Vincent Price Collection of Fine Prints was introduced by ” Sears and Roebuck “ with much success retailing numerous Fine-original Prints throughout the country, in a presentation from which pictures could be readily purchased to enrich American lives and hone-offices across the landscape.
What many people did not know Vincent Price was approached to take charge of this program. Price, although well-known by the public as an actor, was also known in the international art world as a collector, lecturer, former gallery-owner and connoisseur who spent a dozen years studying art at Yale, the University of London and other art centers abroad. He became interested in the Arts including Fine or Original prints and collecting . This was a very popular Hobby during the period for the upper classes to collect and study fine prints . First started from the American print revival of the 1860′s in America .
What many people did not know Vincent price was born in St. Louis, Missouri., who was the president of the National Candy Company. His grandfather, Vincent Clarence Price, invented “Dr. Price’s Baking Powder,” the first cream of tartar baking powder, and secured the family’s fortune.
” Martha Stewart move over “….,You were not the first to up grade the Image of Sear . Price was given complete authority to acquire any works he considered worthy of selection. He searched throughout the world for fine art to offer through Sears. He bought whole collections and even commissioned artists, including Salvador Dali, to do works specifically for this program.
Who would had guess , in the day and age , that a large merchandising organization, such as Sears was not fully appreciated BUT Sears DID produce with good taste or artistic quality fine Art .
On October 6, 1962, the first exhibit and sale of “The Vincent Price Collection of Fine Art” took place in a Sears store in Denver, Colo. Original works of the great masters – Rembrandt, Chagall, Picasso, Whistler and more – as well as those of the best contemporary artists at the time were offered for sale in this first exhibit and throughout the program’s existence.
Fine Art was offered at $10 to $3,000. Sears offered payment plans where customers could also purchase items on an installment plan for as little as $5 down and $5 a month. Each work in the program was guaranteed as an original work and What do you know The program was an instant success.
The program expanded in the weeks that followed, adding exhibits in 10 additional Sears stores including Hartford, Conn., Harrisburg, Penn., San Diego, Calif., Evansville, Ind., Madison, Wis., and Oklahoma City, Okla. After the successful exhibition and sale of these first 1,500 pieces, the program was expanded nationwide to all of Sears stores throughout the country, bringing original works of fine art to the American public in unprecedented quantity and quality.
Fine prints offered by the Sears Vincent Price Gallery of Fine Art was opened in Chicago, Ill., providing a massive audience of the Middle Class Americans a opportunity to collect fine art from talented, but less well-known, young artists.
Over a period of time , The collection also held temporary exhibits in several hundred communities throughout the country and permanent galleries operated in several cities
Perhaps a victim of there own success in 1971, when the program ended, more than 50,000 pieces of fine art passed through a constantly changing collection into American homes and offices.
Many other Galleries including Ferdinand Roten Galleries , Associated American Arts , Craddock Barnard, Harbor Gallery , Kennedy Gallery and others American Dealers did managed to continued to follow the practice till recent years when many are now retired or selling on the Inter net sites .
Many of these are often found on the market with the original gallery Labels and offered a great look into a time when a forgotten retailer did in fact excelled in encouraging the Middle class American into the field of collecting Fine Arts ;
” Two Thumbs for two American Icon’s , Vincent Price and Sears – Roebuck ”
Fine Prints like these offered can be seen at ;
James Stow & Antony Yau
Candlewood Yankee Fine Arts