Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA

(1879-Present) Biography

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Paris Street, Rainy Day
Gustave Caillebotte

329 USD

Still Life with Tulips and Apples
Paul Cezanne

220 USD

View of Auvers
Paul Cezanne

245 USD

The Millinery Shop
Edgar Degas

295 USD
Night Hawks
Edward Hopper

298 USD
The Herring Net
Winslow Homer

286 USD
Croquet Scene
Winslow Homer

265 USD
Peach Blossoms
Winslow Homer

270 USD

View of Cotopaxi
Frederic Edwin Church

331 USD

Woman Reading in a Garden
Mary Cassatt
222 USD

The Fountain, Villa Torlonia, Frascati, Italy
John Singer Sargent

242 USD

The Old Guitarist
Pablo Picasso

219 USD

Portrait of Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler
Pablo Picasso

238 USD

The Two Sisters, On the Terrace
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
285 USD

Acrobats at the Cirque Fernando
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
240 USD

Woman at the Piano
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
283 USD

The Canoeist's Luncheon
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
245 USD

By the Water
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
245 USD

Flower Clouds
Odilon Redon

237 USD

The Beach at Sainte-Adresse
Claude Monet
238 USD

The Artist's House at Argenteuil
Claude Monet
244 USD

Portrait of Picasso
Juan Gris
224 USD

Are They Thinking about
the Grape?

François Boucher

339 USD

Jean Frederic Bazille

247 USD

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The Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) is an encyclopedic art museum located in Chicago's Grant Park. It features a collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art in its permanent collection. Its holdings also include American art, Old Masters, European and American decorative arts, Asian art, modern and contemporary art, and architecture and industrial and graphic design. In addition, it houses the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries.

Tracing its history to a free art school and gallery founded in 1866, the museum is located at 111 South Michigan Avenue in the Chicago Landmark Historic Michigan Boulevard District. It is associated with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is overseen by Director and President Douglas Druick. It is one of the most visited art museums in the world with about 1.5 million visitors annually (2013), and with one million square feet in eight buildings, it is the second-largest art museum in the United States, after the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 


In 1866, a group of 35 artists founded the Chicago Academy of Design in a studio on Dearborn Street, with the intent to run a free school with its own art gallery. The organization was modeled after European art academies, such as the Royal Academy, with Academians and Associate Academians. The Academy's charter was granted in March 1867.

Classes started in 1868, meeting every day at a cost of $10 per month. The Academy's success enabled it to build a new home for the school, a five-story stone building on 66 West Adams Street, which opened on November 22, 1870.

When the Great Chicago Fire destroyed the building in 1871 the Academy was thrown into debt. Attempts to continue despite the loss by using rented facilities failed. By 1878 the Academy was $10,000 in debt. Members tried to rescue the ailing institution by making deals with local businessmen, before some finally abandoned it in 1879 to found a new organization, named the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. When the Chicago Academy of Design went bankrupt the same year, the new Chicago Academy of Fine Arts bought its assets at auction.

In 1882, the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts changed its name to the current Art Institute of Chicago and elected as its first president the banker and philanthropist Charles L. Hutchinson. Hutchinson was a director of many prominent Chicago organizations, including the University of Chicago, and would transform the Art Institute into a world-class museum during his presidency, which he held until his death in 1924. Also in 1882, the organization purchased a lot on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Van Buren Avenue for $45,000. Because the existing building on that property was leased, a new building was constructed behind it to house the school's facilities.

With the announcement of the World's Columbian Exposition to be held in 1892–93, the Art Institute pressed for a building on the lakefront to be constructed for the fair, but to be used by the Institute afterwards. The city agreed, and the building was completed in time for the second year of the fair. Construction costs were met by selling the Michigan/Van Buren property. On October 31, 1893 the Institute moved into the new building. For the opening reception on December 8, 1893, Theodore Thomas and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed. From the 1900s (decade) to the 1960s the school offered with the Logan Family (members of the board) the Logan Medal of the Arts, an award which became one of the most distinguished awards presented to artists in the US.

Between 1959 and 1970 the Institute was a key site in the battle to gain art & documentary photography a place in galleries, under curator Hugh Edwards and his assistants.

As Director of the museum starting in the early 1980s, James N. Wood conducted a major expansion of its collection and oversaw a major renovation and expansion project for its facilities. As "one of the most respected museum leaders in the country", as described by The New York Times, Wood created major exhibitions of works by Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh that set records for attendance at the museum. He retired from the museum in 2004.

In 2006, the Art Institute began construction of "The Modern Wing", an addition situated on the southwest corner of Columbus and Monroe. The project, designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect Renzo Piano, was completed and officially opened to the public on May 16, 2009. The 264,000-square-foot (24,500 m2) building makes the Art Institute the second-largest art museum in the United States. 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. In 2014, travel review website and forum, Tripadvisor, reviewed millions of travelers' surveys and named the Art Institute the world's best 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 a "collection [that] is among 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. 


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.

Today, the museum is most famous for its collections of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and American paintings. Highlights included in the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collection include 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 Gustave Caillebotte's Paris Street; Rainy Day. Post-Impressionists include 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. The pointellist masterpiece, which also inspired a musical, Georges Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, is prominently displayed. Additionally, Henri Matisse's Bathers by a River, is an important example of his work. Highlights of 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 Mary Cassatt's The Child's Bath, Grant Wood's American Gothic, and Edward Hopper's Nighthawks. The Child's Bath (1892), Cassatt's intimate portrayal, unusual for the time, was first exhibited in 1890s Paris and came into the collection in 1910. Although in the main Cassatt is an impressionist, the work's subject matter and the overhead perspective were inspired by Japanese woodblocks. The more formal portrait, American Gothic (1930), by Wood, 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. Considered an "icon of American culture", Nighthawks (1942) is perhaps Hopper's most famous painting, as well as one of the most recognizable images in American art; its image is on the cover of the Museum's 20th Century Art Collection retrospective by James N. Wood. Within months of its completion, Nighthawks was sold to the Art Institute of Chicago for $3,000. On May 13, 1942, Hopper wrote to Daniel Catton Rich, the then director of the Art Institute of Chicago, that he was "very much pleased that you like my Nighthawks well enough to acquire it for the Art Institute. It is, I believe, one of the very best things I have painted." The museum's acquisition of Nighthawks "launched" the painting to its "immense popular recognition."  Rich found the painting so important, that the Art Institute awarded the image its Ada S. Garret American Art prize.

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 1930s (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. Whereas, the museum's new Modern Wing (see below) displays additional important works from the 20th and 21st centuries. 

Source: Wikipedia