Enriching Lives Through Art Since 1972
On This Page:
Who We Are
A Pioneer in Limited Editions
The 1980s Bring Expansion
Into a New Decade
The New Millennium
The Making of a Greenwich Workshop Print
Commitment to Innovation
From Walls to Bookshelves and Three Dimensions
Doing Good While Doing Well
David P. Usher, Founder
The Greenwich Workshop, Inc. are North America’s leading fine art publishers, specializing in the burgeoning medium of visual entertainment. Founded in 1972, the company’s principal products are Fine Art Edition prints and gicleé canvases―which are collectible, fine-quality reproductions of original paintings by the most sought-after, most collected group of artists painting today. We also publish high quality Fine Art posters, many with the cooperation of leading museums and organizations including the Smithsonian Institute’s National Air and Space Museum, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Cowboy Artists of America and Yosemite National Park. Demand for the work of The Greenwich Workshop’s artists extended the company’s products into other medias as well. The company has found success with bronze sculptures and Fine Art porcelains and it’s illustrated book division, Greenwich Workshop Press.The company distributes its artwork through hundreds of authorized dealers, primarily art galleries and framers, across the United States and Canada. Possessing the best, assurance of quality, fidelity and rarity are the tangible benefits of owning Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Editions. As publishers, artists and authorized dealers, The Greenwich Workshop Family believes that collecting fine art offers the reward of discovery. Our Fine Art Editions and books invite you to explore―through the eyes of today’s leading artists―significant moments in history, the realm of myth and imagination and the wonders of the natural world.The Greenwich Workshop was among a handful of firms that pioneered the concept of the signed and numbered limited edition print and Fine Art Limited Editions have remained its core business. Art in our lives has an indefinable, pleasurable effect. To bring the pleasure of art to new groups of collectors, we strive to expand the delivery of high-quality art to every age group and income bracket. The implementation of this philosophy requires innovation, so the company has stayed at the forefront of the industry by selecting the best artists and publishing their work with state of the art technology to produce the highest possible quality.The Greenwich Workshop, Inc. is headquartered in Seymour, Connecticut, and is owned and managed by Michael P. Meskill.
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As a sales executive for Domtar Pulp and Paper, a Montreal-based paper products company, David P. Usher had numerous responsibilities, including advertising and sales promotion. One early-1970s promotion that was particularly appealing was the idea of reproducing a painting of a screech owl on a fine-quality paper stock made by Domtar. The painting was the work of one of the world’s leading painters of ornithological subjects, J. Fenwick Lansdowne of British Columbia, Canada. Mr. Usher authorized the project and it was implemented by his future partner, Fred Schlutow, who, at the time, was in the advertising agency business in New York City.The print was an immediate success. The edition of 850 was distributed to customers and peers, yet demand continued. The response triggered an idea: what if, instead of a promotion, the works of leading painters could be produced in the form of high-quality, limited edition prints and sold through a nationwide dealer network? Closer study and consultation with experts in the field confirmed the feasibility of the venture. Usher and Schlutow formed The Greenwich Workshop, naming the company after the location of its headquarters: a one-room building on Mason Street in Greenwich, Connecticut. Important early marketing support came from Sidney Edlund who had recently retired after a career at Life Savers, the candy company. The owl that sparked the idea for the company―and became the subject of the fledgling company’s initial releases―became The Greenwich Workshop’s corporate logo.
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In 1980, Usher bought Schlutow’s share of the business, becoming the sole owner of the company. During the same year, the corporate headquarters was moved from Fairfield, it’s location from the mid-1970s until 1980, to Trumbull, Connecticut.The mid-1980s saw significant expansion of The Greenwich Workshop’s retail operations. Its retail gallery, which had shared the headquarters’ Fairfield location before moving to Southport, underwent a major expansion, taking it from 2,300 square feet to 7,200 square feet. In Carmel, California―a long-established arts center on the West Coast―The Greenwich Workshop opened its second GWS Gallery location in 1985. An Ontario, Canada subsidiary followed in 1986.The concept of limited edition prints had gained both acceptance and momentum in the marketplace. In addition, an active secondary (or resale) market developed for prints that had Sold Out at Publisher. In many cases, prices on the secondary market were many times greater than the original release price. While The Greenwich Workshop does not realize any sales revenue from the secondary market―except through its own retail galleries―growth in this market underscored acceptance of limited edition prints as an art medium and focused public attention on their collectibility.
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Through the 1980s and into the 1990s, the company pioneered aviation and fantasy art in the limited edition print form. They also offered African-American subjects, Americana, contemporary Chinese realism, Marine, Western, Wildlife, Wilderness and the unique concept art of Bev Doolittle®. Doolittle’s vision and success in what was initially termed “camouflage art” were instrumental in making The Greenwich Workshop an industry leader. From her very first Greenwich Workshop print in 1979, Doolittle has sold out her editions in record time and in record numbers, making her the industry’s best-selling artist.The growing popularity of Greenwich Workshop artists spurred the creation of an award-winning book publishing division, The Greenwich Workshop Press, and a video department which produced celebrated documentaries and films in The Living Canvas® series, aired on PBS. In 1996, Greenwich formed an alliance with Hallmark Cards Inc. of Kansas City. Those ties were severed in 2002.
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The improving quality of gicleé on canvas allowed The Greenwich Workshop to move to a more upscale and more limited art product to offer the consumer who is looking for unique “statement” art, not available in the pre-framed offerings at big box stores. Taking each new work of art as an individual challenge, The Greenwich Workshop has developed trade names for various product segments. These include: SmallWorks™, MasterWork™, MuseumEdition™, Original Stone Lithograph. Anniversary Editions commemorate our 35 years by bringing paper-only releases to the canvas format during a preset order period. Closely following rising talent in the best national art exhibitions, the company has attracted new, award-winning artists in western, landscape, wildlife and urban subjects.In 2003, The Greenwich Workshop purchased and renovated an historic landmark building in downtown Seymour, Connecticut where its headquarters remains today. In addition to this 10,000-square-foot office and studio space, the company has a warehouse nearby and a retail gallery on the first floor of their Seymour building. The Greenwich Workshop has been a consistent leader in fine art editions for over 35 years.
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The limited edition print industry resulted from a combination of several factors. The first was technology-related. Paper-making and printing had both evolved to the point where superior reproductions of original paintings could be made while maintaining complete fidelity to the color, tone and feel of the artist’s original work.At the same time, prices for original paintings, including works by living artists, exploded. Limited edition prints provided an affordable means to own collectible art by renowned artists. Third, there was―and still is―a continuing evolution in tastes, expectations and preferences. People want not only the work of fine painters, but something that offers a sense of craft, value and pride in ownership.Creation of a limited edition print generally requires a minimum of three months. Over this period of time, production experts at The Greenwich Workshop―in concert with the artist―work with a select group of lithographers to create successive proofs. With each proof, the print moves closer to the ultimate goal: exact fidelity to the artist’s original painting.Prior to computer and digital advances in reproduction technology, it was not unusual for Greenwich Workshop limited edition prints to be produced with ten, twelve or as many as twenty ink colors, while the norm in the rest of the industry was four to eight. Offset lithography is still occasionally used for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Editions but the majority of our Editions are created through high-quality inkject “gicleé” printing with 2989 color values, a process which guarantees remarkable fidelity to the original art. When the desired quality has been achieved and approved by the artist, the edition is printed.Only stable, acid-free paper or canvas is used for a print in order to prevent discoloration. The artist inspects each print and signs those that meet his or her approval. The signed and numbered paper prints are then packed in a collector portfolio and canvas Fine Art Editions are either stretched and packed or slip-sheeted and rolled prior to packing. A certificate of authenticity assuring the collector of quality and support accompanies each edition. The print is then ready for distribution to the more than 600 authorized Greenwich Workshop dealers in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
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Taking each new work of art as an individual challenge, The Greenwich Workshop has developed trade names for various product segments. These include:
The Greenwich Workshop SmallWorks™―limited edition gicleé canvases and prints of smaller, more intimate physical size.
The Greenwich Workshop MasterWork™―a large format Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Limited Edition where either the width or height exceeds 40 inches.
The Greenwich Workshop MuseumEdition ™―an extra-large format Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Limited Edition where either the width or height exceeds 60 inches.
Original Stone Lithograph―This age old technique in which an image is drawn on a stone by the artist (in reverse!) and then pressed by hand, one color at a time, onto paper or canvas. Each lithograph is considered an original because the image created during the process, thus no two are exactly alike.
Gicleé ― a digital printing technology in which incredibly fine jets of ink literally “spray” the image onto paper or canvas. This process builds the fine art reproduction in infinitesimal increments as the paper or canvas passes beneath.
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In the 1980s, the company found great success publishing limited edition, collector “livres de luxe” art books for its collectors and then collaborated with top book publishers in the creation of high-quality, mass-market versions of these books to bring the work of their artists to the general public. The Greenwich Workshop’s first book, The Art of Charles Wysocki: An American Celebration has been in print since 1985 with over 130,000 copies printed. Their second, The Art of Bev Doolittle, is now in its fourteenth printing with over 400,000 copies in print. The Greenwich Workshop Press created Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time by James Gurney, which became an international phenomenon with more than a million copies in print, along with it’s sequel The World Beneath, a Dinotopia limited edition print and Fine Art poster program and a plethora of licensed products. Other books based on the art of Bev Doolittle followed and then the book list expanded to include major retrospectives on the works of Astronaut and painter Alan Bean, aviation and nostalgia artist William S. Phillips, figurative watercolorist Steve Hanks, the incomparable James C. Christensen, as well as four wildly successful children’s books by Scott Gustafson.The Greenwich Workshop Press’ dedication to quality has created books that have won awards for excellence and the imprint has gained a reputation for the quality of conception and design that is unique in the industry.The success of these divisions of the company opened an entirely new realm in marketing. Now Greenwich Workshop works of art grace many products from calendars to clothing. The company’s standards of high quality are maintained by The Greenwich Workshops’ Licensing Department. Each artist is carefully matched to each new medium, ensuring that their artistic integrity is preserved.Demand for the work of The Greenwich Workshop’s artists has extended the company’s products into other mediums as well. The company has found success with bronze sculptures and Fine Art porcelains.
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The Greenwich Workshop chooses to publish subjects that enrich people’s lives, carry viewers to new worlds or simply provide the pure satisfaction of a beautifully rendered work of art. From aviation to wildlife, from books to sculptures, The Greenwich Workshop focuses on the pleasure in discovering art in all aspects of life and living. The company and its artists share a concern for the environment, an appreciation of history and a love of cultural heritage.These beliefs are evident in the company’s historic role in using art to contribute to worthwhile causes. Our founder, David P. Usher, was often quoted saying “We want to do good while we are doing well.” In 1989, to formalize its program of giving, the company founded The Greenwich Workshop Foundation. Throughout its existence, The Greenwich Workshop has donated more than a million dollars to various non-profit organizations related to health, the environment, public service history and cultural preservation.
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Because of this success and his corporate philosophy of quality, innovation and service, Mr. Usher is widely regarded as a leader in the art publishing business. He was born in 1939 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the only child of Mary and David K. Usher. He grew up in Ohio and Maryland. In 1962, he received a B.A. from Dartmouth College. While at Dartmouth, he played on the football and lacrosse teams and was a member of the Green Key Honorary Society and Phi Delta Gamma fraternity.Following graduation, he began a four-year tour of duty with the United States Marine Corps, serving in Vietnam as a company commander. Having risen to the rank of captain, he resigned his commission in 1966 to accept a sales position with Domtar Pulp and Paper, Inc., a leading Canadian paper products concern. While working for Domtar in the New York City area, Mr. Usher pursued his graduate degree through the Columbia Graduate School of Business Administration. In 1972, he received his master’s degree in business policy. He also attended the Harvard University Small Company Management Program for which he received a certificate in 1988.Outside of business, Mr. Usher was an avid sport fisherman, preferring salt water fishing for shark, marlin and other game fish. Although he traveled extensively for business, Mr. Usher made numerous other trips that took him on safari in Africa, bungee jumping in Australia, exploring the Alaskan wilderness and backpacking into remote sections of U.S. national parks.
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Mike started his career as an accountant with Deloitte Haskin and Sells, a national Certified Public Accounting firm. After three years and his CPA license, he worked at a series of startup companies in the computer industry which prepared him to understand the numbers side of an entrepreneurial business.His over-twenty years at The Greenwich Workshop have been a learning process that has required hands-on connections to every aspect of the Company's operations, which has given him a deep appreciation for the complex activities of art publishing. Mike is proud to be part of this wonderful community, which combines the creative efforts of artists, the risk taking of the publisher, the dedication of galleries across the country and the wonderful support of consumers and collectors. Additionally he is grateful for the support of the many people, through the company’s ups and downs, that has let the art shine through and be shared with so many.
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