The first booth I run to at Expo Chicago won't be at the fair this year. Richard Norton Gallery is not attending. This is no comment on the fair. The gallery just finished a big move .
"The Merchandise Mart needed to shift some showroom spaces in order to accommodate a new commercial office tenant on the 6th floor and they showed us a newly renovated, larger gallery space on the 14th floor, surrounded by numerous, bespoke and elegant design showrooms," says Richard Norton. "Because we are still unpacking & getting settled in this new gallery space, it was not tenable for us to attend a major art exhibition this spring."
Richard Norton Gallery has a sense of history not just in the sense most galleries have that sense but in a way that calls to mind a winemaker. It is almost a sense of terroir. They sell art, of course, but they also tell the story of that art and give it a place. Thee are the stories of the artists to be sure but also the tales of where the art and artists come from both literally and figuratively. After hearing these stories you have a broader context. That might be that a school of art, a culture or the time the artist lived. Many of the artists they show are from the Chicago area.
"Many early, Chicago Modern artists are a personal interest. Many of the artists that hailed from Chicago and the Midwest were working artists trained at one of the greatest art schools in the country, the Art Institute of Chicago," says Norton. "There was such a fascinating array of artistic styles practiced by these artists, namely Cubism, Surrealism, Urban Realism and Abstract Expressionism. These artists were well exhibited at prominent museums and galleries during their time. My aim is to bring forth and reintroduce the work of many of these artists to a contemporary audience.”
Select Past pieces on Richard Norton Gallery (this is by no means an exhaustive list)
William H. Dalziel 2019
Gertrude Abercrombie and Igon Adler 2018
Harold Hayden, Eugene Dana, Francis Chapin and Macena Barton 2016
Gertrude Abercrombie and Clayton Whitehill 2015
Hananiah Harari 2014
Visit their website HERE.
"Our new space will be welcoming and of course a setting where one can find great & interesting works of art!" says Norton. "We are really enjoying the vibrance of the 14th floor of the Merchandise Mart."
The new gallery contains nods to the gallery's history including a collection of furniture models, the sign from the old gallery and Norton's collection of beer cans. Norton says he has collected these since he was young.
"I was always intrigued by their interesting colors and catchy designs. I consider them ‘steel canvases’." says Norton.
They are not for sale but you can look.
The 14th floor of merchandise mart has an impressive collection of furniture and accoutrements for those putting together their space. Now it also has a fine art gallery to really create something meaningful and worthy of conversation.