Come for the sterling collection of Impressionists (an entire room is dedicated to Monet) and Old Masters; linger over the extraordinary and comprehensive photography collection; take in a number of fine American works; and discover paintings, drawings, sculpture, and design spanning the ancient to the contemporary world.
With its flanking lions and marble lobby, the Michigan Avenue main building was once part of the World's Columbian Exposition. It opened as the
Art Institute on December 8, 1893. The museum's first level includes Asian, African, and Indian works, plus American art to 1890. The second level holds American art from 1900 to 1950, European art from all periods, and Impressionist and post-Impressionist works. Check out the lower level to see decorative arts and the Thorne Miniature Room.
After the Renzo Piano–designed Modern Wing opened in 2009, it made the Art Institute one of the largest art museums in the country. The building's 264,000 square feet houses the finest in 20th- and 21st-century art: modern European painting and sculpture, contemporary art, photography, architecture, and design. The celebrated Chagall stained-glass windows have been restored and reinstalled in an exhibit on public art in Chicago in the Arthur Rubloff building. Gallery spaces dedicated to Japanese art, African and Indian art of the Americas, arms and armor, and ancient and Byzantine art have opened in since 2010.
A fine-dining restaurant, Terzo Piano, features nouveau Italian cuisine. Check out the outdoor third-floor Nichols Bridgeway connecting the Art Institute to Millennium Park. It offers stunning views of the skyline and Lake Michigan.
Nov 23, 2009
The Art Institute has the second-best collection of Impressionists in the world (the first is in Paris); need I say more? We make time to visit the Art Institute every time we visit Chicago. The collection is well-presented. On our last visit, we enjoyed the new wing as well.