Contemporary art is expensive. Even buying a large print by an emerging artist can become cost prohibitive when framing is factored into the budget. What to do if you need something with presence and power…that's four feet wide? If you are looking to jazz up a lonely wall in your home, a metal wall sculpture by Curtis Jere (or similar) is an affordable, stylish and unique choice. Better yet, vintage pieces by Jere will hold their value as more scholarship is done on this quirky American studio/manufacturer.
If you are long-time follower of Apartment Therapy, you have probably encountered Curtis Jere's wall sculptures over the years featured on the site. While the studio operated from the late 1960's to the early 1980's, over the last decade or so there has been a revival in interest in their works. (Note: There was no one "Curtis Jere". The name was concocted by the company's founders Curtis Freiler and Jerry Fels) A few years ago Jonathan Adler purchased the rights to reproduce a handful of the company's most successful designs, notably the "Raindrops" wall sculptures.
While the aforementioned sculpture has become the wall equivalent of the Eames lounge chair (ubiquitous, knocked-off and cliched) Curtis Jere has a huge body of work. As you can see from this brief album there was quite a variety of sculptures. Not included here is the giant kitchen tools series, which includes whisks and can openers measuring over four feet tall. The aesthetics and moods of the sculptures run the gamut from elegant to whimsical or kitschy to glamorous.
Vintage Jere is easily found on sites such as eBay and 1stdibs. Prices can be a low as $175 to well over $4,000. Similar metal wall sculptures by anonymous studios, such as the "Island" and the "Bronzed-branched Amaryllis" from my shop Caviar20 are described as "in the style of Jere" since Jere was both a pioneer and the vanguard of this decorative form.
Alongside Raymor and Georges Briard, Curtis Jere is a prime example of a mid-century American design company that deserves more scholarship and formal documentation of their creative output.