frame design

Richard Hull: One Artist, Three Client Projects


This week, Chicago Gallery News featured Richard Hull on the cover of their Fall 2019 magazine. Since graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with an MFA in 1979, Hull has maintained close connections with the Chicago art community. Inspired by the Chicago Imagists and the Hairy Who, Hull has spent 40 years living and working in the city, producing artwork that is now in prominent national collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. For the last 15 years, Hull has been a professor of painting at SAIC, mentoring a new generation of artists. 

Richard Hull is known for his expressive, color-soaked, and almost-abstract figural paintings that he calls “stolen portraits.” He first started creating these pieces after playing a game of exquisite corpse with a famed composer and an illustrator.

Richard Hull is often a client favorite because of his dense and varied use of color. Speaking to Chicago Gallery News, Hull explained the logic of his colorful paintings: “My only color theory is you decide on a color to start with, and you find a color that makes that better. It’s about the relationship to the color within the piece. If I add violet next to a red, does that make the red better or does it distract from or make the red look bad? It’s color, next color. Color, next color. And I’m always kind of surprised by how colorful my things are.” 

In many ways, Hull’s color theory is like our work as art consultants. We often have a starting place–the furniture, the finishes, the wall colors, the existing art collection of a client–and we seek out artwork that makes it even better. Over time, this is how great individual pieces come together into a stunning collection, each piece amplifying the others. 

We recently completed three projects involving Richard Hull’s artwork:

Rotating Exhibition

Over the last year, we have featured several pieces by Hull in a rotating exhibition that we curate in a corporate lobby. Temporary exhibitions allow us to showcase work that we think is exciting and special. Working with artists to collaborate on exhibitions allows us to develop a deep understanding of an artist’s work and ultimately helping us find the best piece for our clients. 

Private Client

One of our private clients recently added a piece by Hull to their collection. We assisted the clients in finding the perfect artwork for their home, framed the piece, and installed it in their living space. The clients chose a Richard Hull crayon and ink drawing. Works of art on paper are often more affordable alternatives to large paintings and can be customized with a bespoke frame to match home furnishings and personal taste. For this piece, we worked with the client to choose a fused-metal corner frame. The bronze-colored burnished aluminum frame subtly complements the rust tones in the drawing.

Corporate Acquisition

We also recently assisted a law firm in acquiring a large Richard Hull painting on canvas. The scale and color of the painting are perfect for the office lobby, welcoming visitors and employees alike into the space. By supporting a contemporary local artist, the law firm cultivates a connection with Chicago’s cultural community and supports art of the present moment.

We love seeing one of our favorite artists getting well-deserved recognition for their contributions to Chicago’s art history. You can see more of Richard Hull’s work in a solo booth at EXPO Chicago this September presented by Hull’s gallery, Western Exhibitions.

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The Value of Archival Framing


When approaching framing for a client, there are two main goals to consider: framing simply for ease of display or framing to protect an investment made in a work of art. As fine art consultants, we primarily focus on custom frames to protect the integrity of our client's art collections and maintain archival standards, ensuring long-term stability of the artwork.

Many factors contribute to the quality of a frame that we would recommend. Since DeGroot Fine Art is based in Chicago, we partner with local framers at the top of their field who work for elite organizations and museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago.

The framing process includes multiple custom components, including the profile, mat, glazing, and seal. For wood frames, each profile is custom built with hand-cut wood that can be stained to match existing design and furniture in a client's work space. We also collaborate with metal fabricators to create polished stainless steel frames when preferred. Once the frame is complete, they hand-cut mats to best support the artwork, using archival materials to ensure the long-term stability of the artwork. Next a museum-grade acrylic is selected and fitted to filter UV rays (notorious for fading pigments) while minimizing glare. Finally, the framer seals the back of the frame, protecting the interior space and artwork from dust and other contaminants. The framer's craftsmanship is consistent and meticulous through every step of their process.

"A framer's work can be just as much an art as the work of the artist themselves" says Dana McMahan for Apartment Therapy. Her recent article about the expenses of framing was insightful and added context to this topic; we recommend checking it out to learn more about the nuances involved in framing fine art.  

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