Thursday, October 11, 2012

Xavier Cugat: bandleader, musician, lover and painter

Cha-cha-cha! I had this record as a kid, and it was always one of my favorites. You can get this copy, here. Perhaps you already knew about this, but I just learned today that my favorite bandleader, Xavier Cugat, in addition to discovering Charo (which would have been enough for me), was also a painter. Mostly in the caricature vein, it's true, but that seems to be kind of a thing in the art world these days. That and graffiti. The art world loves that stuff. But you are a savvy person, so you probably already know what turns 'em on in the art world. Maybe you are sitting in a room designed around one of Damien Hirst's formaldehyde sharks. Or maybe you know that Mr. Hirst is already passe.
Above is a fabulous clown painting from the brush of Mr. Cugat that is for sale on Etsy by seller JohnVenables. You know you need this. Whether you are a Latin music or Exotica enthusiast, or simply an admirer of 20th Century Clown paintings, this could be the crown jewel for your collection. I love how each of the clowns has his own personality. And just look a the disapproving stare of the little puppy. Certainly, Mr. Cugat's oeuvre will appreciate in value, so hop to it. And if you really want to soak yourself in music history, check this out: Mr. Cugat began doing caricatures while touring with Enrico Caruso. Caricatures were a hobby of the great Italian tenor and Mr. Cugat decided at an early age to emulate him.
Here is a wonderful painting perfect for a Doctor's office. I especially love the sleeping dog, and the canned livers. I love how the pink smocks contrast with the sallow complexion of the poor patient. Bidding will seriously heat up on this one, offered by jhonnythompson on ebay. So get to it. It would make an excellent addition to your collection of medical illustrations and anatomical models. Or maybe you collect vintage Milton Bradley Operation boards. Please get it and tell me how much you enjoy it.
Here on ebay you can see one of Mr. Cugat's caricatures of Golda Meir. It is available on ebay from seller douglass6883. And though it is unflattering, as all caricatures must be, it looks like Mr. Cugat was something of a fan of the former Israeli Prime Minister. Or at least he thinks she'd rather make love than war, according to what's written on her purse. Maybe you are a fan too. Or maybe your mom is a fan and you disagree with her. Well then, what a nice gift this would make for mom. It is not cheap; it is currently weighing in at $15,000. (I would prefer to see a caricature of FDR or Gandhi, if you'd like to buy me a giftie). Why don't you become a caricature artist? Yes, you. While working as an extra on a film set many moons ago, I met a caricature artist who worked as an extra during off-season. I was casting about for better employment and he said that learning to do caricatures was fun, and that your could set yourself up in business with only a couple of folding stools and some charcoal. Caricatures almost hold up to my rigorous new skills requirements: a new skill must still be useful after the apocalypse. (Jared Diamond's Collapse made a special groove in my medulla) New paper might be hard to come by after society collapses, but it is still a low-tech gen-u-ine skill. It's on my list, along with ventriloquism. But what if you can't draw? Well, keep at it. Try drawing a portraits of yourself regularly, or alienating your friends with unflattering portrayals of them. Or maybe your friends are super supportive and they will love it. Why not draw a caricature of yourself every year on your birthday and see how you improve. And if your portraits resemble the drawings of Napoleon Dynamite, even better. You might just become an art star. Go, you!

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