20 x 20 inches (51 x 51 cm) oil on board, signed lower right,1997. Matted and framed under Plexiglas in a simple metal frame (wear and paint loss to the frame) to an overall size of 22 x 22 inches (56 x 56 cm). Excellent condition. A change in the matting is suggested.
Provenance: From the Estate of Charles Martignette.
This was originally a collector plate design for The Hamilton Collection, in relation with the forgettable Disney Feature Film "Leave It to Beaver" (1997), from the well-known 1950s TV series of the same name. Probably because of the limited success of the film, the project "did not sail" but, as Mr Weistling kindly confirmed in a private mail to us, this particular illustration is "one of my best of those days."
Morgan Weistling has left illustration behind to turn to more personal art, and he is now a very sought-after genre artist specializing in period recreations. Here, he has masterfully evoked not only the film characters but also the aesthetics and mainstream values of 1950s America.
From the artist's Web Site: Weistling's father came back from the war with dreams of being an artist. With the G.I. Bill, he took classes at Woodbury Art College in Los Angeles where he met Morgan's mom. After marrying and starting a family, Morgan's father had to abandon his artistic dreams and support his new family by becoming a gardener. But, he saved all his art books.....
Morgan, much younger than his brother and sister, began his artistic training as early as 19 months old. His father would sit with him on his lap at night and teach him how to draw and use his imagination. " My dad and I bonded together with drawing and spoke to each other with pictures". Weistling's father had a real talent for telling a story in comic strip form and so it began in Morgan, a natural sense of the narrative." It was here that art became a language for me".
That led to his studying the art books his father had acquired years earlier. Authors such as Andrew Loomis, Vanderpole, and Bridgeman. The most important books, though, were the volume set from the Famous Artist School.
At the age of 12, Weistling was determined to go through the entire course on his own since the school was no longer in existence. By the age of 15, his study of anatomy, drawing, and painting needed a mentor's direction.
That direction came through a retired illustrator named Fred Fixler. Fred's school, then called the Brandes Art Institute, was dedicated to one thing: learning how to draw from life. "The minute I saw his life drawings I knew this was the guy to study with, there was no doubt," says Morgan. Working part-time as a janitor for the school to pay his tuition, Weistling studied there for 3 years.
While still a student and working at an art store, one day a prominent illustrator came in for supplies. Weistling showed him his student work. The next day he found himself employed at one of the top movie poster agencies in Hollywood. "At that time, all I wanted to be was an illustrator," Weistling says, "but that was amazingly fast." For the next 14 years he illustrated for every movie studio in Hollywood as well as many other fields of illustration.
After being art-directed for years, Morgan needed to paint something for himself. He took time out to produce a painting of two children and brought it to Scottsdale Arizona on the advice of longtime friend, Julio Pro .
The first gallery he walked into signed him on the spot, Trailside Galleries. Co-owner Maryvonne Leshe was quick to spot new talent. She was soon proven right. "He would send his paintings to us un-framed and before we could get them hung, they would be sold," quips Maryvonne. Soon a "draw" system for Weistling's paintings became necessary. His first one-man show had 26 paintings and all were sold opening night. Since then, Morgan has had five more one-man shows and they sold out opening night as well.
Photos courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries