THE ART INSTITUTE: HOME TO HISTORY
Some key moments in the museum’s 125-year history at its current location:
1913: The International Exhibition of Modern Art (aka the Armory Show) arrives at the museum and introduces Chicagoans to the works of Picasso, Brancusi, Gaugin and Matisse via works and plaster copies of sculpture. It marks the first time the work of Picasso is exhibited in the U.S.
1954: The 68 world-famous Thorne Miniature Rooms go on permanent display. Each meticulously re-created room captures a slice of European and American life and furnishings from the 13th century to the 1930s. The rooms were designed on a scale of one inch to one foot by Mrs. James Ward Thorne of Chicago.
2009: The museum’s Modern Wing, designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano, opens to the public. A decade in the making, this 264,000-square-foot building makes the Art Institute the second-largest art museum in the U.S.
2014: Acquired by the museum in 1964, Gustave Caillebotte’s “Paris Street; Rainy Day” returns to its gallery after a seven-month restoration.
2016: The museum hosts “Van Gogh’s Bedrooms,” three distinct portraits of his bedroom in Arles — the city in the Provence region of southern France where he lived for one year. The exhibit, for the first time in North America, brings together all three distinct versions of the iconic work.
2017: James McNeill Whistler’s “Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 (Portrait of the Artist’s Mother),” famously nicknamed “Whistler’s Mother” and painted in 1878, returns to the Art Institute for the first time in 60 years. The painting, on loan for the 2017 exhibition, first visited the city in 1933 for the Chicago World’s Fair.
ABOVE: Gallery 53 of the International Exhibition of Modern Art in 1913. BELOW: A sketch of the Art Institute from the catalog for opening day, Dec. 8, 1893.