‘The Big Chair’ by the late Jim Julin (1956–2012) has been freshly painted and restored to its original color by Rockford artist John Deill. 

A 2008 refurbishment had resulted in a color change from a very retro green hue to a Swedish-flag blue that remained until now. Originally constructed for the 2002 Kortman Gallery exhibition ‘Furniture: Rockford Made in the 21st Century,’ the 16-foot sculpture became part of the Rockford Art Museum (RAM) Permanent Collection soon after through support provided by Lon and Dick Behr.

“The exhibition gave me the opportunity to create something that I had always wanted to make,” Julin said in 2003. “First of all, it’s a tribute to Rockford’s history of furniture making, as well as a nod to all of the ‘old Swedes’ that I came to know when I was a child. The Swedes in the neighborhood were not wealthy, so instead of refinishing an old worn-out chair they would often paint the chair with any color of household paint that they had available.”

In 2003 it moved from its original location in front of J. R. Kortman Center for Design, at 107 North Main Street in downtown Rockford, to its permanent residence in the museum’s Armer Ahlstrand Sculpture Garden, just outside the entrance to Riverfront Museum Park at 711 North Main Street. The building houses not only Rockford Art Museum but also Discovery Center Museum, Rockford Dance Company and Rockford Symphony Orchestra.

John Deill and Jim Julin are both represented in the Rockford Art Museum Collection. Born on the same day, in the same year—April 3, 1956—in the same local hospital, the 2011 RAM exhibition ‘Rockford Made 4356: Deill/Julin’ celebrated their creative and collective vision.

About Rockford Art Museum: Founded in 1913, Rockford Art Museum exists to enrich the quality of life in the Rockford region through art collection, exhibitions and education. RAM is located inside the Riverfront Museum Park at 711 North Main Street in downtown Rockford, Illinois. Learn more at rockfordartmuseum.org.