Art Institute of Chicago

Moche Culture, Portrait vessel of a one-eyed man, 250 - 550 A.D. Image and data from The Art Institute of Chicago, Photography © The Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago has contributed approximately 1,450 images from their global permanent collection to the Artstor Digital Library. The selection in Artstor represents the diversity and excellence of the collection, featuring iconic highlights with an emphasis on antiquities from various cultures, European paintings, and works on paper.

The Art Institute of Chicago houses a collection of nearly 100,000 works spanning 5,000 years of artistic expression, including paintings, prints and drawings, sculptures, photographs, video, textiles, and architectural drawings and fragments.

Originally founded as the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts in 1879, the AIC officially opened in 1893. Within a year, it received its first major gift, French paintings, from Mrs. Henry Field. In 1913, the museum startled the city by hosting the Armory Show, an exhibition of avant-garde art. Exceptional purchases from that exhibition launched the museum's modern collection. The museum's holdings of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings were enhanced by the bequest of 52 paintings from Bertha Honoré Palmer in 1924, as well as the 1925 gift of the Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection, which included George Seurat’s celebrated A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte, 1884-1886. During the Great Depression, the museum received the single most comprehensive gift of art in its history, the bequest of Martin A. Ryerson, consisting of important Western paintings,  textiles, prints and drawings, Asian art, and European decorative arts.

In 1988, the increase of the contemporary art collection and the popularity of large exhibitions led to the construction of the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Building. During the ’90s, Tadao Ando designed a gallery for Japanese screens for the Museum, and in 2009, a building by Renzo Piano devoted to modern and contemporary art was opened, including a bridge that connects the campus to Millennium Park.