Art belongs to everyone | The Vincent Price Collection of Fine Art, 1911-1993

Vincent Price with his Richard Diebenkorn painting, 1955


"I feel that an awful number of people suffer under two misapprehensions about art.
Number One is that it is not available to them, and Number Two, that it may cost
too much money....[Therefore my goal] was to correct these misapprehensions and
to tell people that art is not for one class of people; economic class or educated
class, but art belongs to everyone"

 Vincent Price

Vincent Price  looking through some of the artworks in his collection, 1950             Vincent Price with a display of ceramics from his art collection, 1955


“He really did have this deep belief that art 
could help you live a happier life.”

Vincent Barrett Price reflecting on his father, Vincent Price.



CrypticRock.com: You grew up around the art with your father being an avid art collector.  
It is obvious his love for art left a lasting impression on you as you are in interior designer, you
 are an art dealer,and you are an art historian now.  What did he teach you about art and what 
were some of the key aspects that drew him to a particular piece?

Victoria Price He loved drawings very much, because he felt they were a glimpse into 
an artist’s process and into their souls, that was something he really loved.  He loved 
the stories behind pieces of art.  The main thing for him was that seeing art gave him
 faith in humanity. It gave him faith that we would overcome all the qualities in human
 nature that he made horror movies about and still give voice and create from a place 
of something other than class, financial interest, and doing something simply for 
making a buck.  For him art gave him faith that the planet would survive; art 
saved his life. Talking about art to people; he lectured on the visual arts every year, 
60 cities in 65 days for 30 years, that is the second most popular lecturer in America after 
Eleanor Roosevelt. That really affected and changed people.  I grew up feeling his passion for art.  
I learned how to see from both of my parents; my mother was a designer, and my dad the art 
collector and historian.  For me it was his infectious love of it.  His belief that art collectors are 
only caretakers, so there was this sense of history involved.  He felt we do not own art, we care 
take art, it survives long past us.  He was also a wonderful storyteller, and sometimes he would 
just hook me with the stories.


“Vincent Price considered the arts as a fundamental part of education,”


ELAC is one of the very few community colleges in the U.S. with a major art collection.
In fact, Vincent Price Art Museum (VPAM) has had a presence on this campus for more than
 fifty years. In 1951, Vincent Price—noted actor, collector and one of Los Angeles’s great 
champions of the arts—made his first visit to ELAC. Together with his wife Mary Grant, 
Vincent Price was a frequent visitor here, a speaker at graduation ceremonies and a classroom 
guest who eagerly engaged with our students and faculty. As he got to know ELAC, Mr. Price 
noticed a lack of opportunity for students on this campus–and in East LA in general–to have 
first-hand experiences with art. The Prices took the initiative to remedy this shortcoming and
 donated 90 pieces from their personal collection in 1957 to establish the first “teaching art
 collection” housed at a community college. In recognition of this extravagant gift, ELAC
 renamed the art gallery in the Prices’ honor.

Over the past 50 years, the collection has grown to more than 9,000 objects, and more than 
100 shows have been mounted here. The range is impressive and eclectic, much like the 
Prices’ own collecting interest in world art; African, Mesoamerican, Native American 
and European artworks have all been exhibited here.

In the early 1962 Vincent Price, well known actor and art historian, was approached by the Sears
 department store to compile a collection of fine art for them to sell. The result was the Vincent 
Price Collection of Fine Art.  In its way, the video is a chilling comment on the art market.
 Watch how easily a smarmy screen psychopath segues to smarmy gallerist. 
Says Price: "One of the problems that you will find in selling this merchandise, as you do with 
any other kind of merchandise, is that the better you know it, the more you know about it, the 
easier it is to sell."


Vincent Price with a cast iron stove and ceramic candle-holders from his art collection, 1955
Vincent Price Presents Great Paintings in Musical Impressions by Ned Freeman and Performed 


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