(Western) Medicine Man


Published:

Jim Binson contends his Western American art collection, which includes thousands of paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, and rare books, rivals that of most museums. But he has no interest in pioneering a traveling exhibit.

Instead, Binson, president and CEO of Binson’s Home Health Care Centers in Center Line, hosts periodic lectures on artists such as Frederic Remington, Charles M. Russell, and Dan Muller, whose works he collects. “My dad collected Western art at first, so I kept on that — and then I started on wildlife art, Native American art, political cartoons, stuffed animals, and minted coins,” he says. “It’s a good way to unwind from the business.”

The Binson family, which operates six home health-care stores in metro Detroit, as well as two in Florida, has long had an affinity for creativity. Jim’s father, S. George Binson, a U.S. Army sergeant and medic, was a contributing cartoonist for Stars & Stripes magazine while on assignment in North Africa during World War II.

Touring the company’s headquarters is like visiting an art institute — only at Binson’s, nearly every nook and cranny is filled with a painting or sculpture. Amid the company’s offices, set atop Binson’s main store, paintings of cowboys, explorers, hunters, and frontiersmen abound, including works by Michigan artists Bill Rose and David Bowman.

Many of the pieces were purchased at annual art shows such as the Cowboy Artists of America sale and exhibition in Arizona, and the Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming. “Sometimes, the artists will come here,” says Binson, leading the way through a maze of offices. His collection of Native American art includes weavings, rugs, baskets, and bowls. “That,” he says, “is a whole different genre.”

Down a narrow hallway, Binson, 67, points out his collection of cartoons, both political and comical. One depicts President Richard Nixon with outstretched hands, trying to hold the Middle East together. On the lighter side, there are old standbys like Lolly, Funky Winkerbean, Beetle Bailey, and Alley Oop.

An avid cook with nine ovens in his home kitchen, Binson says the house is another repository for art, including a few carved wooden horses that once adorned merry-go-rounds. “We’ve had a lot of fundraisers at the house, and the kitchen is what I like to call my playground,” he says, thumbing through his accumulation of knives, fishing lures, and ice-cream scoops.

“What would I recommend to other collectors?” Binson asks. “Obviously, don’t get too far ahead of yourself. Make sure to research everything you’re considering very carefully, and hire experts if need be. You want everything authenticated, because that’s where the value is.”

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Flight of Fancy

A century-old home in Grosse Pointe is refashioned for historical and modern tastes.

Cathedrals of Chrome

Why are auto museums so much more popular in Europe?

Top Michigan Automotive Franchises 2014

The automotive after-market, which includes the auto-service franchise industry, accounts for $257 billion in annual sales.

Corporate Alley

How the Michigan International Speedway turned a little-used operation into a year-round attraction for fans, executives, engineers, and sponsors.

Preserve the Legacy Foundation Support

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Hamtramck Business Introduces Detroiters to the Game of Fowling
    Nearly 15 years ago, Chris Hutt and his friends were tailgating at the Indianapolis 500 when they...
  2. Ann Arbor Firm to Bring Bitcoin ATMs to Metro Detroit
    Ann Arbor-based Bitcoin Brands plans to open an ATM for buying Bitcoins in the metro Detroit area...
  3. Careers in STEM Fields Expected to Increase in 2015
    Careers in the financial, IT, health care, and engineering sectors will be on the rise next year,...
  4. Detroit Zoo Penguins Get Early Christmas Gift from Southfield Veterinarian
    As construction continues on the Detroit Zoo’s $26-million Polk Penguin Conservation Center,...
  5. Warren Auto Manufacturer to Expand to Shelby Township; Add 200 Jobs
    Paslin, a Warren-based company that builds welding and assembly lines for the automotive and...
  6. DTE Energy Completes Renovation of Detroit’s Former Salvation Army Building
    DTE Energy announced today that it has completed renovations on the former Salvation Army...