Celebrating Senior Gallery Director Morris Shapiro’s 40th Anniversary at Park West Gallery

 In Art & Gallery News

Some people can help you understand art, but others are best at guiding you toward appreciation. And then there’s Morris Shapiro. For 40 years, this man deftly does both of these things, plus a crucial third thing: Morris Shapiro makes you feel a genuine, deep, personal connection to fine works of art and the artists themselves – the creative people whose skill, passion, personal histories, joys and sorrows, struggles and successes, made the art possible.

“From the moment I hired Morris Shapiro I knew that he was special. As Park West Gallery became the world’s largest art dealer, Morris became one of the key components to our success.  He quickly grew to be my “righthand man” and instills eloquent professionalism in everything he does.  Morris is a scholar with an insatiable desire to continually learn and share art history and insights with our millions of collectors worldwide.”, said Dr. Albert Scaglione, Park West Gallery’s CEO and Founder.

Park West Gallery’s President, Marc Scaglione, had equally wonderful things to say about Mr. Shapiro, stating, “I’ve known Morris my entire life and I’m not sure I’ve ever met someone else with his depth and breadth of knowledge in art.  Even after all these years, I still find myself learning something new when I’m discussing art with him.  Morris is a critical member of our team, and we are so fortunate that he continues to share his passion for art with our collectors and team members”.

Morris Shapiro is a beloved figure at Park West, and for many employees and collectors, he is the literal face and voice of the business.

For example, countless art collectors first learned of Itzchak Tarkay‘s childhood fleeing Nazi Germany and adulthood spent benevolently fostering new artistic talents, and discovered that jazz music courses through Peter Nixon‘s veins, because of the incredible Mr. Shapiro.

“Morris has a world-class mind and is one of the great art experts of our time. His passion for art is complimented by his ability to share knowledge and ideas to inspire collectors and team members alike. I am so proud he is my friend, confidant, and mentor. One thing is certain, there will only ever be one Morris Shapiro,” commented Park West Executive Vice President John Block.

This weekend, to celebrate Morris’ 40th Anniversary at Park West Gallery, we caught up with him to take a fond look back at our dear friend’s four decades in the art world.


An Interview with Mr. Morris Shapiro

As you can probably imagine, Morris has seen a lot over time at Park West, so we had to ask, in what appreciable and subtle ways has it changed? His answers, as can also probably imagine, were every bit as erudite and educational as the man himself!

The art world is always in flux, says Shapiro, adding that artists are restless, creative creatures. This means that new imagery is constantly emerging, along with new techniques and innovations for how to not only create art but how to make it more accessible.

Morris goes on to say that the “Most significant change in the art world over the last 40 years has probably occurred in printmaking. Fine art print techniques, such as etching, lithography, serigraphy, and others, have essentially been replaced by many new and exciting digital technologies. But, what is truly wonderful about the art world is that beauty is unchanging, and people are still attracted to artworks that bring us a sense of balance, harmony, poetry, and the feeling that, even in today’s world of relentless, 24/7, overwhelming content, something still remains right in the world.”

Just think of the sheer volume of artistic content Morris has witnessed during his career at Park West! It’s probably near impossible to catalog his memories, although we’d love to read a fabulous Morris Shapiro autobiography someday! Until that time comes, we graciously settled for a small, beautiful glimpse into a few standout moments from the past 40 years.

Morris’ first highlight was having not one, not two, but three opportunities to see the complete Picasso 347 series, a large suite of etchings the Spanish artist completed over the course of many months in 1968. Batting second in this impressive career highlights lineup was the honor Mr. Shaprio had to present copies of the Krasnyansky Catalog raisonne to the Hermitage Museum library, with his own introduction to the book included. Finally, as anyone who knows Morris would expect, his last career highlights are the warm, wonderful friendships, special memories, and meaningful relationships forged with many artists who have passed on over the years, including Marcel Mouly, Igor Medvedev, Itzchak Tarkay, Jean-Claude Picot and Anatole Krasnyansky

While his work has certainly changed along with technology and the art world itself, Morris says that the best part of his job, which includes, but is not limited to, training new and existing art auctioneers, writing about Park West’s art collections, and artists, giving speeches on art history, and supervising Park West’s research team, continues to be working with the public and “the privilege to place timeless masterworks of some of the world’s greatest artists into the collections of our clients, and knowing that these works will pass on through generations of many of their families.” He adds that being, “a small part of that process is truly an honor for me.”

Mr. Morris Shaprio with Park West artists Tim Yanke, Lebo, and Kre8

Additionally, as an art lover, historian, and educator, Shapiro says that “It’s wonderful to see the light in someone’s eyes when they learn about a work of art from me and fall in love with it!” With so much experience and knowledge, and an intense desire to pass this on to others, it only makes sense to find out what Morris Shapiro wishes more people knew about collecting fine art.

He remarks that although Park West’s motto is “Art for Everyone,” it’s unfortunate so many people are still intimidated by art. Morris knows firsthand that the experience of appreciating and collecting art can be a lifelong passion. Therefore, Morris strives to express to novices and experienced collectors alike that art is the greatest touchstone to the time it was created. He says, “Whether centuries ago, or right now, at this moment in time, art tells the best story of the human experience. Why shouldn’t this be available to everyone?”

Happy 40th Anniversary, Morris! Thank you for all that you have done and still do to enrich the lives of so many through your love of and respect for art and artists.


To see Park West Senior Gallery Director Morris Shapiro in action, attend one of our live-streaming art auctions, occurring every weekend!

Recent Posts

Follow Us

for breaking news, artist updates, and special sale offers