Richard H. Love: Art Dealer, Author and Much More


Richard H. Love, owner of R.H. Love Galleries in Chicago, is an art historian, educator, art dealer, artist, media personality, exhibition coordinator, and author. In fact, Love has covered almost every facet of the art field, experiencing success along the way.

As a young man growing up in Schneider, Indiana, Love realized that his interest in art was to be his life's driving force. He received his first formal art instruction from an inspirational teacher, while in grade school, and won his first Best of the Show award for his drawings at the age of nine. This marked the beginning of a lifelong commitment to the arts.

Love continued his art studies throughout high school and during his tour of duty with the U. S. Army, when he was also engaged in independent art studies in Europe from 1962 to 1964. In 1966, Love established his first art gallery in a former barber shop in Steger, Illinois -- a business that was eventually to bring him to the ranks of America's top art dealers and gallery owners.

While engaged in his art gallery business, Love received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1968, with majors in studio art (painting and graphic art) and art history, from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Later, he returned to Europe for further education, including museum studies, accompanied by scholarly research in architecture, and gained access to private collections. He spent a good deal of time in Italy and France studying Early Christian and Renaissance art. Working on a Master's degree at Northwestern University, Love was appointed instructor of art history at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights, Illinois, where he taught until 1973. During the same period, Love established himself in the media as a columnist on art and art history for Star Tribune Publications; later serving as art editor for Crain Publications' Collector-investor magazine.

In 1972, Love earned a Master's in art from Northwestern and continued with postgraduate studies until 1975. During this time, Love resumed his independent studies in art history in Europe and exhibited his own art in local shows; his work consisted of experiments in abstraction as well as representational subjects.

By the early 1970s Love's original suburban storefront art galleries (he had tried several locations in Chicago's south suburbs) had mushroomed into a prestigious gallery of American art, showing works from Colonial to Contemporary American art. By 1974, R.H. Love Galleries moved to South Michigan Avenue. After nearly a decade, Love took his gallery to Chicago's Gold Coast, concentrating on nineteenth-century American art.

Throughout these years, Love continued his painting career and seldom exhibited his canvases; historical research in the field of nineteenth-century American painting consumed most of his time. In addition to the success of the gallery, Love became a renowned author of scholarly publications, including William Chadwick (1978); Cassatt:The Independent (1980);.John Barber: The Artist, The Man (1981): Theodore Earl Butler: Emergence from Monet's Shadow (1985); Kenneth Noland: Major Works (1986); and Louis Ritman: From Chicago to Giverny (1989).

Love' s future publications will include a comprehensive study of the life and art of the formaIist-realist painter Carl William Peters (Carl W. Peters: American Scene Painter from Rochester to Rockport ), to be published by the University of Rochester Press in late 1998. The multi-volume Cyclopedia of American Impressionism is currently in preparation.

In the fall of 1997 Love served as guest curator for an exhibition entitled "The Genteel Tradition in American Painting" at the HuntsviIle Museum of Art in Huntsville, Alabama, which continued in Chicago through this spring. The Nebraska. State Museum in Kearney, Nebraska has invited Love to curate an exhibition of Lawton Parker in 1998.

Since the mid-I970s, Love has provided Chicago radio listeners with slices of American art history -- Comments on Fine Art -- vignettes heard on WEFM and WBBM. Love opened a new chapter in American art when he developed an unprecedented television program in 1976: R.H. Love on American Art, on Channel 26 in Chicago. Redesigned for national and international broadcast, the show became known as American Art Forum, This program was viewed nationally via the Central Education Network for public television stations, and internationally under the auspices of World Net, operated by the United States Information Agency. Three times a nominee for Emmy awards, this unique talk show brought together artists, critics, art scholars and other art experts to present their views to American audiences. The program was widely recognized as a credit-level course for graduate and undergraduate studies.

Love's profound interest in the promotion of the arts was recognized by the former Illinois Governor James Thompson, who appointed Love the general trustee of the Lincoln Academy for Illinois (1988); president of the Illinois Academy of Fine Arts (1990); and member of the panel that directs the Illinois International Cultural Exchange Program (1990). Love has also been active with the local and state Very Special Arts program, an organization devoted to art for people with handicaps.

In recent years Love has exhibited his own works in many national shows, including the Art Horizons Leading International Art Competition in New York (1988), where he received a certificate for his works; the Inalienable Rights Wrongs Exhibition (1989); the 49th anniversary National Juried Art Exhibition presented by the New Orleans Art Association (1991); and "The Eternal Male," at the Sherry French Gallery on 57th Street in New York City (1991). A two-year traveling exhibition of Richard Love's abstract paintings, Quantum Images, began in January 1991 at the Midwest Museum of American Art in Elkhart, Indiana, and traveled to five other locations including the Butler Institute in Youngstown, Ohio.

Richard Love reached yet another milestone in his career in October 1991 with the relocation of R.H. Love Galleries to Chicago's Nickerson Mansion, an elegant residence often termed "The Marble Palace." The mansion, built in 1883, is an architectural landmark that serves as an incomparable setting for Love's gallery of historic American art.

rev. 11/26/10

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