Bueller, Bueller, Bueller…Chicago, part 2, the Art Institute

Warning: this is going to be a long post! But it will mostly be photos. If a picture paints a thousand words and you are at an art museum…

Founded in 1879 as both a museum and a school for the fine arts, the Art Institite of Chicago’s permanent home was built in 1893 at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Adams Street as a joint effort with the City of Chicago for the World’s Columbian Exhibition. 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 museum holds works of art ranging from early Japanese prints to modern American art. It is principally known for one of the United States’ finest collection of paintings produced in Western culture. It is the second largest museum in the United States, after the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The AIC in 1893.
The AIC in 1893.

AIC map

The AIC in 2015.
The AIC in 2015.

That building still serves as the entryway, flanked by the bronze lions sculpted by Edward Kemeys. commissioned as a gift from Mrs. Henry Field (Florence Lathrop Field).  While their official designations are the North Lion and the South Lion, Kemeys referred to them as On the Prowl (North) and Stands in Attitude of Defiance (South). Since all I knew about Chicago before this visit was from the John Hughes movies of the 1980s, I, of course, first saw them in the iconic AIC visit scenes from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

On the Prowl (North)
On the Prowl (North)
In an Attitude of Defiance (South)
In an Attitude of Defiance (South)

FBDO

Ferris, Sloane,and Cameron approach the AIC
Ferris, Sloane,and Cameron approach the AIC

Despite my mission of taking a Ferris photo in front of the impressionist painting A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Suerat, I did allow myself to enjoy an exhibit on Chicago architectural history outside of the Impressionist Galleries.

overview overview 2 flw adler sullivan flw detail label

And then my Ferris Bueller moment, finally!

Ferris clip 1
Cameron with the Seurat
my moment
Me with the Seurat

I am not the only one who bases museum visits on pop cultural references; the museum has a handout on how to do the Ferris Bueller tour of the museum!

tour 1 tour 2

My second mission was to visit the Thorne miniature rooms, which I know from the beautiful book that was a gift from Robert Ward after he visited the miniature rooms and knew it was a collection that I would love. From the AIC website: “The 68 Thorne Miniature Rooms enable one to glimpse elements of European interiors from the late 13th century to the 1930s and American furnishings from the 17th century to the 1930s. Painstakingly constructed on a scale of one inch to one foot, these fascinating models were conceived by Mrs. James Ward Thorne of Chicago and constructed between 1932 and 1940 by master craftsmen according to her specifications.”

The rooms are very difficult to get good pictures of as they are behind glazing (understably; I would be able to resist touching!). An overview of the gallery:

overview 2 panel 1 panel 2

Here are just a few of my favorites; I apologize for the poor quality of the images.

English bedchamber
English bedchamber
A selfie in front of an English linrary
A selfie in front of an English library
French Modern (1930s)
French Modern (1930s)
New Mexico kitchen
New Mexico kitchen
California Living circa 1935-1940
California Living circa 1935-1940
California Modern circa 1940
California Modern circa 1940

Traversing the museum, you go through the art and cultures of the world.

China, Equestrienne, Tang Dynasty, 8th century
China, Equestrienne, Tang Dynasty, 8th century
India, Shiva as Lord of the Dance, circa 1000
India, Shiva as Lord of the Dance, circa 1000
India, Twenty-Armed Dancing God Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles, 11th century
India, Twenty-Armed Dancing God Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles, 11th century
Japan, Shukongojin, 12th-14th centuries
Japan, Shukongojin, 12th-14th centuries
Byzantine, northern Syria, Mosaic fragment with leopard, 450-500
Byzantine, northern Syria, Mosaic fragment with leopard, 450-500

rome 2 rome 2 panel

Some of the “Greatest Hits” at the AIC:

The American Windows, Marc Chagall, dedicated 1977
The American Windows, Marc Chagall, dedicated 1977
American Gothic, Grant Wood, 1930
American Gothic, Grant Wood, 1930
Edward Hopper, Nighthawks, 1942
Edward Hopper, Nighthawks, 1942

I was particularly drawn to a selection of works by one of my favorite painters, Georgia O’Keeffe, in the Paul and Gabriella Rosenbaum Gallery, a gallery dedicated to Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz.  O’Keeffe studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago beginning in 1905.

Yellow Hickory Leaves with Daisy, 1928
Yellow Hickory Leaves with Daisy, 1928
Red Hills with Flowers, 1937
Red Hills with Flowers, 1937
Red and Pink Rocks and Teeth, 1938
Red and Pink Rocks and Teeth, 1938
Cow's Skull with Calico Roses, 1931
Cow’s Skull with Calico Roses, 1931
Blue and Green Music, 1921
Blue and Green Music, 1921
Black Cross, New Mexico,1929
Black Cross, New Mexico, 1929

And now, for a few things that I call Weird and Creepy for lack of a better description.

Statue of a Young Satyr Wearing a Theater Mask of Silenos, Roman, 1st century AD
Statue of a Young Satyr Wearing a Theater Mask of Silenos, Roman, 1st century AD

architectural creepy kid

Ivan Albright, Picture of Dorian Gray, 1943-1944 (painted for the 1945 movie adaptation)
Ivan Albright, Picture of Dorian Gray, 1943-1944 (painted for the 1945 movie adaptation)
Ivan Albright, Into the World There Came a Soul Called Ida, 1929-1930
Ivan Albright, Into the World There Came a Soul Called Ida, 1929-1930

And the final category, which I call Things I Like.

Auguste Préault, Le Silence, 1842-1843
Auguste Préault, Le Silence, 1842-1843
Jean-Auguste Barre, Mary of Burgundy, circa 1840
Jean-Auguste Barre, Mary of Burgundy, circa 1840

I was thinking Mary of Burgundy seemed like a kick-ass kind of gal, but then I read on the label that this sculpture depicts her in the moment before her tragic and fatal fall.

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Interrupted Reading, circe 1870
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Interrupted Reading, circa 1870
John Bradley Storrs, Ceres, 1928
John Bradley Storrs, Ceres, 1928
Turkey, linen cover, 17th century
Turkey, linen cover, 17th century
Eastern Iran or Afghanistan, Incense burner in the form of a lion, 11th century
Eastern Iran or Afghanistan, Incense burner in the form of a lion, 11th century
Charles Ray, Silver, 2015
Charles Ray, Silver, 2015

And, of course, we exit through the gift shop! Yes, money was spent.

shop 1 shop 2

That concludes our whirlwind tour of the Art Institute of Chicago. Still to come: The Chicago Cultural Center, the Palmer House, and more!

One thought on “Bueller, Bueller, Bueller…Chicago, part 2, the Art Institute

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