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Tiki Central Forums Collecting Tiki Leeteg - is it real?
Leeteg - is it real?
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 08, 2003
Posts: 1266
From: Orlando
Posted: 2003-10-18 11:46 pm   Permalink


This is a painting I bought around a year ago and I've always kind of questioned the authenticity of it. I've wanted to take it to an "expert," and have it examined but I really wouldn't know where to take it.

A month ago, on vacation on Oahu, I told a couple guys in an antique shop about it and how I question whether or not it's real. The first thing one of the guys says is, "How big is it?" I point to his velvet paintings and reply "A lot bigger than those." He says it's probably real then.

OK... Still not convinced. I found this forum a couple of weeks ago and am learning quite a bit from reading all of the old posts. I thought that if there's anywhere on the web that has people who might have an idea about this painting it would be here.

Here's the painting:

I just made a Zombie (pg 167 BOT) and finished it so's thats probably why the pic's askew. The painting minus the gold painted frame is 34" high and 29" wide. A close up:

Yeah, it needs to be dusted.

Here's the story on me buying the painting: me and a friend go into a local cool antique shop and are just poking around. I look up on the wall...high up near the ceiling...and see this painting. I had just recently learned about Leeteg (yeah I've loved the tiki stuff for a long time but I'm fairly new to actually learning about it and collecting it) and when I saw "LEETEG TAHITI" signed on the bottom I got very excited and went into stealth mode. As a longtime collector of records and books, I know how to conceal my excitement when I think I've found a major score. I was just worried that my friend, who tends to trumpet her emotions ( Oh! Oh! HOW MUCH FOR THIS?!?!), would give me away. I calmy ask the owner how much the painting is. He says "$45." I'm trembling inside. I say "OK, I'll take it."

I'm feeling all smart as hell. Major score in the works. As he pulls the painting off the wall he says, "Y'know...(in a southern drawl), this artist is listed. A lot of his paintings were reproduced as prints on black velvet. I have no idea if this is an original or a print. If it's an original it could be worth several thousand dollars."

Well that took the wind out of my sails a bit. I did not know at the time that Leeteg velvet prints were made. I immediately assumed that my painting was a reproduction.

Here's the siggie:

I've pretty much considered this painting to not be a real Leeteg from the beginning. Talking to them guys on Kapahulu kind of made me feel different so now I'm questioning it.

You might be thinking why I'm so pessimistic... In the same antique shop there were two other Polynesian black velvet paintings. They could both be interpreted as being in the same style as the "Leeteg." Both of these are of Polynesian ladies and I purchased both of them for $20 each. I got to thinking...what would prevent someone from taking a painting like this one and just painting "LEETEG TAHITI" on the bottom?

She's a big painting, like the "Leeteg." The other Polynesian lady painting is the same size. The antique store having three large polynesian velvets and one of them being signed by "LEETEG TAHITI" made me suspicious. Was he planning on painting "LEETEG TAHITI" on the other ones? I actually purchased the other two at $20 each (sans signature) about a month later so that kind of makes me feel better.

Is it real or no? I really don't care all that much. If it's worth nothing or 10K it's still going to occupy the same place on my wall. I'd just kind of like to know.

Alex the menehune dog with the creepy alien eyes...

[ This Message was edited by: Kono on 2003-10-18 23:50 ]

[ This Message was edited by: Kono on 2003-10-18 23:52 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 14, 2002
Posts: 1219
Posted: 2003-10-19 01:21 am   Permalink

Ignorance is Bliss!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2720
From: Toronto,Canada
Posted: 2003-10-19 08:10 am   Permalink

Doesn't look like Leeteg to me... not quite skilled enough with the human form. However, it could be Lee Teg! (Old TC joke, sorry!)

Leeteg spawned lots of imitators... the quality of your painting and the signature lead me to beleive it ain't our Lee.

But some fun stuff for bar decor nonetheless.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 08, 2003
Posts: 1266
From: Orlando
Posted: 2003-10-19 6:18 pm   Permalink

Leeteg spawned lots of imitators... the quality of your painting and the signature lead me to beleive it ain't our Lee.

Yeah, that's what I've pretty much always believed. I'm still happy with the purchase though.

Thanks for the feedback.

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The Monitors
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 08, 2003
Posts: 257
From: The ILL streets of Santa Clarita, CA
Posted: 2003-10-20 02:47 am   Permalink

The first thought that came to my head is to go to an art school or university and talk to the experts. Professors love to be asked about their experties. I hope it's real and please let us know if it is or isn't so we'll know how to spot one.


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 1513
From: Houston, Texotica
Posted: 2003-10-20 4:15 pm   Permalink

Hey Kono!

Great purchases and attitude! You're totally right; they're worth every penny even if they were all done down the street last week, and the potential Leeteg would be a mega-score.

I'm inclined to vote no as to authenticity of the maybe-one (the skill factor seems lacking), but I'm jealous as hell that you got such great Polynesian style black velvet paintings!

And I LOVE the demon dog!
"Zazz captivates felt."

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