Thursday, June 30, 2011
Lee Burr, Lee Reynolds, Lee Burr Reynolds, Vanguard...And The Ubiquitous "What's It Worth". Status: Open For Debate.
This is my second run in with this very interesting wrinkle in the fabric of Vintage Modernism. A friend of ours had a "Vanguard" acrylic painting that they found in a closet of their home just after closing and moving in. It was not their style and thought I might like to have it.
I didn't think it would quite fit my personal taste but it was in the right vein. I told them I'd sell it
for them. And sell it I did! The thing is, I didn't really know if it was worth anything more than for
it's general aesthetic beauty as a decorative painting. Who was "Vanguard" and is his work
valuable? Ya gotta love this day and age. This is the kind of information you can now get on
your phone nearly instantly while at the Goodwill by just poking around on a touch screen! So
very Star Trek!
Well, turns out that Vanguard is the studio where Lee Burr made paintings....hundreds...of
perhaps...Thousands...of paintings. Why would anybody sign a painting Vanguard if that was
the studio name? Dunno for sure but since the actual painter (note: not artist) wasn't going to
sign his or her name...well, what difference does it make What name is on it? "The actual
painter (note: not artist) wasn't going to sign his or her name"? Right. Even the paintings with
the name Lee Burr or Lee Reynolds were not painted by Mr. Lee Burr Reynolds (except for a
very few me thinks...and we are not likely to stumble upon them at the thrift store so put your
$$$$ dreams away) but by the staff of painters (Ok...who may be very fine artists but aren't
proving it by just churning out copy after copy of the same thing as prescribed by
So really, even when you find a genuine painting by Lee Burr, Lee Reynolds, Reynolds or
Vanguard (maybe even more Nom De Plumes) you still just have a mass produced piece of art.
Sucks right? No. It doesn't. It just means it's not gonna finance your retirement. Generally, by
what I've seen, the most one of these paintings might fetch (like in a shop) is about a couple
hundred...and that would be a stretch. I'd never pay that much. The thing is, these painting and
prints are only appreciated by a small percentage (somewhat kitschy art lovers) of a small
percentage (vintage modernists) of the general population (regular folks). The demand is not
great, but just enough to keep a good number of these out of the landfill and on the walls of
mid century homes and shops.
This particular piece is just a print (a print of a mass produced painting...that's just too funny)
and has a few small defects from going through the Thrift Store donation process. Since it's a
print it'll be easy to fix the little spots that are lacking color. Actually they can be left as is since
it's difficult to even tell that the spots of white aren't there on purpose! I'll leave it up to the next
lucky owner of this print to fix or leave as is. So yeah, this is available. I'll have it on my ad(s)
soon. If anybody locally would like to snatch it up leave a note here or contact me via my