Vernon's silhouettes

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Alan Bursky
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Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Alan Bursky » July 23rd, 2006, 7:42 am

Ask Cervon.

Guest

Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » September 15th, 2006, 1:41 am

http://img79.imageshack.us/img79/8749/daivernon4ih.jpg

Image

Probably one of the last he did. That was the price I asked to show him a card move and concept he didn't get...
He did mine, my wife's and Dante's in 1989 (if my memory's good)

Guest

Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » September 15th, 2006, 1:42 am

Did you get David Ben's permission to show that around?

:D

Guest

Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » September 15th, 2006, 3:09 am

Dante'silhouette was more complex than mine. It took Vernon 17 seconds to cut it.
When he worked, his small scissors didn't move but he moved the black paper to obtain the silhouette.

Leonard Hevia
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Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Leonard Hevia » September 18th, 2006, 2:59 pm

Wow! Thanks for posting that silhouette Mr. Chelman. It's amazing.

Guest

Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » October 5th, 2006, 1:31 am

If that silhouette was actually cut by the professor it is one of the worst he ever cut. Even the signature lacks the smoothness he maintaned well into his last years. I speak from someone who has seen thousands of Vernon's sils.

Guest

Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » October 5th, 2006, 7:31 am

I have a signed copy of The Dai Vernon Book of Magic, and the signature looks almost exactly like the signature on the silhouette.

Guest

Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » October 5th, 2006, 7:53 am

It looks like a fairly good copy. The break at the bottom of the loop indicates a forger who is not too sure of himself.

Guest

Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » October 5th, 2006, 8:01 am

As a relative of Dai Vernon's did you usually call him "The Professor"?

Guest

Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » October 5th, 2006, 8:11 am

Originally posted by Vernon's son:
It looks like a fairly good copy. The break at the bottom of the loop indicates a forger who is not too sure of himself.
This is getting weird! Christian Chelman posts a silhouette of himself which he says Vernon cut for him and "Vernon's Son" strongly implies it is a forgery! I don't think Vernon's signature (unlike Houdini's) is yet sufficiently valuable to have inspired many forgeries. Personally, I believe Christian's first hand report that Vernon cut and signed this for him.

Guest

Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » October 5th, 2006, 8:26 am

If the man actually saw the professor (and yes we all called him that)cut that sillhouette then all I can say is that he performed no better at silhouettes than he did at sleight of hand in his dotage. Too bad you left coast magis never got to see him perform when he was at his peak. I did.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Richard Kaufman » October 5th, 2006, 8:43 am

Many times in his later years, Vernon would offer to cut a silhouette and then, disatisfied with the result, he would crumple it up and toss it in an ashtray.
Then the subject would later retrieve it from the ashtray.
This happened to me and I was later told it was not uncommmon.
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Pete Biro
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Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Pete Biro » October 5th, 2006, 10:08 am

Did Vernon's pal, Larry Gray (The Dizzy Wizzard) cut? I know he was a very very funny performer.
Stay tooned.

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Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » October 8th, 2006, 10:25 pm

Yes, Larry Gray cut silhouettes. The one's I've seen are quite good. One of Walter Gibson graced the cover of a magic magazine years ago. Gibson sent me a copy. I believe Gray learned from Vernon as did Paul Fox.

Guest

Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » October 9th, 2006, 6:25 am

David Ben is at work on a book about Paul Fox. I suspect he ferreted out so much material in researching the Vernon biography that he could write a dozen biographies on many of the magic greats.

Guest

Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » November 28th, 2006, 2:21 pm

I have no idea how I missed this thread when it was first posted. It is good to hear from someone who really knows silhouettes. Has your book been published yet? I have spent forty years watching my father cut silhouettes. I go all the way beck to the '39 NY World's Fair and all those years at Luna Park in Coney Island. I spent many a pleasant time at the Greenwich Village outdoor art show. I turned over more than a thousand of Dai's silhouettes to David Ben. I kept just a few.

Somewhere else on this forum I questioned the authenticity of a sil purported to be done by my dad. I did so on the basis of knowing his style. The person presenting the sil pointed to the signature which I thought to be a fake as well because it lacked the smooth flow of other signatures and seemed to be a labored forgery. Are you able to comment on whether I was right or wrong? I believe you can look at the sil and tell who cut it. You have more expertise on the subject than anyone else I have ever heard of.

Guest

Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » November 28th, 2006, 4:30 pm

Derek,

I have a couple of dozen silhouettes by your father and copies of others. Some were cut in the 20s, and others later, two World's Fairs. One of the ones from 1929, a woman in a chloche hat, is absolutely perfect in design and execution.

Your dad's work shows the influence of Gus Walle, who was working in NYC back when Vernon first came there, as well as Perry, who worked Coney Island at the same time. Vernon was influenced by high end artists, although I would rank him a better silhouette artist than Perry, right up with the very best bust cutters of the century.

Your dad once told me about the Baroness who cut. Apparently he'd met her. She worked for people like the DuPonts and such. Your father admired her work, but they worked differently. Your dad looked and cut and was done in a very short period of time while the Baroness drew first then spent hours working out composition. Her work was quite elaborate and labor-intensive. She also commanded high prices. Her work rarely comes to auction, but I have managed to obtain three over 30 years of collecting.

I took a look at the silhouette in question when you first commented on it and thought it wasn't much like what I've seen of Vernon's work. His work always had a certain elegance to it and this didn't seem elegant at all.

For the most part, 20th Century silhouettes have not been faked, except when they start commanding large prices. Nearly all the fakes I've seen were copies of 19th Century work. It's easy enough to be fooled.

One old silhouette collector (now deceased) once told me about a large sale at a major auction house decades ago where nearly all the lots were fakes.

Once someone realized your dad's work could command a good price, someone provided a cheap copy. I suspect more will be forthcoming.

David Alexander

Guest

Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » November 28th, 2006, 4:32 pm

I forgot to add - my book is still in preparation. I have over 160 artists identified and most biographically profiled. There are several thousand silhouettes in my research collection. I'd say about two-thirds of the book has been already written. Just a bit more to go.

A few years ago I found the single surviving silhouette artist from the Chicago World's Fair of 1933. He remembered "Dave" clearly. He was 94 when I interviewed him. Quite a character.

Guest

Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » November 28th, 2006, 8:47 pm

The only other silhouette artist I ever met was a student of my father's and worked at Coney Island in the forties and fifties, His name was Bob Eppy. Not sure of the spelling, but that was how his name was pronounced. Did you ever hear of him?

Guest

Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » November 28th, 2006, 10:16 pm

Bob Eppy is a new one on me, Derek. I've chronicled all the major cutters of the 20th Century and a lot of the minor ones, guys who had short careers of just a few years, but Eppy is a new one to me.

Can you give me any details about him?

Did you ever hear your father mention Gus Walle or Beatrix Sherman?

Guest

Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » November 29th, 2006, 4:56 pm

Eppy worked on Feltman's Walk (Coney Island) in the forties and fifties. He was the only other silhouette artist I ever knew. Please inform me when your book is finished. I really want to see a copy.

Guest

Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » November 29th, 2006, 11:04 pm

Originally posted by David Alexander:
Bob Eppy is a new one on me, Derek. I've chronicled all the major cutters of the 20th Century and a lot of the minor ones, guys who had short careers of just a few years, but Eppy is a new one to me.
Are any of these unknown to you:
Sonja Barnes
Bellamy
Lena Bengston
K. Housel Bouge
Terry Bramble
Louise Browning
Erwin Buttleman
Collette
Lonzo Cox
Jack Ellis
Deborah Gibbs
Senor Alexander de Gonslar
Mary Amoriza Herrero
Seymore S. Lindsey
Sally Newcomb
Carew Rice
Clay Rice (Carew's Grandson)
X. Ackley Sackett
Beatrix Sherman
Sally Somers
Wallie Spatz
Blanche Turner
Audrey Waite
Gustav Walls
Richard Welchert Jr.
Holden Wetherbee

HERE is an interesting advertisement for a silhouette artist, from the 1920's

Guest

Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » November 29th, 2006, 11:24 pm

I know everyone except seven on the list....have examples of most's work. Where did you get the list?

Guest

Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » November 30th, 2006, 10:25 am

Searched for "silhouette artist" in Newspaperarchive.com. There were simple mentions of some of them, advertisements for appearances for others, a few feature articles about some.

Guest

Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » November 30th, 2006, 12:57 pm

David, I have a collection of sils cut by George Khoury, who wrote several books on mentalism under the name Alexander Thomas. Are you familiar with his work?

all the best,
John Smetana

Guest

Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » November 30th, 2006, 2:21 pm

Yes, I'm familiar with George's work because I taught him how to cut some years back. I do not believe he is currently active. I also taught the late Brian Flora who did well. I have no plans to teach anyone else.

Guest

Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » November 30th, 2006, 2:25 pm

Bill, thanks for reminding me about that resource. I went through it or something like it a couple of years ago and unearthed some interesting info. Looks like I'll have to do it again.

The downside is that a number of artists were active for a short while. Some were quite prolific and others far less so. A number of others only worked within a short distance of their home town, making them more difficult to research.

Guest

Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Guest » September 19th, 2007, 1:44 am

Not only he cutted my silhouette, but also my wife's and ... Dante. Technically, Dante's silhouette was the latest he cutted. He tried mine 2 or 3 times and wasn't happy with the first 2 results.
He did it at the library of the Magic Castle on Dec 29-1986 and his speed was incredible. The same day, he autographed my copy of Revelations.
He cuts the silhouette in exchange for the explanation of some personal secret card moves he didn't recognized.
If you "don't trust it" (and who the hell cares about your opinion), just ask Max Maven, John Kennedy or John Carney.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Vernon's silhouettes

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 19th, 2007, 7:16 am

Christian, this is a very old thread and Vernon's son has been banned from the Forum for a long time for saying many ridiculous things.
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