I Like What I Know -1959
Vincent Price—best known until recently for his career in the theatre and motion pictures—recounts here the delightful story of his lifelong love affair with the art world.
"Most art books (and this isn’t one) discuss the artist's date of birth, his background, his teacher, and endless, detailed depictions of his work...I want the readers to question themselves as I have questioned myself, in my desire to know the art of the past and, at the same time, accept and get to know the art of today and to be ready for the art of tomorrow."
In "I Like What I Know", Vincent Price writes of his early consciousness of the art around him, and of his first art acquisition—which he paid for with money earned at odd jobs. He recalls his trip to Europe at the age of sixteen that opened up whole new vistas to his deepening curiosity. He tells with gusto tales of his collecting, takes a few satiric jabs at the foibles of typical art dealers, and relates the mad days when he turned art dealer himself and found among his browsers one afternoon Thomas Mann. Franz Werfel, Rachmaninoff and Aldous Huxley.
Vincent Price not only likes what he knows, but knows a great deal. This book, with illustrations of the author’s own fine collection, is an intensely personal and eloquent account filled with much valuable information and suffused with Mr. Price's common-sense philosophy and natural enthusiasm.
Born in St. Louis, educated at Yale and the University of London, Vincent Price made his debut in the American theatre in Helen Hayes’ 1935 production of Victoria Regina. From there he went on to portray the villainous husbands in Angel Street and the film version of Dragonwyck, and since then he has continued to be a popular stage, screen, and TV personality.
Long before his first success on the stage, however, Mr. Price had begun his personal dedication to the world of art, and through the years he has been a devoted student of art and art history, an art dealer, and a collector of tremendous taste and insight. In 1956 he was awarded a Doctor of Fine Arts Degree from the California College of Arts and Crafts.
It was in 1958 that Mr. Price revealed his interest in the fine arts to the general public as the urbane, smiling winner of “The $64,000 Challenge.”
On Yale Dormitories:
In my day ... you were living in a substantial cardboard box. It could not be made into a home, and maybe that’s what the architect bad in mind: home is where the heart is, and here, you were supposed to develop your brain.
As An Art Dealer:
Even the Great Names didn’t bother me as sales prospects—all except one, that is. Every time she came in ... I’d watch, trembling with excitement. To this day I’ve never met her, but she still makes me tremble ... Garbo
I’m extremely profane, unconsciously so, when I see something great for the first time ... It may be that I want to think of art in the vernacular, but I have no control over what comes out of my mouth when my eyes take in great beauty ... it might just be the reason why I avoid going to museums with elderly ladies.
On Collecting Art:
We all are perfectly content to make down payments on any luxury we're told we can't live without, but we can't quite bring ourselves to chance investing in ourselves through education, art, or any of those splendors we lyrically call ‘‘the best things in life’’ and which we expect, because Tin Pan Alley tells us so, to be free.