May 15, 2006

Von Dutch Children's Rocking Chair. Damn.

vondutch_rocker.jpg

Clearly, I'm not on the right email lists, because I just found out about last Saturday's auction of Von Dutch art and memorabilia in LA about 15 minutes ago.

Not that it would've done me any good. Forget for a moment, if you can, that most people know the name Von Dutch because it's been pulled taut across Tara Reid's braless, malformed rack. And that it's plastered across a Hot Topicful of licensed merchandise, thanks to some greedy heirs and garmentos. [And yes, that includes infant clothing, and no, I'm siding with the hot rodding purists on this one and saying make it if you must, but you shouldn't buy it.]

No, the real Von Dutch, the man, was a pioneering car-modder and pinstriping artist and hugely influential figure in the custom car culture of the 1950's onward in LA. His work has attracted a huge and moneyed following, and at auction, the prices for even the most mundane painted sign or hammer outstripped my passion [and hence, my budget. The master's own pinstriping paintbox sold for 270,000 freakin' dollars, for example.

So while I would like to think I'd have had the vision and guts to buy this one-of-a-kind children's rocking chair, made from wood scavenged from Movie World, the car collector's paradise, and decorated with pinstriping and hand lettering by Von Dutch, I have to admit, I would not have bid $2,950 for it.

But at least if I had been there, I could have read the fine, lettered print of the sonofabitch's "handpainted Warning Label on the side," the "small Dutch social commentary on governmental restrictions," and then tried to search out the "cryptic and cleverly hidden message on the rocking chair's underside." Because this photo doesn't show much at all.

Lot 0111: Von Dutch - Child's Rocking Chair/Cradle, est $4,000-8,000, sold for $3,320 with premium
[rmauctions.com or ebay.com via jalopyjunktown]
Related; The OC Weekly on the Von Dutch auction, c. today, and the Von Dutch phenomenon, c. 2004 [ocweekly.com]

2 Comments

Oh my, you've hit a nerve. I'm surprised you of all people are caught up in the Von Dutch hoopla. Never thought I'd see a reference to that pet rock of today on dt. Ever since I heard what a total loser the guy was, I can't believe that anyone with any common sense would spend a dime on something with his name on it, even if its an original.

The only person I've ever met who appreciated the work of Von Dutch before the baseball caps and baby tees is the mechanic we take our '64 Plymouth Valiant to. Yeah everybody’Äôs seen the eyeball, but really having an interest was pretty rare.

Worse is that the guy so idolized by you and all the other so well marketed to was a total ass. A racist and an alcoholic, he crashed his car while drunk, injuring his wife, who lost her unborn child. Von Dutch fled the state to avoid being prosecuted for manslaughter. His last words were reportedly "Heil Hitler". What a schmuck.

It's like buying your kid a Kobe Bryant jersey. Yeah, he beat the rape charge, but adultery, that's just fine, right? Great basketball player no doubt, but a good role model...hmmm.

Maybe I'm taking this fathering thing too seriously. Just strikes me as pretty one dimensional to pay any respect to such nasty people.

[all true, as far as it goes, at least as much as they're part of the Von Dutch "legend." (sic) There's no doubt that Von Dutch the man was a nightmare and a huge ass and a violent alcoholic who drank himself to death. But without denying or excusing anything, let me also say that the car wreck/fetus/manslaughter story sounds too conveniently bad and not related to any actual laws I've ever heard of. There's also no doubt in my mind that 99% of the people who know Von Dutch trucker hats don't know boo about Von Dutch the man or the undeniably significant influence his work had on the culture in its day. -ed.]

I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies, but I do know that this baby furniture is butt-ugly.

I'm sure it is very pleasing to some quaint Bavarian design aesthetic that you "hip" people harbor.

So why don't you go out and by six or eight of them? I'm sure it will be a great investment.

Jeff

[different strokes, pal. Clearly, I had no idea what kind of pent-up hipster hatin' a single Von Dutch mention would bring out in some people. sheesh -ed.]

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