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In the Dessert Room, an L-shaped settee custom-made by Ed Harris for this long-time client is covered in Rose Tarlow fabric. A heroic Thornton Dial canvas predominates; Dial was in the Whitney Biennial 2000 and was also the subject of a one-person survey organized by the MFAH in 2005.
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In one corner of the Dessert Room, outsider creator Eugene Von Bruenchenhein’s tower formed from chicken and turkey bones, circa 1970s, is as delicate and beautiful as it is seminal. The late Milwaukee visionary (1910 – 1983) is a rare find, and also in the collection of the American Folk Art Museum, New York.
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Oshman praises Ed Wilson’s hand-hewn metal stairway for its unerring beauty. Under the stairway, note the Menil-exhibited Sharon Kopriva’s sculpture of mummies, alongside famed Indian outsider artist Nek Chand’s regal figure adorned with broken glass used like jewels.
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Another dialogue that Oshman fosters is between the hometown hero, the visionary and the international. Witness University of Houston sculpture department chairman Paul Kittelson’s droll cracker curtain, in a tête-à-tête with circa-1930s tramp-art men formed from bottle caps, resting atop a table topped by an Afghan embroidery scored from a New York flea market.
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Houston-based Ed Wilson was commissioned to make the decorative metal grate, depicting a heron, that covers the air-conditioning return. Above, a work by internationally exhibited Houston-born Mel Chin that presents a political statement in the form of a sculpture of the extinct Carolina parakeet.
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Soaring stairs boast the sculptural expertise of Ed Wilson’s organic metal rails and James Surls’ dome, which both figuratively and literally mark an apex of the collection.
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The Dessert Room’s faintly Victorian air is achieved with a sofa by famed Guido De Angelis covered in a gray-blue satin, a custom chrysanthemum-pattern carpet by Larry Hokanson, and handsome chairs from her original home, freshened in opulent fabrics by Harris. A bounty of notables rooted in Texas, include Charmaine Locke’s incised life-sized stone sentinel, Sharon Kopriva’s spiritually infused canvas (between the windows) and (over the sofa, right) a wall sculpture by West Texas-based James Magee.
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In the living room, lacquered walls make the art pop. Facing sofas are by AI, updated by Harris. Works by Texas talents include a James Surls sculpture (wall niche, right), Pedro Friedeberg Hand chair (by mantle), Ed Wilson’s coffee table and by Dorman David, the magnificent carved fireplace surround.
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In the living room, decorator Ed Harris updated classic furnishings from Oshman’s River Oaks Boulevard residence (in this case, AI sofas) with new upholstery. The stools with the spotted cushions are “from a marvelous furniture maker in L.A., Stephen Courtney,” Oshman says. A major early canvas by John Alexander, "The Last Supper," 1984, cohabits with Magdalena Abakanowicz’s poignant figure (right) and an animalistic wooden bench by Houston artist Dorman David.
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The library has the spirit of a cabinet of curiosities. One of Oshman’s favorite pieces, Tom Duncan’s sculpture of a man being eaten by a bear, is a darkly humorous find from Andrew Edlin Gallery, NYC. Ed Harris added the feather tribal headdresses, a gift found in Santa Fe for this client, who he “thought would be the only other person in the world to appreciate them.”
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One corner of the library shows its owner’s mania for volumes, history, antiques, vintage 20th-century toys and art of all regions, periods and continents.
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“It stopped me in my tracks,” says Oshman of Leonora Carrington’s "Red Mask," 1950, acquired from Frey Norris Gallery, San Francisco. The sculpture has pride of place in her Dessert Room, named such due to its sugary palette perfected by Oshman in collaboration with designer Ed Harris.
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Joseph Beuy’s "Silver Broom and Hairless Broom," 1972, in the Dessert Room. “I had all sorts of funny things happen with these brooms,” she relays. “One night after a dinner party, the man who had been hired to serve dinner took the broom and started cleaning up.”
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Amber Eagle, who divides her time between Texas and Mexico, crafted this conceptual sugary sculpture using techniques employed in the confectionary arts. Eagle is also the talent behind "Our Lady of Transportation," a show-stopping vehicle that rolls every Art Car Parade.
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Over a rococo-style fireplace, Forrest Prince’s mirror work proclaims “Love,” while an array of vintage dolls look on.
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Early toys and dolls fill the bathroom’s shelves, niches and alcoves, radiating a unique energy as hundreds of glassy eyes glance about.
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