Dali, Picasso original prints on sale at York City art collective

Sean Philip Cotter

A York City art collective plans to display and then sell artist prints from the likes of Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso and even John Lennon.

Salvador Dali's "Dream Passage"

The collection includes four Dali pieces, two by Peter Max, and others by Pablo Picasso, Henri Mattice, Rene Magritte, Al Hirshfield and John Lennon. They’re from the collection of an East Berlin doctor named John Ortiz, who died in 2012 at age 60.The Rooted Artist Collective at 101 N. Newberry St. will hold an opening reception at 6 p.m. on March 3, and then will have the prints on display for the rest of the month.

The collective, which is just closing in on the one-year anniversary of its opening, is having the pieces appraised, so it’s not quite clear yet what the asking price will be for each of the various prints, but they’ll likely be in the range of $800 to $8,000, said Dustin Nispel, who’s one part of the three-artist collective, along with Jessica Flynn and Carrie Peck.

Nispel said one of the Dali pieces would likely be the most valuable, but also likely were his favorites. Admittedly a diehard fan of the Spanish surrealist, Nispel liked the "Confucius" and "Dream Passage" prints.

Dustin Nispel and Carrie Peck of The Rooted Artist Collective, 101 N. Newberry St., York, have been working on an upcoming display of famous artists including Picasso and Dali.
Wednesday Feb. 17, 2016. John A. Pavoncello photo

Peck explained what makes artist prints more valuable than, say, a version of the same art you picked up at HomeGoods for $25.

When artists finish pieces, it’s normal for them to get a certain number of official prints for special distribution. They will sign a lot of them, and there will be receipts proving their authenticity. They are also numbered; one might see “5/700,” for example, meaning this was number five of 700 artist prints for a particular piece, she said.

And there will be a few prints set aside specifically for the artist to do with whatever he or she wishes. Those are marked “AE” for “artist edition,” she said. A few of the pieces at The Rooted fit into that category.

“It’s more value than something you’d get printed at Michaels, even on really good paper,” she said. “These have a bit of history to them.”

And, in most cases, the pieces have documentation to prove that history.

Peck's favorite is also "Dream Passage." It served as the title page of an edition of Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland," for which the "Melting Clocks" artist made several pieces. She always liked that book, and remembers seeing the title page before. Now she's happy to see a signed version in her collective.

The pieces comprise the last of the art collection of John Ortiz, a local doctor who specialized in autism-spectrum disorder research. The doctor’s wife, Rosalind Hoffman — a doctor herself, who specialized in much the same — has sold the rest of what she says was an extensive collection.

She said he went through a period where he just kept buying art.

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“I told him, ‘John, you have to stop buying it,’” she said. “‘There’s not a place left on the walls of our three-story house.’”

The house is now gone, and with it the space for Hoffman to hang the art. She often lives in an RV in the Dover area now, using it to travel around; this harkens back, she said, to her hippie days in the 1970s when she traveled around in an RV.

Among the collection is a lithograph print of John Lennon’s “Two is one” piece, which makes sense for Ortiz, Hoffman said.

“He was a Beatles fanatic,” Hoffman said. He and his family came to the U.S. from Cuba right after Castro took power, which happened to be just about the same time as The Beatles were hitting it big.

Music was significant in his life. Among his first research was a publication about how music and sound affect mood. And, as is evident by the Lennon piece for sale here, his love of The Beatles led him to pick up visual art by the members, too. She said he has different pieces by Lennon, Paul McCartney and, yes, even Ringo Starr.

Ortiz would have turned 64 on Jan. 31, so this would be a notable year for him, he’d always told Hoffman.

After all, his favorite band sang: “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?”

The answer, Hoffman said, was of course yes.

“It’s my joy to talk about him,” she said. “He was the most special person I ever met.”

— Reach Sean Cotter