© digital cat (Flickr) Museum Brandhorst
© digital cat (Flickr)
This Chicago art museum collects, preserves and exhibits works of the finest quality. Their collection is wide and includes African, American, Asian and European masterpieces. Textiles, photographs, prints, drawings, sculpture, arms and armour all feature in their well laid out buildings that provide excellent viewing conditions.
After opening in 1879 as the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts on the southwest corner of State and Monroe Streets the Chicago Art Institute moved to its current site at Michigan Avenue and Adams Street in 1893 and changed its name in the process. Interestingly it was built using the rubble from the great Chicago fire of 1871.
Over the next few years donations of paintings were received and extensions were made to the buildings including the Fullerton Auditorium (1898) and the Ryerson Library (1901).
During the Great Depression Martin A. Ryerson made a donation of both American and European paintings dating back to the 15th century plus artefacts from Europe and Asia. It remains the most substantial gift in the museums history.
The second world war slowed further development but did not curtail it completely. In 1962 The Morton Wing was built to enable the Institute to display its burgeoning contemporary collection and to also lay claim to the unofficial title of museum of modern art.
Visitor numbers climbed during the 1970s as did the volume of art students studying at the school so new studios, classrooms and a film centre were added.
Towards the end of the 20th century the Art Institute erected new galleries designed by the famous architect Tadao Ando to house the Asian collection.
With a collection now stretching back through 5000 years of human history from all over the world The Art Institute of Chicago has a very strong platform from which to expand their collections even further.
The school’s graduate scheme is regularly ranked among the best in the country and plans are in hand to build a new complex to aid further growth in this area.