***This page only pertains to Carlo of Hollywood watercolors. If you have questions about Carlo oil paintings I am not really an authority on those pieces. Mel and I only collect the watercolor paintings.***
Mel and I are such big fans of Carlo of Hollywood watercolors that we wanted to start a running gallery to showcase our ~80 Carlo of Hollywood paintings. We gravitate towards the forced perspective/angular framed watercolor pieces. The styling of the frames and the subject matter make these pieces of art scream “1950′s”. Carlo also used other mediums like oils, velvet etc. that tend to be less desirable and valuable. Here are some things that I have been told about or found through research about Carlo of Hollywood and his artwork (though not verifiable, this artist remains an enigma):
• It has been rumored that Carlo was a set designer on the “I Love Lucy Show”.
• These pieces were like “move in” gifts from the home builders for new tract homes in the 1950′s.
• These pieces were also sold through larger department stores.
• Carlo sketched the the pieces in pencil and had students paint the watercolor portion of the art. A good way to verify authenticity of your watercolor by Carlo is to look for visible pencil sketching.
There appears to be very little information on Carlo of Hollywood. If you know anymore about him and his artwork please feel free to share with the rest of us.
Though the artwork is really cool, in my opinion the best part of these pieces are the frames. These frames have a unique wood grain to the surface. This was achieved through media blasting which helped define the wood grain. The frames came in a few different finishes that I have seen such as bare wood, white washed, and painted.
Additional info on Carlo found online:
Little is known about Carlo, other than his ubiquitous signature on many 1950s decorative art. He landed some major gigs, including art already in tract houses like those in the original Levitown , NY . The studio, known as ARTCRAFT was located in the Lincoln Heights Station area of Los Angeles . Considered one of the oldest neighborhoods in LA, the region once was graced by large Victorian mansions on the bluffs above the Los Angeles River . By the end of the 1940s, however, many of the neighborhood’s middle class residents began the exodus out of the city, leaving MANY storefronts and warehouses/lofts available for fledgling artists and their companies. ARTCRAFT was such a company when they set up shop in what’s known affectionately as “the hills.” Carlo was a real artist who hired out equally talented artists while he collected incredibly lucrative gigs for his hand-painted, ORIGINAL art. ARTCRAFT did not have the money or techniques to make machine-prints. Instead, each image put out by the company is unique and has the essence of the founder: CARLO OF HOLLYWOOD . My own research on Carlo uncovered the following interesting bit of information for all your retro-mid-1950s art sleuths. He painted as early as the 1950s. Carlo uses many mediums, typically focusing on oils and watercolors. The style and subjects of each medium are usually unique to that medium and differ from the others. His oils are often grand landscapes while his watercolors are typically portraits and action scenes. His art was carried in department stores and included with tract housing.
Some Carlo paintings still have a back sticker from the company:
“About Our Paintings – Artcraft of Hollywood is fortunate to have under exclusive contract 43 talented young artists who paint by special order only the beautiful originals our art directors create. Each and every artist has his own technique and style which therefore prohibits the finding of another painting exactly such as this. It is our aim to turn art “yearners” into art owners by offering sensibly priced Originals by American Artists. We hope you feel the same emotion when looking at this beautiful painting as the artist felt when he was painting it. Judge its value by how much feeling you get out of it and how strong the feeling registers. –Artcraft of Hollywood