Did you know that the Art Institute of Chicago offers Free Winter Weekdays in 2017 ? From January 9, 2017 through February 16, 2017, admission to the Art Institute of Chicago is free to Illinois residents every weekday—all day long. And don’t forget that general admission is free to Illinois residents every Thursday from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. throughout the year. Come on the new free days at the Art Institute of Chicago and walk through and explore the new Modern Wing (click at bottom for more info). Illinois residents can enter the acclaimed art museum, 111 S. Michigan Ave., for free on weekdays from Jan. 9 through Feb. 16, a spokeswoman said and the deal applies during all hours of operation Monday through Friday. Plus, teens aged 14 to 17 will be able to visit The Art Institute of Chicago free of charge, due to a significant donation made by a Kansas couple.
There is so much to see! With a collection of more than 260,000 art works and artifacts, the museum has particularly strong collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting, early 20th century European painting and sculpture, contemporary art, Japanese prints, and photography. Included in the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collection are more than 30 paintings by Claude Monet (six of his Haystacks and a number of Water Lilies), Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Two Sisters (On the Terrace)), Henri Matisse’s The Bathers, Paul Cézanne’s (The Basket of Apples, and Madame Cézanne in a Yellow Chair). At the Moulin Rouge by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is another highlight, as are Georges Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte and Gustave Caillebotte’s Paris Street; Rainy Day. Non-French paintings of the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collection include Vincent Van Gogh’s Bedroom in Arles and Self-portrait, 1887. Among the most important works of the American collection are Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks and Mary Cassatt’s The Child’s Bath.
The Art Institute of Chicago is certainly up there among the world’s best art museums when it comes to the masterpieces in its permanent collection. As a sampling, here are five of the most famous paintings on display at the Art Institute of Chicago:
- The bedroom by Vincent Van Gogh The bedroom is one of Van Gogh’s most famous works, and it’s a classic example of the artist’s one-of-a-kind use of brush strokes and color. The troubled Dutch artist actually painted three versions of this perspective on his bedroom in Arles, France. The second of the three, which was painted in 1889, is the one at the Art Institute.
- A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat Probably Seurat’s most celebrated masterpiece, A Sunday Afternoon is a classic example of the pointillism technique, where countless little dots of paint are used to create the illusion of a full image. Seurat, who was very interested in optical and color theory, took two years to complete the painting. Many people know it from its cameo in the movie Ferris Beuller’s Day Off (Ferris and friends visit the Art Institute during their wild afternoon in Chicago, and Cameron spends a long time gazing at the details of Seurat’s remarkable handiwork).
- American Gothic by Grant Wood Painted in 1930, American Gothic is one of the most recognizable images in the history of American art. It has been adapted in countless parodies, with various characters replacing the old farmer, his somber daughter, and the famous pitchfork. The painting was a bit controversial when it was finished, as some Americans thought it was lampooning rural life—Wood insisted it was an appreciation.
- Nighthawks by Edward Hopper Hopper’s 1942 masterpiece is also up there on the list of most recognizable works of American art. Depicting some late-night patrons lingering at a New York diner, the painting was treasured for its unusual use of perspective, color and light. Like American Gothic, Nighthawks has been the subject of many adaptations. The most famous is probably Gottfried Helnwein’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams, which has Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean as the diner patrons, and Elvis behind the counter.
- The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso Picasso painted The Old Guitarist during his so-called Blue Period, when he was struggling with depression due to a series of tragedies in his life. Today this somber and dark portrait of an old blind man playing a guitar remains one of Picasso’s most well-known works. Interestingly, recent x-rays and other analyses have detected three more figures painted behind the old man, meaning Picasso painted over some other half-finished projects when he created this masterpiece. These five paintings (plus honorable mention to Monet’s Waterlilies and Mary Cassat’s The Child’s Bath) are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Art Institute’s amazing collection. And of course, any visit to an art museum is about much more than just the famous masterpieces—after all, it could be some unknown painting in a quiet gallery that catches your eye, captures your imagination, and sticks with you forever.
Museum Hours Monday–Wednesday, 10:30–5:00 Thursday, 10:30–8:00 Friday–Sunday, 10:30–5:00