Originally Posted by You
This is the nature of "Cons." I think all the art auctions are phoney, OK buy it if you like it but don't think it's a bargain or even genuine.
>> 1. Yes, the "auctions" are really sales
. You can go to the gallery and buy any piece offered for "auction" for the amount of the minimum bid, without taking the risk that another passenger might enter a higher bid. Also, on any print or giclee for which they have more than one in inventory, everybody who offers at least the minimum bid gets it for that.
>> 2. When ParkWest ran the gallery, the pieces by contemporary artists were in fact what the company represented them to be (though passengers who are not familiar with art might not have understood those representations correctly -- the term "unique work" is NOT the same as an "original" and does NOT mean that a piece is not mass reproduced). In cases where I have compared prices, they were comparable to what the artists' own galleries charge for comparable works (i. e. original paintings of similar dimensions or hand-embellished and signed giclees of the same series). I cannot be sure that the same is true of British American Galleries or whoever they are now.
>> 3. The six works that I bought from ParkWest Galleries on two different cruises did arrive as promised, but two of the six (one on each cruise) arrived with the wrong frames. When I called the gallery's customer service line, the customer service representatives were very resposive in correcting both problems. On both occasions, ParkWest Galleries arranged for Federal Express to pick up the pieces, corrected the error, and returned them to me at no additional charge.
It will be interesting to see whether Celebrity Cruises (1) invites another art dealer onboard, (2) establishes its own art unit and moves that business in house (like Princess Cruises), or (3) abandons art sales comletely. Historically, the art sales have been a significant source of onboard revenue.