My wife and I spent several hours in the Art Institute on Friday. We were in Chicago for an AFHU event at the Ritz-Carlton. It was our first visit to the museum and we didn’t attempt to see everything, which is impossible in one visit. Most of our time was spent with the European collections. My wife is a fan of Monet and Pissaro.
It’s a great museum and easily lived up to its stellar reputation. A few highlights include Cezanne’s Madame Cezanne in a Yellow Chair
When I was young, I devoured art history and biographies. By the time I was in high school, I had already built a pantheon of favorite artists. Cezanne was in it more for Zola’s The Masterpiece than anything else. The Masterpiece was one of my favorite books during high school. Cezanne is still in my pantheon. Even when he’s wrong, he’s always working on the right questions.
I’ve always liked Corot although more for his portraits than his landscapes, which, because they are so imitated, seem like cliches. I enjoyed Interrupted Reading which he did near the end of his life. Like Cezanne, good, solid stuff.
Toulouse-Lautrec was in my pantheon and firmly remains there. His Equestrienne (At the Cirque Fernando) was THE highlight of our visit. I really like how he draws. I was surprised at how big the painting is–60″ on a side. He says so much with so little.
Synonymous with the museum is Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte. This famous painting always draws large crowds making it hard to study the painting. Sometimes I think it deserves it’s reputation; other times I think it’s one of the most over-rated paintings in the world.
A low point: Manet.
Our visit scratched the surface. We’re already planning a return trip.