Walk into any Chicago antiques shop and you will see that hauteur does not work as a sales tactic in the Midwest. Neither, for the most part, does period purism. The Chicago market is vibrant but eclectic, driven in part by a demand for modern objects that reflect the city’s skyline. Chicago may be the only American city in which Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Louis Sullivan are household names. Their contributions are reflected not only in the city’s architecture, but in the numerous galleries that sell architectural artifacts and decorative arts that draw visitors from around the globe.
Besides friendly dealers and a trove of mid-century goods, collectors will find competitive prices—25 percent lower than those of their counterparts on the coasts, according to several dealers. There is no central antiques district in Chicago. You will find a cluster of galleries near the Merchandise Mart (home of the International Antiques Fair May 1 to 4), and a number of excellent shops on the city’s North Side. Keep going and you will also find good shops and galleries in the suburbs.
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