A Day at Chicago Art Institute

I recently had a perfectly lovely day. Sure, it was in the 30s, windy and dreary, but who cares? I was in Chicago with my daughter. Someone else was driving. Does life get much better?

One of our stops was the Art Institute. I don’t know much about art, but I enjoy it.

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat

I love to look at it, even when it doesn’t seem especially great (while I appreciate the size here — 24′ wide — would this really be so hard to paint? I suppose so. Told you I didn’t know much about art).

Sky Above Clouds IV Georgia O'Keefe Chicago Art Institute

Sky Above Clouds IV by Georgia O’Keefe

When the teacher announced that the parents couldn’t accompany the kids at the museum because of group size, I was disappointed at first. But I got over that pretty quickly. Because spending a couple of hours at leisure to wander a place like this?Chicago Art InsitutePretty cool.

One of my favorite discoveries was in the basement. It’s called the Thorne Miniature Rooms, and I spent quite a while peering at 68 1:12 scale model rooms, from simple early American to ostentatious Regency French.

Thorne Miniature Rooms Art Institute ChicagoThey were fascinating. One of the neatest things was that the individual rooms weren’t lit, but the tiny rooms that you could peek through adjacent doors into, were. Other times, like in the photo above, the light came from outside the window, where an entire miniature outdoors was created.  The rooms were created by Narcissa Niblack Thorne, who was married to the son of a founder of Montgomery Ward Company. She lived 1882 – 1966.

What about you? Seen any great art lately?

8 thoughts on “A Day at Chicago Art Institute

  1. I doubt a visit there would be my cup of tea due to the fact I know very little about art. However the mention you did NOT have to stay with a group of kids sounds wonderful. Usually the main thing that leads to is head counting.

  2. Last November the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opened in Bentonville, Arkansas, 5 miles from my office and 13 from our house. I have a personal interest in the facility because I did much of the floodplain engineering and some of the sitework engineering for it. The museum has a good collection, including one of the famous George Washington paintings. We’ve been three times so far. At the moment entry is free, due to a Walton family grant.

    Next time we’re in Chicago to visit our son I’ll have to see if he will take us to the Art Institute.

  3. Several years ago, I went to a Monet exhibit with an artist friend. I saw the pieces, and the Impressionists in general, in a completely different way. It was great.

    While you were in Chicago, I hope you at least got some decent pizza! 😀

  4. Last year I got to attend Grand Rapids’ ArtPrize for the first time. It is a wonderful event, one that everyone within driving distance (hint, hint, Susan) should try to attend at least once. I don’t know much about art, either, but I sure enjoyed this.

  5. In December 2010 Joe played piano at a PNC Banquet at Ft. Wayne Art Museum, and I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of paintings and sculptures displayed there. I had been to the old art museum several years ago and was not particularly impressed that time. The best ever art museum that I have visited in my lifetime was in 2005 when Joe and I visited The Louvre in Paris on a day trip while on a trip to London with Wagon Wheel Theatre out of Warsaw. It was truly awesome! We also visited Prince Albert’s Art Museum in London on the same trip. Our late friend, Roy Hine, who was Director of Wagon Wheel for many years joined us on that adventure. Fond memories of a very special time will never, ever be forgotten.

  6. One of my favorite places on Earth and I ALWAYS go to the Seurat you have pictured. I used to have a framed print of it in my bedroom that I bought at the gift shop. I’ve wanted to take my kids for years but it never happened. Still, I never went until I was an adult and I loved it.

  7. I absolutely love the miniatures! We went to the Naples Art Museum (in Florida) to see the Chihuly exhibit, which was awesome, but they also had a room with miniatures that was absolutely amazing. I felt just like a kid, like I could make myself small and wander about in those tiny, exquisite rooms.

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