When Rick and Esther Baumgarten did some repairs on their Lincoln Park home recently, and had to move the contents of several rooms, they found that they had accumulated way too much stuff. Particularly, their collection of graphic art that began 56 years ago when Rick was 17. The amount of works was approaching a thousand! They decided that much of it had to go – but how?

A love for art was passed down from Rick’s Maternal Grandparents. Rick thought early on that the best (and only) way for him to collect the works of masters was through the “multiple originals” of etchings, engravings, and lithographs that were vastly more affordable than paintings. As Rick collected, framed, and displayed over time; works on the wall were replaced with works he liked better or were more important. Also, Rick and Esther’s tastes changed over time.

The collection continues to grow with a concentration on just a few artists. Rick has always enjoyed cataloging and researching each piece, and many have great stories both experienced and unearthed online or from books.

Literally hundreds of works, some framed, some just museum matted, stored in drawers, closets and boxes with many not having seen the light of day for years, led to the idea to open a Pop-Up Store. Opening at 2322 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, as part of the new Lincoln Common Development in the old Children’s Hospital space, hundreds of both framed and matted works from the 15th to 20th Century were represented. Prices, beginning below $100 to many thousands, were set to be at or below auction prices, according to the resources they have subscribed to for years.

The public was invited to visit and have a glass of wine while viewing etchings, lithos, woodcuts, mezzotints, screenprints, and engravings. If anything was found to be not as described, it could be returned for a full refund. Nothing was returned, and the pop-up store was closed at the onset of the Covid pandemic.

This website, a couple of years later, is a continuing effort to reduce the collection by hundreds of collectible prints. The"gallery" is virtual and viewing specific works or the collection are by appointment.

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Some of the artists available at Chicago Fine Prints

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