Leeteg and Tyree book pair by CJ Cook

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  1. Leeteg, Babes, Bars, Beaches, and Black Velvet Art by CJ Cook

The sensational story of Leeteg, a black velvet artist and party man of Tahiti, painted nude vahines in his tropical paradise Villa Velour on the Island of Moorea, 1933-1953. The "American Gauguin", Edgar Leeteg, left California in 1932, with a few paintbrushes, bound for the South Pacific. He was the original "Tiki Man" who started the black velvet painting craze linked to South Pacific-themed restaurants. His home in Tahiti allowed him to paint nudes, drink, and party with sensual babes at Quinn's Bar in Papeete, Tahiti.

He became one of the wealthiest and most famous artists in the first half of the 20th century. He was the Father of Black Velvet Art and the genesis of a genre that has continued today with Polynesian Pop Art and the Tiki Revolution. This is a story of a most memorable rascal from the South Pacific. 

  1. Tyree, Artist of the South Pacific by CJ Cook

Ralph Burke Tyree was an American artist who was the most prolific portrait artist of the South Pacific peoples of the 20th century. After the war, he began his professional career in California. He traveled back to the South Pacific to live for years in Guam, Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island of Hawaii. Most of his first works were sensual island wahines in island beach and jungle settings. He painted primarily with oils on board. He switched in mid-career to painting with oils on black velvet to add depth and texture. This was in the midst of the 1960s' Tiki revolution, and he would display many of his demure nude pieces Tiki bars and restaurants. He was likely the most prolific artist of black velvet portraits of island women and men during this Tiki era.

 Awards from the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) April 2018:

 1. Benjamin Franklin Gold - Best Cover, large format

2. Benjamin Franklin Gold - Best Biography

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  • Both Biographies of the best Black Velvet artists of the South Pacific

  • Both Biographies of the best Black Velvet artists of the South Pacific
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Leeteg and Tyree book pair by CJ Cook

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