|Ballerina Lamps. Many thanks to Black-Afro at Flickr for the use of the images
George Julius Barsony was an Hungarian born, Australian sculptor, famous for his prolific series of Black Lady lamps, ashtrays and figurines, which he produced from his potteries in Guildford, NSW from the 1950s and into the 1970s. Owing to the retro renaissance, Barsony lamps are highly collectible and are emblematic of modern retro era, the adherents of which seem so drawn to distinctive, good quality kitsch.
|Image by Black-Afro ar Flickr
From the late 50s, the black figures were marked with either 'Barsony' or 'George Barsony' and in the 60s the mark was replaced with a red sticker. Characteristic features of a Barsony piece include soft, rounded edges, rounded breasts (as opposed to pointed), red painted lips and bright splashes of colour in the clothing and accents. Ebay warns to be wary of pieces being palmed off as "Barsony style".
Although some of Barsony's figures err on the side of black cliché , many others are notable for their elegance and aesthetic, feminine poses. Interestingly, no two figures are exactly alike and all were designed by Barsony himself. Barsony lamps, complete with the original lamp shades, which Jean Barsony handmade at the kitchen table of their home, are considered the most desirable by collectors, though of course, the more unusual the piece the more sought after it tends to be.. I have a red ballerina lamp myself, complete with nylon lampshade, pearl tear-drop earrings and a jewel encrusted red and white skirt.
George Barsony died in a nursing home in 2010 at the age of 93 and leaves behind a legion of fans and a significant legacy of very 50s, unique and highly distinctive sculptures.
|Image by Black-Afro at Flickr
Sources: The Collectors, ABC, ebay Australia Guides