Art Unexpected


Cast Iron Puppy Sculpture with Painted Red Bow (LEO Design)

The very best art is that which conveys the greatest effect with the seemingly simplest effort.  Michelangelo Buonarroti conveys the entire Biblical story in David's right hand alone: relaxed at his side, loosely cradling a killer stone, yet potentially, undeniably powerful—if ever pushed into action.  John Singer Sargent can capture—in one long brushstroke—the sheen and contours and tension of a woman's elegant dress, draped over underskirts, stretched over crossed legs, lighted from a window (elsewhere in the room).  And the incomparable voice of Karen Carpenter—without vocal gymnastics and with no affectation—can effortlessly pierce our hearts with melancholy and longing while singing Superstar.  The greatest artists know how to communicate great or complex or heartrending understanding in the most economical manner.  Great artists have mastered the shortest distance between two points.

The little cast iron puppy, shown above—which I am not comparing to a work by Michelangelo or Sargent or Karen Carpenter—captures a certain sense of contained energy, a tense "puppyish" anticipation, far beyond its humble utility.  This little lump of cast iron, made by the hundreds, hastily painted, and shipped-out for a life of abuse as a durable child's toy, nevertheless, rises—thanks to the ability of some unknown sculptor to convey something more complex and accomplished than his simple working circumstances should have allowed.  With very little detail (and, admittedly, crude materials), the sculptor of this puppy was able to convey a dynamic energy which transcends the size, material and purpose of the piece.

If one attempts to understand and appreciate art, one soon learns that it can sometimes be found in the simplest of crafts.  Arts and Crafts, indeed.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about this playful puppy.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques ( or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248