- 29 Oct
The Artist of Many Things
Many times, when we sell an estate, we know so little about our sellers. I like to think our bidders want to know more about the person behind the items we are selling. My years in this industry have taught me that everyone has a story. This month, we would like to tell you the story about David Scutt of Hendersonville, Tennessee.
David was an artist of many things. He was a painter, rifle maker, master engraver and a musician. For me, I was awestruck at his keen eye for engraving barrels of rifles, shotguns and hand-guns in addition to the gentle nature of his paintings.
David was born in Bloomington, Indiana and life brought him to Tennessee. He and his wife, Polly, had been happily married for 59 years. On their 25th wedding anniversary, in a Facebook post, David describes the moment he saw Polly. “I first caught a glimpse of this girl on a stairs at old East High School, and I was thunderstruck. I had spent most of my Junior year at East High School hidden away in a closet room, drawing animals and such for the old Nashville City School system, for publication of children’s work books. So seeing this girl for the first time was a complete shock. Matter of fact, 59 years later, still thunderstruck.”
In 1993, shortly after his early retirement from the U.S. Postal Service in the Marketing Division, David started painting; however never intended to make his art public. In an early artist’s statement, David describes his interest in Italian artists, particularly Piero della Francesca and Sandro Botticelli. He talks about being fascinated by the subtleties and nuance of emotions and gestures as people interact with each other and with art.
“The only thing I have really understood is the obsession. And with much luck, having a spouse that keeps things in true perspective”.
One of the art pieces in our auction is a gorgeous nude. David talked about working on this painting in the doorway of their garage, open to the street. He said people would stop in the street to make note of his progress. His influencers for this painting came from the artists Amedeo Modigliani and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.
In addition to his paintings, David built beautiful American long rifles, usually in the Federal Period, using curly maple stock. Each piece is custom engraved with precious metal inlays by hammer and chisel. These are probably the stars of the auction! They are a must see. He also made axes and tomahawks. As well, he collected and engraved various other firearms and we are featuring over 70 of them in this auction, several with his custom engravings.
His one-of-a-kind hand engraved designs include stags, dragons, gargoyles and Viking ships. He sometimes referred to this as his “Steel canvas art…Art for a very small audience”. He studied this technique under Master Engravers Lynton McKenzie and Ray Veramontez.
David also had a love of antique clocks, and we are selling over twenty clocks from his private collection. Some clocks include an Army Message Center Clock, Seth Thomas shelf clocks, a Silas Hoadley “Upside Down” clock, and a New Haven clock formerly of the original Gerst Brewing Company.
One last note of interest from items in this auction is a large Ben Nance handmade postage stamp shadow box art piece that used to hang, along with others he created, in the old Post Office Downtown. The Post Office is now the Frist Center. There is a fascinating story behind this piece of art and I think you’ll understand the kind of man David was when you read the story about how he rescued several of these pieces from being destroyed. David was a good man. You can read the story under the “detail” tab on the auction item #264. It’s a good read.
We are pleased to share this collection with you. Own your own unique piece of art from this Artist of Many Things.
About the Author
Patti Baldini has been in the auction industry for over 20 years. Her auction services are full scale and specialty areas include Estates, real estate, antiques and fine art.
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