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Mid 20th Century Pop Art Painting "Sawbuck" by, Robert Dowd, 1965

$12,000

About

An original pop art oil on canvas painting "Sawbuck" by, famed Pop Artist Robert Dowd portraying a sawed off Ten Dollar Bill. The canvas is signed in the lower right corner. The painting is unframed. Title: Sawbuck Artist: Robert Dowd Year: 1965 Medium: oil on canvas Measurements: 76 x 101.5 cm (30 3/4 x 40 in.) signed lower right; signed, titled, and dated on verso Biography: Robert Dowd - 1936 - 1996 In 1960 as a member of the Young Artists Group in Detroit, Dowd shared ideas with fellow member Phillip Hefferton. The two artists, limited by their inadequate studio space, believed their careers would flourish in another location. Dowd decided to relocate to San Francisco, California. He moved there in 1960 and enrolled in the San Francisco Art Institute. Dowd became fascinated by the style of nineteenth-century engravings and the iconography associated with contemporary advertising. Then, feeling uninspired in San Francisco, he moved south to Los Angeles in 1960. Dowd and his friend Hefferton came up with the idea of painting United States currency. Undecided as to whom had the idea first, they eventually parted and went their separate ways in 1962. Dowd remained in Los Angeles where he married and moved into a larger workspace. He created his first currency painting in 1962, setting a future pattern for his signature style. Dowd was interested in the visual complexity of American currency and was fascinated by the power it had as a symbol. He painted the currency with detail but also allowed himself a certain freedom of movement and expression within his pieces. He often altered the lettering on the bill to read differently, jumbling the letters to create a play on words or puns. He also used a more obvious brush stroke to paint the presidential portrait within the bill, and added color to the otherwise monochromatic money. Dowd continued to work with currency as a subject, but also began using stamps as subjects. The varied themes represented by stamps provided Dowd with endless source material. Not unlike his currency paintings, he based his new paintings off of the actual stamp, muting the image slightly with his brushwork. He was included in an exhibition in 1962 at the Pasadena Art Museum called 'New Paintings of Common Objects'. The following year his work was shown at the Oakland Art Museum, and in 1964 at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, both in California. Dowd moved to New York in 1970, and his work was out of the spotlight for a time. There was a resurgence of attention to it in the 1980's, however, as part of a fresh interest in neo-pop. The 1960s were a time of social unrest. Hoover's FBI and the government thought anybody who was anti-establishment should be investigated and persecuted despite the right of freedom of expression. Unfortunately for Dowd his fascination with painting currency caught the attention of the Secret Service. Painting currency in those days was considered counterfeiting even if intended as a spoof. Dowd explains what happened in an interview with Lynn Pyne: "One morning in 1963, two agents from the Secret Service knocked on the door of Dowd's studio. They took him down to the Federal building in downtown LA, where they sternly read to him a litany of counterfeiting laws. Evidently it didn't matter that he was a former U.S. Marine. "They were attempting to intimidate me with all these threats" he says. "It was really a matter of them attempting to tell me that if I continued to paint money, that I would be arrested for counterfeiting, that I was breaking the law". "They did have some work of mine that they had confiscated as contraband. They told me they were going to museums and collectors and confiscate all the paintings out of the collections. "My situation as a young artist, struggling at that point, was that I certainly didn't need any major problems added onto my life at the moment, in terms of survival and trying to do my work". Certainly this hurt his career so he switched back for a while to painting postage stamps but continued to paint currency in private. In November 1963 he began a red and white colored JFK Inauguration Stamp and had just finished it on November 22, 1963 the day JFK was assassinated. Dowd destroyed the painting as he spent the day listening to the events of November 22, 1963. The pencil on paper drawing of the painting dated 11/22/63 survives. On one occasion he found a year's work of paintings of his, which he had in storage for an up-coming exhibition, destroyed and ripped to shreds, so consequently he canceled the exhibition. Sometimes paintings in storage and in his studio would just disappear. He often wondered if the FBI had them in their own collection. Dowd continued to paint and exhibit in L.A. throughout the 1960s. In addition to his currency and stamp paintings Dowd painted 20+ paintings in his Circus series, he painted from photographs (Hefferton Poloroid, 1962), painted candy apples, oreos and chocolate chip cookies, fingerprints, Ohio cookies, appetite eraser, oranges and many, other common objects. He made candy apples in multiples as art, made miniature oreo and chocolate chip cookies with magnets on the back which led to the refrigerator magnet craze. In 1968 Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, as was Robert F. Kennedy. In L.A. several months later, there were Vietnam protests against the war. In 1969 Charles Manson and the Tate–LaBianca murders took place in L.A. and Dowd's artist friend John Altoon died of a sudden heart attack at age 44. In late 1969 Dowd began a new series of paintings Through the Object Barrier and in 1970 he moved to SoHo, New York.

Details

  • Dimensions
    Height: 30.75 in. (78.11 cm)Width: 40 in. (101.6 cm)Depth: 2 in. (5.08 cm)
  • Style
    Mid-Century Modern (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques
    Acrylic,Paint,Brushed
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
    1963
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use.
  • Seller Location
    Englewood, NJ
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU888824634682

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Rates vary by destination and complexity. We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Ships From: Englewood, NJ
  • Return Policy

    This item cannot be returned.

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About the Seller
5 / 5
Located in Englewood, NJ
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