The Art Institute of Chicago, founded in 1879 and located in Grant Park and it is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States. Recognized for its curatorial efforts and popularity among visitors, the museum hosts approximately 1.5 million guests annually. A pair of Edward Kemeys‘ bronze “Majestic Lions” (1893) welcome you to the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago. It is connected to Millennium Park via the Nichols Bridgeway. There are nearly 300,000 works of art in the permanent collection that are augmented by more than 30 special exhibitions.
The growth of the collection has warranted several additions to the museum’s original 1893 building, which was constructed for the World’s Columbian Exposition of the same year. The most recent expansion, the Modern Wing designed by Renzo Piano, opened in 2009 and increased the museum’s footprint to nearly one million square feet, making it the second-largest art museum in the United States, after the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The building houses the museum’s world-renowned collections of 20th- and 21st-century art, specifically modern European painting and sculpture, contemporary art, architecture and design, and photography. The Art Institute is connected to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a leading art school, making it one of the few remaining unified arts institutions in the United States.
The collection is stewarded by 11 curatorial departments. Some of the iconic works include: Georges Seurat‘s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte — 1884, Pablo Picasso‘s The Old Guitarist, Edward Hopper‘s Nighthawks, and Grant Wood‘s American Gothic , and Mary Cassatt‘s The Child’s Bath.
The Art Institute’s American Art collection contains some of the best-known works in the American canon. Nighthawks was originally purchased by the museum in 1942 for $3,000. American Gothic has been in the museum’s collection since 1930 and was only just recently loaned outside of North America for the first time in 2016. Wood’s painting depicts what has been called “the most famous couple in the world,” a dour, rural-American, father and daughter. It was entered into a contest at the Art Institute in 1930, and although not a favorite of some, it won a medal and was acquired by the museum
In April 2015, it was announced that the museum received perhaps the largest gift of art in its history. Collectors Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson donated an amazing “collection of one of the world’s greatest groups of postwar Pop art ever assembled.” The donation includes works by Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly, Jeff Koons, Charles Ray, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Roy Lichtenstein and Gerhard Richter. The museum agreed to keep the donated work on display for at least 50 years.
My favorite exhibits include the “Impressionism” in rooms: 225-226, 201, and 240-243. I also love the Chagall America Windows in Gallery 144. Make time to have lunch at Terzo Piano in the Modern Wing of the museum when you visit Chicago. The restaurant is headed ny award-winning chef Tony Mantuano. The Museum also has a number of interesting shops on the premises.
Bertha Honoré married the Chicago millionaire Potter Palmer in 1871 when she was 21 and he was 44. Palmer was a Quaker merchant who came to Chicago after failing twice in business. In Chicago he opened a store and eventually sold it to a consortium and it would eventually become Marshall Field’s.
Palmer then opened the Palmer House, a luxury hotel in Chicago. Bertha, rose to the pinnacle of Chicago Society and became involved in the Board of Lady Managers, which Bertha Palmer was selected to lead in 1891.
During the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, a celebration of the discovery of the New World by Columbus, Bertha’s Board of Lady Managers became involved with the selected as the architect for the Women’s Building. as also involved with the interior of the structure. Sophia Hayden was chosen to design and building and the influential designer Candace Wheeler worked on the interior of the structure.
Chicago art curator, Sarah Tyson Hallowell worked with Bertha Palmer on the art exhibits and the murals which were designed by Bennett. The Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt eventually got incolved with the mural project.
The Palmers were enthusiastic art collectors and depended curator Sarah Hallowell for advice. She introduced the Palmers to the painters in Paris and they began to collect French Impressionist works. The Palmer’s collection of Impressionist paintings expanded rapidly and they owned twenty-nine Monets and eleven Renoirs. These works form the core of the Art Institute of Chicago‘s Impressionist collection.
Marc Chagall was a Russian-French artist associated with several major artistic styles. I love his stained glass compostitions. He produced windows for the cathedrals of Reims and Metz, windows for the UN, and the JerusalemWindows in Israel.
The Bible illustrations by Chagall
- Pick Terzo Piano for Lunch at the Art Institute for Chicago Restaurant Week 2012 (vinoconvistablog.me)