After WWII, Nash automobiles contracted with an artist who had made a reputation drawing popular "pin-up girls" (women), some of which were reproduced on the fuselage of military airplanes. This artist's name was George Petty, born 1894 – died 1975. (No relation to Tom Petty as far as I know) Some may be familiar with the pin-up art of Alberto Vargas, 1896-1982, a contemporary of Petty. Both artists were widely known during the 1940s and '50s.
Many car manufacturers had been using the female figure as hood ornament designs for a couple decades. Occasionally a male figure, as with the Pontiac Indian chief. Apparently Nash decided that it could capitalize on the reputation of George Petty, which had been enhanced by the use of his art on WWII airplanes. Several female figures were used on Nash hoods in the late '40s through 1955. At least two were marked with the highly recognized Petty signature (see below).
I have not yet acquired the female ornaments of the late '40s. I was able to obtain the upper half of a 1952 Nash hood ornament. These female figures were so complex, they were generally made up of two or three parts. Since I was only able to obtain the top half, I had to carve a reproduction of the lower body out of wood. I chose wenge, a uniformly dark hardwood from the African Congo.
After a decade of female figures adorning the hoods of Nash automobiles, Nash moved on to the more up-to-date style of non-anthropomorphic designs. Somewhat belatedly, perhaps, as hood ornamentation was soon to come to an end. Below is Nash's 1956 design. Again, I obtained an incomplete example and had to reproduce the pair of spears in wood. This time I used mesquite.
Here are all four of the Nash ornaments that I have acquired so far, lined up side by side. This gives some idea of relative size
I am still trying new show venues to find those that provide the most effective exposure for my works.