Vincent Price & The Sears Art Collection

Gallery Paintings for Sale from Sears

It was a surprise to us to learn that on October 6th, 1962, Sears unveiled an offering of original works of art for sale at its store in Denver, Colorado. Sears had commissioned famous actor and art collector, Vincent Price, to assemble a collection of art and gallery paintings that would be merchandised through its stores, making fine art more accessible to all Sears’ customers. They gave Price carte blanche to travel the world to put the collection together. After that first opening in Denver, the program was broadened with exhibits of art in ten additional Sears stores and after the first 1,500 pieces of art has been sold, it was expanded nationwide to all Sears stores. The program ended in 1971, but more than 50,000 original artworks had been sold during its time.

The Vincent Price Collection, as it was called, included gallery paintings and other works by Rembrandt, Chagall, Picasso, Whistler and many contemporary artists of the day. It included a watercolor by Andrew Wyeth and a painting by Salvador Dali commissioned by Price.

Vincent Price Flyer for Original Gallery Paintings from Sears
Original gallery paintings were once sold in the Sears, Roebuck catalog.

Each work of art offered by Sears was guaranteed under a Sears warranty as “an original work of quality”. Prices ranged from as little at $10 to $3,000 with an installment plan available offering payments as low as $5 a month. Special Sears catalogs in 1963 and 1964 included works from the collection.

An informational video was made by Vincent Price for Sears to help their sales associates learn more about the artworks they would be selling. In it Price says that he believes that, “Art belongs to everyone,” and that “reproductions have a great place in the home. They teach and they satisfy a need for decoration. But, there’s no excitement in the world like the excitement of owning an original work of art.”

He continues, “Art is the visual experience of man—made exciting by talent, and the talent belongs to that rarest of all individuals—the artist . . .  It is not done by strange fellows with long hair who live in attics and wear berets. It is done by extremely disciplined human beings who are trying to allow you, (as people, untalented people, like myself), trying to allow them to see through their eyes the visual beauty of this world.”

We were amazed at one of the more expensive offerings of 1962—a Rembrandt etching titled Angels Appearing to Shepherds. It was certified to have been created in Rembrandt’s studio during his lifetime (1606-1669) and was priced at $900!

We would enjoy hearing from any of you who may remember having seen the original artworks in your local Sears store.

We hope that you will join us on The Artist’s Road for more interesting articles, interviews with top artists, step-by-step demonstrations and discounts in the unique Artist’s Road Store.

–Ann and John




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John Hulsey and Ann Trusty

About John Hulsey and Ann Trusty

John Hulsey and his wife, Ann Trusty created the website, The Artist's Road - Painting the World's Beautiful Places.  The Artist's Road inspires with practical art tips and painting techniques for the traveling artist, video painting tutorials and demonstrations, workshop resources, artist profiles and interviews and remarkable painting locations.  The Artist's Road is an artist community for oil, watercolor and pastel artists.  Articles cover intriguing art travel experiences artists have had while painting the world's beautiful places. "I believe I must speak through my art, for the preservation of Nature and the natural landscape from which I take my inspiration and living." John Hulsey is an accomplished artist, author and teacher who has been working professionally for over thirty years. In addition to producing new work for exhibition and teaching workshops, Mr. Hulsey continues to write educational articles about painting for national art magazines, including Watercolor magazine and American Artist Magazine. He has been selected as a "Master Painter of the United States" by International Artist Magazine where his work was previously chosen to be included in the top ten of their international landscape painting competition. He was awarded residencies at Yosemite, Glacier and Rocky Mountain National Parks. "I strive in my art to celebrate the mysteries of Nature - the fleeting light on the landscape, the unimaginable diversity of creatures, the beauty of each leaf and flower." Ann Trusty  is an accomplished third generation artist whose work embodies the natural world and is created through direct observation and translation of her subjects into her paintings. She has found inspiration in the dancing light across the water of the Hudson River (where she had a studio for ten years), as well as the big sky and waving tall grasses of the open plains of the Midwest (her current home). Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States, France and Turkey in both museum and gallery exhibitions, and has been reviewed favorably by the New York Times.