Born in Vienna in 1924 of American parents who were working in Europe, Richard Loving moved to New York with his family in 1929. He subsequently attended the prestigious high school at the Society for Ethical Culture, where he took classes in art and literature. He then attended Bard College in the early 1940s but interrupted his studies in order to join the army. After a brief army service and with the intent of becoming a painter, he enrolled in the New School for Social Research, where he took a fresco-painting course. He supplemented his art education by taking courses at the Art Students League.
Subsequently he attended New York Medical College for classes in anatomy, but being in New York after World War II was by far the greatest learning experience. The museums, galleries, and libraries were a huge resource, and Loving was able to absorb and be influenced by the events and excitement of the times. Abstract Expressionism dominated the New York art scene, and he was drawn to its power and expressive potential but was also intrigued by the old master paintings he saw at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Frick Collection.
In 1949 he met Wally Cox, a silversmith (and later a noted Hollywood comedic actor), who taught him to enamel. Loving supplemented his education in the craft with books and by studying Limoges enamels at the Frick and the Met. He was not content to work small or tight, however. He was a painter who loved the figure and the broad, painterly gesture. His work started getting larger in scale.
In 1953 he moved to his wife’s family farm in Mundelein, Illinois, north of Chicago, where he built two large kilns (the larger one with a capacity for a twenty-by-thirty-inch panel), and his work began to expand in scale. He was able to develop his technique and refine his style as well, and his work gained wider exposure since he was able to exhibit in the Chicago area. He supplemented his income by teaching enameling workshops.
Four of his enamel panels were included in the seminal 1959 exhibition Enamels
, presented by the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York. In 1961 he was hired to teach at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Although he initially taught painting, drawing, and enameling, enameling was slowly phased out of the curriculum. Ultimately he became a full-time painter-draftsman and stopped enameling about 1970. His work in enameling influenced his work in painting, especially in terms of color and transparency. His enamel work still stands out today and looks fresh and exciting.