Chicago Sights to See
The Chicago Art Institute
Housed in a building erected as part of the 1893 World's Fair,
Institute of Chicago is one of the country's preeminent schools and
The college which is part of the Institute actually began in 1866, with
classes beginning two years later. A few bumpy years followed, but the
school had revived by 1882. Down the years, the school has had some
notable students, including Walt Disney, Georgia O'Keeffe and Hugh Hefner. But for the
traveler, the primary attraction is
the world class
Though smaller than the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New
York or the Louvre
Paris, the Art Institute houses some of the finest works anywhere.
The African and American Indian collection houses wood sculpture,
masks, textiles and bead designs from Southern, Central and West
Africa. Scholars actively explore and research the items gathered by
the museum over the years. It also holds a variety of Andean ceramics,
metalwork and figurative art from South America.
has long been known for its architectural masterpieces and the
architects who produced them. Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright
many other greats have done some of their most notable work here. That
fact is reflected in the Ernest
R. Graham Study Center for
Architectural Drawings. The collection is comprised of
drawings, many of which are by the masters' own hands.
A major part of the museum revolves around its outstanding European
collections. There are over 25,000 objects, including ceramics,
metalwork, enamels, glass sculpture and furniture. The items range in
age from the early 12th century to the present, so there's bound to be
something to interest anyone.
The decorative arts collection is supplemented by a huge collection of
textiles from down the ages. The Department of Textiles holds over
13,000 items from all over the world. There are pre-Columbian samples,
European vestments, tapestries, lace and much else. The objects have
come from as far away as Asia, Africa and Indonesia to Peru and Mexico.
Central to the museum's attraction for visitors is the world class
European paintings exhibits. The collection ranges from the works
created in the Middle Ages to 1900. At around 2,000 works it isn't the
largest collection in the world by any means. The Louvre has been
estimated to hold over 100,000 paintings. But, though smaller, there
are some of the finest examples of the art of painting anywhere in the
The 19th century French paintings at the Chicago Art Museum are among the best, rivaling some in
or the Musee d'Orsay. But there
are also 15th century Spanish and German selections that are a great draw. Impressionism is
well represented and there are many sculptures that are highly regarded by visitors. More modern artists are represented, as well. There are
several popular O'Keefe's, Grant Wood paintings and some by Edward Hopper that are popular items.
Located at 111 South Michigan Avenue at the western edge of Grant Park,
the museum also offers a fine restaurant.