An Interview with a Dealer: Jackie Pernot

Each week, CGN interviews a local art dealer to discuss the ins and outs of running a gallery in the city of Chicago. This week we caught up with Jackie Pernot of Chicago Art Source Gallery.

Gallery: Chicago Art Source Gallery
Name: Jackie Pernot
Age: 45
Previous occupation: Art consultant
Hometown: Born and raised in Lake Forest, IL; Chicago since 1989

Chicago Gallery News: Please describe your gallery’s program in one sentence.

Jackie Pernot: The gallery represents emerging and mid-career contemporary artists with a focus on painting, mixed media and photography.

CGN: How did you become an art dealer? 

JP: After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in art history, I worked as a framer for a couple years and then moved into art sales. I always thought I’d go back to school for my master’s and end up in a museum, but I fell in love with the gallery world and found that working both with artists and different types of clients was much more diverse and satisfying than I had imagined. It still feels fresh and challenging almost twenty years later!

CGN: What's the first thing you do each morning when you get to the gallery? 

JP: I go through my emails and voicemails with coffee in hand and make a list of what I want to accomplish that day.

CGN: Thumbs up or down on art fairs?

JP: I have to say thumbs up. The right art fairs are excellent opportunities to see a lot of work from around the world in one place. Of course, they’re exhausting and not how work should ideally be viewed, but they’re worth the effort.

CGN: Artists you admire but don't represent?

JP: Patrick Wilson, Keun Young Park and Kara Walker.

CGN: Best sale you ever had?

JP: The most rewarding sales have been large-scale commissions that I’ve done for a number of clients. There is an extended interaction between the collector, the artist and myself when going through the commission process, which makes for a deeper and more memorable experience.

CGN: What advice would you share with new or young collectors?

JP: Ignore trends and go with your gut. And buy what you love and can afford. Or can nearly afford—I still wish I hadn’t been “too fiscally responsible” to purchase one of the Rembrandts that we exhibited at my first gallery. 

CGN: Which artist that you represent or work of art you have recently acquired are you most excited about?

JP: I have to preface this by saying that I’m genuinely excited about all of the work that I show in the gallery, but if I had to single out one recent acquisition it would be Lisa Kokin’s Prosody. It’s a textile piece made with felt and thread that looks like a giant soft book with the most delicately rendered asemic text. It’s language abstracted, yet highly tactile at the same time. 

CGN: What major successes have you had this year?

JP: We have been in growth mode since I joined Chicago Art Source Gallery in 2009, and each year has been stronger in terms of sales than the previous one, so I am very excited about where we’re headed.

CGN: How do you view working as an art dealer in Chicago?

JP: In many ways, I feel like it’s the best of both worlds. We have a savvy collector base with the ability to financially support the arts without the art market saturation of a city like New York. And it’s wonderful to have so much local talent to tap into!

CGN: What is your favorite interest outside of the art world?

JP: Family, friends, food, wine, music, books, film and travel.

CGN: What is your favorite work of public art in Chicago?

JP: Leonardo Nierman’s Flame of the Millennium. This piece feels like a part of my personal history in the art world in Chicago. We represented Leonardo in my first gallery, and I’ve met him several times, including at an intimate dinner that was given in his honor around the time that Flame of the Millennium was installed. He is a fascinating and gracious gentleman and a great talent.

CGN:  What are your five favorite art spaces to visit?


  1.  Galleria Borghese, Rome
  2. The Cloisters, New York
  3. Street art in Lisbon
  4. Peggy Guggenheim Museum, Venice
  5. The Broad, Los Angeles (it’s really hard to stop at five!)

Jackie Pernot is the Gallery Manager of Chicago Art Source located in Lincoln Park. For more information about the gallery visit: Chicago Art Source Gallery.