"The Art Institute of Chicago is the crowning glory of Chicago's lakefront. Opened in 1879, The Art Institute is one of the country's premier art schools, with alumni ranging from Thomas Hart Benton and Georgia O'Keeffe, to Orson Welles and Walt Disney. More important to the visitor who doesn't plan on taking classes, it houses one of the world's greatest art collections, some 260,000 works spanning five millennia, in a handsome beaux-arts structure built for the 1892-93 World's Columbian Exposition."
I arrived around 5pm on a Thursday to take advantage of the museum's extended hours and FREE admission. I was also granted access to the new, members-only Matisse exhibit simply by asking if I could come back 20 minutes before closing to get a sneak peek. I came back 30 minutes before closing - no problem!
The modern wing was added in 2009, making the Art Institute the second largest art museum in the country, behind New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. The modern wing is the seventh major addition to the museum since 1893.
It was my first visit to the Art Institute, and it was my mission to view all the highlights! Mission accomplished:
El Greco's Assumption of the Virgin
Georges Seurat's A Sunday on La Grande Jatte - 1884
Vincent Van Gogh's The Bedroom
Tripod Food Container (Ding)
Mummy Head Cover
Edward Hopper's Nighthawks
Grant Wood's American Gothic
Greg Lynn's Ravioli Chair
Pablo Picasso's The Old Guitarist
Rene Magritte's Time Transfixed
Gerhard Richter's Woman Descending the Staircase