There are countless reasons to visit the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC), including thousands of famous works of art lining every wall. But during your trip, try and spot these six masterpieces that make the museum a little extra special, keeping Chicago among the ranks of world-renowned cultural hot spots.
Though a famous fixture of the AIC, Vincent van Gogh actually painted three versions of The Bedroom that depicted the inside of his home in the South of France – the Yellow House. It is simply a colorful representation of his own bedroom. The original lives in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
With a large and commanding presence, A Sunday Afternoon covers an entire gallery wall at the AIC. It shows a casual scene of people enjoying a day on the banks of the River Seine in France, but neither the size nor the subject makes it entirely unique. Rather, Seurat’s dedicated use of millions of small painted dots to comprise the painting, known as pointillism, sets this masterpiece apart.
Edward Hopper created one of the most easily recognizable works of art of the 20th century with Nighthawks, which shows three customers and an employee inside an all-night diner in New York City. The bright fluorescent lights contrast with the dim atmosphere on the vacant street, giving the scene a feeling of stark isolation in a bustling city.
In the 1930s, America was emerging as a worldwide industrial powerhouse, leaving the simplicity of farm life behind. Grant Wood’s American Gothic represents that shift away from the country’s grassroots. See this iconic painting among dozens of others in the AIC’s Painting in 1930s America exhibit, on through September 18th.
The AIC houses a small delegation of Claude Monet’s world-renowned Water Lilies series, which includes over 250 oil paintings completed in the last 30 years of his life. The range of exquisite water scenes shows his flower garden and lily pond outside his French home.
This striking scene from Mary Cassatt came at the end of the 19th century and made her the only American artist among an exhibition of French Impressionists. The Child’s Bath presents a touching scene of a child being bathed by an adult, and the subjects’ distinct and three-dimensional portrayal contrasts sharply with the flat-lined background. This amplifies the human figures and makes their presence stand out.