Clark Graves was born in 1917 and moved his shop to its present location in 1948. He was one of the pre-eminent interior designers and antiques dealers in St. Louis. He designed the interior of Powell Hall, home of the St. Louis Symphony, and received national recognition for his work.
Graves hired Robert Morrissey as a clerk in 1982. With his background in art history at St. Louis University, Morrissey soon became deeply interested in the world of antiques. In 1994, the year after Graves' death, Morrissey became proprietor of Clark Graves Antiques. Over the years he has developed an extensive network of contacts throughout Europe. Through his regular overseas buying trips, he continues the tradition of importing fine Georgian and Regency furniture from England, Empire and provincial furniture from France, and Biedermeier furniture from Austria and Germany.
Morrissey has nearly completed renovating the shop's courtyard garden. A delightful space, here you'll find an ever changing mix of antique and modern garden furniture and decorations.
Amongst Morrissey's many passions is Old Paris Porcelain of the 18th and early 19th centuries. He has established himself as a leading dealer in the field and has helped build numerous private and public collections, including that of the New Orleans Museum of Art.
Morrissey also has an interest in Fine Art and periodically mounts single-artist exhibitions. His 2006 exhibition of watercolors by Stan Masters (1922-2005) was well received and reintroduced a major Saint Louis talent to a wider audience. Morrissey's taste in art is quite eclectic, so you never know what you'll find hanging on the walls. From 18th century European landscapes to mid 20th century paintings by St. Louis artists, you can count on an interesting collection, always chosen to compliment the antiques.
Morrissey takes particular pride in his extensive library. Since 1994 it has grown five-fold and remains under constant expansion. He graciously welcomes everyone to use it, from those with a casual, general interest to the most advanced collector seeking specific information.
In addition to working with institutions, designers and individual clients, Morrissey lectures on various aspects of art and antiques. He twice lectured on "Porcelain and Politics in 19th Century France" at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. He delivered the keynote lecture for the 2004 exhibition, "Frederick Oakes Sylvester- Regional Idealist" held at Milliken University in Decatur, Illinois. He has also lectured to various groups about various topics such as "Identifying French, English and Chinese Export Porcelain" and "Similarities and Differences Between English Regency and French Empire Furniture." He also published an article about buying antiques at auction.
He presently sits on the board of Les Amis, a group that studies French cultural history in the mid Mississippi Valley. More recently, he was invited to join the board of the St. Louis Mercantile Library, the oldest cultural institution west of the Mississippi.