Starting Your Art Collection

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It is no small secret that I enjoy attending auctions by Park West Gallery. I was first introduced to them via a cruise that we took a few years ago. Park West Gallery provides not only the art, but much more. You have a chance to meet wonderful people, network with other art lovers, drink champagne, view magnificent works of art, purchase art, and… drum roll, please… learn about art!

We had the most wonderful art enthusiast on our cruise and I think that she deserves much of the credit for a drastic increase in my desire and appreciation of fine art. She taught a class one afternoon on tips for collecting. It was wonderfully helpful and I wish I had taken notes, so that I could refer to it. In searching for her presentation, or an article by this phenomenal woman, I came across a letter of recommendation from another art enthusiast, on the Park West web site. Here is the letter of commendation to the woman, Catherine, and her staff:
Art Team Impresses Long-Time Park West Clients Park West® Blog.

Some of what she taught in the class had to do with understanding the different levels of collecting. For example, if you have a poster of the Mona Lisa, you understand that it is a poster and not the original Mona Lisa, right?

There are also other types of reproductions, that include serigraph, lithograph, and embellished.


Serigraphy is a process of applying ink, in passes, using some sort of porous material which ink can pass through. You have also heard it referred to as screen printing and some of you may be familiar with the process with customized T shirts. Andy Warhol also used the process and gave it some notoriety, according to the Wikipedia article on screen printing. There is an interesting article here, on the web site.


Lithography is a chemical process using an etched surface, and the chemical properties of oil and water, creating an ink-adhering area (oil) and a clean area (water) on the tool used to produce the image. Remember when we used to carve potatoes to make a “stamp” and dip it in color and stamp images onto a paper? Well, it is not like a stamp, however, with lithography, if stamped directly on the paper, you would get a reverse image (in the same way as you would with the potato). However, if you could stamp it on another object, which, then, in turn was stamped on the paper, you would get the image the way it was intended to be, instead of the reverse image (like the potato). For a more in-depth, but not too in-depth discussion, visit Wikipedia‘s page on lithography.


    Hand Embellished Reproductions

The two methods briefly discussed, above, are reproductions of the original art. Of course there are many more, including your poster, a digital photograph, etc. The hand embellished reproduction is the type of reproduction that the artist signs, individually, giving the reproduction more value than it would have if it was “only” a reproduction (minus the embellishment), but still less value than the original artwork. However, if you can afford it, this is a great way to start your fine art collection.

There is so much more to know about collecting, and this is a novice article done by an extreme art lover. If you are an art student, or artist, or anyone knowing about art, feel free to add your 2 cents. 😉

  • large format posters February 29, 2012, 3:38 am

    Hi there,

    Park west gallery is the best place to buy great works of art.. thanks for sharing


    • Deborah E February 29, 2012, 6:46 am

      Gerald. Yes, we like Park West and have purchased some art from them 🙂 -Deborah


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