There’s some fantastic art works hanging on the walls at Glenerin Inn & Spa. There are copies of great works from legendary Canadian artists, and reproductions of works by Old Masters from around the world.  These iconic images help reinforce the idea of Glenerin Inn & Spa as venue with unique history and style.

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This month, the Front Hall has been even more distinguished by the presence of fine art being held in silent auction as part of the March of Dimes, Hope with Art program which provides the pubic an opportunity to purchase beautiful framed artworks at a very reasonable prices. Most importantly, profits from the sale go to March of Dimes Canada and help support the programs and services provided to children and adults with disabilities.

Just to the north of the main reception area, through the closed door you can see in the picture, is the Grand Sunroom.

This room has long wooden tables and is the perfect place for a day meeting in Mississauga and business events. The room has nice bright windows with green deciduous trees outside imparting a soothing natural ambiance on the polished wood surfaces of the interior; it’s a comfortable place for business minds to gather and talk strategy.

The Grand Sunroom is also convenient for many high level executives because of its location at the very center of the Glenerin Inn & Spa complex; this can be an important security consideration for V.I.P. celebrities and visiting Heads of State.

The Claude Monet in the Room

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The stately boardroom is dominated by a singular piece of art, a Claude Monet reproduction of some quality. The large print has great texture – you can see the brushstrokes. This painting has on its reverse a couple different clues to a local story of a 1990’s art entrepreneur who ignored the internet and watched his mail order digital reproductions business crumble to dust in the new millennium.

The painting itself may look familiar to many art lovers – its Claude Monet’s “Section of the Seine, near Giverny” which the artist completed in France in1885.

Fast forward to the 1980s when digital imaging technology was making headlines because it could copy something so perfectly that many folks believed art and paper currency were surely at risk of wide scale counterfeiting. In the early 1990s, Harvey Kalief of Markham Ontario was working with printers who perfected ‘textural printing that could replicate the brushstrokes’ in art.

Contextually reprinting classical art was the fantastic business idea that Harvey Kalief took to Hallmark Corporation in 1993 – the very year the internet was born. Hallmark got involved at the beginning and this is possibly where Mr. Kalief got the initial funding to start Atelier America Inc., which took on the noble task of copying great art for the benefit of all humanity. In 1994 they started a digital collections holding business called ‘Brushstrokes’ in which there were many sub collections including ‘Museums of France’, which I’m told was also the name of the archival project by which they obtained access to the original art works. These pieces, one by one, they replicated using their high tech scanners and printers, putting the finished product on fine canvas in decorative wooden frames. They may have paid a fee for the initial photographing and imaging opportunity, but that’s where the ‘royalty payments’ ended. It is a fact that nobody really owns the original Impressionist painter’s images anymore; all 1880s era art work ‘images’ including Monet’s famous paintings are now in the public domain (as the works are more that seventy years ago).

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Brushstrokes utilized state of the art printing processes, together with skilled artist enhancements so each piece resulted in creations of amazing reproductive artwork down to the finest textural details – in many respects they were mathematically perfect fakes which are then enhanced with brighter colours both digitally and by hand to give the effect of a fresh piece, the way the artist intended so many years ago..

The piece hanging in the sun room is number #102 of the 485 prints available (of that picture) in the Brushstrokes series. The idea of giving the product limited edition numbers goes a long way to convincing buyers to pay a premium, however modern collectors do not place that much value on such reproductions, and they certainly would care about the #s.

In 1998 Atelier America Inc was doing fantastic, finding huge success in the market using their advanced ‘contextual printers’. The machines really could reproduce the very brushstrokes and thereby replicate the art perfectly, for everyone’s enjoyment.  The company had lots of customers in the late 1990s…

But then the internet came along, and ruined everything.

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Located just north of Toronto, Canada, Atelier America, Inc. once occupied a stunning 75,000 square foot building where over one hundred staff members were once employed. At one time the organization had a digital library that consisted of more than two hundred and fifty Impressionist pieces, and also classical art pieces and even some Contemporary art pieces they had licensed from living artists. As a vertically integrated corporation, Atelier America, Inc. managed in-house almost all of its printing business, including most notably research and development into better printing technologies, and the entire production of the art prints. The building also accommodated sales staff for both domestic and international sales operations, and all product distribution, marketing, and business administration. The company spent a lot of money in the mid 1990s employing a variety of telemarketing strategies targeting North American hotels and Country Inns, and this is probably how the Glenerin Inn & Spa came to own this picture.

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However when the market moved online, Brushstrokes didn’t follow, and this once innovative printing company got left behind by smarter online art prints companies. Gazing back its clear they were decidedly backwards in terms of getting their inventory on the web. They shuffled around and Atelier America, Inc., once a privately owned art research and publishing company based in Canada, sought outside help and investment, too late.  The www brushstrokes com domain was already bought up and built upon as the business name secured by another digital imaging company. The domain was not for sale, or rather, the price was too high.

Slowly, and after many fits and starts, Atelier Americ Inc dissolved and became the obscure legacy that it is today. Theirs is a cautionary tale that lingers in the art world today; their stately logos stamped into the wooden frames of limited edition Brushstrokes paintings, and emblazoned on the paper emblems that decorate the backs of these great artworks, distributed all across America, are all that remains of this business today.

So what’s a handsomely framed ‘Brushstrokes’ Claude Monet reproduction art print worth?

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“It’s a beautiful piece, and it’s worth a considerable amount because it helps increase the perceived value of the room. It’s perfect where it is!’ says Marshal Gummer, an estate auction appraiser to whom we showed these images. “I wouldn’t put a price on it, but its value is certainly more than a couple hundred bucks cause that’s what it would cost to replace it.’ Marshall explained, “The market desires decorative furnishings and this is a high quality piece. Its an iconic image with some local pedigree, and an interesting story. Think of it more like furniture, and less like art.”

The picture completes the room, and takes occupants of The Grand Sunroom in the Glenerin Inn & Spa to the south of France, to lie along the banks of the Seine as Claude Monet imaged the scene near Giverny in the summer of 1885.