Results 1-10of 36 Reviews
February 12, 2013
From journal Blown away by the Windy City
New Delhi, India
March 5, 2007
European Prints and Drawings, and European 1400s, 1500s-1600s, 1700s, and 1800s. A collection, spanning centuries and countries, with works ranging from the icon-like paintings of the 1400s, through the opulent mythological depictions, dreamy landscapes, still lives and portraits of later years. Along with famous names like Caravaggio, Tiepolo, Murillo and Turner, are lesser known painters - Karl Blechen’s Interior of the Palmhouse at Potsdam is in every conceivable shade of green, with brilliant light and shade. Alberto Passini’s Circassian Army Awaiting its Commander at a Byzantine Monument is full of life - down to the pigeons pecking at grain!
The collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art is mind-blowing, too. All the heavyweights are here - Monet and his waterlilies; Van Gogh (Self portrait, Bedroom at Arles); Toulouse-Lautrec (The Jockey, At the Moulin Rouge); Millet (Among others, The Song of the Lark - a peasant girl standing in the half-light, sickle in hand, listening intently - and the equally rural Bringing Home the Newborn Calf). Another monumental work is Georges Seurat’s painstakingly perfect pointillist masterpiece, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.
Chinese, Japanese and Korean Art converge in a glorious display of carved jades and serene Buddhas, ferocious warriors and mettlesome ceramic stallions glazed in vivid yellows, greens, and browns. There are delicate silk paintings, brocaded costumes - and most abundant of all - porcelain. These range from delicate green teapots to pale blue jun pottery, glazed with purple-red.
Beyond the Paperweight Collection, which houses hundreds of largely French glass paperweights in floral designs, lie the European Arts. These galleries contains everyday art: carved furniture, ornate mirrors, crystal, and porcelain- Wedgwood, Dresden, and Sèvres.
The American Arts galleries, similarly, have furniture, silverware, paintings, and sculpture. Many stalwarts are represented - John Singer Sargent (Mrs George Swinton is very impressive); Winslow Homer (the silvery fish in The Herring Net almost writhe as they’re hauled into the tossing boat); and one of my favourites - Mary Cassatt. The Bath, depicting a mother bathing her little girl, is heartwarmingly tender. Another must-see in this section are Frederic Remington’s metal sculptures. One is of four cowboys, racing their horses so fast, only six of the sixteen hooves touch the ground!
And if you have children in tow, do check out one last gallery, the Thorne Miniature Rooms. Each room, only about a foot each side, is a perfect miniature replica of a typical historical room - mainly American or European, though there are Chinese and Japanese rooms too. There are bedrooms, living rooms, libraries, drawing rooms, dining rooms, even kitchens, all the way from Louis XIV through Victorian England, to 1930s Paris, to New Mexico, Virginia, wherever. Everything- furniture, upholstery, utensils, books, toys, paintings - is a perfect miniature. Utterly enchanting!
The Institute is open from 10am to 5 or 6pm, depending upon the season. Tickets are $12 per adult; there are discounts for senior citizens and students.
From journal Work- and Weekends- in the Windy City
October 31, 2006
From journal Getting Together in Chicago
July 23, 2004
The Art Institute welcomes a new director this year (James Cuno) and also has changed a long-standing Chicago favorite: the Tuesday free admission day will no longer be the night they are open late. Instead, extended hours will be on Thursdays. The museum is open daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas, from 10:30am to 4:30pm weekdays and 10:30am to 5pm on weekends. The Art Institute has a "suggested admission" policy, which means "Pay what you wish but you must pay something." Adults suggested admission has been raised to $12.
The Art Institute is located on the west side of Grant Park in the heart of Downtown. From the main entrance on Michigan Avenue, you are presented with several choices of directions. The museum is basically shaped like a giant "E". To your right, as you enter, is the Museum Shop, an extensive and high quality gift shop (for which you can also shop via Internet). However, all exhibits are beyond the entry desk, either up the Grand Staircase or beyond it.
Downstairs, there is the Garden Restaurant, which is good although a little pricey (as most museum cafés tend to be), the Textiles hall, an extensive paperweight collection (I love this gallery - I find glass working fascinating), European Decorative Arts, Architecture, Photography, and various classroom/workshop spaces. I have not been through these rooms as much, but there are some very nice pieces here. (You’d think that somebody who loves photography as much as I do would have, at least, seen the Photography gallery!)
On the entry level, close to the entrance, you will find the African and Ancient American galleries, Contemporary Art, and the Oriental galleries (Chinese, Japanese and Korean). To reach the Sculpture Court, American, Indian/Southeast Asian, and Ancient (Egyptian/Greek/Etruscan/Roman) galleries, you walk through the Arms and Armor exhibit. I love the AI's Arms & Armor exhibit - it's probably my favorite part of the museum. There is a fairly sizeable collection, with one of their most noteworthy pieces being a set of ornate Italian inlaid armor.
Upstairs, you can find their extensive European, Impressionism/post-Impressionism, and Modern galleries, as well as their Special Exhibitions hall, which plays hosts to several major exhibitions per year. In fact, the AI is often the solitary American stop on some major art tours. Some past exhibits the Art Institute has hosted have included Monet and the Sea, a Rembrandt perspective, Van Gogh and Gauguin, and Chinese arts.
The best times to go for a visit are weekdays afternoons, when the school tours have gone for the day and you'll find the museum is a bit quieter. Allow a minimum of 2 hours for your visit - there is lots of wonderful art to be explored!
From journal Playing Tourist at Home in Chicago
June 26, 2004
Among the most famous works of art in the Art Institute's collections are the first that you will encounter on your visit. The pair of bronze lions standing guard at the main entrance to the museum on Michigan Avenue was unveiled on May 10, 1894 and was adopted almost instantaneously by Chicagoans as a proud symbol of the city's most prestigious art museum. Over the years the lions have come to symbolize the strength of the city, appearing on guidebook covers and tour maps.
Lions as guardians have an ancient history. The fierceness, strength, and grace of the regal animal led people in early history to adopt it as a symbol of royalty and guardianship. The Lion Gate at Mycenae (1300 BC), the parade of lions on the walls of Babylon (6th Cent. BC), and Emperor Asoka's lion columns in India (240 BC) are only a few examples. The Art Institute lions follow that famous tradition.
The lions that guard the entrance today were derived from two lions that were previously sculpted for the Palace of Fine Arts at the World's Columbian Exposition. The lion that watchfully stands on the north side of the entrance with his tail arched in attention is said to be "On the Prowl", while the other big cat that guards the south side of the museum was christened "Defiance" .
Their creator Edward Kemys was a self taught sculptor who was the most famous of the 19th-century school of animal sculptors. His artistic philosophy was to shun any sculpture that needed a professor to explain it.
I am certain that the artist would approve all the years of attention that the lion pair has had. Countless hands have rubbed away the patina on their tails and millions of photos have been taken by tourists and residents alike take standing beside these icons. They have there own special annual winter ceremonial day when the "Wreathing of the Lions" announces that the Christmas season in Chicago has officially begun. The Holiday lights can then be lit and shopping begins in earnest!
Way back in 1986, these lions where the first to celebrate the Bear’s Super Bowl victory by proudly donning custom made blue and orange team helmets. And more recently, when the entrance portico was under going reconstruction in 2000 the lions were one by one gingerly, carefully relocated to the North Garden by a specialized crew. For the duration of the renovation of their side of the entry, the bronze creatures lived in their own patina dens like their real cousins and being treated just like the celebrities that they are to Chicagoans.
From journal The Art Institute of Chicago "Behind the Lions”
January 25, 2001
I must confess to you that I run around visiting my favorite pieces each and every time....as if they are long lost loves of my life !
Begin in the European collection and take extra moments to gaze at Renoir's "Acrobats of the Circus" and anything from Paris.....Monet, Seurat (A Sunday on la Grande Jatte), Degas,Gauguin (in his island stage), Caillebotte (Paris Street;Rainy day).
By now my husband is restless, so he will leave and go to the collection of armour and weapons, while I head to the American Collection !
Of course, Anything by Mary Cassett-take your pick, it's all wonderful ! check out Winslow HOmers "Croquette Scene" For a quirky fix I run over to the Remington area. Most known for his bronze work, this guy really tried it all ! I find it so bizarre that he did most of the oil paintings here in black,white, and greys immitating photography !
In the meantime, my husband has probably viewed the photography collection which is another of his favorites since photography is his hobby.
We meet upstairs for lunch (unless it is an exceptional day to sit in the outdoor enclosed patio). The Restaurant on the Park serves lunch MOnday through Saturday from 11-2:30 and has a grand time showing you how edible food can be presented as an art form ( and be yummy too !) Featuring linen tablecloths and uniformed waiters as a set-up for the sensual pleasures to come hot or cold to your table. I don't care what you order; you'll love it ! Slip into total gluttonous abandon by ordering dessert....if you can make a choice among the generous selection.
After lunch, take in the special exhibits (currently :
Bonnard, Vuillard,Denis and Roussel--1890-1930) Audio tapes are a good way to add to your enjoyment here.
Wander the ancient collections from 3000 B.C. in many cultures with the remaining hours of the day. Whatever you do....don't miss the gift shop ! It is the most amazing place for notecards, journals, art books, jewelry......members receive 20 % savings !
From journal My Kind of Town
February 25, 2008
From journal Three Days in the Windy City
December 18, 2004
TRAVEL TIP: Because it was so late in the day, the ticket person asked us what we wanted to pay to get into the museum. We said $4, and we meant $4 each, for a total of $8. However, the ticket person charged us only the $4! So, if you arrive with less than an hour before closing, you can get in without paying full price. Just make an offer.
With our tickets in hand we went straight upstairs to the Impressionist Exhibit to see A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat, a painting most people remember from Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and the painting the museum is most known for. I absolutely love this painting, not just because of the scene, but because of the technique. The painting is comprised of hundreds of thousands of tiny dots (think of a dot-matrix printer). At 10 feet wide and 6 feet high, imagine the time and energy spent doing that by hand. We spent what little time we had viewing this painting and all the Impressionist paintings, such as Monet and Renoir, and more modern works, such as those of Picasso.
MUSEUM TIP: Do not use the flash to take photos. Light from the flash will fade the paintings. You can take photos without flash because there is plenty of light inside the museum.
Upon leaving the museum, we made many purchases in the gift shop, including a miniature replica of La Grande Jatte, a miniature Monet, and some postcards. Outside on the front steps, we were treated to a concert of young street performers who played buckets like drums and had quite a crowd of museum-goers putting money into their hats. They played until a cop car drove by and blared his siren at them, and the boys picked up their drums and ran across the street (where we saw them 5 minutes later dividing up the money). We guessed they didn't have a permit to perform for money on the street. What an afternoon; Ferris Bueller eat your heart out!
From journal Weekend in Chicago
April 1, 2005
I would suggest that you start on a floor and work floor by floor. The European Art is a great place to start. You can even go century by century. I would suggest seeing some of the middle-ages works and then progressing onward. It is easier to track how art forms have changed over the centuries and it makes the appreciation of the artwork more this way. Don’t miss the pictures by the French impressionists: Monet, Degas, Renoir, the lists goes on. There is nothing quite like seeing a picture that is in every history and art book up close.
I always found that the Ancient collection very interesting as well. It is great for people that may appreciate history more than art. Here there is a great combination of both. There are coins, vases, glass, jewelry, and more to look at. It describes the lives of the Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, and many more. It is also a welcome change for those that may not enjoy looking at paintings for hours on end.
The section of American artwork is highly impressive. With everyone from Georgia O’Keefe to Winslow Homer being honored in this section of the Art institute. Also, make sure to take a look at American Gothic, for those that don’t remember your art history it is the picture of farmer (with his pitchfork) and his wife done by Grant Wood.
The museum has an extensive contemporary art collection in as well. Here you will see everything from one red line painted across a white canvas, to photographs that have been adjusted by the artists. It is a good place to see the range that isn’t often discussed in Contemporary art. Lichtenstein, Hockney, and Warhol are just a few of the names that are hanging somewhere on the walls.
Yet, my favorite part of the Art Institute hands down is the Thorne Rooms. They are the miniature replications of a European and American rooms spanning from sixteenth century to the 1940s. There are 68 rooms in all and they are highly detailed with everything from place settings in the dining rooms to fountains in the courtyard. Personally, I could spend hours here and I suggest that it is worth a view for everyone.
In addition the museum shop is very well stocked, and there are prices and gifts for all walks of paper. There is more here than just reprints of famous paintings. There are unique gifts for everyone, I even know people that do all there Christmas shopping in this gift shop.
The Art Institute of Chicago is a fabulous art museum. It has a picture, sculpture, photograph, or suit of armor for everyone. I would strongly suggest you going to Art Institute.
From journal Windy City Spots
June 25, 2004
There is a special golden room in my heart for the Art Institute of Chicago. It is the first building that I remember loving besides my own little home. I loved it so much that at age 9, while my mother thought that I was off bike-riding on summer afternoons, I frequently hopped a bus riding downtown to the museum. I spent many a hot, clandestine day wandering the cool, marble corridors, totally in love with the architecture as well as the art it contained.
An article in the Chicago Tribune, October, 1890 said that after the Columbian Exposition, Chicago will be the "Paris of America". Chicago & its citizen’s wanted & deserved a museum equal to their ambition to build one of the world’s leading cities.
Over a hundred yeas later, AIC is possibly Chicago’s most popular tourist attraction. Constructed in 1893, the planners of the World’s Columbian Exposition hoped that the structure would become the final repository for the treasures exhibited in the Palace of Arts in Jackson Park’s main fairgrounds. Immediately evident is the Beaux-Arts styled pale grey stonework influence by that "White City", forever linking it to the most flamboyant of cultural events ever staged.
At the beginning, the museum’s collection was not of overwhelming quality, & contained plaster cast reproductions of art as was common in European museums in the nineteenth century. But in the 1920’s the luck of the Art Institute would begin to change dramatically.
Bertha Honoré Palmer, was a prominent socialite serving on the board of the Columbian exposition. She was also close friend of Mary Cassatt & became an ardent champion of Impressionism, collecting works by Monet, Renoir, Manet, Degas & many others. She donated fifty-two paintings from her collection in 1922. This group of art treasures, now known as the Potter Palmer Collection, named after her equally famous husband, is universally acknowledge as the foremost & largest installation of Impressionist paintings in the world outside of France.
ASIDE: Bertha Potter Palmer is the only American woman immortalized by August Rodin. The marble bust-sculpture of the American beauty can be appreciated at the Musée Rodin in Paris.
Following Mrs. Palmer's lead & NOT to be out done by a woman, Martin Ryerson, a millionaire and close friend of Monet, donated perhaps the most important collection of European & American paintings, prints, drawings, Asian art, and European decorative arts. Many more extraordinary bequests followed: Japanese Woodblock Prints by Kate & Clarence Buckingham (the brother & sister millionaires of Bucking Fountain Fame), countless ceramics, Chinese bronzes, Japanese & Chinese paintings were generously endowed to the museum by individuals establishing a dazzling Asian Arts collection.
The cherry on the sundae came in 1926 when Henry Clay Bartlett donated Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte . It is widely considered one of the greatest paintings of the nineteenth century & has been the best known painting in the museum’s collection to this day.