Most people know Vincent Price as an actor commonly seen in horror films. However, he was also an author, gourmet cook, art collector, gallery owner, and an artist. His resume includes as many art related activities as it does film related activities. After receiving his B.A. in art history and English from Yale University in 1933, Price attended Courtauld Institute of Art, at the University of London. In the early 1940s he opened an art gallery in Beverly Hills and established the Modern Institute of Art, also in Beverly Hills. Throughout his life he served on several art boards including serving as president of the UCLA Art Council. He was a trustee for the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution, and he was a member of the White House Fine Arts Committee from 1960-1963. In the late 1960s he wrote a syndicated newspaper column on art. And in 1972 he published The Vincent Price treasury of American Art.
Vincent Price’s enthusiasm for art motivated him to want to share his art and encourage others to collect and enjoy art. In 1951 Price began donating art objects from his personal collection to East Los Angeles College, establishing the first “teaching art collection” owned by a community college. This collection was the start of what later became the Vincent Price Art Museum. Today East Los Angeles College remains one of the few community colleges in the United States with the resource of a major art collection. In the past 60 years, the Vincent Price Art Museum collection has grown to more than 9,000 objects.
But Price wasn’t finished there. In 1962 he established the Vincent Price Collection of Fine Art at Sears. In their desire to make fine art readily available to Americans throughout the country, Sears approached Vincent Price to run the program, based on his reputation not only as an actor, but as art collector and connoisseur. Price was given complete authority to acquire any works he considered worthy to add to the collection. He searched throughout the world for fine art. He bought whole collections and even commissioned artists to do works specifically for the program. Original works of great masters – Rembrandt, Chagall, Picasso, Whistler and more, as well as those of the best contemporary artists at the time, such as Salvador Dali, were offered for sale throughout the program’s existence.
In the videos below Price presents an introduction to the Vincent Price Collection of Fine Art for the Sears sales staff.
Part 1 of 2
Part 2 of 2
There is a currently a pair of signed self-portrait sketches by Vincent Price up for auction at Heritage Auctions.
MovieMonsterMuseum.com also has several sketches and paintings attributed to Vincent Price.
Visit the Pop Life Art homepage for links to the artwork of more than 100 actors, singers, and musicians.