Eccentric Art

THE IMAGINATIVE POWERS OF THE DESIGNERS OF CURTIS JERÉ PIECES, RANGE FROM THE REALISTIC TO THE HIGHLY ABSTRACT,
AND WILL ADD A DASH OF VERVE TO ANY ROOM

Curtis Jeré artisan house and its awesome sculptural works have become synonymous with Mid-century design and contemporary modernist settings. Though the name Curtis Jeré is familiar to many as the maker of eccentric modern design from the 1960s and 70s, relatively few are aware that it is a pseudonym for the design team of Curtis Freiler and Jerry Fels – who were brothers-in-law. They combined their names to create an artful persona – sometimes shortened to C. Jeré. Together, they created some of the most striking furnishings and decorative objects of their era, from sculptures and mirrors, to lighting and wall decorations.

New Yorkers Freller and Fels had collaborated for two decades on a costume jewellery business, selling work under the names Renoir and Matisse before launching a design company called Artisan House in 1964. Fels served as head of design, and Freiler, known for his keen handiwork, was the production chief. Mirroring the passion of many other designers of the time, their ultimate goal was to produce “gallery-quality art for the masses”.

Curtis Jeré sculptures were originally distributed by Raymor, a high-end studio in New York City, and retailed at Gump’s in San Francisco, and other top-quality design emporiums. It’s reported that Freiler made great efforts to employ minorities and the handicapped. Under his direction, they sheared, crimped, torched, and welded brass, copper, and other metals before coating them with luminous patinas.

The work of Curtis Jeré displays playfulness and curiosity, drawing on inspirations and themes that include flowers, discs, geometric forms and animal figures, with a masterful ability to work with different materials, such as patinated brass and brilliant chrome.

The pair’s eclectic metalwork has captivated decorative art collectors and interior designers ever since and today these highly sought after pieces carry a suitably high price to match!

Curtis and Jerry sold Artisan House in 1972. Sold and resold, the company still produces metal sculptures including re-introductions of popular Mid- century designs. Artisan House sculptures are no longer made in California, as production moved to China in 2003.

Some of the older techniques haven’t been used in decades, adding to the desirability and attractiveness of Artisan House pieces.

The price of a Curtis Jeré mirror, lamp, wall-mount- ed sculpture or table top sculpture, for example, can range from £300 to £10,000, depending on the size, the rarity of the piece, the intricacy of the metalwork and the materials used in its construction. Other factors like condition can greatly affect the perceived value and, the cost of works by Curtis Jeré.

Taken from Issue 35 of VE Magazine.

WITH THANKS TO:

www.1stdibs.com
www.Talismanlondon.com
www.mid-centuryonline.com

Sailboat. Metal wall sculpture, signed Curtis Jeré and dated 1975. Width: 108cm.  Price: £1,950. Available from Talisman

Sailboat. Metal wall sculpture, signed Curtis Jeré and dated 1975. Width: 108cm.
Price: £1,950. Available from Talisman

Forest. A large metal sculpture from 1977 signed Curtis Jeré. Width: 135cm.  Price: £3,600 Available from Talisman

Forest. A large metal sculpture from 1977 signed Curtis Jeré. Width: 135cm.
Price: £3,600 Available from Talisman

Large Sunburst wall sculpture. Price £1,325. Available from Mid-century Online.

Large Sunburst wall sculpture. Price £1,325. Available from Mid-century Online.

A pair of 1970s vintage gilt gold metal ‘male and female’ bookends.  Price: £674. Available from 1stdibs

A pair of 1970s vintage gilt gold metal ‘male and female’ bookends.
Price: £674. Available from 1stdibs

Woo Gilchrist