Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Art Institute of Chicago

Last week, I took a trip to Chicago for a business meeting.  I arranged to arrive several hours early, in order to visit The Art Institute of Chicago.  Located in the downtown area of the city, only a few blocks from my hotel, it's an amazing museum, and if you are ever in Chicago, I can't advise you strongly enough to pay a visit.

I had been hoping to take a guided tour of the museum, since I hadn't visited before, but they don't seem to offer those (Are docents now being replaced by technology?  Is there an app for that?), so I contented myself with an audio tour.  Uncertain where to begin, I decided that since I like French Impressionism, I would head in that direction.  Their collection is fantastic; if you like this type of art - do not miss this.  The most notable work is Seurat's "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte."  It's enormous and so dominates its room.  The audio guide included commentary on this piece, of course, and I was interested to learn about it from the curators at the museum.

After the Impressionists, I wandered into a collection of European Decorative Arts.  Here I saw the highlight of my trip - a photograph cabinet designed by Josef Hoffmann.  It is an Arts and Crafts style piece of furniture - very square legs, with a gorgeous Art Nouveau design on the three drawers.  Simply lovely; if Stickley would make a reproduction, I'd buy it in a minute.

After my time with the Europeans, I moved downstairs and saw artworks from India, Korea, China and Japan, including a piece by Hokusai - I was reminded of my Japan Spring, and smiled to see another piece by this artist of whom I've grown quite fond.   After that, I walked through displays of African and Native American art.

I spent 2.5 hours, but could easily have spent 2.5 days.  It was one of my favorite parts of my trip, and I'm hoping to get back to the city, so I can visit again.

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