Art Institute of Chicago

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Art Institute of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago, museum and art school, in Grant Park, facing Michigan Ave. It was incorporated in 1879; George Armour was the first president. Since 1893 the Institute has been housed in its present building, designed in the classical Beaux-Arts style by the Boston firm of Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge. New buildings and wings were added during the second half of the 20th cent. A large new modern wing designed by Renzo Piano that houses the Art Institute's postwar and contemporary collections opened in 2009. Among the museum's famous collections are those of Dutch, Spanish, Flemish, and early Italian paintings, including works by El Greco, Rembrandt, and Hals. The Institute is rich in 19th-century American and French paintings; particularly well known is La Grande Jatte by Seurat. Modern and contemporary American and European paintings and sculpture are also well represented. Other collections include prints and drawings, dating from the 15th cent.; sculpture; decorative arts; and a fine collection of Chinese art. The Institute also includes the Ryerson Library for research and the Goodman Memorial Theater with its school of drama.

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