The Art Institute of Chicago – Artworks Collection & Everything Else

The Art Institute of Chicago, or should we say one of the oldest and largest art museums on this planet? Yes, this art museum, founded in 1879, is a sign of the most historic buildings of all time. The museum displays the best artworks, attracting many visitors every year. Now, when we say a lot of visitors, we mean approximately 1.5 million people visit this antique building annually. 

In this article, we will talk about the magnificent Art Institute and the art collection it features.

The Art Institute of Chicago

Address: 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603, United States

Phone: +1 312-443-3600


Being home to a collection of more than 5,000 years of human expression from diverse cultures across the globe, the museum consists of more than 300,000 artworks in 11 curatorial departments. These artworks range from early Japanese prints to the art of the Byzantine Empire to contemporary American art. 

The extensive collection of 19th-century French and 20th-century paintings and sculptures has made this art museum worth noticing and renowned for. It also features American, Asian, and European paintings, prints, photography, sculptures, textiles, arms, armour, and decorative arts. In addition to these, it also displays pre-Colombian, African, and ancient art.

African Art & Indian Art of the Americas

African Art & Indian Art of the Americas collections are displayed across two galleries in the museum at the south end of the Michigan Avenue building. The African collection includes more than 400 works of art highlighting ceramics, masks, jewellery, and garments. The Amerindian collection includes Mesoamerican, Native North American art, and Andean works.  

American Artwork at Art Institute of Chicago

American Artwork at Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago has an American art collection where they have displayed some of their best-known works in the American canon. This includes Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Mary Cassatt’s The Child’s Birth, and Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. This museum purchased “Nighthawks” for $3,000 in 1942.

Ancient and Byzantine

The Art Institute of Chicago has an ancient collection that spans nearly 4,000 years of art and history which showcase Roman, Greek, and Egyptian sculpture, pottery, jewellery, glass, bronze, mosaics, and also a robust and orderly ancient coins collection. The museum has approximately 5,000 works in its collection that offers a survey of the ancient and medieval Mediterranean world from the third millennium B.C. to the Byzantine Empire. Moreover, the collection consists of a mummy and a mummy case of Paankhenamun. 

Architecture and Design

Architecture and Design- art institute of chicago

From the 1870s to the present day, this Architecture and Design department holds more than 140,000 work collections, including structural engineering, industrial design, and landscape architecture. Works of renowned personalities like Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Frank Lloyd Wright will also attract you.

Asian Art & European Decorative Arts

Asian Art & European Decorative Arts- art institute of chicago

The Asian collection spans about 5,000 years, including significant objects and works from Korea, India, Japan, China, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. The object collection showcases ceramons, jades, textiles, screens, sculptures, and more. European decorative arts has a collection of 25,000 objects like metalwork, ceramics, enamel, furniture, and ivory from 1100 A.D to the current day. 

Modern and Contemporary Art

Modern and Contemporary Art- art institute of chicago

Two collectors, Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson, gifted more than 40 masterworks to the Art Institute of Chicago to this department in 2015. After this, the collection of Modern and Contemporary Art grew significantly. Some of the highlights from the modern galleries include Constantin Brancusi’s Golden Bird, Pablo Picasso’s Old Guitarist,  Rene Magritte’s Time Transfixed, and Henri Matisse’s Bathers by a River.

Photography, Prints & Drawings at Art Institute of Chicago

Photography, Prints & Drawings at Art Institute of Chicago

Chicago’s Art Institute museum didn’t establish a photography collection until Georgia O’Keeffe donated a notable portion of the Alfred Stieglitz collection. Now, the museum’s collection has more than 20,000 works. 

Similarly, the Prints and Drawings collection didn’t begin until Elizabeth S. Stickney donated around 460 works in 1887. This collection currently consists of works of Rembrandt van Rijn, Albrecht Durer, James McNeill Whistler, and Francisco Goya. And to keep this paperwork safe, the institute displays the works infrequently. 

The Bottom Line

This Art Institute of Chicago has much more to it than just an art collection you must know about. It was in the year 2017 when this historical museum received 1,629,316 visitors and became the 35th most-visited art museum in the World. 

So, this is a comprehensive study of the artwork collection at the Art Institute of Chicago. Do tell us if you would like us to cover anything else about the museum. 

Interested in an art and food fusion fest? Read about 3 Arts Cafe Chicago.

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