Collector-to-Collector Tips Win Acclaim for New Jersey Fish Seller Turned Art Collector

  • FLORHAM PARK, New Jersey
  • /
  • August 10, 2011

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N.C. Wyeth painting "The Lovers"

While the art market is fueled by collectors at all levels, few in the mid-range receive recognition. Fred Parker, a New Jersey fish monger turned art collector, is an exception. Mr. Parker was recently featured in New Jersey's Star Ledger,, and on Yahoo News for  using his own experience to guide others.

Fred Parker's tip list is aimed at people who are fearful of making a wrong puchase. The list is based on lessons learned over a lifetime of collecting. 

Mr. Parker likes to say that the high-end of the art market does not represent the overall market. When it comes to early 20th Century  and 19th Century American and Continental paintings, this is a buyers' market. 

"In fact, art prices are at an historic low," says Fred Parker, who is using the lull in prices to add to his already substantial collection. His advice for collectors who have recently entered the market is stay away from the "name brand" artists.

The new European and Asian collectors are driving prices up because they are buying for name only. Parker's solution is "buy art that you love, not artists whose names are hot buttons." It's this formula that took Fred Parker from rags to riches and landed him such extraordinary works of art as N.C. Wyeth's "The Lovers," and Norman Rockwell's portrait of Governor Al Smith. 

His supporting collection of evergreens runs deep. Mr. Parker points to illustration artist Amos Sewell's (1901-1983) "The Flower Peddler," and early natural realist painter A.B. Frost's (1851-1928) "Hunting Bear,"  that maintain their beauty and value.

Times have changed since Fred Parker began collecting in 1961. That was pre-Internet. So, on his day off, Parker visited the galleries at Sotheby's and Christie's, not letting on that he was learning as he shopped. But when he saw a painting that was "a must!"  with an estimate that was reasonable, he left an absentee bid.

Whether it was a genre painting by B. Gioja (1829-1906) of "A Peddler with His Donkey" or the trompe l'oeil still life of grapes on a red and white checked napkin by  Loki Lodewijk Bruckman (1903-1980), who signed his work L. Bruckman and is represented in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mr. Parker always stuck to realism.

Today, his more than 70 piece collection of American and Continental paintings is valued in the millions.  And, he says, now that he has enjoyed them for many years, he's ready to sell a few pieces at reasonable prices and buy more.  Fred Parker's collection is an inspiration to new collectors. His tip list is gaining quite a following.

The Parker Family Art Collection  can be viewed in its entirity at




Fred Parker
Fred Parker Fine Art
973 822 1766

Fred Parker Fine Art
29 Woodbine Rd
Florham Park, New Jersey
About Fred Parker Fine Art

Fred Parker is a private dealer. He has lived in New Jersey his entire life and was a fish retailer at the Fulton Street Fish Market for many years.

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