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Misc. Shop Stuff #37: Artwork: Carlyle (IL) Swinging Bridge

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Blog entry by Smitty_Cabinetshop posted 12-09-2013 04:05 AM 814 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 36: Just Another Shop Cabinet In-Work... Part 37 of Misc. Shop Stuff series Part 38: New Tool Arrival: A Fine Bronze Head »

I have this painting of the General Dean Suspension Bridge in Carlyle, IL. It is painted on a 4’x8’ sheet of masonite, with a pencil sketch on the reverse (smooth) side and the finished work on the textured side.

The painting is signed R. Czerwonka, and I know nothing of this gentlemen but it may be:

RAYMOND CZERWONKA of Hoffman IL

Date of birth: December 13, 1927
Date of death: June 15, 2007

Just posting it here because Google finds nothing on any of this. Maybe someone will find it here now and tell me more about this great painting.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive



13 comments so far

View AnthonyReed's profile

AnthonyReed

4661 posts in 1097 days


#1 posted 12-09-2013 04:09 AM

That is wonderful Smitty.

-- ~Tony

View Brit's profile

Brit

5153 posts in 1500 days


#2 posted 12-09-2013 06:22 AM

I found a reference to Mr Ray Czerwonka in:

THE EIGHTH ANNUAL TOWN AND COUNTRY ART EXHIBITION
University of Illinois College of Agriculture
and College of Fine and Applied Arts
Cooperating
Architecture Building Gallery
September 22-28, 1963

We are proud to present the work of the amateur artists of Illinois.

The eighth annual Illinois Town and Country Art Exhibition reflects the growing
interest of Illinois residents in art and craft work.

Fifteen University of Illinois art judges sele’cted pieces at 29 local shows for
this exhibition. There are 237 exhibitors from 38 widely scattered Illinois
counties represented in the exhibition.

Judges for this exhibit were Professors Peter Bodnar, Harry F. Breen and Donald
E. Frith. They awarded blue ribbons to those considered to merit special recognition.

The exhibition is open to the public:
1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., September 22-27
9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., September 28

Many of the paintings are for sale at the prices indicated. Arrangements for
purchase should be made with the artist.

Ray Czerwonka exhibited a watercolor painting called ‘Spring Plowing’

So this tells us that at the time of this exhibition (1963) Ray was an amateur artist in Illinois.

The above show still takes place. See here: http://www.news-gazette.com/arts-entertainment/local/2013-09-18/amateur-art-show-display-springer.html

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View Brit's profile

Brit

5153 posts in 1500 days


#3 posted 12-09-2013 06:41 AM

Could this be him?

http://www.ancestry.com/1940-census/usa/Illinois/Ray-Czerwonka_54s5py

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View stefang's profile

stefang

13054 posts in 1991 days


#4 posted 12-09-2013 09:35 AM

That is a very nice painting Smitty. It would have been fun to see if he has some family somewhere who knew about it or at least would like to know about it.

It would be an awful big coincidence if there were 2 R. Czerwonkas who were both artists in that same time frame.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9925 posts in 1276 days


#5 posted 12-09-2013 03:58 PM

Centralia and Hoffman tie in very well, Andy. Wow, that’s great stuff you found on the art exhibit!

Chicago may have been his home in 1940, but that is about five hours north.

Mike, there was a Czerwonka in the local HS (son of Ray?) in 1970…

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6820 posts in 1809 days


#6 posted 12-09-2013 05:43 PM

Wow, amazing detective work Andy!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Dave's profile

Dave

11168 posts in 1497 days


#7 posted 12-10-2013 01:17 PM

That might be your retirement Smitty.
I see antiques roadshow in your future.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9925 posts in 1276 days


#8 posted 12-10-2013 01:30 PM

You may say I’m a dreamer… Well I’m not the only one.

:-)

Can you imagine hefting a full-sheet painting around all day? That’d be something, alright.

If the local paper had anything on-line, a search may have turned up the painter’s name. There was an image just like this one behind the side-bar of the local American Legion Hall; that’s gone, but I remember seeing the painting when I was much, much younger. There would have been something in the paper, I’d think. But, who knows?

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View CharlyAnn's profile

CharlyAnn

1 post in 144 days


#9 posted 05-01-2014 01:18 AM

This to me is a strange coincidence that you only posted this a few months ago and that I did a search for it today. I have been helping my mom clean out her attic the last couple of days and I just came across a painting that he did on a gold edged plate. I never knew that my grandparents had any of his work.

I am quite sure that this was probably Ray Czerwonka from Hoffman, IL. Hoffman is about 10 miles from Carlyle. I knew Ray, he was my neighbor across the street growing up. Hoffman is a very small town of about 500 people (now). Even when I was a kid, everyone knew most everyone else in town. I am 45 years old and spent my whole childhood here and a few years more recently. This is still where my mother lives.

Like I said, he was my neighbor and next door to him was a tavern called the Hoffman House. It has been called that for as long as I can remember and many years before that as well. There are 4 murals on the walls there that he painted. Two of them were covered up (and I hope not damaged in the process) quite a few years ago, I’m thinking 15-20. One is behind the bar and runs most of the length of it. I think these 3 depict birds and bird dogs in grasses. The other one is a very large one, I’m guessing it to be 5’x20’...at least. It is a painting of the main street in Hoffman from back in the day. On the one side of it, it shows his house, the tavern and the railroad crossing. It even shows an early model car driving through and a woman lifting her skirts to cross the muddy road. My mom said that she remembers him painting them and says she thinks she was in high school at the time, so I am guessing that would make those paintings about 50 years old, give or take.

It might seem strange, his artwork in the Hoffman House has always been special to me. Maybe because I knew the artist and the large mural is about my town and the mystery to me of a time before my own. I do not know much more about him, other than he enjoyed gardening, owned an antique shop, was a kind man and never had an art lessen in his life. I Last I knew, he did still have family in the surrounding areas and I might have to see if I can contact any of them and pass along this blog.

Thanks for sharing the pic that gives me another look at a local artists work depicting local history and a chance to share with you what I know about the artist.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9925 posts in 1276 days


#10 posted 05-01-2014 03:19 AM

Wow, awesome info! i’ve spent time in the Hoffman House, know it well!

Thank you for posting, let me know if there is family in the area with an interest in seeing the painting first-hand.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View AnthonyReed's profile

AnthonyReed

4661 posts in 1097 days


#11 posted 05-01-2014 02:31 PM

Yep. Wonderful. :-)

-- ~Tony

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

10857 posts in 1664 days


#12 posted 05-01-2014 02:59 PM

That’s awesome ^

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View Brit's profile

Brit

5153 posts in 1500 days


#13 posted 05-01-2014 08:42 PM

That’s the power of the internet right there. There’s wisdom in crowds.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

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