Monday, July 13, 2015

But Wait, There's More! Update on Maureen Love & Hagen-Renaker Blog Post

Left: Hagen-Renaker "Love" Appaloosa;
right: Maureen Love Appaloosa

Yesterday I wrote a post on this blog about the Appaloosa horse figurines created by Maureen Love, that my friend and model horse mentor Joanie and I found at a San Diego county estate sale. 

Sorrel and red chestnut variations
of the Appaloosa, created by Maureen Love.

We also found one of the Hagen-Renaker versions of the same model, the "Love" Appaloosa.  

These three small horses -- two of them, incredibly rare -- were in the estate of Margaret Kennedy, who had owned OK Rain Dance, the real horse after which Maureen modeled her Appaloosa figurine. Maggie Kennedy had written an article for Western Horseman's March 1962 issue, which was published along with photographs.

As soon as I published yesterday's blog post, Hagen-Renaker historian Nancy Kelly contacted me. Nancy had corresponded with Maggie Kennedy about Maureen Love and OK Rain Dance, back in 1998, when Nancy was writing the book Hagen-Renaker Pottery: Horses and Other Figurines. Nancy has graciously given me permission to tell that side of the story here.

Nancy received two letters from Maggie.  The first is dated July 20, 1998:

Winterhaven Ranch
Quarter Horses

Hi Nancy --

It was very interesting to hear from you about your plans for writing the history of Hagen-Renaker pottery. I think I have the original photos and maybe the negatives, but I have moved several times since I did that story. I may have a major search to find them! I will look for them and certainly you may have them.

I enjoyed talking with Maureen? Marjorie Love -- over the time I forget but she was very talented. I have one of the "Artist's Original" models of the Appaloosa mare Rain Dance. This was my favorite Appaloosa in life & sculpture. 

I have one big question -- How did you find me? I lived in La Puente at the time we took the pictures & I went to the Hagen-Renaker factory.

I will search for the photos & be in touch -- Good luck in your research & writing.

Maggie Kennedy

Interesting that Maggie remembered only one of the artist's original Appaloosas, when she really had two of them!

A second note from Maggie to Nancy, written in November 1998, accompanied the original photos Maggie took of Maureen and the Hagen-Renaker factory (which was in Monrovia, California at the time.)


Dear Nancy,

Well I hope this is better late than never and you can use the photos -- I can't find the negatives but you can probably have a photo shop copy any of these you may choose to use. I called my mare OK Rain Dance because there was another Appaloosa registered Rain Dance. OK was our ranch name for O'Shea, my maiden name & Kennedy, my husband's name. I took the pictures so if you want to list Maggie Kennedy as photographer that's fine.

I remember a conversation with Maureen about how she likes to go personally to the place where the animals are that she is sculpting. My original notes are on the backs of these pictures & the date July 61 -- seems like yesterday.

I haven't raised Appaloosas for a long time now but I still have been raising some good Quarter Horses & an occasional runner. Horses are just in my blood, but it doesn't hurt at all!

Let me know how your production turns out.

Maggie Kennedy

Maggie's interest in horses must have extended to harness horses as well. This framed photo at the estate sale showed her driving a Standardbred named Lady Dilworthy at Santa Anita racetrack in 1955.

Maggie's second note referred to the pictures she took for her Western Horseman article. Three of the photos have Maggie's notes on the back:

4. Miniature statuettes of horses drying after being removed from plaster moulds.

5. Statuettes on drying racks at the factory of Hagen-Renaker.

7. One of the paint specialists doing tedious job of putting the eyes and final touches on the cutting horse & rider.

All the photos are stamped The Western Horseman Jul 1961.

Maggie Kennedy's legacy is much more than her horses, though. As an educator, she impacted the lives of thousands of students.  Her obituary in the Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News reads:

Margaret M. Kennedy was born March 26, 1928 in Chattanooga, Tenn. to Charles and Lena (Beebe) O’Shea. Her father’s work moved the family several times, from Tennessee to Kansas and ultimately to Northern California.
Margaret attend Notre Dame High School in Belmont, Calif. and went on to San Jose State University where she completed her BA in education. She taught kindergarten in Northern California for several years before accepting an assistant principal position in the Mountain View School District in the San Gabriel Valley. She then completed her master’s degree at Cal State Los Angeles and went on to become principal in the same district.
During summer months, she directed a camp in the San Gabriel Mountains near Wrightwood. She married William Kennedy and began her second career of raising, breeding, racing and showing quarter horses. Her final phase of education was as a consultant in school improvement programs and elementary program planning for the office of the Los Angeles County Schools.
After retiring in 1985, she moved her ranch to Fallbrook, Calif. where she could devote more time to her horses. She also started another hobby, the sport of sheepherding with several border collies. Still needing to continue her interest in early childhood education, she served on the Fallbrook Elementary School Board for nine years.
She died peacefully at home on April 8, 2015.

The obituary makes no mention of the Appaloosas that Maggie and her husband kept in the 1960s.  

But model horse collectors know, and still appreciate, her contribution to the hobby: her mare OK Rain Dance was the model for the Hagen-Renaker "Love" Appaloosa.

Here's a link to my original blog post about the article and the liberation of the two Maureen Love Appaloosas from the estate sale:

Nancy Kelly has written extensively and beautifully about the history of the Hagen-Renaker pottery. Here is a link to her author page at

(Nancy notes that she did not write the work of fiction attributed to her by Amazon; her books are the ones about Hagen-Renaker.)

Here's the real OK Rain Dance's pedigree:

OK Rain Dance
Sorrel, spotted blanket 
(Morgan's Matador F-1431 x OK Katchina Doll T-4143) 
Bred by WH Kennedy, La Puente, California 
Foaled 1958


And also here:

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Maureen Love and Hagen-Renaker

Regular readers of this blog will know that I enjoy finding horse figurines by the California pottery Hagen-Renaker, Inc. at estate sales.  But yesterday I found a horse figurine that will always stand out from the rest of the small herd on my shelves. It's directly related to a Hagen-Renaker horse figurine, but this one was not produced by Hagen-Renaker.

Read on!

Of all the figurines that H-R has released, my favorites are the horse models designed by Maureen Love Calvert, usually just known as Maureen Love.

That's why, a few months ago, I was so pleased to be able to get a copy of the March 1962 issue of Western Horseman magazine.  It contained a one-page article, "Sculptress at Work," illustrated with many photographs, on Maureen's work.

In the article, by author Maggie Kennedy, Western Horseman identified her as "Marjorie Love."  

Here's the full text of the article, which begins:

Sculptress at Work
by Maggie Kennedy

Recently, a very interesting and talented person came to our ranch to sketch our Appaloosas and use them for models. Marjorie [sic] Love of Covina, Calif., puts her talents to use for the Hagen-Renaker Potteries who distribute horse statuettes in ceramic in all the Fifty and South America. She herself rates as one of the most prolific of sculptresses, since reproductions of her original models number into the many thousands...

And here are the photos:

An interesting article, with insights on how Hagen-Renaker horses were created.

When I shared the article with my friend Joanie, who had known Maureen Love personally, I discovered that Western Horseman had not only gotten Maureen Love's name wrong; it also mis-identified one of the photographs in its article, perhaps for the sake of the narrative "flow" of the story.  In the photograph of Maureen Love working on the Appaloosa figurine just removed from the mold, the discarded mold looks sort of like a blob.

But in the photo of the molds inside the Hagen-Renaker factory, all of the molds are rectangular and solid.

Joanie told me that the horse in the picture of Maureen Love with the discarded mold was one of Maureen's own personally-created versions of the design:

Maureen would have made the original sculpture from clay, then made a quick 'waste mold', like a shell. Unlike [Hagen-Renaker's] production molds, they were shells, with interlocking pieces. Then Maureen would have cast [a ceramic horse] from these molds, then would have eventually cast a wax horse, that she would have cleaned up and detailed for the Hagen-Renaker mold shop to make their master and production molds from. 

Joanie knew Maureen very well, and had taken me with her to meet back Maureen in 1991.  Maureen Love died in 2004, leaving behind a huge body of work -- the models she created for Hagen-Renaker as well as her own animal sculptures.

Joanie and her kids, Maureen and another model horse collector,
Kathleen, in Maureen's garden in 1991.

Meeting this outstanding artist and seeing her own collection -- in the company of friends who also appreciated Maureen's work -- was one of the high points of my model horse-collecting career. 

Maureen Love's personal collection of her own work, including horses, 
birds, a cat, and cattle, circa 1991.The pieces were sold individually at auction in 2005. 
On the lower shelf you can see a white bisque version 
of the Hagen-Renaker Appaloosa, that Maureen kept.
Bear that in mind while I tell you about the estate sale. In my weekly Internet trolling of ads for upcoming sales, I found one in northern San Diego County that showed this small and grainy but intriguing photograph:

Are those two Hagen-Renaker Appaloosas on the top shelf...? 
If so, why are they different colors? The Appaloosa only came in one color.

I immediately arranged to meet Joanie at the sale.  "Get there before daylight," we agreed. We were first in line, ahead of many other estate sale shoppers. 

We came home with not just the two horses in the estate sale ad photograph.... 

One of Maureen Love's ceramic Appaloosas,
next to the mass-produced Hagen-Renaker Appaloosa

But also with a third horse, which the previous owner had mounted on fabric inside a display case.  Joanie carefully removed it from the case so we could examine it alongside the other two horse figurines.

The second Maureen Love Appaloosa at the estate sale, darker than the other.

Two Maureen Love Appaloosas, one Hagen-Renaker Appaloosa.

They all look like the same horse, but in different styles. In the photo above, the two figurines at the top are Maureen Love's own renderings of her own original clay sculpture. The one at the bottom was the Hagen-Renaker production piece.

So how did these three exquisite little pieces of equine art end up at one estate sale?  The answer is in the Western Horseman article.  Maggie Kennedy wrote that Maureen had visited to sketch her Appaloosa horses.  Appaloosa breed records show that OK Ya Ta Hey and other Appaloosa horses were owned by William H. and Margaret Kennedy. Margaret Kennedy died at age 87 earlier this year.  It was the sale of her estate. Maureen Love must have given her the two original works and possibly the Hagen-Renaker version of Maggie's Appaloosa mare, which was named OK Rain Dance, as well.

Hagen-Renaker gave many of its animal figurines that Maureen Love designed, names -- Arabians like "Abu-Farwa" and "Sheba," Quarter Horses such as "Two Bits" and "Erin."  Hagen-Renaker called its own version of this pretty Appaloosa, "Love."  Appropriately named, I think.

Left: Hagen-Renaker Appaloosa from my collection.
Right: Maureen Love Appaloosa. It's slightly larger than the H-R.

You can read more about Hagen-Renaker and Maureen Love at the links below:

UPDATE: More information has surfaced on the history of the "Love" Appaloosa, from Hagen-Renaker historian Nancy Kelly! Read my update here: