I love beautiful things and am really a collector at heart, coming to this business more by accident than design. Forty years ago as a printmaking major at the University of Kansas I fell under the spell of antiques collecting — quilts, furniture, folkart, ceramics, prints, paintings, Navajo rugs and oriental carpets — I loved it all and wanted it all. The trouble was I had no money, although $10 went pretty far at the Lawrence Salvation Army store. However, in that wonderful, pre-internet, pre-Antiques Roadshow era — before everyone was an instant know-it-all — an enthusiastic and hard working person with a bit of expertise, a hundred bucks and a functioning pickup truck could find some pretty nice stuff.
Young, single and footloose, I eventually became a working picker. Wary of the restraints on my freedom that a "store" would necessitate, I was happy to play my small maverick role in the food chain of marketable popular culture. A quick profit of $50 was gladly accepted as I explored attics, barns, antiques stores and estate sales from Santa Fe to my hometown of Kansas City. One day a $75 oil painting, supposedly unsigned and undated, yielded up a quick $800 profit after the signature and date were discovered by simply removing if from the frame. Ummm, I can do this!... and I began concentrating on paintings. Paintings afforded both a boost to my bottom line and an enhancement of my professional standing. I was no longer an antique picker, I was a painting dealer! Plus they were so much more portable than a 500 pound walnut cupboard.
Through hard work, perseverance, and the advent of the Art Fair phenomenon I eventually gained a following and a reputation — a good one I hope — but still not a store. I also acquired a wife, a family and a residence in Chicago, very un-Tom things to do. When I turned 50 my wife Janis (so much smarter than I'll ever be) told me to get a gallery or stop talking about it. And so, in May of 2000 the gallery whose website you have stumbled upon was born in the West Loop neighborhood. What we in Chicago like to think of as our Chelsea (sort of).
As you'll find, we specialize in mid-century American abstract painting and represent a number of wonderful post-War artists. We also represent a small cadre of outstanding contemporary painters and sculptors, many based here in Chicago. So, click away and explore our website. However, I can promise there is not a single walnut cupboard to be found.
Website & source : McCornick Gallery
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