One of the most respected art museums in the world, The Art Institute of Chicago houses a collection of close to 300,000 pieces. In addition to its vast permanent collection the museum hosts many special exhibitions and holds hundreds of lectures and performances throughout the year.
Founded in 1879 and in its present location since 1893 the imposing building is also a work of art. Complementing its surrounding in beautiful Grant Park the museum was designed in the beaux-arts style of the late 19th century. The famous Michigan Avenue or west entrance is flanked by two bronze lions, a gift to the museum for its opening. In 2009 the museum opened its Modern Wing and the 24,500 square metre expansion made the museum the second largest in the country. The Modern Wing houses collections from the 20th Century.
While every piece of art at the museum is important and relevant, The Art Institute is home to many famous pieces with works from the greats that one would expect to see in a museum of this stature. Just one of the many significant collections is its Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works that include pieces from Monet, Renoir and Cézanne just to name a few. Important American pieces include Mary Cassatt’s The Bath and Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks along with many other notable works. Other art forms at the museum include photography, prints and drawings, textiles, sculptures as well as African and Asian art.
The Art Institute is located downtown on South Michigan Avenue and Adams Street in Grant Park. The museum may be reached from the Orange, Brown, and Green lines at the Adams/Wabash stop in the Loop. The museum is one block east. Bus service is available on the many bus routes that operate along Michigan Avenue.