CAE Gallery, owned and operated by proprietors James “Jim” and Mary Casion, has opened at 1555 Hertel Avenue. CAE is Gaelic for “field,” but it also an acronym derived from the first initial of the names of their three children.
I met up the Jim at the gallery, to take a tour and learn about his impressive assemblage of fine art prints that he has collected since the time he graduated from college. Jim, who retired several years ago, not only has an eye for desirable lithographs, etchings, woodcuts, giclées, etc., he also possesses a knack for being at the right place at the right time, which is considered a gift when seriously collecting. He has also made reliable connections in the international world of art, which has allowed him to make purchases that he might not otherwise have been able to secure. And finally, he’s attended plenty of art auctions, where he’s managed to acquire significant signed and numbered pieces, most of which come with a certificate of authenticity.
As for the art that Jim is releasing from his collection, he told me that the time has come to share his acquisitions with people who will appreciate the works that he has amassed. “There’s not enough time for me to hang it all, and not enough walls to do so,” he said. “I want to share these with people, so that they can find good homes.”
Looking around the gallery, Jim pointed out numerous works of art from the likes of Warhol, Picasso, Chagall, KEF!, Miro, Matisse, Gauguin, Shepard Fairey… the list goes on and on. Mind you, these are, of course, not original works of art, but they are significant for a number of reasons. Jim explained that many well-known artists, during their lifetime, felt that they needed/wanted to have their works more widely distributed and appreciated, so they figured out ways to create limited editions of their works (some signed and numbered, some stamped, others without signatures) into the hands of art enthusiasts. The printing processes also allowed the artists to expand upon their original works in innovative ways.
“Miro signed lithographic plates that were then printed in a limited run with his signature,” Jim explained. “These types of prints were typically under the supervision of the artists. It allowed them to have their works more widely distributed. Or an artist might have engaged an etcher, supervised by the artist, to reproduce a work. Then we have the Vatican reproductions of Michelangelo – limited edition giclées – that were produced after the artist’s death. Once they made a certain number of prints, they destroyed the algorithm that allowed them to reproduce the works, ensuring that they could not be printed again. An artist might sign 300 prints, and then make an additional 200 that were not signed (still limited edition). Other prints might have been signed after the fact, when a collector asked an artist to sign a piece.”
According to Jim, there are multiple techniques used to reproduce the limited edition prints, and various degrees of documentation. The fine art prints that Jim is selling at CAE Gallery might not be originals, but they have a provenance that is desirable for collectors and art enthusiasts.
Ultimately, the production of fine art prints means that art-lovers are able to access, collect, and hang pieces that they never would have been able to afford, or find outside of world-renowned art galleries and museums. That said, I feel that the prices at CAE Gallery are very reasonable, primarily because of Jim’s desire to find loving homes for his collection. What’s even more impressive is that most of the prints are sold matted and framed… something that I was not expecting.
No matter one’s outlook on art – collecting works from local artists, making excursions to the Albright-Knox, or scouring antique shops – I would suggest stopping in to CAE Gallery to view this collection. Jim is not only a wealth of knowledge, he’s also very passionate about the works of art that he is showing. And anyone that collects art can tell you that purchasing a fine art print from the collector that sourced the work to begin with, can be worth its weight in gold.
CAE Gallery | 1555 Hertel Avenue | Buffalo NY 14216 | 716-336-4606