Who Knew? "Leave It to Beaver" actor Tony Dow, also an artist, will have a sculpture on display at the Louvre
It was a chance meeting last fall on the set of the KTLA Morning News that has led to one of the day's oddest art news items -- namely that Tony Dow, best known as the actor who portrayed the Beaver's big brother, Wally, on the 1950s family TV series "Leave It to Beaver," will soon have one of his abstract sculptures on display at the Louvre.
Yes, that Louvre, the one in "The Da Vinci Code." But the sculpture isn't going to be permanently installed next to the Mona Lisa or anything: It will be part of the annual Societe National des Beaux-Arts exhibition, held at the Carrousel du Louvre, an exhibition hall within the Louvre.
Still, this is not like renting the place out for a wedding: Two groups of French artists joined forces to inaugurate the exhibition back in 1862, with an eye toward helping new artists gain recognition; writer Theophile Gautier served as its first chairman and painter Aime Millet was deputy chairman. The committee included painters Eugene Delacroix, Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse and Puvis de Chavannes; among the exhibitors were Charles-Francois Daubigny and Edouard Manet.
In 1864, after the death of Delacroix, the society ceased to hold exhibitions until its revitalization in 1890.
But back to KTLA: Dow, 63, was a guest on the morning news program with Jerry Mathers, who played the Beav from 1957 to 1963. So was art gallerist Robert Berger, co-owner with Karen Lynne Asher of Karen Lynne Galleries, Inc., with locations in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles and Boca Raton, Fla. Berger was on hand to talk about the gallery''s participation in the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts exhibition at the famed Paris museum.
"The U.S. had never been represented in this show, and the Louvre invited us," says gallery director Jane Gahng of the international show, which will include artists representing Brazil, Canada, China, France, Korea, Spain, Turkey and the United States.
As Gahng tells it, Dow and Berger got to talking, and Berger discovered that, along with his Hollywood career, Dow was an artist and had been sculpting and painting since his teen years. The gallery began representing Dow's work, and this year submitted it, along with that of about 30 other artists representated by Karen Lynne Galleries, as candidates for the same juried exhibition in 2008. The Louvre chose the work of 12 of those artists, including Dow.
Other Karen Lynne Gallery artists represented in the show -- with no known sitcom affiliations -- include sculptor Brian Berman, painter Steven Glucksburg and painter Jorge Lujan.
"Of course I'm really proud of 'Leave it to Beaver' and my directing career in television," Dow told AP news service. "Those are great accomplishments. I'm really proud of them, but this is interesting because I don't think they know anything about that."
Photo: Tony Dow. Credit: Damian Dovarganes/AP
Photo: "Unarmed Warrior." Credit: Blair Hayes/AP