The Art Institute of Chicago

The 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 houses a collection spanning 5,000 years of artistic expression, including paintings, prints and drawings, sculptures, photographs, video, textiles, and architectural drawings and fragments. A selection of the museum's holdings are represented in Artstor, with 200 prints, 470 drawings, over 130 works of sculpture, and 375 paintings.

Originally founded as the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts in 1879, the Art Institute officially opened on December 8, 1893. Within a year, the Art Institute received its first major gift from Mrs. Henry Field, a collection of French paintings. In 1913, the museum startled the city by hosting the Armory Show, a sprawling exhibition of avant-garde European painting and sculpture. Exceptional purchases from that controversial exhibition launched the museum's collection of Modern art. The museum's holdings of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings were immeasurably 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 contained the famous Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte-1884 (1884-86) by Georges Seurat. During the depths of the Great Depression, the museum received the single most comprehensive gift of art in its history, the bequest of Martin A. Ryerson. This donation contained masterpieces ranging from American and European paintings dating to the 15th century to textiles, prints and drawings, Asian art, and European decorative arts. 

The Art Institute of Chicago houses a collection spanning 5,000 years of artistic expression, including paintings, prints and drawings, sculptures, photographs, video, textiles, and architectural drawings and fragments. A selection of the museum's holdings are represented in Artstor, with 200 prints, 470 drawings, over 130 works of sculpture, and 375 paintings.