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April 17, 2004

Comments

panasianbiz

I stumbled across your blog while I was doing some online research. You offered some great suggestions here. To many people, beginning an art collection of their own seems a daunting task; you made it seem not only possible but easier than we expected!

Azita

Here is the thing that most people do not know. Is when you buy a pieces of art on the ship, that piece that you see, right there in front of you, is most likely not the actually getting that one. What you get is one that is pulled from inventory; send down to where ever they have it framed, and that process can take a while, depending on the piece, amount that is ordered.

Think of a tickle me Elmo at Xmas, There are some Pieces of art that sell like that. Each piece is custom done for each one. Yes there are some occasions where they are damaged, but the Gallery will have them repaired for you. They understand that something’s may happen. If you just give them a little patience, it goes a long way.

Most the people that have bad experience with PWG are the ones who call up screaming and swearing at the Reps on the phones. Hello if someone is causing you out for some thing that you had NOTHING to do with, how nice are you going to be to them. One must also take in to account that they do anywhere from 4000-6000 frame jobs every week. That is a lot of framing. And yes it takes time.

As for Value of Pieces, it all how much some one is willing to pay, that is all it is plan and simple. It’s an auction; of course they want the highest bid they can get.

Dave

Bought Peter Max on the boat (RC and Carnival). Viewed repeated showings and sales(with Mr. Max signing and etching backs) in DC in 2005 and 2006. No difference in mixed media with what I bought on ship. Prices in gallery where showings occurred approximately 110% higher than on boat in 2005 (you had to pay for framing) and 70% higher in 2006 (framed by PW. Gallery sold Max like hotcakes at these events in DC! With Mouly, Ballet, and Tarkay, I don't feel quite as comfortable with estimated values in on board auctions, but I bought because I liked the art.

If you're buying as investment, then you need to study the field just like you would a stock or gold. For you quick buck dumbies, when will you learn that it just doesn't work that way.

For me, I'll enjoy my art, and maybe my kids' kids will have something of value.

Dave miller

We have just returned from a RC ship (enchantment of the seas) and bought what we were told was 1 of 5 artworks by Tomas Kinkade, we were not told we would really get one of thousands of prints! total rip off! RC should get rid befor they give them a bad name! cos other than this we had a fab time on board.

gary

I just realized that I was scamed by Park West for four pieces, 3 Rembrandts and one Dali. What do I do? Is there a class action lawsuit?

William Cole

I am a university professor of art connoisseurship with a doctorate from Harvard.

Some information:

ParkWest Gallery is a fraud.

Almost all of the "signed prints" by famous artists sold on eBay are fake.

Almost all of the galleries selling online sell some fakes, or even ONLY fakes.

Almost ALL prints by Salvador Dali that appear on the market are fake, or bear fake signatures.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Nick Gilbert

I may be interested in a class action against Park West and Royal Caribbean as this practice
of selling to art novices through auction on cruise ships is outrageous. It's about time something was done to stop it.

Scott

I work with the media and would like to speak with anybody who has bought art while traveling on a cruise ship.

Please email me so I can write back to you.

Thank you.

Mike

When you buy a "offset litho, seriolitho, offset gravure", and most other forms of gravure (helio, etc) or modern printing you are buying mass-produced junk! Sorry, but this is the fact and even if pretty, they are not going to be a good investment. Sure, some very valuable gravures exist -- original photo prints from "Camera Works" and other old photography publications come to mind. SOME of these beautiful original gravures can easily be worth in the thousands of dollars, as no other examples exist. One photo recently sold for the highest price EVER at auction, and while only 3 (I THINK) original silver prints exist, the few hundred grvures of the same image all printed at the same time are genuinely VERY desired and look beautiful -- much nicer than any modern copies. However, this is not the case with the crap being sold on ships!

Park West and DOZENS of ebay sellers also sell tons of little lithos and other various forms of copies from works such legit old publications as "Verve", "Derriere le Miroir" (DLM), "XXe' Siecle"(20th Century in English), and others. And these old art publications DID publish some of the greatest original graphics of the 20th Century in small signed and numbered limited editions, often with wide margins (Chagall's Bible images and Daphnis and Chloe suite, and various works by Miro, Matisse, and Picasso come to mind). That said, most of these were UNSIGNED book or folio editions with very thin margins but were printed from the exact same stones or zinc plates. (Some of the images were not original pieces of art, but merely copies...well called out in the original periodicals, but not always defined by questional sellers.) Even those that are REAL STONE LITHOS or etchings, all were printed in the thousands (some even 2 sided) -- and might have a value from $20 to $1000 -- most are closer to the $50 range! The problem is that these prints show up with Park West, or MUCH WORSE YET "National Art Guild" certificates claiming values in the tens of thousands... and this is simply not true. I have seen MANY of these prints with VERY questionable signatures (the large editions were ALL unsigned!!!) with the exact same "National Art Guild" appraisal, ALL dated with the same date in 1988. My favorite example is the Blue Nudes and collages by Matisse as a special edition of XXe Siecle's special "Homage to Matisse", published by Tudor Publishing. It is a nice book, and I have a copy of the book in my personal library -- you can buy one for <$100-$300 on Ebay or bookfinder. Anyway, the various fake dealers sell "signed" copies of these prints EVERY DAY on Ebay and elsewhere for $700 to $5000 or more. OK,... except the book was printed AFTER Matisse died!!! I saw one at a seemingly nice gallery a few years ago on Coronado Island for $12,000.

Another place it gets consfusing is the various book editions where the exact size of the edition is unknown. At the very top of this page is a famous 24-color (some say 25 counting black...) stone litho by Picasso called "Picador 2" from a book published by Picasso's longtime friend and secretary Sabartes. This print has all that is great about Picasso -- the bullfight, intrigue, action, and a great eccentric story about how when the publisher complained that all the prints were only black, he grabbed a box of 24 Crayolas and put spots of every color on his original -- perhaps out of anger, and perhaps to make the publishers job difficult as it would mean that they would need to have 24 more stones made and resistrated to properly recreate his original. This is why this prints has 2 different date in 1961 lower left on the print. Picador 2 was printed in a small edition of 50, all signed and numbered on wide margins. (reference Mourlot 1017, I think) These prints typically sell for around $10,000 to $15,000 -- sometimes more since only 50 exist. The SAME DAY that these 50 were printed on large sheets of paper, a large edition "suite" of a few thousand was also printed. These were unsigned, but the actual print is very similar (some say better!!!) than the small edition. About 10 years ago, I bought one of these neat little prints for $50 from a dealer friend of mine -- the entire suite at the time went for around $200, but he had this print from a broken set. (Odd, because this is the print people want!!) Anyway, today this little print can easily sell for $2000 or more, and I imagine this will rightfully go up in the future also. No problem!! the problem is that questionable galleries and stores sell these small little prints with "questionable" signatures for the same $10,000 -- I saw one a few years ago in San Francisco for $25,000.

I can give similar stories on late edition Rembrandts, Durers, Norman Rockwells, Escher posters, Renoirs (the ink is still wet on some of these etchings!) and many others. No need, you get the idea. I guess this long answer means one thing.... BUYER BEWARE. This applies to Park West, and EVERY other seller and dealer of art worldwide!! This goes for garage sales, re-sale shops, and library or museum "deassession" auctions too. The best book I have found discussing all of this is out of print, but is cheaply available via bookfinder. It is "Prints and the Print Market", by Donson. It is a VERY VALUABLE read, and if you want to spend $20 on a poster as an "investment", buy this book instead. I will make no other representations regarding this writer, but since he is also an art dealer, "buyer beware" is still applicable. Another great book is "VERVE: The Ultimate Review of Art and Literature (1937-1960). It is published by Harry Abrams. I do ot know of similar books on DLM or 20th Century...sadly. Another very useful book focuses on the mezzotint, and it writen by Carol Wax -- she is a talented artist who knows the various print techniques very well. Her book is widely available.

So while most of these people who bought art on cruises were probably ripped off, it is probably no more of a "class action" than any vacationer in Hawaii, San Diego, Sanibel Island, or elsewhere who after a few too many umbrella drinks is thinking with something other than the head on their neck!! LOL When something seems too good to be true... it probably is!!!

When you find an artist you like, before you buy ANYTHING, buy their catalog raisonne first. Read. learn, educate yourself, and if you still like the art because you find it pleasing, and you can afford it withoust losing the house or not being able to pay for Sara's tuition, then buy it. (But NEVER buy merely as an "investment", as it may or may not be a good one!!! Those who speculate without knowledge in ANTHING, whether real estate, art, pork bellies, or stocks GET BURNED... the person who makes the $ is the one you bought the junk from!!) If the dealer specializes in this artist, they will probably sell the catalog too -- tell them you will buy the catalog IF they are willing to take the $ it costs you OFF the first print by that artist you buy from them later. Some will, some will apply half of the price. If they will not, buy the book elsewhere where it will likely be cheaper.

Suzanne

Hi - WEll, I experienced my first real love for Art when I decided to sit during the art auction on my cruise - it was exciting and I couldn't resist once a piece came through. In total, I've bought about 10 paintings. I would say on average $250. a piece - I loved all of them, and they seemed like great deals when they tell you upfront what they were appraised for.

My question is, has this been brought up to Royal Caribbean Cruiselines or any of the other ships who host these auctions and also, what is the leverage for the public who've purchased? How can you really tell on your painting that the number written is truly written by hand or "Possbibly" a copy? That to me would be illegal.
Thanks

David Mirback

My name is David Mirback and I am an attorney that was ripped off by Park West Gallery and will review, free of charge, any fraud, intententional misrepresentation, unfair business practices claims, etc., against Park West Galley, (or Park West Gallery at Sea). I was given a speal at an onboard auction about a painting, "Bridge of Sighs", and told all about how the artist named it after a connecting bridge in Venice only to be told by Park West counsel that Park West's records confirm that the painting was not aboard the ship and therefore impossible to view, (let alone buy I bet).

There appears to be a sufficient numbers of victims to possibly form a class action suit and stop these thiefs from scaming auction or cruise participants as well as recover the purported "investments".

The email you may contact me at is lawetc@gmail.com. All information will be reviewed, held and/or returned in confidence.

kathleen

With so many compliants why has no one filed a class action suit or gotten the justice department to investigate? We are talking major amounts of money based on client trust of the cruise line. The cruise lines who welcome this kind of practice and the travel agents who book the cruise should have information available to the guest about the company. If enough clients stop booking cruises on these various lines that allow fraudulant activity Im sure this would stop. I for one have been ripped off and have informed my travel agent of the problem.

Artguy

I personally know a man that sold art from Park West Gallery. It is astonishing to me how many people are fooled or foolish about 'investing their money' in Park West Gallery 'artwork'.

Joy

Well . . . I just came home from a Carnival Cruise where I received two free 'seriolithographs'- one from Marcus Glenn and one from Marko Mavrovich. I am not a drinker or a partier, but I do enjoy looking at artwork. Even if the 'piece' is not the real thing . . . I went to the auction and found many pieces of 'art' that were pleasing to view. I also won a free (who knows what until it's shipped to me) from Marcus Glenn that I absolutely loved! In my opinion, art is in the eye of the beholder. Those who collect, KNOW what they are collecting . . . they've done their research or they wouldn't be any good at it. I LOVE art . . . of any kind . . . and music (which is depicted in Marcus Glenn's work). So, I had fun watching everyone bid on the artwork . . . didn't spend a dime, but enjoyed the visual experience (and got a couple of freebies at the same time). Life is good!

Ram

I am an ex art auctioneer for Park West. I spent long enough to know what and who they are:
Albert Scaliogne ( leader and messiah) has Jesus syndrome and conducts his business like a Davidian leader.
In other words he is a unstable and misguided individual.
Just about all of the 'art directors/art auctioneers' are falsely giving you ( The American consumer) the impression that have knowledge they all come from jobs on ships etc and have had 1 weeks training in the facility in either Detroit or Miami lakes.

The art embellishments are motley performed by Park west employees on the under level of their Detroit facility.
2005 PW had a huge 'Hand smack' from Carnival for allowing their 'Art experts' to infer,advise,sell their art as Investment quality' This has resulted in PW having 'Compliance' managers in place now.
The art is not bad just sold badly you should ONLY buy it for yourself because you like it NOTHING ELSE as it is not good enough in most cases for investment sales.
My advise to you is to challenge the level of quality of their contracted workers to the cruise lines and force their hand to stop this ripoff.
Over 90% of Parkwest auctioneers are not employess of PW but what is called IC they are paid from a bank in the Turks and Cacos islands and they are NOT american. They pay NO tax and come from jobs that have had NO relevance to art or any thing close to give you any real line knowledge or advice.
You are being grossly mislead.. Believe me.
Carnival will eventually buckle even though PW is in the vicinity of $100,000,000 in sales to Carnival alone..... money talks people.

Theresa

Does anyone have a suggestion as to how
to resolve fraudulent sales by Parkwest.
Please tell me what actions you took to
relieve yourselves of over priced pieces.
Thankyou

Bob

I regularly cruise with P&O and Princess Cruises and always attend th art auctions. Over the years i have bought thousands of pounds worth of art and have sold the majority of it on for profit. I think art auctions are like anything else. You need to do your research, e.g. i had my eye on a Chagall etching on board Oriana, i went online and checked with Bonhams auction house, similar works had been sold that week for similar prices. A rip off by P&O? I don't think so.
The majority of pieces onboard are not investment quality but are for hanging in your home.
I have personally met Mark Bronson on Oceana in 2005 and found him to be open, honest and would go the extra mile to evidence where 'serious' art work had come from. My advice for all potential Art Auction goers is this.
1. Take a look and decide what your objective is. A nice piece of art to hang on your wall at home or an investment opportunity. If it is the latter, do your homework and only bid on pieces you have researched and are happy with.
2. Bear in mind Princess Fine Arts have an excellent guarantee where you can return artwork you are unhappy with within 90 days of the cruise or 30 days after receipt, whichever is the longer.
PLEASE BEAR IN MIND ALL MY COMMENTS ABOVE RELATE TO P&O AND PRINCESS CRUISES. I HAVE NO EXPERIENCE WHATSOEVER OF PARK WEST.

Sydney

I just came back from a cruise on RC Vision of the Seas and had sat for and purchased an "art" piece valued at $1100 for $110 from Park West auction, what a deal. Because I had applied for and received approval of the Park West credit card, I received a free gift of two art pieces worth $675 each. I call these art pieces since they really are just posters. Sure they are printed nicely and some of the colors have a shiny appearance over the more matt texture to give it some realism, but posters nonetheless. Even the signatures that look like pencil are really just printed on the paper before the picture is printed.

We really fell in love with the idea of having a trio of "art" pieces in a set of a Rembrandt, Goya, and Chagall prints, all for the unbelievable low price of $9500, with 12 months no interest financing with the Park West card. The Rembrandt was from the Millennium Series that were printed from the original copper plates in 2001. This one would be one of 2500 pressings! This would be the third printing (as we were told) from these plates; the original from 1600's, a second printing from the 1800's and this printing. They did have a print for sale from the 1800's valued at $15,000 (at least the paper is 200 years old) or we could have the recent printing for $5,500. Unbelieving how these very thin copper plates could hold up to 2500 plus pressings, we finally got out of the representative that the plates have been enhanced, in that someone had to re-etch or scrape out the lines in order for the plates to hold ink. Somehow I don't consider this an original etching anymore. It might be nice to have it for $500, but not for $5500.

Beware of the appraisal fees. We were charged $35 for the first appraisal and $15 for appraisals for each of the two free posters. Shipping was $35 for three posters in a tube. We passed on the framing. Remember that appraisals are optional and they will be put on the bill automatically without your permission, so remember to get those charges taken off the final bill. Why would I want an appraisal from the seller of a poster? What would it say; this is a genuine copy of an unlimited edition of a poster? Would my insurance company really give me $650 for each of my posters if my house burnt down?

We have oil reproductions bought from the local shopping mall hanging on our walls that cost a couple of hundred dollars but these were never represented to us as anything of value. They are pretty to look at and no more. Most of the "art" sold on our cruise were simply posters that were pretty to look at and nothing more. There were Peter Max one of a kind originals for $15,000 that Max makes exclusively for Park West, though.

Park West sells the following categories of art (subject to verification): one of a kind; derivations; embellished; and posters (my words, I forget what fancy word they used, maybe Seri lithograph). One of a kind are represented as just that. Derivations from what I gather are lithographs (on canvas) that the artist actually painted over with some paint and signed. The picture is the same but the artist might use a different color for different parts (a blue sky in one, a pink sky in another, sounds like a paint by number, but at least the artist actually touched the canvas for a second or two and stayed within the lines). No telling how many derivations are made of each picture. Embellishments, where someone (anyone) smears some clear coat on the litho with a paint brush. Then the unlimited posters. During the auction you might not be aware of what you are getting unless you listen very closely to the fast talking. Also listen carefully to any edition representations. Once we thought we were looking at what was said to be a 1 out of 33 Dali print, when in fact it was 1 out of 3500 of 1 of 33 derivations of the same theme. Very confusing mumbo jumbo. At least the signature was in pencil and original, I guess. And their Dali’s are authenticated by an ex-CIA official, whatever that is worth.

It is interesting that all of the "art" can be purchased after the auction if you didn't bid during the auction.

John

My wife and i recently purchased an Agam and a David Schluss at an auction. I have seen a lot of information regarding Dali, Chagall Max etc... I have yet to see any issues with Agam or Schluss. We have not yet received the pieces and therefore continue to assume that we will recieve what was promised. Anybody aware of similar complaints regarding Agams and Schluss artpieces?

John

sorry, this goes with the next post. My wife and I were on a Celebrity cruise (owned by RC) and purchased the Agam and Schluss at a Park West Auction.

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