Popcorn Still Life Wall Plaques

During the 60's the Illinois Moulding Company and Belart Inc. created these still life wall plaques, which were embellished with melted plastic chips, commonly referred to as "popcorn". I know these mass-produced decorative pieces are the furthest thing from fine art, but I have to admit I have a soft spot for them and whenever I come across one I have to look. They often came in sets of two or three and were commonly available with either orange or blue highlights.

Below are examples of still life plaques from the Illinois Moulding Company.





You will notice the Jonero design below was offered on various substrates and produced in multiple mediums. I have seen several Illinois Moulding Co. pieces accredited to this artist, but I have never heard anything about him/her. I get the feeling it may be a fictitious name?  Does anyone know who Jonero is?



Below are examples of still life plaques from Belart Inc. (Belart Co.)



The Illinois Moulding Company of Chicago was founded by Hungarian immigrant Herman Molner (1866-1951) in 1896. Windsor Art Products was the art publishing division of the company, who under license, would mass-produce original artists' works making "fine" art affordable to all. Herman passed away in 1951, but the company continued until about 1970. Here is a link to a passage in a book about the Illinois Moulding Co.

Belart Inc. was located in Mendota, Minnesota and was founded in 1962 by Harold Nielson, as a division of Foldcraft Co., a fast food restaurant seating manufacturer that still exists today. Belart went out of business around 1989 due to increased competition from the foreign market. Nielson still lives in Minnesota where he runs a nonprofit organization called Third World Friends.

11 comments:

Charlie said...

Wow, thanks for this! I feel the same way about them- I haven't bought any for nearly a decade but I still pause every time I see them. Bonus: Liz Lemon has the big orange one hanging behind her office door on 30 Rock.

shankenstein said...

Love this! Thanks so much for this post. I have some of these and now I know what else to look for.

Mid-Centuria said...

Your welcome, glad you guys enjoy these pieces too!

Babs Blog said...

Wow! great collection and description of things. Have much popcorn, Jonero, gravel and mosaic art collected all my life. Funny how these have become popular on the mainstream when they were thrown away prior. I am 45 and have always had these up, they are timeless design and fun! Barb

Mid-Centuria said...

Hey Barb, Glad you like them. I am also a big fan of gravel art and the Jonero, Robert Lyons "wood veneer" art prints. I plan on doing a post about them both soon. Thanks for your comments.

cindye123 said...

So glad I found this site. Today I bought the still life set that is the second one pictured here, the orange on wood with the large vase and flowers in the middle, the pear on one side and the pineapple on the other. I love it. It's going in my bedroom. Now I know what it is. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I found a set at a flea market in Amish country Ohio last summer for next to nothing. They are depicting Cuban style male drummers. Are there any more with people on them?

Mid-Centuria said...

Yeah, I have definitely see some with people on them; Jesters, Harlequins, calypso dancers & musicians (as you have). Here is a link to a post with a couple of examples.

http://www.midcenturia.com/2011/07/movements-themes-calypso-art.html

Kimberly said...

I have the first orange trio which belonged to my great aunt. It was the one thing I asked for and my family thought I was crazy. Glad to see others appreciate these. Soon they will realize how classic these prices are v

Anonymous said...

I just found a pair of rectangular plaques with musical instruments on them. Drums, guitar, trumpets etc. How can I find out what these are worth?

Mid-Centuria said...

Hey Anonymous! If they are of the "popcorn" style, they probably are no worth much, but it depends on how cool they are :) Send me an email with some pictures.
Good Luck on your research.