Leroy Clarke Carpenter, Ademola Olugebefola Breaking Bread at Sunset
Looking for original, fine art prints by well-known black artists at prices you can afford? Having a hard time? Well, look no further.
Two years ago, Don Green, President of L. D. Group International, Inc., became very disturbed when he could not find enough quality artwork by black artists, and if he did, he could not afford it. Being a former research consultant, he began to investigate the industry and discovered that black artists were having difficulties getting their works to the marketplace. Subsequently, in August 1977, Don developed a marketing program and created an organization, the L. D. Group International (L. D. G. I. ), to give the public an opportunity to purchase fine art prints by contemporary black artists, at prices that would keep pocketbooks from going into economic shock.
Black artists have been reproducing their work for the past 15 years through the art of printmaking, a European art form brought to the United States in the 1940s. At L. D. G. I. , states Don, we sell limited edition, fine art prints that are original works of art; each print is individually produced by the artists and master printmaker. The artist creates an image on either a print medium like a lithograph [Bavarian limestone], an etching [various metal plates] or a serigraph [silkscreen]. The print is then drawn individually from these mediums onto specially treated paper. Afterwards, the artist requests the number of prints to be reproduced — 50, 100, 150 — and signs and numbers each of them in pencil. After the desired number of prints have been made, the medium is destroyed.
As President of L. D. G. I. , Don acts as a liaison between black artists and the buying public. Don explains, L. D. G. I. has a dual purpose: we attempt both to infiltrate the market and to reach consumers all over the country —particularly black consumers who don’t often get a chance to see artwork by today’s leading black painters. Because people in Ohio can’t obtain works by black artists in other parts of the country, many worthy works remain unappreciated. Hence, our motto has become Bridging the Gap with Fine Art. The gap is bridged via catalogue mailings to individual homes and offices as well as by presentations to major corporations. Furthermore, L. D. G. I. is the only black firm listed on the Federal Supply Schedule, an exclusive registry set up for products that are bought by government agencies. Recently, Walter Reade Hospital in Washington DC purchased prints to hang in the hallways of their newly built wing, and a hospital complex in Atlanta, Georgia has also requisitioned several pieces.
The Group’s catalogue includes sixty prints—the work of thirty artists. Such well-accomplished black artists as Romare Bearden, Adger Cowans, Bul Hutson, Ernie Crichlow and Al Hollingsworth are represented. Green states, Our policy is to work with creators of this caliber and to present their work at deflated prices. A work by Benny Andrews entitled Woman, for example, costs $85, including museum-quality framing and delivery costs. The same painting bought in a gallery would cost around $400. Because each print comes in limited editions only, its value increases as time passes on.
Each custom-framed print delivery to anywhere in the United States comes with a certificate of authenticity, attesting the originality of the print, and a complete refund guarantee (including the cost of returning the item) should the purchase be unsatisfactory. Gift certificates are also available.
Membership to L. D. G. I. begins with your first purchase, with a full 10% discount on the next and a free annual subscription to the internationally respected Black Art magazine. This colorful publication is issued quarterly by Samella Lewis, a professor of fine arts at Claremont College, in California. Each issue profiles three or four artists and features their work in important exhibits and collections.
L. D. Group International has no storefront gallery, but aspiring artists and curious art lovers of all sorts are welcome to call (212) 751-9471 for information. Prints are available for viewing, but while some may be bought on the spot (framed and boxed), L. D. G. I. prefers to ship them. The organization’s headquarters, located at 1110 Second Avenue at 58th Street, is open to the public from 9 am-5 pm, Monday through Friday.
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