Otis Kaye: Money, Mystery, and Mastery

Otis Kaye, D’-JIA-VU?, 1937, Oil on panel, 27 x 39 1/2 in., Courtesy of Cordover Collection, LLC
After Taxes
Otis Kaye, After Taxes, 1956, Etching and gouache on paper, 18 x 15 in., Collection of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Gift of Rachel and Nathan Young
Christmas Piggy Banks
Otis Kaye, Christmas Piggy Banks, 1946, Oil on panel, 6 11/16 x 9 3/4 in., Collection of Walter and Lucille Rubin
Custer II / Going Out Of Business
Otis Kaye, Custer II / Going Out Of Business, 1958, Oil on panel, 48 x 60 in., Private Collection
Double Or Nothin / Carte Blanche
Otis Kaye, Double Or Nothin / Carte Blanche, 1961, Oil on wood, 29 x 37 in., Private Collection
Easy Come, Easy Go
Otis Kaye, Easy Come, Easy Go, 1935, Oil on panel, 21 x 255/8 in., Manoogian Collection
Face It, Money Talks
Otis Kaye, Face It, Money Talks, 1940, Oil on canvas mounted on board, 11 1/8 x 15 3/4 in., Private Collection Care of Waterhouse & Dodd
Heart Of The Matter
Otis Kaye, Heart Of The Matter, 1963, Oil on canvas, 50 x 4 1/2 in., Private Collection
Land Of The Free, Home Of The Brave
Otis Kaye, Land Of The Free, Home Of The Brave, 1944, Oil on panel, 2 1/2 x 36 1/4 in., Private Collection
U.S. Musical Notes
Otis Kaye, U.S. Musical Notes, 1946, Oil on panel, 30 x 24 3/4 in., Private Collection
My Cup Runneth Over
Otis Kaye, My Cup Runneth Over, 1950s, Oil on canvas mounted on board, 39 x 29 3/4 in., Private Collection
Seasons Greetings II
Otis Kaye, Seasons Greetings II, 1969, Oil on wood, 39 1/4 x 32 in., Private Collection
What A Hit!
Otis Kaye, What A Hit!, 1932, Oil on canvas, 30 x 25 in., The Hevrdejs Collection
Win, Place, Show
Otis Kaye, Win, Place, Show, 1958, Oil on panel, 20 1/4 x 14 1/4 in., Gift of the Otis Kaye Estate, 2012.49


Otis Kaye: Money, Mystery, and Mastery

Elise Holmes Warrington Gallery, Gift of the Warrington Foundation

The exhibition features thirty-four works that display a mastery of the highly realistic, trompe l’oeil technique in curious compositions of currency, letters, and other symbolic items that make reference to political, economic and social issues facing America, and Otis Kaye personally, during the first half of the twentieth-century. More puzzling than Kaye’s work, which is steeped in mystery and symbolism, is the enigma that surrounds the artist himself. The record of Kaye’s life is nearly non-existent. The artist did not exhibit or sell his work during his lifetime, but gave his art to close family and friends. Through this exhibition, our visitors will have the opportunity to investigate this intriguing artist and help answer some of the remaining questions about his life and work.

The works featured in this retrospective are some of Kaye’s finest, generously loaned from various private collections and the Otis Kaye Estate and Trust. The Museum is thankful to the many private collectors, including Ron Cordover, Walter and Lucille Rubin, Richard Manoogian, Frank Hevrdejs, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the Sheldon Museum, University of Nebraska for their loans to this exhibition. In addition, Ron Cordover’s generous contribution through the Cordover Family Foundation has allowed us to publish the first monograph on Kaye with contributions by James M. Bradburne, Mark D. Mitchell, and Geraldine Banks, which are included in the fully illustrated, 188-page catalogue, Otis Kaye: Money, Mastery, and Mystery. Additional funding has been received from the David T. Langrock Foundation, which has supported several of the New Britain Museum of American Art’s important scholarly monographs.