19th Century French Engraved Woodblock From the Vincent Price Collection

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**Free shipping. Rare and unusual piece - a 19th Century French engraved woodblock by an unknown artist. This is the original real wood block used to make the prints. Depicts and gentleman handing a lady her shawl or wrap before they depart for the evening....
Full provenance on verso. The actor, Vincent Price was a major art collector and curated a collection of fine art that was sold through Sears Roebuck and Company starting in Denver, Colorado in the early 1960's.
Original signature by Vincent Price on the verso.
Excellent condition. Framed in a highlighted silver & gold frame with black and white highlights. Backed on to brown velvet.
The wood block is 19th Century. The framing is 1960s.
The block is 2 1/2" x 4". The overall frame is 9 3/4" x 9 1/4".
An ususual find.
1.1 pounds.

Further reading: In 1962, art was not really new to Sears. As early as 1895, Sears offered oil paintings at prices of 90 cents and up. The services of many distinguished artists, such as Andrew Loomis, McClelland Barclay and Norman Rockwell had designed covers for the Sears catalog. Yet, company executives observed that except for a few major cities, fine art was virtually inaccessible to the general public.

Sears set out to end this isolation by merchandising art throughout the country, in a presentation from which pictures could be readily purchased to enrich American homes. 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.

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.

At first, the idea of a large merchandising organization, such as Sears, maintaining a serious, top-quality art collection met with skepticism. But the public - and the artists themselves - soon learned that Sears would not compromise with good taste or artistic quality.

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.

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