Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
AllisonWonderland

"Houston '66, a Portfolio" by Norman Baxter

Recommended Posts

Greetings Houston,

Back in the 1960s, there was a commercial artist in Houston named Norman Baxter.

His drawings graced many of the Southwestern Bell Telephone Yellow Pages.

Extreme detail was Baxter's forte'.

And his drawings were not without humor, as he included many anomalous items in the SWBTYPs cover drawings.

Norman Baxter was one of the founders of and a partner in the commercial art agency called "Baxter and Korge".

B&K's clients included NASA and the Houston Natural Gas Corporation, later to become ENRON.

Norman Baxter, and B&K produced the 1965 HNGC's Annual Report which included one of his "signature style" drawings of the city of Houston.

The drawing was such a fantastic piece of artwork that in 1966, the HNGC commissioned Norman Baxter to execute another two drawing, and HNGC had produced a VERY limited edition of this VERY nice portfolio of drawings called: "Houston '66, a Portfolio".

The portfolio was a heavy, dark blue Strathmore folder, which included three 11" X 15" reproductions of drawings, along with a brochure telling the story of how the drawings came to be, and how to properly display them.

The first drawing was, as mentioned previously, of the city of Houston with the Astrodome at the bottom of the drawing and the uptown section of Houston at the top, and used in the 1965 HNGC Annual Report..

The second drawing was of the Houston Ship Channel.

And the third drawing was of the NASA area.

The "Houston 66, a Portfolio" have since come to be highly sought after "collector item", being reputedly valued at from $25,000.00 to $100,000.00 depending on condition.

Does anyone here have any information about the "Houston '66, a Portfolio"?

AllisonWonderland

Edited by AllisonWonderland

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, I can't help with your quest but absolutely loved those phone book covers. It was such fun searching for all the landmarks, cats, dogs and space ships. No one wanted to draw a circle around each "find" because we didn't want to destroy the artwork so it became a never ending game.

Looking up a phone number often took much longer than necessary simply because of those covers!!

Good luck with your search.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Norman Baxter's drawings were wonderful and I can understand your interest in them. Are you looking to purchase this elusive portfolio or are you doing research? The prices you quoted seem somewhat inflated, even for prints of this quality and even if they were signed in the margins by the artist himself.

You might Google Baxter & Korge for starters and see if someone connected with the old agency is still around. Who knows what you'll find or who you'll meet!

In Houston, William Reaves Fine Art specializes in Texas artists and if he doesn't handle Baxter's work, he may know of some resources. There are still a few art galleries that were around back in the day when Houston was a lot smaller and everyone in advertising or the visual arts knew everyone else -- Meredith Long & Co., Hooks-Epstein Gallery, Betty Moody Gallery, Texas Gallery. Ask around -- somebody just might be able to point you in the right direction.

Last but not least, have you checked the libraries at Rice, UH, Texas A&M or UT? Even if you couldn't by the prints, you could look at them.

Good luck, and please keep us posted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, I can't help with your quest but absolutely loved those phone book covers. It was such fun searching for all the landmarks, cats, dogs and space ships. No one wanted to draw a circle around each "find" because we didn't want to destroy the artwork so it became a never ending game.

Good morning Little Frau,

That was what I meant by the term "anomalies".

Looking up a phone number often took much longer than necessary simply because of those covers!!

Those were the days.

Good luck with your search.

Thank you, and I hope YOU are well.

AW

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Norman Baxter's drawings were wonderful and I can understand your interest in them. Are you looking to purchase this elusive portfolio or are you doing research?

Good morning Silver Art Fox,

Actually, I was a friend of Norm Baxter, and he GAVE me one of the "Houston '66 Portfolios" as a gift.

I was a commercial artist in Houston from the early '60s to the early '70s, and knew almost all the "old gang" commercial artists and photographers.

The prices you quoted seem somewhat inflated, even for prints of this quality and even if they were signed in the margins by the artist himself.

Which they were not.

I too thought that the prices that I quoted seemed a bit high, but was elated to hear them, even though they came with the caveat that this was "just rumor".

What I am trying to do is either confirm or debunk these fabulous prices, but I'd really like to find out just exactly what the value of this set is. It is in nearly pristine condition, having been nicely stored for the past forty-four years.

You might Google Baxter & Korge for starters and see if someone connected with the old agency is still around. Who knows what you'll find or who you'll meet!

Good idea.

In Houston, William Reaves Fine Art specializes in Texas artists and if he doesn't handle Baxter's work, he may know of some resources.

I'll look Mr Reaves up. Thank you for the reference.

There are still a few art galleries that were around back in the day when Houston was a lot smaller and everyone in advertising or the visual arts knew everyone else

There was at the time a little cache of commercial artists in a building at the dead end of Marquart Street just West of Buffalo Speedway between Alabama and Richmond that was owned by Melvin Lane Powers and Candice Mossler (remember them?), which housed not only my businesses (Prelude Art Studio, Mediassociate Advertising, and The Mob Modeling Group), but also the studio of the late, great, Bill Wolfhagen, famous Viking photographer.

Also in that building, were the studios of Fred Zipkis, Robert Brickhouse, illustrator, Alan Bates, also an illustrator, Floyd Hoffman, Frank Nagle, air brush artist, and Buddy Pritchett. We all were all loosely known as "The Marquart Art Mart".

-- Meredith Long & Co., Hooks-Epstein Gallery, Betty Moody Gallery, Texas Gallery. Ask around -- somebody just might be able to point you in the right direction.

I Googled "Art Assessment and Evaluation" and found only Heritage Art Auctions and they were of little help.

Last but not least, have you checked the libraries at Rice, UH, Texas A&M or UT?

No, but now that you mention them, I will.

Even if you couldn't by the prints, you could look at them.

Well, as mentioned above, I HAVE one of these FABULOUS portfolios. The prints are absolutely AMAZING to look at. The detail is EXQUISITE. And back in 1965, I got to see the ORIGINALS that Mr. Baxter had done. They were huge, like maybe 6'-0" wide and 8'-0" tall. But they were "production" art, that is: Pieces of tracing vellum that was pieced together to be photographed and then lithographed.

Good luck, and please keep us posted.

Thank YOU for the GREAT response. And thanks for the above references. I'll follow each and every lead and let you know what I find.

And because YOU seem to be quite in touch and tune with the period of which we are speaking, I'd like to mention some other things about that WONDROUS time. There was a studio called "Culberson, Glass and Dubose". Jim Culberson was one of the partners, and his son is now a Congressman, or a Senator. Jim Culberson had ambliopia (lazy eye), and he promoted himself as "The best cock-eyed artist in Houston". Jim Glass was one of the Partners. He was the designer of the First City National Bank's Trademark. and then there was the last partner Fred Dubose. They had studios on Kelvin just a block East of Kirby in the University Park.

The above mentioned Prelude Art Studio was where all of the Brake Check Brake Center Graphics were designed. And the above mentioned Mediassociate Advertising Agency handled all of Brake Check's advertising till the business was sold to the Peveto family.

The Mob Modeling Group was a quartet of VERY gorgeous photographic models: Marlenel (to whom I was married at the time), Diana Starling (could that girl ever dance!) were the Brake Check Girls who did personal appearances at the grand openings of all the Brake Check Brake Centers in Houston at the time. There was also a model from Clear Lake named Jill McKillip, and Roxanne Clanton, the wife of the '50s and '60s pop star Jimmy Clanton who sang "Venus in Blue Jeans".

The Grand Openings of the Brake Check Brake Centers in the mid '60s featured performances by "Jim Gough, and the Good Guys". Jim Gough was the voice on the olde tyme Dodge Commercials and the "tag line" was: "You can tell they're good guys, the all wear white hats!"

I eventually went to work for Cumming Advertising, and then left them and started the AllisonWonderland Concert Lightshow, which in 1973, had the television show called "Sensatiation", which was done at Channel 26, and simulcast with KLOL (K101).

Pat Fant, who went on to be manager of KLOL, was the audio director. Kenan Branum was the video director. Jay Menier was the cameraman. Mary-k Ashley Wilson was the executive coordinator, the sponsor was Globe Discound Record Centers, and the Ad Agency was the Bob Adams Agency.

I was the show's producer and the one who did the visuals on a vusic (visual music) instrument that I invented called the Crystalume, which is an instrument that does to the mind through the eyes with light, what a music instrument does to the mind through the ears with sound.

If that is at all of any interest to you, click on the "If Silence is Black" webpage for more information:

http://www.livingsto...lison1/home.htm

I am now retired, living a life of leisure and ease in Onalaska, Texas on beautiful Lake Livingston in the middle of the world's largest pine tree forest.

Anyway, I've got to get on with my day.

Again, thank you so VERY much for the very nice response and references. I'll keep you updated here when and if any progress is made.

Hope this finds YOU doing well.

Warmest regards,

AW

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AW....

This may not reach you but wanted to add that this past weekend I was attending a function near Schulenburg Tx, a little community called High Hill. There is a beautiful old Catholic church there which is one of the "painted churches of Fayette County" and next door is the church reception hall. It was in that hall that I saw a Norm Baxter. It is huge, about 36"w x 48"h and looked as if it was done with a black marker. The title was "Salt Grass Trail" and underneath that "Addicks Camp". I would think it had something to do with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the trail rides. I did search for a date but was unable to find one. The signature was on the right side of the drawing and the title was on the left.

It seems a bit strange that it would be in a church reception hall which is full of old photos of past Priests, church icons and other pictures that pertain to that area and the people in the community. It is an old mostly German settlement which recently celebrated it's 150th anniversary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello everyone,

Recently I discovered I have a Norman Baxter pencil sign print 27" x 20" of the City of Houston prior to the Astrodome, It shows the old coliseum.

My mom was an artist and new him and he gave this print to her. It is also on the left bottom side numbere 40/200 in pencil also.

It is on some very heavy paper,

Does anyone know what I hae and if so, what do you think it is worth today. Not that I want to sell it, just curious.

Thanks so much for you time.

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just found what I think is one of these Norman Baxter Portfolio Houston 66 sets. The copy I have was professionaly framed. I am very curious if anyone has determined a realized value. If I can'y get any info or find a local buyer, I am going to put it on Ebay and see what happens.

 

Adam - Montroseyardsale@gmail.com4FBD5901-79D8-4E74-BADF-67A22F1D2FD9-1019D35D14D-7F86-4020-89ED-8160D91FD269-101A7810510-EB3D-4D88-9278-F9D618FB49E5-101

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Make me an offer!!! I love it, but i buy and sell just about anything to make my living. I am trying to find someone that can give me a true value, or an art dealer that would want to market it for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For those who are interested in this topic, Norm Baxter passed away quite a few years ago. My wife worked for the firm he co-founded, Baxter + Korge, so I knew him fairly well. This info has been very interesting to me.  The other founder, Fred Korge, is in declining health.  The firm did lots of award-winning work and many great Houston designers launched their agencies from B&K.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...