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The Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) is an encyclopedic fine art museum located in Chicago, Illinois'smarker Grant Parkmarker. The Art Institute has one of the world's most notable collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art in its permanent collection. Its diverse holdings also include significant Old Master works, American art, European and American decorative arts, Asian art and modern and contemporary art. It is located at 111 South Michigan Avenuemarker in the Chicago Landmark Historic Michigan Boulevard Districtmarker. The museum is associated with the School of the Art Institute of Chicagomarker and is overseen by Director and President James Cuno. At one million square feet, it is the second largest art museum in the United States behind only the Metropolitan Museum of Artmarker in New Yorkmarker.

The Museum’s Collection

The collection of the Art Institute of Chicago encompasses more than 5,000 years of human expression from cultures around the world and contains more than 260,000 works of art. The art institute holds works of art ranging from as early as the Japanese prints to the most updated American art.

Today, the museum is most famous for its collections of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and American paintings. Included in the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collection are more than 30 paintings by Claude Monet including six of his Haystacks and a number of Water Lilies. Also in the collection are important works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir such as Two Sisters (On the Terrace) and Henri Matisse's The Bathers, Paul Cézanne's The Basket of Apples, and Madame Cézanne in a Yellow Chair. At the Moulin Rouge by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is another highlight, as are Georges Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte and Gustave Caillebotte's Paris Street; Rainy Day. Non-French paintings of the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collection include Vincent Van Gogh's Bedroom in Arles and Self-portrait, 1887. Among the most important works of the American collection are Grant Wood's American Gothic and Edward Hopper's Nighthawks.

In addition to paintings, the Art Institute offers a number of other works. Located on the lower level are the Thorne Miniature Rooms which 1:12 scale interiors showcasing American, European and Asian architectural and furniture styles from the Middle Ages to the 1930's (when the rooms were constructed). Another special feature of the museum is the Touch Gallery which is specially designed for the visually impaired. It features several works which museum guests are encouraged to experience though the sense of touch instead of through sight as well as specially designed description plates written in braille. The American Decorative Arts galleries contain furniture pieces designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and Charles and Ray Eames. The Ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman galleries hold the mummy and mummy case of Paankhenamun, as well as several gold and silver coins.

The Terra Collection

Since April 2005, approximately fifty paintings originally from the Terra Museummarker (now the Terra Foundation) collection have been on loan to the Department of American Art at the Art Institute of Chicago. The collections of the Terra and the Art Institute are located in a new suite of galleries, and together provide one of the nation’s most comprehensive presentations of American art. The foundation’s collection of American works on paper are housed in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Art Institute.

The Art Institute Building

The current building at 111 South Michigan Avenue is third address for the Art Institute. It was designed in the Beaux-Arts style by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge of Boston, Massachusettsmarker for the 1893 World's Columbian Expositionmarker as the World's Congress Auxiliary Building with the intent that the Art Institute occupy the space after the fair closed.

The Art Institute's famous western entrance on Michigan Avenuemarker is guarded by two bronze lion statues created by Edward L. Kemeys. The sculptor gave them unofficial names: the south lion is "stands in an attitude of defiance," and the north lion is "on the prowl." When a Chicago sports team makes the playoffs, the lions are frequently dressed in that team's uniform. Evergreen wreaths are placed around their necks during the Christmas season, and during that time the lions are called offense and defense named by Dan Town.

The east entrance of the museum is marked by the stone arch entrance to the old Chicago Stock Exchange. Designed by Louis Sullivan in 1894, the Exchange was torn down in 1972, but salvaged portions of the original trading room were brought to the Art Institute and reconstructed.

The Art Institute building has the unusual property of straddling open-air railroad tracks. Two stories of gallery space connect the east and west buildings while the Metra Electric and South Shore lines operate below. The lower level of gallery space was formerly the windowless Gunsaulus hall, but is now home to the Alsdorf Galleries showcasing Indian, Southeast Asian and Himalayan Art. During renovation, windows facing north toward Millennium Park were added. The gallery space was designed by Renzo Piano in conjunction with his design of the Modern Wing and features the same window screening used there to protect the art from direct sunlight. The upper level formerly held the modern European galleries, but was renovated in 2008 and now features the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist galleries.


"Burnham Library" - Founded 1912
Located on the ground floor of the museum is the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries. The Libraries' collections cover all periods of art, but is most known for its extensive collection of 18th-20th century architecture. It serves the museum staff, college and university students, and is also open to the general public. The Friends of the Libraries, a support group for the Libraries, offers events and special tours for its members.

Modern Wing

May 16, 2009, the Art Institute opened the Modern Wing, the largest expansion in the museum's history . The 264,000 square foot addition, designed by Renzo Piano, makes the Art Institute the second-largest museum in the US. The Modern Wing is home to the museum's collection of early 20th-century European art, including Pablo Picasso’s The Old Guitarist, Henri Matisse’s Bathers by a River, and René Magritte’s Time Transfixed. It also houses contemporary art from after 1960; new photography, video media, architecture and design galleries; temporary exhibition space; shops and classrooms; a cafe and a restaurant, Terzo Piano, that overlooks Millennium Park from its terrace. In addition, the Nichols Bridgeway connects a sculpture garden on the roof of the new wing with the adjacent Millennium Parkmarker to the north and a courtyard designed by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol.

Notable holdings

File:Saint Martin and the Beggar (c1597-1600) by El Greco - Chicago.jpg|El Greco, Saint Martin and the Beggar, c. 1597-1600File:Antoine Watteau - Fête champêtre (Pastoral Gathering).jpg|Antoine Watteau, Fête champêtre (Pastoral Gathering), 1718-1721File:Seascape Calm Weather .jpg|Édouard Manet, Seascape Calm Weather, 1864-1865Image:Caillebotte.jpg|Gustave Caillebotte, Paris Street; Rainy Day, 1876-1877File:Pierre-Auguste Renoir - By the Water.jpg|Pierre-Auguste Renoir, By the Water, 1880Image:Pierre-Auguste Renoir 007.jpg|Pierre-Auguste Renoir, On the Terrace, 1881File:Paul Cézanne 044.jpg|Paul Cézanne, The Bay of Marseilles, view from L'Estaque,1885Image:VanGogh 1887 Selbstbildnis.jpg|Vincent Van Gogh, Self-portrait, 1887Image:VanGogh Bedroom Arles1.jpg|Vincent Van Gogh, Bedroom in Arles, 1888Image: Wheatstacks (End of Summer), 1890-91 (190 Kb); Oil on canvas, 60 x 100 cm (23 5-8 x 39 3-8 in), The Art Institute of Chicago.jpg|Claude Monet, Wheatstacks , 1890-1891Image:Paul Cézanne 185.jpg|Paul Cézanne, The Basket of Apples, c.1890sFile:Paul Gauguin 139.jpg|Paul Gauguin, Why are you angry? (No te aha oe Riri), 1896File:Edgar Degas - Woman at Her Toilette.jpg|Edgar Degas, Woman at Her Toilette, c. 1900-1905Image:Claude Monet - Water Lilies - 1906, Ryerson.jpg|Claude Monet, Water Lilies, 1906File:JuanGris.Portrait of Picasso.jpg|Juan Gris, Portrait of Picasso, 1912Image:Americangothic.jpg|Grant Wood, American Gothic, 1930

See also

External links


  4. The New York Times
  5. The New York Times

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