Jean Ray Laury

Jean Ray Laury (1928–2011) was a fabric artist and master quilter, and a recurring featured artist in the California Design series of shows and chronicles. She earned her masters degree in design at Stanford University. She lectured, taught, wrote books, and created art. All were equally important to her. We had the honor of meeting Jean and her family years ago through an introduction by Stan Bitters. We had lunch at her Clovis, California, home, in foothills east of Fresno. The modernist structure was situated amongst trees, and bordered by a creek. The interior featured an expansive collection of mid-century modern furniture and art; her studio was at the home’s center. She was dedicated to and passionate about her work.

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Stitchery panel "Peyote Patch" by Jean Ray Laury, part of the california design ten in 1968, sits behind a rattan and formed plywood bed by designer Danny Ho Fong for Tropi-Cal.

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Three wood applique headboards designed and made by Jean Ray Laury and Joyce Aiken line the background, as featured in california design nine in 1965. In front, left to right, are a ceramic mosaic by Rosita Montgomery, a cloisonne enamel by Sue Ely Muchnic, and a mosaic by Esther S. Dendel.

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A wood cut-out architectural panel by Jean Ray Laury and Joyce Aiken stands next to a ceramic sculpture by David Cressey in california design ten, 1968.

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Holiday / Christmas felt applique on a wool background from the artist's collection, signature embroidered on bottom right corner.

Anna Mahler / Sculptor

We are preparing to ship a very special piece of sculpture by Anna Mahler (1904 – 1988) to Mahler's daughter, Marina, to her home in the south of France. Mahler was an Austrian sculptor, and the daughter of composer Gustav Mahler and his wife Alma Schindler. Her stepfather was Bauhaus architect Walter Gropius. She was awarded the Grand Prix at the Paris World Exhibition in 1937 for an 8’ female sculpture. She fled Nazi Austria for London, and after the end of WWII moved to California, where she resided for a number of years, later returning to London and then Spoleto, Italy. Upon arriving in California in 1950 she worked first from her home on North Laurel Ave., and then moved to an outdoor studio on Beverly Glen Blvd. She taught at both UCLA and USC.

Marina told us that her mother completed 1 - 2 pieces per year. Her work can be found in many private collections, as well as having two pieces locally in the UCLA sculpture garden. There is an Anna Mahler International Foundation in Spoleto, Italy, where she last resided.

This sandstone sculpture of a reclining nude female is from the Los Angeles collection of Louis Frimkess. Frimkess, a renowned mid-century graphic designer, was also the father of artist Michael Frimkess. Frimkess was an avid collector and patron of the arts before his passing in 1979. The Frimkess family resided in a modernist post and beam home designed by case study architects Kemper Nomland and Kemper Nomland Jr. located in Beachwood Canyon, with gardens designed by Garrett Eckbo. This sculpture was an integral part of the garden.

The piece prior to shipping.

The piece prior to shipping.

Another view...

Another view...

Anna Mahler at work.

Anna Mahler at work.

Mahler sculpting husband / composer Ernst Krenek.

Mahler sculpting husband / composer Ernst Krenek.

The artist standing next to her work "Tower of Masks" which is part of the UCLA sculpture garden.

The artist standing next to her work "Tower of Masks" which is part of the UCLA sculpture garden.

Mahler's studio in Spoleto, Italy.

Mahler's studio in Spoleto, Italy.

Stan Bitters / West Los Angeles, 1968

We recently revisited the indoor / outdoor mural Stan Bitters designed for United California Bank (currently Great Western Bank) on San Vicente Blvd. in Brentwood, California. I remember years ago the actress June Lockhart called us after reading an article about Stan in the Los Angeles Times. She told us that she was gratified to be reminded of the name of the artist, as her late ex-husband had been an architect on the project, and had taken great care to preserve the mural inside and out during an expansion. Thankfully...

The exterior entry to the bank.

The exterior entry to the bank.

The entryway interior mural wraps around to the back side of the this interior wall, creating a dramatic workplace backdrop.

The entryway interior mural wraps around to the back side of the this interior wall, creating a dramatic workplace backdrop.

A close-up of the mural.

A close-up of the mural.

Stan's signature, and date of the installation.

Stan's signature, and date of the installation.