Posted 4 years ago
This cat is 12" high and about 6" deep. These were copyrighted in 1961 and were decorated in various colors, but most seem to have been black with painted eyes, whiskers, etc. This one is unusual as it has green glass eyes and a silver collar. Made of chalkware and very heavy. A thrift shop find from ten or twelve years ago.
Chalkware is an American term for popular figurines either made of moulded plaster of Paris (usually) or sculpted gypsum, and painted, typically with oils or watercolors.
Universal Statuary Corp. was an American, Chicago-based, statue manufacturer. Jack and Leo Lucchesi were brothers that founded the Universal Statuary Corp in the 1930s. Jack ran the business, Leo ran production.
The company produced piggy banks, plaques and (by the late 1930s) large store displays, including Indian statues for western themed restaurants. In the 1950s, they produced chalkware lamps, usually featuring paired male and female figures, and other home decor that is widely collected today.
The company employed many immigrant artisans to design the chalkware and plaster figures and produce the statues, lamps, home decor pieces and display advertising figures. Jack's wife was from Guatemala. Universal made a concerted effort to bring Italian and Guatemalan immigrants to America and help them out.
Universal was also famous for the contract work performed for Sears, Wards and many big advertising firms for their unique 'Point Of Sale' displays and promotions.