Jessica Lagrange Interiors LLC

Art Smarts: Partners in Design

Every pro knows that you need top-notch partners to do top-notch work. And given our passion for forging singular, client-centric homes, it’s critical that we find partners with the same groundbreaking, forward-thinking mindset that our interior design team embraces. This is especially true when it comes to art and antiques. Given the breadth and depth of these markets, it’s impossible for anyone to know it all, which is why we have nurtured relationships with some of the most respected and knowledgeable art and antiques vendors in Chicago. Here’s a shout-out to three of our talented and respected partners.  

Remarkable ‘finds’ from our design partners bring this living room to life. They include paintings from Thomas McCormick (the nude over the mantel), Douglas Rosin (to the left of the fireplace) and Richard Norton (over the mirrored console), and a spectacular bronze from Douglas Rosin on the coffee table. Art Consultant: Gregg Lane Art  Photo: Astor Street Residence 

Douglas Rosin

Douglas Rosin, right near our offices in River North, has a nationally recognized reputation as a dealer’s dealer.  Other dealers routinely come to them for rare, unexpected and hard-to-come-by pieces in pristine condition. The firm fuses the formidable talents of celebrated antiques authority Gene Douglas and artist Barbara Rosin. Both are blessed with that all-too-rare eye for the exceptional object – whether it be furniture, decorative accessories, jewelry or art, all with a focus on the 20th century. Unified by the caveat that good design is enduring, originality and uniqueness always take precedence over brand names with this pair.

Douglas Rosin helped make the trend for Omersa ottomans and poufs long before they showed up on 1stdbs. Photo: Douglas Rosin

Known to spot items before they are trending, Douglas Rosin always offer the original. A case in point is the line of leather ottomans and poufs Omersa made for Liberty of London and Abercrombie & Fitch until the 1970s, which Douglas Rosin has specialized in for decades. They sold these burnished leather creatures long before they started popping up on 1stdibs, and still have a great cache of them today. We’re also constantly amazed by Barbara’s comprehensive yet totally uncommon collection of sterling objects, which are standouts alone but can also be seamlessly blended into our designs.

A kicky Robert Motherwell abstract over the dresser found with the help of Tom McCormick was just the right touch to temper the traditional trappings in this master suite. Art Consultant: Gregg Lane Art Photo: Astor Street Residence

Tom McCormick

Tom McCormick was a young art student at the University of Kansas when he came under the collecting spell. He fell for it all—quilts, folk art, furniture, ceramics, prints, paintings and rugs—and became so adept at ‘picking’ that he began selling his overflow at weekend art and antiques fairs. Eventually, he made it his vocation and began focusing on paintings.

Thomas McCormick represents the estate of Abstract Expressionist Melville Price (1920-1970), whose work is in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Corcoran Museum of Art and more. Price died unexpectedly at the height of his career. A piece from his Maze Series is shown here. Photo: McCormick Gallery

Today, Tom is renowned for his unerring eye and a nose for finding relatively unknown artists—both living and deceased—with remarkable bodies of work. His keen insight goes beyond knowing which artist is the flavor of the month to understanding the value and significance of work by unknown artists. In fact, he has become a market maker by bringing artists he believes in to the public through his Chicago River West gallery and well-done website. We believe his flawless, wide-ranging taste makes him an invaluable asset to luxury interior designers. 

In the Collector’s Study we did for the Merchandise Mart’s 2014 Dreamhome, we crafted an ‘instant’ tableau of significant artworks using pieces we borrowed from Richard Norton Gallery. Photo: DreamHome 2014 Study

Richard Norton

Richard Norton is the only fine art dealer in the Merchandise Mart, which makes him an incredible resource for our interior design team by merit of convenience alone. But he also happens to be exceptional in every way, from his eye, acumen and knowledge to the depth of his stock. An inveterate detective and incredible national networker, Richard works tirelessly behind the scenes to uncover new lines on older works, with a particular interest in Chicago modern and early 20th Century art.

We used mid-20th century pieces from Richard Norton to add bright and modern touches to the stunning yet seriously period paneling in this ballroom-turned-living space. Photos: State Parkway Ballroom

Because Richard’s Merchandise Mart gallery is compact, it would be easy to underestimate the astonishing scope of his collection. In fact, he is noted for his deep stock of important American fine art—which is mostly unframed and out of sight in flats at the gallery.  Best of all for our work, he has thoughtfully assembled pieces in a broad range of styles at every price point, with offers that can cost $2,000—or millions. 

21 Aug 2015

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