NorthbrookStar: Lloyd Shin Home to Local Masterpieces

Article posted in the NorthbrookStar, January 5, 2010

Gil-kyun Lloyd Shin stands beside the painting "Le Chateau" by Claude Monet at the Lloyd Shin Gallery. (Brian O'Mahoney/Staff Photographer)

For a man who admits he’s a “pretty serious golfer,” it’s seriously no small feat to run a local art collection worthy of a museum.

“I’m a real good golfer, my passion is golf,” said Our Neighbor Gil-kyun Lloyd Shin, owner of Northbrook’s Lloyd Shin Gallery at 1141 Church Street.

Though he maintains a single-digit handicap golf game when he can at Northbrook’s Sportsman’s Country Club — more than golf buddies attended his gallery grand opening reception last fall. Art dealers flew in from as far away as Germany.

It’s also not just every day one hears of a Northbrook neighbor taking six months to close a deal on three priceless European works of art.

“I traveled to London where I used to run my gallery and I have great friends there who examined and investigated before I bought,” said Shin. “It took great effort — each and every one of these paintings has documents of original ownership — change of ownership is very important.”

Gil-kyun Lloyd Shin owns the Lloyd Shin Gallery which recently relocated to Northbrook. Shin (right) is talking with painter Itala Langmar of Kenilworth. Langmar's work is currently on display at the gallery. (Brian O'Mahoney/Staff Photographer)

Upon entering the gallery, one may experience the scent of pancakes freshly made next door at Georgie V’s restaurant. The sweet aroma whets the palate to enjoy eye-candy treats served in French painter Henri Matisse’s 1909 work “Glass Bowl with Flowered Table.” The other two pieces from that London estate deal are a jaw-dropping Georges Braque (“Compotier-Violin” from 1911) and a mouth-watering Claude Monet from 1906.

“It’s called ‘Le Chateau Fort Roix'” said Shin, of Monet’s hilltop scene. “(Possessing a) Monet is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so I worked very hard to get this one.”

“I am in and out of Copenhagen a lot — Bruun Rasmussen — this is one of the oldest auction houses in the world,” said Shin, who runs a second gallery in Seoul, Korea.

“We have purchased many European masters through Rasmussen,” he said. “I have a Paul Klee and a Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, one of the French masters. I collect a lot of good paintings and I still do.”

The Lloyd Shin Gallery also owns two Jackson Pollock originals called “Composition No. 37” and “Untitled” (both circa mid-1940s).

Up for American master John Singer Sargent? His signature reds seem deeper in person upon viewing Sargent’s original 1887 “Study of a Young Woman.”

Prefer romance? Hanging in Shin’s office is a Leonardo da Vinci original pen and ink wash from 1479 titled “Face with an Angel — Self.” Think this da Vinci might make a great Valentine’s Day gift? Better read the fine print first — “POR” means “price on request.”

“This was carefully wrapped in a drawer for years and we thought we lost it though I knew I still had it,” said Shin, of his one and only da Vinci.

“We uncovered it in a large stack of filed prints after 18 years,” he said, laughing. “We were so excited to find it!”

After serving Korean embassies in Bonn, Germany and Ottawa, Canada, Shin settled in Chicago, marrying wife Elizabeth, who now runs Gurnee’s Daken Gallery. Their daughter Lisa, 32, is a New York City investment banker.

“This is like a dream,” said Shin, who lives in Antioch after moving from Riverwoods two years ago. “I came empty-handed in 1968 to America by myself.”

“I come originally from Korea and we grew up very poor — I am from a teacher’s family,” said Shin, who earned his master’s degree in art history in 1963.

Shin volunteers as educational director for the Korean Presbyterian Church in Lake Villa. He holds a taekwondo black belt, practicing at a Chicago martial arts studio on Milwaukee Avenue.

After first opening his Chicago gallery in 1972, Shin relocated his business to Northbrook after touring “The Village of Friendly Living.”

“I have a great friend who is actually Ron Bernardi from Sunset Foods,” said Shin. “Three years ago, he (Bernardi) suggested to be in Northbrook and actually showed me this particular shopping strip and took me around town,” Shin said. “It’s a great town — it’s very friendly and convenient.”

Bernardi is now a familiar neighbor at gallery openings. Last month, Italian painter Itala Langmar exhibited. This month, Northbrook artist Terry O. Luc shows his paintings through Jan. 28, with an artist’s reception open to the public from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday (disclosure: Luc is the husband of the author).

“I try to serve my community and know that I am ready to return favors to the community.”

To reach The Lloyd Shin Gallery, call (847) 656-8300. E-mail or visit

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