The Art Institute of Chicago

Moche Culture, Portrait vessel of a one-eyed man, 250 - 550 A.D. Image and data from The Art Institute of Chicago, Photography © The Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago has contributed approximately 1300 images from their global permanent collection to the Artstor Digital Library.  The selection in Artstor represents the diversity and excellence of the collection featuring iconic highlights, with an emphasis on antiquities from various cultures, and European paintings, and works on paper.

The Art Institute of Chicago houses a collection of nearly 100,000 works spanning 5,000 years of artistic expression, including paintings, prints and drawings, sculptures, photographs, video, textiles, and architectural drawings and fragments.

Originally founded as the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts in 1879, the Art Institute officially opened on December 8, 1893. Within a year, it received its first major gift from Mrs. Henry Field -- a collection of French paintings. In 1913, the museum startled the city by hosting the Armory Show, a sprawling exhibition of avant-garde European painting and sculpture. Exceptional purchases from that controversial exhibition launched the museum's collection of modern art. The museum's holdings of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings were immeasurably enhanced by the bequest of 52 paintings from Bertha Honoré Palmer in 1924, as well as the 1925 gift of the Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection, which contained the famous Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte-1884 (1884-86) by Georges Seurat. During the depths of the Great Depression, the museum received the single most comprehensive gift of art in its history, the bequest of Martin A. Ryerson. This donation contained masterpieces ranging from American and European paintings dating to the 15th century to textiles, prints and drawings, Asian art, and European decorative arts. 

In 1988, the dramatic increase of the contemporary art collection and the popularity of large traveling exhibitions led to the construction of the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Building. During the 1990s, the Art Institute constructed a new suite of galleries to house its Asian collection. Here, famed architect Tadao Ando designed his first American space, a gallery for Japanese screens. In 2009, the Museum opened a building by Renzo Piano devoted to modern and contemporary art and to house a new education center. The “Modern Wing” also includes a bridge that connects the museum campus to Millennium Park. It strengthens the focus on the 20th Century collections, which include such icons as Pablo Picasso's The old guitarist (1903/04), Henri Matisse's Bathers by a River (1909, 1913, and 1916), and Rene Magritte's Time Transfixed (1938). It also enhances the contemporary profile for the Art Institute, and serves as an important addition to the architectural legacy of Chicago, the city that pioneered modern architecture.