Park West Gallery
Park West Gallery is a commercial art gallery founded in 1969 by Albert Scaglione and based in Southfield, Michigan, United States, where it occupies 63,000-square-foot (5,900 m2) premises, which is open for public and educational visits. It employs 1,000 staff globally and stated its annual revenue as $300–$400 million (2007 figure). It exhibits historic artists such as Renoir as well as contemporary artists. It funds the philanthropic Park West Foundation.
In 1993, Park West Gallery began staging art auctions on cruise ships around the world. The company currently operates on over 100 ships and conducts more than 5,000 auctions per year on board, as well as in Ritz Carlton hotels and other luxury properties.
In 1969, Albert Scaglione opened Park West Gallery in Southfield, Michigan, after being a Wayne State University teacher of mechanical engineering. He bought Escher prints for $50 and was able to retail them for many times that price.
Park West Gallery has 63,000-square-foot (5,900 m2) premises on the Northwestern Highway, employing 200 staff in Oakland County, Michigan and over 1,000 worldwide. It has 181,000-square-foot (16,800 m2) offices in South Florida. Works ranges from $2,000 to a $1 million Renoir; as well as historic artists, it also represents contemporary artists, such as Southfield resident Marcus Glenn and Israeli sculptor, Yaacov Agam, who makes optical and kinetic art. The gallery is open to the public and provides a service for educational visits.
In addition to its main gallery and art conservation facility in Southfield, Michigan, Park West operates a framing and distribution center in Miami Lakes, Florida, and maintains a catalog and Internet sales business. The distribution center receives 4,000 to 6,000 works of art a week to process and frame, and maintains a stock of 6 to 7 million feet of picture framing to meet demands. The company also funds the not-for-profit Park West Foundation, which provides philanthropic support to various groups.
Since 1993, Park West Gallery has been conducting fine art auctions aboard cruise ships, and is the largest business in this field, selling nearly 300,000 artworks a year with a revenue in excess of $300 million. It currently operates on the cruise lines: Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Princess Cruises, and MSC. Park West states that it is "the world's largest art dealer" based on its volume of sales. The auctions, like shows, gambling and shopping, are a popular aspect of entertainment during the cruise, and provide concessionary income for the cruise operator.
Morris Shapiro is the gallery director and has been part of the company for 25 years. He said the gallery has created a "new paradigm in how art is presented to the public".
Park West Gallery does not reveal financial reports, as it is privately owned. Scaglione stated the 2007 revenue was $300–$400 million. Half of its revenue comes from 85 auctioneers on cruise-ships, and the rest of the revenue is from promotions in hotels and sales in its gallery.
Park West Gallery established its Park West Foundation in 2006, a non-profit that assists young men and women who are exiting the foster care system. As of 2013, the foundation has assisted more than 350 individuals with housing, transportation, jobs and clothing. It also provides tuition assistance for post-secondary education through partnerships with universities.
Events the foundation is involved with include Jump Shot Your Future, which assists 14 to 25-year-old youth learn how to pursue post-secondary education; as well as KidSpeak, an annual event where foster youth can speak directly to county and state lawmakers about their experiences.
The gallery also donates artwork to support fundraising efforts for non-profits, including the American Cancer Society.
Artists that Park West Gallery represent contribute as well, such as Autumn de Forest, the gallery’s youngest artist, honoring the rebuilding effort following Hurricane Sandy as well as contributing to “This Bar Saves Lives;” Romero Britto supports Best Buddies International; and Peter Max for his efforts with organizations such as the Humane Society and cancer research.
Cruise auction disputes
In 2008, complaints were reported by The New York Times and other media about the conduct of auctions, and a class action lawsuit has been filed concerning the valuation of items sold. The company has dismissed these complaints as unfounded. One buyer said he later discovered that a Picasso print which he had been advised by Park West was a "good investment" at $35,000 (he won it for $24,265) had been sold at Sotheby's two years previously for $6,150. USA Today and other media carried similar reports. In July 2008, The New York Times published an article citing complaints by six individuals, concerning sales tactics, certification and valuation of work, and money-back promises. Some refunds have been made to customers with a confidentiality clause. Scaglione said the gallery had spent "hundred of thousands of dollars" on establishing valuations through independent consultants. Most of all claims against the gallery had been settled or dismissed.
In April 2008, a Florida and a California resident filed class action lawsuits, accusing Park West of misrepresenting the value of artwork. Scaglione said, "We’ve got over a million clients and we make an effort to satisfy every one of them. Sometimes you have disingenuous people who buy things for not good reasons, and we get set up." In September 2008, the gallery instituted a policy where any item bought from them could be returned for a refund (less the buyer's premium) or exchanged for another artwork within specified timeframes.
Royal Caribbean announced in May 2010 it would not renew its concession contract with Park West, after more than 15 years of partnership. However, the agreement was renewed and Park West currently operates on Royal Caribbean ships.
In December 2014, the Michigan Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit filed by a woman who claims she bought $165,000 in faked Salvador Dalí artwork that had been overturned by a lower court decision in 2012 over a technicality.
In 2018, Park West founder Albert Scaglione stated that all lawsuits against the company had been dismissed, claiming that, in every case, the judges found that "these claims did not have any merit."
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- Wagner, Dennis (April 9, 2008). "Gullible travels: art sales at sea". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved July 16, 2008.
- * Cramer, Kelly (November 9, 2006). "The Art of Piracy: On the high seas, it may be best to resist the urge to buy a masterpiece". New Times Broward-Palm Beach. Archived from the original on October 11, 2008. Retrieved July 17, 2008.
- "Talking to auctioneers aboard Royal Caribbean's new ship, Harmony of the Seas - Park West Gallery". Park West Gallery. 2016-05-26. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
- Meyer, Zlati. "Salvador Dali Lawsuit". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved December 3, 2014.
- "Park West Lawsuits Dismissed, CEO Albert Scaglione Looks Forward". Park West Gallery. Retrieved 2018-06-29.
- Scaglione, Albert (August 10, 2008). "Auctions in the Art World". letter to the editor responding to the paper's allegations. The New York Times. Retrieved August 12, 2008.
The article also did not point out what is widely known in the art world: market values cannot be based on what happens in a single auction sale on one specific day. This of course is especially true if only a limited number of bidders participated and a limited number of individuals were aware that the auction sale was being conducted.
- Aguilar, Julio (August 10, 2008). "Defraudan a turistas con venta de 'arte'" (in Spanish). El Universal. Retrieved August 12, 2008.