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Collecting Hilda!

To love Hilda is to collect her. Allow me to share a few things from my collection.

Up first are calendars. This, of course, was--and still is--Hilda's main source of exposure. Brown & Bigelow have been publishing calendars featuring Duane Bryers' curvaceous creation since 1958. As far as the longest running calendar queen goes, I guess Marilyn Monroe would be Hilda's only competition.

There were always seven paintings within each calendar (one painting for every two months plus a cover illustration).

Many of the vintage Hilda calendars had the words R-A-W  B-E-E-F stamped on each of the six illustrations which, I assume, is relevant to the meat-packing industry they catered these caledars to (among other clients).  But couldn't they have chosen a more charming term to advertise their product?

In later years--the 1980s and 90s--they began reproducing the Hilda calendars in various sizes.

The art on the Hilda glasses were humdrum representations of Duane Bryers' paintings as they felt they had to simplify his art to make them printable on glass. In my opinion they still have appeal and I find them very collectable.

These are photos from my complete collection of cocktail tumblers.

And here's a photo of the Hilda water glasses collection which I found online. As you can see it's a different series of Hilda art from the tumblers.

It was inevitable the countrified Queen of Hearts would find herself frolicking on the back of playing cards. I'm not sure how many different decks of cards Brown & Bigelow made but here's photos of mine.

A recent acquisition of mine--the Hilda ashtray!   Circa early 1960s.

Something I don't have bragging rights over is this awesome Hilda collectible plate--complete with a certificate of authenticity.


I was quite amazed to find out from Duane that he knew nothing about the merchandising of his Hilda paintings. He told me he had no say in the matter even if they had told him about these spin-off products as he was paid a flat fee for each painting. But the discrepancy is the fees he agreed upon were specifically for calendar illustrations. I'm guessing he would have asked for a more lucrative deal had he known to what extent those paintings would be used.

Heather Piazza, the owner and operator of Oakland's most beloved art spot Creative Framing & Gallery, is an avid Hilda fan  and collector herself. Here I am surrounded by beauty from all angles. Her collection of original Hilda calendars from the 1960s were in incredible condition.

Here's a tremendous treat. Heather is the proud owner of this original Hilda piece by Duane Bryers.  It's a pastel and it was done many years ago exclusively for Heather's very good friend and the original owner of Creative Framing & Gallery--who passed it down to Heather.

And last but certainly not least may I present to you my most prized possession: an original Hilda piece Duane drew for me when I first began corresponding with him in 2002. And it's certainly the only completely topless Hilda art I know of--if you don't include the square pasties I felt compelled to add. Heather, this is going to need framing. ;-)

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