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Robert Loughlin

American, 1949-2011


Robert Loughlin

Blue Buy, 2006

Acrylic on canvas
14 x 11 1/4 in
35.6 x 28.6 cm


Robert Loughlin was born in Alameda, California on a Naval base in 1949. At an early age, Loughlin became interested in art and culture, he spent many hours of his childhood drawing and listening to the family's radio. Loughlin left school after the sixth grade to take care of his brothers and sisters. During the late 1960s, Loughlin had already established a love for design and for being a free thinker. He lived in a Geodesic Dome in Canyon, California and was part of the Berkeley Riots. In the 1970s, Loughlin opened two stores in San Francisco, California, specializing in American Industrial Design. During the early 1970s, Loughlin was a pioneer in Mid-Century Design. Loughlin was also co-owner of the first punk supply store in San Francisco and became lead singer in his no wave band, The Decorators along with the artist Arch Connelly. Robert relocated to Miami Beach, Florida where he opened another design store. Robert began painting and doing graffiti art around the late 1970s and early 1980s. Loughlin decided to move to New York City in the early 1980s where he met his partner, Gary Carlson at “Boots and Saddles,” a gay bar in Manhattan. Loughlin became part of the burgeoning art and social scene in New York City in the 1980s. Loughlin opened the Executive Gallery in New York and Arch Connelly served as gallery director. He quickly developed a reputation and became connected with New York high society. Loughlin was often called in to uniquely decorate upscale Northeast homes with haute design. His regular clients included Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Robert Mapplethorpe. Loughlin’s signature icon, the squared-jaw man with a smoke called the "Brute" has appeared all over New York city’s signs, doors, and walls. His collectors have included Robert Isabell, Joel Schumacher, Helmut Lang, Jack Spade, Donald Baechler, Thomas Jayne, Andy Warhol, Jean Michael Basquiat, and Robert Mapplethorpe.