Friday, October 23, 2015

Magazine Las Vegas covers Julian Ritters works


The special Collections department of the Library at UNLV provided some interesting information. In an article from `Magazine Las Vegas', December 1954, there is an article about Julian Ritter and his paintings from the Loden Display Studio. At the time `Magazine Las Vegas' was to run a series called `The Girl of the Month' with photographs of Julian' paintings (pictured in black and white photographs by Mark Swain). `The paintings were on display at the Casino of The Last Frontier Hotel, where thousands of tourist and locals stand to gawk and stare.'

Reclining Nude 
Silver Slipper Entry

 Las Vegas Follies
Silver Slipper Entry

The mid-Fifties may indeed be considered one of Julian's most prolific periods. As noted in the Article  his work "including portraits of children, book illustrations, murals and paintings are on display in New York, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, and busy spots all over the world."

The magazine would go on to showcase  Julian's amazing art over the next year-and-a-half, with additional Articles and photographs of Julian and his models (noted Playboy model Neva Gilbert was painted by Julian and included in the last article of the series [October 1955]).

What is not mentioned in the Article is the story behind how Julian came to be represented by "Loden". What will be an interesting part of my upcoming book will revolve around how Julian came to paint as series of work which were sold to mobster Doby Doc, and subsequently for other high ranking mob family members including Moe Dalitz, and Benny Binion.

Also not mentioned in the Article is that the Casino of The Last Frontier Hotel, where the paintings were displayed, was the Silver Slipper Casino, which would in fact become The Silver Slipper Casino and Gambling Hall. The first, The Biggest, on the Strip.
                                                                                                                Portrait  of  a  Redhead
                                                                                                               Silver Slipper Collection

Julian began painting the Paintings, in the mid to late forties, and made his initial sale in early 1950 or thereabouts. Benny Binion then asked him to do a series of paintings, in a Gay-Ninties motif for a new casino he was planning (which would become the Silver Slipper).

   The Silver Slipper was built, then sold. The new owners liked the paintings so much they commissioned Julian over the course of years, to do another twenty or so paintings.  Lastly, the Silver Slipper was sold to Howard Hughes in the 1966 when Hughes began buying up valuable Las Vegas real estate. Contrary to common myths, Hughes bought the Silver Slipper property because he believed it to be a valuable piece of land in what would become a very desirable location on the strip.

Julian completed the last painting for the Silver Slipper in 1964.  That was not however, the end of his connection to the Casino. In 1968 one of the paintings would be stolen from the Casino, only to be recovered days later by two Detectives from Las Vegas' Sherif Lamb's office. And in a final twist of fate, Julian and his "Dealer" at the time, Bernie Schanz, would be called to Las Vegas to do an Appraisal of the Collection then hung at the Slipper.  Howard Hughes had to sue the previous group of owners to retain procession and ownership of the collection itself, which was called into question in long litigation over the purchase of the Silver Slipper property. Hughes won, and retained the paintings.

The history of the Silver Slipper Collection is rich and I hope to be able to show the collection, with additional work by Julian, from his estate and other collectors, to highlight a remarkable career of a master artist, and to highlight what has been heretofore lost in Las Vegas, a magnificent art history.

              Portrait of a Blonde
          Silver Slipper Collection

Below are a few additional  paintings from the Silver Slipper Collection.  All of the paintings can be seen at the Julian Website  

Blame it of the Apple
(private Collection of Greg Autry) 

Hobo Photographer
(from the Mr Whimsy series)
Silver Slipper Collection

Riding the Red Surrey
Silver Slipper Collection

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