One place many have missed most during the pandemic has been the Art Institute and it just opened back up again! The Art Institute is one of the oldest museums in the U.S. It is both a museum and school of fine arts, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Here are some fun facts:
Claude Monet, Waterloo Bridge, Sunlight Effect, 1840-1926, Oil on canvas, The Art institute of Chicago
- The Art Institute of Chicago was officially founded as a museum and school in 1879 named “the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.” It was in 1882 that the name was changed to what we know it as today.
- In 1925, the Art Institute was gifted the painting Sunday Afternoon a La Grande Jatte (1884-86).
- In 1933, the Art Institute surpassed their highest number of visitors at 1.5 million in five months due to their exhibit A Century of Progress and the World’s Fair that also happened to be that year.
- During WWII, there was a lack of materials, so there wasn’t much expansion during this time. After WWII, the Art Institute could finally begin expanding again with the B.F. Ferguson Memorial Building and the Morton Wing.
- In the 2000s, the Art Institute started working on its Modern Wing, which was the biggest expansion thus far and opened in 2009.
- The Art Institute has over 300,000 pieces of art!
- The lions greeting at the front of the building, designed by Edward Kemeys, are named “on the prowl” and “stands in an attitude of defiance.”
The current exhibits are “Bisa Butler: Portraits,” which is open until September 6th, 2021 and “Monet and Chicago,” which is open until June 14th, 2021.
If you haven’t been to the Art Institute, it’s definitely something you need to check out once you feel safe to do so! Especially because we are able to get in free as Columbia students! In the meantime, the Art Institute offers many free and open virtual events you can attend here.