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How I Met Marcel Salinas

by:  Karen LeShufy, Trustee 

I had spent the past 2 years “apprenticing” in the various parts of my family’s art businesses, meeting some of the artists, the artisans who printed or cast the editions; working in the fine art gallery on Madison Avenue, the lithograph printshop in Greenwich Village, the sculpture foundry in New Jersey; at the membership clubs for limited editions of graphics and sculpture in NYC. 


Most of the artists lived and worked in Europe: Paris, Rome, Barcelona, London, Salzburg.  I spoke French, Italian and enough Spanish to get into and hopefully out of trouble.  That autumn I moved to Paris as their European representative.

It was my first week in Paris and I was on my way to a printshop to meet some of the artists. A beautiful Parisian quartier, wide boulevards, broad sidewalks lined with cream colored limestone buildings adorned with Beaux Arts balconies and black Mansard roofs.  A chic residential quartier with no signs of commercial stores, let alone “workshops”.   Confirming the address, I hesitantly entered an apartment building; the Concierge stuck her head out of her loge and pointed down a long hallway with an unmarked opaque glass door.  Trying the handle, I found myself crossing a lyrical courtyard garden filled with blooms and at the far end a 1 story weather beaten metal building with a glass roof.

Entering, I stood in the doorway and saw a debonair older gentleman, in an impeccably cut sports coat, looking as if he had just stepped out of French magazine.  He was standing next to an ancient printing press.  His laser gaze focused, as the printer turned the hand-wheel and the sheet of paper slowly rolled through the press.  As the afternoon light shone through the glass ceiling, he peeled the heavy sheet of paper off the press and studied it minutely from top to bottom.  He pointed to a blue form and said, “This must be more transparent, so that when it is overlaid on the reds, the combination becomes a softer blend of purples.” 

I stood transfixed, taking in this scene of the artist working with his printer to achieve the exact color palette for his lithographic creation. Handing the “trial proof” to the printer, he turned towards me with a warm smile, extended his hand in a welcoming gesture, introduced himself...and I met Marcel Salinas.

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