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Celebrating the pipe organ, the King of Instruments

The Freese Collection

Faythe Freese


“My husband, Jerry and I appreciate contemporary art and strive to support living artists, consequently, we have collected a fair number of paintings and sculptures. In 2005 we discovered the art work of Nall, an Alabama-born artist who is the protégé of Salvador Dali. We purchased two pieces, the violin sculpture and Iris and Poppy, a water color painting, and commissioned the third work, the Organ Cross.

The Violin – Augenmusik: The violin was acquired at a silent auction at The University of Alabama with the proceeds benefiting music scholarships. With the last ten seconds remaining in the auction, I reached under the arms of my auction competitor who was hovering over the bid sheet, and I blindly wrote the winning bid. The competitor was unaware that I had won the bid and she commenced with a victory dance when the gavel descended… until she looked down at the bid sheet and saw my bid! Ha!

Nall decorated a standard sized violin with mink, suede, lace, glass mosaics on the neck of the violin, mirrors on the sides of the violin, and piano hammers replaced the tuning scrolls. He drew a double iris eye and affixed it within the enlarged sound hole. I am unsure of the significance of the double iris, but don’t worry, the violin was probably some cheap fiddle, not a Stradivarius! The violin is suspended with monofilament fishing line in a clear plexiglass box. The box and its contents are situated on a white and gold pedestal table that Jerry found in an antique store in Fairhope, Alabama, the town where Nall’s art gallery is located.

The Violin

The Violin

 
The Iris and the Poppy – Lirio e amapola: Iris and Poppy was our first purchase of Nall’s art (2005). The piece is a water color painting that employs mixed media such as pen and ink, glass mosaics, cracked egg shells, and segments of picture frames. Interesting to note, despite the modernistic treatment of the painting subject, Nall is recognized as one of the finest botanical artists alive today. Typical of many Nall paintings, the work is encased in a plexiglass box. The piece measures 20 ¾” W x 31 ¼” H.

Iris and Poppy

The Iris and the Poppy

The Organ Cross – La croix de foi: In 2010, I was performing a concert at St. James Episcopal Church, Fairhope, Alabama and the day prior the concert, I requested of my host: “Please take me to Nall’s gallery, I’ve never been there and, you know, we collect his art.” As we entered the gallery, Nall was seated on a chair holding forth to his customers about his art. I invited him to my concert, foolishly suggesting that if he drew something while in attendance, I would buy it. Do not ever offer to buy art carte blanche! The artist may take you up on it…and Nall did! Since the organ is in the balcony, every time I took a bow, I could see Nall seated in a pew on the main floor, sketching away madly on the backs of programs. During the intermission, he came to the balcony and asked whether I liked any of the sketches. They were very bizarre drawings of things such as alligator heads! That night, the home organist, Helen Rodgers, gave Nall a suitcase loaded with old mixture pipes, because a new mixture rank had been recently installed on the organ. The old mixture pipes from St. James Episcopal organ ended up in the Organ Cross sculpture… and they still speak! We are grateful that the resulting art piece was not an alligator head! The Organ Cross measures 24” W x 43”.

The Organ Cross

The Organ Cross

 

 

Faythe Freese

Faythe Freese

Pamela Decker

Pamela Decker

 

 

 

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