These were given personally by Bill Porter (who contacted us to further discuss these pieces with us! See below for a brief synopsis of our talk.) to the Industrial Designer from who’s estate these came from. He himself did similar drawings and concept car development at General Motors. Both attended Pratt Institute and the Industrial Designer was (to become) the Chairman of the Industrial Design school there.
Both of these pieces mark the very beginning of Mr. Porter’s professional career that began at GM at the same time.
As Mr. Porter noted in our paraphrased conversation:
“I had spent the summer of 1957 at GM as an intern and was also a graduate student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.
There was a small group of students interested in automobile design and we met one or two days a week after classes and I showed the other guys the techniques I had picked up from the much more technique-savvy Art Center School, Los Angeles, graduates at GM.
These were my demonstration sketches, so to speak. One of the students in the group, a Japanese designer named Yasuhiro (Jerry) Okuda and I became close friends, and I gave them to him to take home and study in order to improve his own drawing technique.
With my encouragement, Jerry was hired by GM Styling around 1960 and worked there for a short time, but felt too creatively restricted by the then current climate in the automobile industry.
He returned to New York and in subsequent years had a long and distinguished career in the international Industrial Design field and as a design educator. Sadly, he passed away many years ago.”
Sadly indeed we can say even with our all but brief exposure to a fraction of his work.
They have been displayed and have some corner wear and damage as a result. There are other less then normal signs of aging as well and most of these were during the period as they have been stored in a flat file for many years.
Bill Porter is of course a legend at GM and an important figure in automobile history. His pieces have been shown in exhibition and they rarely surface for sale.
Small one (Yellow car) is 7 1/2″ x 23 1/2″ and dated November 1957. It is done on an onion skin like paper and is somewhat sheer so you can see the background in the pictures which leads to some color casts. It is closer to off-white and not overly yellow or red as it may appear in some images.
The larger on is 12″ x 16″. Dated March 10, 1958. There is coloring for this piece that is done on the back such that it is visible with light behind it. Fantastic!
This is a very rare opportunity to have not just one but two pieces from this well spoken designer from GM and personal friend of this designer.