VAIL — “Mommy, Daddy, look, a giant man!” is the expression heard about 100 times per day this holiday season on East Meadow Drive in front of the Austria Haus Hotel. A new sculpture appeared about two weeks ago, along with the opening of Vail’s newest art and antiques gallery — Alpen Art & Antiques. The sculptures are the work of noted Salt Lake City artist Jim Rennert.
“Jim has a very fresh take on the theme of life in business,” said Bradbury Ketelhut, the dealer behind Alpen Art & Antiques.
While many people feel that the sculpture is Churchill or Hitchcock, the reality is simply an everyday business man gazing toward the limitless possibilities in the heavens. The name of the piece is “Think Big,” and in the past month, he has made appearances in mid-town Manhattan and at the entrance to the prestigious art fairs in Miami.
Along with featuring the work of Rennert, Alpen Art & Antiques offers an eclectic collection of antiques, as well as period and contemporary art. The art business is nothing new to Ketelhut, a second generation dealer and previous head of The Englishman Fine Art, a staple in Vail for more than 30 years.
“We are something different, a collection of old meets new,” Ketelhut said. “We are promoting pieces from our historic roots and local modern masters, such as James Van Fossan, alongside black forest carvings, folk art and furniture.”
The gallery will host a one-man show with work by Van Fossan on Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m.
The minute you walk in the front door, it is apparent that this is not your typical gallery. Large, 18th century Austrian carved gilded angels welcome you inside, flanked by baroque Spanish carved columns of grape leaves. Unique black forest carved heads, jumbles of brightly colored Adirondack chairs by Glenwood Springs artist Paul Jacobsen and fascinating one-of-a-kind items keep company with European antique paintings. Every nook and cranny offers its own individual surprise.
Pop in to discover the collection for yourself at 242 East Meadow Drive, next to the entrance to the Austria Haus Hotel, or online at www.alpen antiks.com. Alpen Art & Antiques is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Call 970-476-3570.