125 and $150 per Duff Tweed carving. It is definitely a sign of the times.

Earlier last year we purchased Ross Carr’s collection of Duff Tweed carvings. He only held back one carving for himself; it was this same fisherman carving. We had offered him much more for his carving and feel so very fortunate and lucky to have added this piece to the collection.

We have no history on this piece nor do we know who first purchased it from Duff. What we do know is, Duff carved and painted it and the character has such great expression in his face. To any new readers, we always point to the face because that is where Duff made his carvings come to life. Duff also made it a point to alter each character’s face when carving the same character so no two carvings are exactly identical. Welearned this information from several collectors who met and purchased their carvings directly from Duff, himself.

Check out Duff Tweed’s Fisherman carving:

We were particularly pleased to add him to the collection just before the first day of Spring 2012. This perfectly coincides with the change in weather and season. So, if you can't reach me, I've gone fish'in (with Duff, of course).

The frame is approximately 15” x 22” so the entire carving is about the size of Duff’s normal carvings, but this one stands sideways.

On the back you can see someone typed out a short bio on Duff and glued it to the back of the frame. We have seen quite a few carvings with this same bio attached to the back.
Wish we had more for you to look at and read about, but this is it for now. Once again, hoping to show you some new and exciting Duff Tweed carvings that we might be adding to the collection.

If any of you have Duff Tweed carvings to share, we would love to post them and your Duffy tales! We have received several emails with pictures of carvings, but without anything to say about them, they are tough to post.

Wishing you a wonderful and warming early spring. Keep those carvings and stories coming!

All the best!