Closure of the Chicago Michigan Avenue Art Gallery

“It was a time when independent businesses dominated the landscape of our ‘Magnificent Mile’ here in Chicago, which now includes, almost exclusively, global branded multinational retail stores. And it seems the general public is no longer enjoying it. making chance finds along Michigan Avenue, whether it’s an independent bookstore, a local designer boutique or, in our case, a renowned international art gallery, “Johnson wrote and his wife, Ursula, in a “friend and coworker” email.

Calls to the gallery on Monday were not returned. Stanley Johnson declined to comment further.

Specializing in Post-Impressionism, Cubism and Expressionism and the production of artists from Durer and Rembrandt to Degas and Picasso, the gallery at 645 N. Michigan claims to have sold works to the Art Institute of Chicago, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and many other museums. He mounted six Picasso exhibitions from 1968 to 1998.

The gallery’s pedestrian traffic has also fallen victim to New York City in recent decades, putting ever greater pressure on the art trade, reported by late Richard Feigen gradually moving operations there after opening a gallery here in 1957.

“In my opinion, it was the beginning of Chicago’s loss of its great dealers,” says Scott Hodes, lawyer and art collector. “Chicago was a different place in the early 1980s.” Where sophisticated tourists once made galleries like Johnson’s a must stop, Hodes says, “This ball game is over.

In their email, the Johnsons said their business is now “almost exclusively virtual” – a “much larger and more sophisticated global audience … not just in North America but also in Asia and Europe. “. They said they would continue to meet clients by appointment.

The gallery was founded in 1955 by Stanley Johnson’s father, SE Johnson, at 224 S. Michigan. It made its debut at its current location on an ominous Friday — Nov. born June 22, 1963 and moved from the second to the ninth floor about eight years ago.

After the death of the elder Johnson in 1967, his son and daughter-in-law moved from Paris, where they were studying, and changed the focus of the gallery.

“It was a commercial gallery”, Stanley Johnson told Chicago Gallery News in 2015, adding that her dad “was selling shitty stuff, but little by little we got better things. The wrong things could pay the rent for a while.

Hodes estimates that Stanley Johnson bought or sold over 800 Picassos and consulted them often. “Museums in different places around the world brought him in. When a problem arose, he was there.”

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