The Art Institute of Chicago

This museum was one of the top, if not THE top, “must-see” places on the results that came up when I searched “top things to do in Chicago.” I would have gone without a second thought if it were just me, but I wasn’t sure if my other friends would be down to visit an art museum on our (way too) short 3-day trip. However, my inner dork rejoiced when they were game! 🙂

Art Institute of Chicago Main Staircase


The first things that I wanted to see were pieces in the famous impressionism gallery.

Edgar Degas Ballerina Paintings in Art Institute of Chicago

Freaking out!! This museum has so many of Degas’s ballet dancer paintings!

Going along with the ballet theme…

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - Ballet Dancers in Art Institute of Chicago

I especially liked the conductor’s hands in just the bottom corner. Is he conducting the ballerina, or is she moving to the music?

Seascape by Pierre-August Renoir Painting in Art Institute of Chicago

One of my favorite subjects to look at – the sea. Such pleasing colors; so perfect.

And here it is, the main piece I was looking for:

“A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” – Georges Seurat

I still remember learning about this painting and liking its pointillism style from a humanities class that I took in 10th grade. 10th grade! Clearly it had made an impression (ha!) on me!

This next one was equally exciting! I talked about how I periodically took pictures of the sunset over the NYC skyline in my Fourth of July post. Now, I got to see the Claude Monet wheatstack paintings that varied from time of day to season to year in person.

Stacks of Wheat by Claude Monet in Art Institute of Chicago

Got to see the real deal, at a place I least expected (I thought they’d be in the Louvre or something).

Just for good measure, here’s more Monet. The man’s a genius.

Claude Monet Water Lilies Paintings in Art Institute of Chicago


Claude Monet - Vetheuil in Art Institute of Chicago

Vetheuil (in France)

Even more famous art…I also saw a Van Gogh. I previously learned about this painting somewhere, about how it made a breakthrough in perspective and dimension, blahblah. I was just happy to be close enough to touch it see the paint strokes on it.

Van Gogh, The Bedroom in Art Institute of Chicago

“The Bedroom” – Van Gogh

American Folk Art

Odd yet amusing piece seen on the way to the European gallery:

William Bonnell, Bonham Family Painting in Art Institute of Chicago

I found the buggy eyes and short necks to be really funny! Instead of portraits, these people looked like cartoon characters.

European Art before 1900

I came to this gallery just to see the middle painting.

El Greco - The Assumption of the Virgin in Art Institute of Chicago

“The Assumption of the Virgin” – El Greco

Once again, I learned about it somewhere but couldn’t remember where. But I was reminded of what a sneaky/clever man El Greco was when I read he “proudly attached his signature in Greek at the lower right.”

Sure enough, there it was:

El Greco's Greek Signature in The Assumption of the Virgin

“Domenikos Theotokopoulos, Cretan, displayed this 1577”

Modern Art

We had time for one last gallery, and we chose Modern Art.

Modern Art Gallery in Art Institute of Chicago

Technology Room in Art Institute of Chicago

With a Pollock!

Wooden Block Modern Art Sculpture in Art Institute of Chicago

Heh, the security guy told us a funny story about this one. They were all brought into the room for the briefing and told to not touch, lean, or sit on the art.

“Where’s the art?” he asked.

“You’re leaning on it.”

Shakes my head at modern art.

But modern art, you quickly redeemed yourself! This piece was so fun! I love interactive art! All these strands of hanging plastic reminded me of spaghetti.

Our recreation of Gerhard Richter’s “Woman Descending the Staircase” cracks me up!

I decided I liked Richter’s work.

Ice (Eis) by Gerhard Richter in Art Institute of Chicago

“Ice” by Gerhard Richter

With the Chairman:

“Mao” – Andy Warhol

I was so pleased that they had a few pieces by Salvador Dali here! He’s one of my favorite artists, and I was surprised that The Met didn’t have many of his works when I visited over the summer.

Salvador Dali Surrealist Paintings in Modern Art Gallery in Art Institute of Chicago

Also, did you know that Dali made sculptures? I sure didn’t until I saw this:

Venus de Milo with Drawers - Salvador Dali in Art Institute of Chicago

Rofl wtf?

You also can’t go wrong with a few Mondrians. Chicago art museum, you’re winning me over.

Piet Mondrian Modern Art Paintings in Art Institute of Chicago

Finally, we saw last two “famous” paintings according to the suggested “what to see in an hour” list on the back of the visitor guide. We cheated a little, I know.

Bathers by a River - Henri Matisse in Art Institute of Chicago

I actually didn’t like this painting. Meh.

And one of my favorite Picasso’s blue period paintings, “The Old Guitarist:”

“Is it weird that I’m smiling next to this sad painting?” “No. Now let me take your picture.”

I was quite impressed by the Art Institute of Chicago. As always, I wished that I had more time to spend in any art museum. I’m sure there were a ton of cool things in there that I would’ve been delighted to see.

Have you been to the Art Institute of Chicago? What are your suggestions for me to see next time?


(Special thanks to Liz for taking photos of me!)

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Like art museums? You may also want to read: An Afternoon at MoMA, The Met, Part 1, The Met, Part 2Museum of Arts and Design (MAD)

12 thoughts on “The Art Institute of Chicago

  1. I should be studying for my lab practical…but I got distracted by the beautiful pics. So jealous that you got to see all of those Monet paintings! Love Salvador Dali too!


  2. Your art puns/jokes are delightful! I would LOVE to visit the Art Institute of Chicago one day. Also, I’m so glad I found your blog- your photos are fantastic. 🙂


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