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Batik Tiki Art…Vintage?

Batik Tiki Art…Vintage?

Mel and I came across this framed piece today at a local antique store.

I had been eyeballing it for some time.

I am not sure of its age but it almost has a whimsical Disney feel to it.

Each face is so annimated and colorful!


Unfortunately, I can not decifer the artists name!

Anybody familiar with this artist?


I think this will be a cool addition to our tiki room!

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Witco

witco1Mel and I are new to the Witco scene, but we have had a few of the smaller pieces. Our friend Tracy at m.a.r.k. Vintage reached out to us to see if we were interested in this tiki end table she picked up. Mel and I hopped in the car and shot over the next day.

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We love this little table and need to restore it. It will look great in one of the Tiki areas of our home. At the time, we didn’t know who produced this piece.

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I then remembered that our friend Dennis had a tiki table that would go well with the one we got from Tracy.  The next day Mel and I met Dennis at his shop and we picked this piece up. Dennis said he thought it might be Witco. That got Mel and I thinking maybe the other table was Witco too!

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Upon researching this table we were able to identify it as a Witco end table. It is always important to know who produced a piece but to be honest, I liked it regardless.

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This other table has been harder to substantiate who the maker is. It appears to be in the same style of Witco, but I was unable to locate anything online to compare it with. I reallly dig the tiki faces on this piece.

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As you can see, the tops on both of these pieces will need to be refinished. The one on the left will be an easier repair, but the table on the right will need a lot of work.

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If anyone out there has a matching table to either of these and want to give it a new home let us know. Also, if any of you Witco experts out there can confirm the one on the right is also Witco, I’d appreciate it.

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In The Beginning…

By the late 50s, Tiki-fever was in full swing and Americans couldn’t get enough of it.

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Tiki temples and Polynesian-themed bowling alleys, golf courses, television shows and pop music saturated the land from coast-to-coast.

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But strangely enough, Tiki’s presence was still largely missing from the ultimate mid-century sanctuary:  the American home.

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That would soon change with the mass production of primitive décor and home furnishings that made it possible for Americans to finally bring Polynesia right into their own living rooms.

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Here is an ad out of a 1940’s magazine selling Tiki bars. This was the first step in introducing the Polynesian themed rooms into homes of that era.

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William/Bill Westenhaver, founder of Western International Trading Company (WITCO).

Tiki’s ultimate triumph was due largely to cartoonist and artisan William Westenhaver. William Westenhaver, a would-be graphic designer and painter, Westenhaver studied at the Art Center School of Design in Los Angeles during the late 40s.  His early works showed the large influence of Picasso and early-century European impressionists and expressionists, who themselves often used imported Polynesian primitiva as sources of inspiration.

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Westenhaver was no stranger to it either, having visited Melanesia during his time in the Navy.  It was here in the Admiralty Islands that he witnessed the natives carving their ancestral deities into everyday utensils and furnishings.

Yet it wasn’t until the late 50s that Westenhaver would finally be able to fuse his own modernist artistry with the native kinds he had observed.

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In 1957, his cousin Bob Post called and asked if he could help design some of the primitive artifacts his Western International Trading Company (WITCO) was importing from Mexico. Still eking out a living as a cartoonist, Westenhaver jumped at the chance and moved with his family to Mt. Vernon, WA.

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Here, he and the other WITCO artisans began carving and chain-sawing an array of unusual tribal designs into bedposts, tables, chairs and any other home furnishing you could think of, often accenting them with striking leopard-skin prints.  Island décor such as masks, spears, statues and even home tiki bars followed.

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This “Pop Primitivism”, or Modern Primitive, was a perfect complement to the clinical, steel-and-glass minimalism of American architecture at the time, giving homes the aura of a worldly and exotic whimsy.

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And it wasn’t just the fancy of Middle American eccentrics, either.

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Elvis Presley’s Graceland Mansion had a special “Jungle Room” (click here to see a 360 view of Jungle Room) outfitted with nothing but WITCO furnishings.

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Popular icons Hugh Hefner and Roy Orbison also decorated their abodes with them, too.

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Here we have a pic of Hugh and his bunnies by the pool. There appears to be 3 Witco tiki masks on the wall and a Witco bench they are sitting on.

By the late 60s, with WITCO having showrooms in most major American cities, Tiki had finally conquered the final American frontier. Yet, with nowhere else to go, the end was inevitable.

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After the cultural cataclysm of the late 60s and early 70s, WITCO’s fortunes began to decline, and in 1977, it closed it doors. Although Westenhaver went back to work as a freelance artist, the story doesn’t end there.

As the Tiki revival bloomed in the 90s, Westenhaver’s grandson-in-law, Ken Pleasant, picked up the torch and now carves his own WITCO-style furniture, much to his grandfather’s delight.

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Source Link:

http://www.enterthetiki.com/content/william-westenhaver

Here Are A Few New Things

IMG_3813Mel and I have been so busy trying to keep our store stocked.  We have driven all over northern California looking for things we think are cool.  Of course, not everything we buy is for the store.  After all, we are collectors before we are dealers.  The above piece is a new James Bunnell jungle cat we acquired.  We have a few of his jungle cats now (jungle cat 1, Jungle cat 2, jungle cat 3)

IMG_3811Here we have a fantastic 1959 Lane swan and ballerina tv lamp.  This will look great near a ballerina Carlo of Hollywood.  We picked this up from Rusty Relics and Funky Finds in Midway Mall.

IMG_3781We have been lucky as far as Tiki goes.  Here are some pieces we picked up to add to our collection.

IMG_3785While at Midway Mall, we also picked up these killer lamps.  We already have one, so this will make a set of three.  We also acquired another set of six band rattan that I will pick up this Saturday.  It will need upholstery and some restoring but it will be well worth it. I will have pictures soon.

IMG_3809This is a really cool bowl made by Trader Dick’s.

IMG_3787This set is so vibrant we could not pass it up.  The hibiscus flowers look so cool.

IMG_3790This is a menu cover used on the Matson Lines cruise ships and was painted by Eugene Savage (1883-1978).  I plan to get this framed with a bamboo frame.

IMG_3800This book is a trip.  It is bound in leather and has that fantastic image on the front.  This book was released in 1960 and covers the history of Hawaii.

IMG_3780Here is one of the most atomic looking televisions ever made.  This is a 1971 Panasonic Orbital television.

TheOrbital-Ad-blogHere is what the original ad looked like and here is also the television commercial.

IMG_3778This one works but has a few cosmetic issues, nothing major.

IMG_3773This unit just screams Mad Men.  I love the styling and the sleekness of it.  This would look great sitting on a shelf on a wall unit.  This was given to us by our new friend Jenn.  She’s proof that there are still good people out there :).  Thanks Jenn, this will stay in our collection.

IMG_3774This Panasonic will need a little work on the veneer, but overall it is in fantastic shape.  I still need to check the functionality of the unit.

IMG_3801This is an unmarked/un-engraved trophy that we came across.  I plan to clean it up and see what unique inscription we could add to it.

IMG_3806This set is so fun.  We love the colors and think it will dress up any bar top.

IMG_3808Each piece has wear, but I like them the way they are.

downloadWe also received this popcorn ceramic figurine set in the mail from one of our blog readers Dena (JuicyLucyVintage).  She gave this to us as a gift and we are soo thankful.  Click here to check out her Etsy store.

IMG_3815This is a fantastic mid-century Detecto scale.  We love the color combination.

IMG_3817This Jeco Electric clock is rather large and has a great Mid Century feel to it.  Picking has been going well for us lately and we hope the momentum keeps up!

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