Page 11 - The 'X' Chronicles Newspaper - April 2024
P. 11

Silicon Valley’s Flying Saucer Man                                                                                     11

          The Forgotten Legend of                        accustomed to a steadyish stream of finishings. He also wrote books on
                                                         wealthy collectors fell on hard times. blacksmithing and toolmaking and shared
            Silicon Valley’s Flying                      Things got bad enough that Larry his talents firsthand with youngsters

                     Saucer Man                          Fischer, the owner of a sculpture willing to camp on the property. He
                                                         foundry, decided to auction off pieces taught them to make their own tools,
                                                         he’d held on to for years to help make sculpt, and embrace his minimalist,
                Alexander Weygers, a
                                                         ends meet.  Ahead of the auction, he recycling-centric                   philosophy.      And
          Renaissance man in the mold of                 invited Hunter to come see if there was amazingly,  Weygers was a world-class

          the tech industry’s stated ideal,              anything he liked. He guided his friend engineer who in the late 1920s designed a
         inspired an art dealer to become                through the gritty warehouse toward a flying saucer, a machine he called the

                        an acolyte.                      collection of bronze sculptures he Discopter.
                                                         thought might be of particular interest.
                      by Ashlee Vance                                                                     Fischer had known Weygers well before
                                                         He chose well. The first sculpture Hunter the forgotten Renaissance man died in
                                                         saw,  Up With Life, was a foot tall and 1989, and his stories kept Hunter
        An idyllic ease permeates California’s           depicted an adult’s face morphing mesmerized for hours. “I was hooked,”

        Carmel Valley. Wealthy people have               vertically into a hand cradling an infant. said Hunter, who’d long pursued the art
        built ranch-style houses into the                Fischer explained that the sculpture, dealer’s dream of turning an obscure
        mountains, giving them views of the              made by an unknown artist named talent with a compelling background into
        Pacific on one side and pine and cypress         Alexander Weygers after World War II, a major figure among collectors. He’d
        forests on the other. It’s neither too hot       represented humanity rising up to find buy up as much of  Weygers’s work as
        nor too cold, and the fresh ocean air            hope in the darkest of times. Its beauty possible, he decided, then bring the great
        makes you feel calm inside.  These               overwhelmed Hunter, leaving him giddy man’s legacy to the world—and make a
        conditions, which give big ideas room to         and a little dazed. “I freaking started fortune.
        grow, have attracted artists to the area, as     crying,” he later said. As he surveyed the

        well as retirees who want to meditate on         room and saw one magnificent work Over the next decade, however, Hunter’s
        the good life. But every now and then,           after another, Hunter knew he had to relationship with  Weygers became far
        the gentle rhythm of this place gets             have them. “I bought the whole more complex than he could have
        disturbed.        Someone’s         perfectly    collection of 30 Weygers statues.”               imagined standing in that warehouse. As
        manicured existence goes in a turbulent,                                                          he spent countless hours researching the
        unexpected direction.                            The sculptures came with an incredible man, he began to see him as a symbol of
                                                         story.  Weygers spent close to half a a purer time in Silicon Valley. Weygers
        For some people, it’s a real estate shock.       century as the valley’s hidden da Vinci, invented things because something inside
        For others, it’s an earthquake or—God            crafting his home over the years from him demanded it. The artist-engineer ran
        knows—a wildfire. For Randy Hunter, a            reclaimed wood and junkyard scrap from fame and riches, focusing instead
        local art dealer, that moment arrived in         metal, using tools he made on the on hard work and ingenuity.

        2008.  The financial crisis had come to          premises. In separate workshops he
        paradise.      Artists      and     galleries    produced sculptures, highly stylized                                (Continued on Page 12)
                                                         photos, wood carvings, and home
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