Monday, September 19, 2016

September 19, 1909 Julian's Birthday

September 19, 2016.  Today is Julian's Birthday. He was born in 1909 and he would be 107 today..
Greg Autry's goFundme Campaign to complete The Book about Julian, and get it off to the editor.

I am asking for your donations/gifts to raise funds that will enable me to complete my book about Julian Ritter, and get it off to the editor.  Julian was a friend, and mentor, and one of the great artist of the twentieth century. I have dedicated myself to write a book about Julian's amazing life and his monumental art.  I'm getting close, and can use your help to get over the finish line. Please click `Donate Now.'  Your Shares on Facebook and Twitter are also greatly appreciated.

WHO I AM  and  WHY THIS NOW.As an adult, I worked to build a business and raise a famaily. I began to collect art seriously in the late 1970's and became enamored of the `Salon Nudes' painted by the artist Julian Ritter. My initiation into the world of  art as an `Investment,' had a somewhat rocky initiation. Around 1982 I purchased an "original" Julian Ritter oil painting at a very renowned art gallery in Laguna Beach, California.

                           Artist Julian Ritter circa 1950

I thought I had negotiated `quite the deal,' and also found that Julian was alive, still painting, and lived in Summerland, California (just south of Santa Barbara.)  I was excited beyond words when I arranged to meet Julian and show him the painting I had just purchased.

My first meeting with Julian was profound in many ways. First and foremost, I was delighted and honored to meet Julian and Laurie Kokx. Secondly, I found out that the painting I had purchased, was a fake. And NOT a very good fake at that!

Restitution was made regarding the fake painting, and more importantly I started a lifelong love of a man I believe is one of the greatest artists of the Twentieth Century.

I commissioned Julian to paint a portrait of my wife Yvonne, and later, another commission for a large painting in Las Vegas which is now well known as the `Las Vegas Fantasy.' I purchased paintings directly from Julian and in 1988, I purchased a collection of 28 paintings called the `Silver Slipper Collection,' from the Summa Corporation in Las Vegas, Nevada, when the Howard Hughes estate was settled after years in litigation. 

                     `Portrait of Janet' by Julian Ritter

I met Julian a couple of years after my own father passed away. In addition to his art, I came to love the man deeply. I felt a deep connection to him, his work, and what he was trying to say through his art.  

     Artist Julian Ritter painting the `Portrait of Yvonne,'       
             1984, Torito Road, Summerland , California

Julian passed away, at the age of 90 in 2000, three days after my mother passed away.  I had tried to promote him when he was alive, and after he passed, I rededicated  myself to telling the story of the `Life and Art of Julian Ritter.'  Thus the theme of the book I have commenced to write.

It is around 34 chapters and 800 pages, in a rough second draft. Here is a brief description of three middle chapters from the book:

`Renowned Artist Julian Ritter sat sail in the "Galilee," leaving Santa Barbara behind, after the death of his beloved wife Hilde. Months later, disheveled, in jail in Acapulco, he was out of hope and out of time. His last desperate act, when given a chance to make a call from jail, was to phone Laurie Kokx in Santa Barbara, California.  In a life saving attempt Laurie arranged a private plane to fly to Acapulco and to bail Julian out of the Mexican jail.  Safely out of jail and revived, a month later, 60 year old Julian Ritter and 17 year old Laurie Kokx announced that they would embark together to sail to Costa Rica and on to the Tahitian Islands. After spending three years, living his childhood dreams of sailing the Islands and painting, Julian and Laurie hired another crewmate and would set sail for home, first bound for Honolulu. Within a couple of weeks however, things began to go wrong. The engine conked out, the radio was on the fritz, and lastly, they were caught in a severe cyclone, which crippled the 45 foot yawl Galilee. Their mast broken, severely off-course, no way to steer or to communicate, they were lost at sea, emaciated and within hours of death.  Lost at sea for 89 days, the last 49 days with no food, they were miraculously rescued by the USS Niagara Falls, where upon the Navy Doctor, Lt. Phillip Becker, immediately had them taken to critical care in sick bay aboard the ship.'  

Sept 15, 1970, "Galilee" in tow by USCGC Cape Corwin, 
     and USS Niagara Falls, heading to Honolulu, Hawaii. 

 `Sick Bay' of the USS Niagara Falls, days after rescue of 
          Winfried Heiringhoff, Lauren Kokx, Julian Ritter.

Brought back from the brink of death, Laurie and Julian eventually made it home to Santa Barbara, settling on Torito Road in Summerland, California.  

This is only a portion of what I've written to date, telling the story of a man whose life adventures, personality, and character at times overshadow his art, and who may be truly one of the greatest artists to ever have lived. Foolishly or not, Julian disdained the art world which he relied upon. He lived his life true to his beliefs and always in pursuit of his art. 

                     Sept 14, 1970  `Galilee' in distress
                            "NO FOOD, NO POSITION"  

I made the decision to start the book, based on my intimate relationship and conversations with Julian over many years. He told me many stories, and we talked about art and his life's philosophy whenever we were together. Now I still need to do a signifcant amount of research.  Part of the research needed to be done is about Julian's history in Las Vegas. Julian's `Golden Years' as I call them, were the 1950's, when he painted the bulk of the Silver Slipper Collection a well as  having major art deals all overthe country.

In 2015 I decided to move to Las Vegas, to do research and to physically start the book, while Sandy, my wife moved  back to San Jose to be closer to her family. Thanks to the firm Sandy works for, who allowed her a transfer to their Palo Alto office.  In Las Vegas I started and finished the first draft of the book, and began the second draft, the first rewrite. I also met a wonderful editor in Las Vegas, who is accomplished and is familiar with Julian's  paintings that used to hang in the Silver Slipper. 

                                                `Entry Piece'
    Salon Nude by Julian Ritter - Silver Slipper Collection

While I do not consider myself a "Writer," per se, I have been doing some writing.  A few years back, while photographing  a fashion show  `For The Stars,' on Melrose Ave in West Hollywood, I met a publisher  who liked my photos and asked "If I write ?"  "Of course I do," I replied. Thus Lawrence Davis gave me a "job" as a photojournalist for LA Splash Magazine.  Writing for LA Splash  Magazine does not pay, in cash, it has however offered me opportunities to improve as a writer, as well as other opportunities to cover events and meet  people I would not have the opportunity to meet otherwise. Sadly, Lawrence Davis passed away in 2015. He had become a dear friend and I miss him every day. I continue as a photojournalist for LA Splash Magazine, in thanks to Lawrence and to continue my writing discipline. 

     Lawrence Davis - Splash Magazine Publisher 2014
                                        with Wilma Elles 

Building on the experience I've gained with LA Splash Magazine has given me the confidence to seriously pursue writing my book about Julian. I do it because I must. It has become my purpose, my passion, and I do it to honor a man who dedicated his entire life to art, and to whom I felt a kinship with, from the time I met him.  In the face of dire adversity, Julian Ritter dedicated  seventy years of his life to his one true purpose, that of creating art. Julian loved women without restraints, he loathed societies constraints and judgments, and sought to portray women as true Goddesses, without shame and full of joy. 

I am about half finished with the second draft, and will be ready to submit it to the editor. Right now I have thirty-four chapters, and a total of about 800 pages written.  The second draft is about two-thirds completed, but I'm at a stop now.  And STOPPED, is why I am reaching out with this "goFundme" campaign. 

HOW I WILL USE THE FUNDS1)  COMPUTERS and EQUIPMENT                $  4,536.00
I have (had) two computers. A PC which I write on, and a MAC which I edit photos on.  The PC Hard Drive crashed about two weeks ago. Thankfully I do have the manuscript backed up, on a flash drive.  My MAC, is failing, and I am concerned it is going to crash also. Thus, the first component of my Request, to replace my Computer and related equipment.

I will purchase a new MAC, and add Microsoft Word to the MAC, to write on. Thus I can continue writing, to complete the manuscript.  Additional cost will include an Epson Printer, Set Up fees, and miscellaneous related items.

I will not be able to finish the manuscriipt I'm afraid, without  the funds to replace the computers.

2)   EDITING THE MANUSCRIPT                       $ 2,182.00

Professional editing of the manuscript is required before it can be submitted to agents and publishers. My goal is to attain a deal with a major publisher, to publish the book in hardback. One, or possibly two volumns.  Obtaining a publisher is another challenge, but for now, I must get the book finished. This is the goal here. 

I've selected an editor, whom I believe will provide invaluable assistence and support.  She has chastised me when needed, cajoled, and motivated me.  

3)   CAMERA EQUIPMENT                                  $  4,023.00

I must purchase a new camera, as my current D700 is approaching one-million shutter clicks. It has been in for repair twice in the last two years, and at this point the repairs will cost more than a new camera.  It failed at one shoot last year, and I recently had to rent a camera body for a shoot, as the D700 is simply not reliable anymore. 

I've been shooting Nikon professionally since my first F3, when I was shooting fashion in New York. I will continue to shoot Nikon.  This aspect of my `goFund me' campaign is to purchase a new Nikon D810 along with a wireless receiver.  

When I began the book I was making a living painting, doing art appraisals, and my commercial photography. I found that I could not do all three, and do them well.  One had to be put on hold so that I could tell Julian's story. To that end, the photography became more important, as it was inherently entwined in what I am doing. As a photournalist for LA Splash, I photograph all of the events I write about. This I believe raises my credibility as a writer. I believe it will be beneficial when I am seeking publishers for the book about Julian.
I also use my camera when doing art appraisals, so as to include thumbnail images of the paintings appraised, with the written appraisal.  This also goes to the computer issue (#1 above) for writing appraisals and editing photos for appraisals. 

Lastly, I shoot commercially to supplement my income and to pay monthly living expenses. My commercial work has fallen off significantly in the last year. This I percieve  as being a part of the new digital world of imaging, but more importantly, as result of my relocation to Northern California. I am developing new clients and professional relationships here, but I must have reliable equipment. 

I am still shooting in Southern California, as well as Las Vegas, and traveling to shoot when requested. Here, I must thank my beautiful wife Sandy, for her unyielding support and belief in my artistic endeavors. Never has a man been so fortunate as to find a woman who truly believes in him and what he does.  

I cannot ask for Sandy to carry all the financial burden. I must work and do as much as I am able to contribute financially to our household, all the while working on `The Book' about Julian. 

4)   RESEARCH FUNDS                                            $ 2,052.00

I do need to make a couple of trips to conclude some valuable aspects of the research, which will take me to Museums and Libraries in Berkeley and San Francisco, as well as Reno and Las Vegas again, and also to a town in Oregon. I believe both these trips will provide valuable information to bring together some of the final aspects of the concluding chapters for `The Book.'

I have actually been working and doing the research for `The Book' for years. Going to museums, libraries, meeting people, and  collecting stories. Even the art appraisals I do is part of my research. Including my time in Las Vegas I've spent an estimated twenty to thirty-thousand dollars of my own funds.  Some of which has been offset by doing appraisals. I am NOT looking to recoup funds here for money I've already spent. I'll do that when I get a book deal. 

TOTAL and IN CONCLUSION                          $  12,793.00
Asking for money is difficult for me. I first went to my bank for a personal loan.  It seems banks and credit unions do not make personal loans in support of the arts, thus I was rudimentally turned down. Raising funds has become a necessity for me to complete my book about Julian.

I have structured this `goFundme' campaign in the four phases shown above based on what I believe are the most critical aspects, first.  I will apply fiunds received in the order listed herein: 
                        1)   Computers   $   4,536.00
                        2)   Editor               $   2,182.00
                        3)   Camera           $   4,023.00
                        4)   Research        $   2,052.00
                        TOTAL                    $ 12,793.00

My love for Art, for design, for creating has evolved over a lifetime of experiences and people. Julian being the most profound influence on me, not only as an artist, but as a human.  He spoke of `Spirit' long before I understood. He remains one of the most important influences on my life and in my perception of life. I feel that out of love and loyality both, this is something I must do for Julian. It is also an expression of what I believe.
I am hopeful that the book will reach people all over the world. It is my dream that my book would be the impetus to talk about and understand Julian's work, his art, and his life's journey. It is my hope `The Book'  creates a bigger conversation about Art, and the purpose of Fine Art as a tool for humans to express themselves. I want people to have an opportunity to see Julian's work, after the book comes out, in museums and galleries all over the world. 

My dream will be fulfilled by having Julian's work recognized as the great art it is. I'm very hopeful a producer or screenwriter will read my book and see Julian's work, and that the `Life and Art of Julian Ritter' may become the basis for a feature film, cable TV series, or a documentary. 

I'm also very hopeful of attracting the interest of appropriate art venues, such as museums and galleries, who would be interested in hosting shows and exhibitions of Julian's work. 

Julian was prolific over many decades. I have seen amazing works from collectors all over the USA, as well as in other countries, who have paintings and drawings that need to be seen by the art world.  This, I wish to facilitate.  

Paintings from the 1939 Golden Gate Exposition, the de Young Museum, and the `Bimbo's 365' collections, are but a few examples.

                                       `Atlantis' circa 1950 
              Bimbos 365 Club - San Francisco, California

                `Steel Worker' circa 1938 study for Mural
              1939 Golden Gate Exposition San Francisco
                 Mines Minerals and Machinery Buildings

We are a little more than three years away, from the fiftieth (50th) anniversary of the rescue of the "Galilee" on Sept 14, 1970. I will consider myself accomplished when I have fulfilled my promise to Julian, to let the world know that he was unique, and one of the greatest artists that ever lived. 

You can follow updated stories and posts on the Julian Ritter Facebook Page, as well as the Julian Ritter Blog, which I write and post weekly. At the Julian Website you can read some of the "stories" that are the basis for other chapters in the manuscript, and see more photos of an array of Julian's paintings.  

To get an idea of my other interests and pursuits, take a look at some of my Articles in LA Splash Magazine . Of course there is an Article about Julian, as well as renowned Las Vegas Showgirl, Janet Boyd. My own, Facebook Page, Greg Autry,  as well as my Facebook Page titled,`Greg Autry Art & Photo. '  are portals into my life of art.  

I Thank You now, for whatever you can do.  Your gift is valued and is greatly appreciated.

Greg Autry
Author of the book - `The Life and Art of Julian Ritter'

`Las Vegas Fantasy' by Julian Ritter
                       Greg, Janet, Helen, Ronnie, and Teresa

                                        Greg Autry - Author
                         `The Life and Art of Julian Ritter'

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Salon Nudes from the Horseshoe and Silver Slipper Casinos

Sept 6, 2016

This painting was discovered when I purchased the Silver Slipper Collection, at the side of the main bar.  It was first hung at the old Horseshoe Casino, or the Frontier Hotel by Benny Binion, and Moe Dalitz, in the late 1940's. Which Casino, is still in question. Then it was moved to the Silver Slipper when the new remodel was done.  Benny and Moe had envisioned  a Casino, with grandiose Bars, "like an old high class Bordello.' And thats what they got.

Julian often re-incorporated models and poses into subsequent paintings. Here Julian juxtaposes the stylish "proper" socialite, in white hat, gloves, and gown with the flaxen haired nude vixen on the right. Contrasting the sin and virtue of Las Vegas and the women it drew.

Directly above is a photo I took of Julian working in his studio on Torito Road, in Summerland, California. The painting shown at the top of the page, served as a study piece for a much larger painting, done later, in which Julian inserted a self-portrait of himself sitting amongst the same "proper" society lady, as well as an assortment of nude showgirls, and working girls.  He would use the same pose several times, he loved the arch of her back, as a means of portraying societies "straight laced" attitudes towards sexuality. Julian spent a lifetime painting, and in that lifetime he strived to portray a woman's sensuality and sexuality as something that should be celebrated , not shamed. 

The Reclining Nude above also comes from the Silver Slipper Collection, and was in fact a centerpiece of the collection. Having hung in the opulent entry to the Casino for many years, it was simply called, the `Entry Piece.'  The Reclining Nude pose, is a Hallmark of the Salon Nudes Julian became famous for.  In the early 1950's these nudes were considered scandalous, thought-of in terms of `New Modern Art,' for the brightness and lively sensuality that was so openly displayed.

These paintings are masterpieces, painted in layers of glazes which create luscious flesh tones of amazing translucense. The figure is rendered in exquisite perfection, with ample breast, pink nipples, and hips raised on a pillow of silk to seduce. 

For more stories and information, please go to the Julian Website. You can also contact Greg Autry if you have painting that need Appraisals, or which you may wish to sell.