Signed (at lower right): with Waylande Gregory copyright stamp
Waylande Gregory c
Framed with archival materials and state of the art Optium acrylic.
Waylande Gregory was born and raised in Kansas near a Cherokee reservation. His love of ceramics came from his childhood fascination with Cherokee pottery. In 1924, aged 19, he moved to Chicago, where he met sculptor Lorado Taft. As Taft’s assistant he learned to sculpt marble and bronze. It was also with Taft that he visited Europe. At the end of the 1920’s Gregory became acquainted with Guy Cowan and worked for him at Cowan Pottery, an art pottery firm, in Cleveland, Ohio before the firm shut down, a victim of the Great Depression. In the early 1930’s Gregory became a member of the faculty of renowned Cranbrook Academy teaching ceramics. Colleagues in other departments included legends Harry Bertoia, Charles Eames, Ray Eames and Florence Knoll and Eliel Saarinen. Two of his most important ceramic sculptures, Kansas Madonna and Girl with an Olive, date from this period. By 1933 Gregory was living in Metuchen, New Jersey and the artist began his affiliation with the Works Progress Administration (WPA). As part of the WPA Gregory created Light Dispelling Darkness, a ceramic fountain for Menlo Park, NJ, celebrating Thomas Edison’s invention of the light bulb at his lab and factory in that town. Gregory became WPA New Jersey State head of the sculpture division in 1937.
The 1939 World’s Fair in New York was the culminating expression of Art Deco style in the fields of art, architecture, craft and design that dominated between 1925 and the end of the 1930’s in America. Waylande Gregory created the monumental Fountain of the Atom for the World’s Fair. A ceramic sculpture with a steel frame, it was a marvel of engineering and a visual sensation. The fountain received extensive press coverage in Life Magazine as well as internationally.
Waylande Gregory was the quintessential American Art Deco artist. Dog Walking, New York City is a wonderful expression of the Art Deco sensibility. The composition is stylish, and the artist’s line is confident. With quick strokes he evokes the elegance of the thrusting New York skyline around his Sutton Place neighborhood. Gregory’s whimsical portrayal of the Standard Poodle and the small white Maltese companion is charming. Using spray paint is ingenious and effective in rending the poodle’s wonderful poof balls. With sweeping white brush strokes Gregory recreates the movement of the small dog’s flowing coat. As one would expect of a frequent designer of objets d’art for Tiffany, Gregory also pays attention to the details – the elegant leashes, the pop of a red collar on the black dog and the contrast of the black collar against the little Maltese’s white fur. It would not be a surprise to learn that this work graced the cover of a New Yorker Magazine; it is a wonderful expression of Art Deco and so very New York.