Chicago Museums: The Art Institute of Chicago


Let me start by saying, I am not a fan of museums. Yes, I am a brat, I know.  They overload my brain with information I can’t retain, but @MrTravelD LOVES them! Every time we go to Chicago he wants to go to the Art Institute of Chicago and I must say, I think he is wearing me down and the Art Institute is definitely growing on me! It is now one of my favorite places to go.

The Art Institute is easily recognized by the 2 large lions that guard the front entrance on Michigan Avenue.

At christmastime wreaths are placed around the lions necks!

I was amazed to learn the Art Institute of Chicago is the second largest art museum in the United States. It has the second largest collection of impressionists outside of the Louvre. It’s  open 10:30- 5pm everyday and open until 8pm Thursdays. Illinois residents enjoy free admission on the first and second Wednesdays of the month. The Art Institute is not only a museum, it’s also a world renowned art and design school. There are 2 fabulous gift shops and several restaurants on site with healthy and fresh choices.

At the Museum Cafe I enjoyed a full meal of chicken, hush puppies & carrots- YUM!

One very cool and unique program the Art Institute offers is the  Art of Wellness series. These are self-guided tours of 1/4, 1/2 and full mile. A great way to visit the museum and have an art inspired work out!

Here are some of the exhibits that caught my eye:

Marc Chagall's America Windows

These 3 larger than life windows were the highlight of my visit this time.

Marc Chagall -America Windows

 The Art Institute website has a very interesting resource video on the America Windows.

America Windows, 1977 by Marc Chagall

@MrTravelD cannot go to the Art Institute without stopping by his favorite impressionist painting Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Grande Jatte, 1884. This visit we noticed the painting has a small painted border of orange, red and blue dots we never noticed before!

Seurat's A Sunday on the Grande Jatte, 1884

We stumbled upon quite a collection of bronze pieces in the American Galleries 163 and 164, many by Federic Remington. One of my favorites was this piece by James Earle Fraser:

The End of the Trail, 1918 James Earle Fraser

 This bronze sculpture of Lincoln looked familiar to me, it’s done by the same artist who did the massive marble Lincoln Memorial sculpture in Washington, DC.

Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Chester French

I  always find myself looking up and was not disappointed when we entered the Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room of 1894 that was salvaged in 1972 and completely reconstructed in 1976 in the Art Institute of Chicago. The room is also available for weddings and other special events.

art glass in the Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room

There is a very impressive 44 piece collection of Monet’s work which includes several stacks of wheat and waterlilies.

Water Lilies, 1906 Claude Monet

There are over 300 Picasso’s! This sketch of a sculpture was done on a piece of plywood. Who would have thought a simple piece of plywood would someday hang in a museum as a priceless work of art!


The Weaver, 1936

The Art Institute is home to 10 works of art by  Diego Rivera. The Weaver is my favorite in their collection.

Georgia O'Keeffe's Red Hill with Flowers, 1937

I was thrilled to find this piece reproduced on a tote bag and cosmetic case in the Museum Shop on sale. SCORE one for the shopper in me! We just might have to become members of the Art Institute. Members not only enjoy previews to new exhibitions but also FREE admission and discounts in the shops and restaurants too! PLUS, a new benefit- the cash bar Member Happy Hour in the Garden Cafe from 5:00 to 7:30 every Thursday evening.

Our last stop was the American Folk Gallery 227 where we came across this small stoneware  face jug from South Carolina.

face jug -artist unknown circa 1860


As we exited the Art Institute we noticed this sign across the street:

Route 66

“Begin,” I thought. Yes, this is a new beginning for me- a love of the Art Institute of Chicago! I hope to go back to see their newest exhibit by Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. This special exhibit will be open from May 16 – Sept. 3, 2012.

 What are some of your favorite works of art, where are they found?

We used CityPASS to save on the $18 entrance fee and it includes the audio tour which we didn’t use. I think next time I will be ready to learn a bit about my new found interest in this museum.  See, I told you the Art Institute is growing on me!  The CityPASS includes admission to all permanent exhibits and non-ticketed special exhibits at the Art Institute of Chicago.  We find CityPASS a great value especially if you are planning to visit the top sightseeing venues. What we really enjoyed was skipping the long lines at most of the attractions. CityPASS not only saves your money, but valuable time!

Thanks to CityPASS who sponsored our #ChicagoFUN with courtesy passes.


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4 Responses to “Chicago Museums: The Art Institute of Chicago”

  1. July 18, 2012 at 10:01 am #


  2. Debrah Mainard
    July 17, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    Exceptional read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing slightly research on that. And he truly bought me lunch as I located it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch!

  3. May 9, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    Thanks Billie, it must be true, with age comes wisdom 🙂

  4. May 7, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    Love the Chagall windows and the Rivera and O’Keeffe. I love Route 66- that’s the spot where it started it’s cross country journey. Glad the museum is growing on you!

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