Vincent Price, Art Connousieur

In 1962, the Sears-Roebuck chain of department stores approached Vincent Price and invited him to sponsor a new art collection. He was already known for his exquisite taste in the finer things, from music to literature to cooking. Price accepted the offer, and personally bought over 50,000 pieces to be sold in the stores' galleries.

These weren't chintzy Hummel figurines or Patrick Nagel posters; you could walk into a Sears and buy an original canvas by Picasso or Mondrian for about $400. In the attached film, Vincent points out some Goya Capriccio etchings which sold for $35 at the time, and are currently worth at least $5000.

Vincent wasn't just attaching his name to a product line for a few bucks. He truly believed in bringing art to the masses. "The crevices and cracks of your life, the places where the mortar comes out and falls away--you can fill it up with the love of art", he once exclaimed. Besides curating the Sears galleries until their closing in 1971, Price also served as a juror for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and was on the UCLA Art Council and the U.S. Dept. of Interior's Indian Arts Board. He also owned a performing chimp named Jerry.

(this clip is edited. I saw the full film on video a few years ago, and remember it being at least half an hour long. If anyone can find a longer version online, let me know)

1 comment:

Lance Ehlers said...

It would be kind of cool if Dennis Hopper or Steve Martin (both also respected celebrity art collectors) tried something like this at Crate & Barrel or something comparable.