February 20, 1876 – September 29, 1971.
Art collector, and cultural philanthropist.
Margaret Day Blake was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, but lived in Chicago for most of her life. Daughter of Albert Day, president of the Chicago Stock Exchange as well as president of Presbyterian Hospital, she was born into a lifestyle of wealth and service. An enthusiastic Maecenas and supporter of the Art Institute, she was the assembler and eventual donor of a legendary prints and drawings collection.
In 1905 Margaret Day married Tiffany Blake, who was the chief editorial writer for the Chicago Tribune for 31 years. After Tiffany Blake's retirement in 1939 and death in 1943, Mrs. Blake intensified her association with the Art Institute. She helped found and became the first president of the Woman's Board, as well as the first female Trustee of the Art Institute.
Often Mrs. Blake traveled thousands of miles in her effort to collect choice works of art. In 1947 Mrs. Blake visited Max Beckmann in his Amsterdam studio, and was stirred by his "Carnaval in Naples," which she promptly bought and presented as a gift to the Art Institute.
Margaret Day Blake worked closely with the curators of the museum to expand the holdings of the Prints and Drawings department. On April 28, 1970 the Art Institute held the first showing of the Margaret Day Blake collection, consisting of over sixty master drawings given over the years by Mrs. Blake. The collection, gifted to the Art Institute between 1944 and 1970, include works such as "Harlequin" by Cezanne, "Crouching Tahitian Woman" by Gauguin, and "Embrace of the Minotaur" by Picasso. Margaret Day Blake died shortly after the exhibit was held, at age 95. At the opening of the exhibition the president of the Woman's Board, Mrs. Glore, stated "Most of us collect for ourselves; Mrs Blake has collected for the Art Institute; and, thus, for everyone."
- Harold Joachim, Drawings given to the Art Institute of Chicago – 1944 to 1970 – by Margaret Day Blake, Art Institute of Chicago 1970.
- Margaret Day Blake with Carl D. Schniewind, curator of Prints and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago, c.1955.
- Harold Joachim, Drawings given to the Art Institute of Chicago – 1944 to 1970 – by Margaret Day Blake, Art Institute of Chicago 1970. Exhibited from April 28 – June 7, 1970 [p.1 of 2].
- Harold Joachim, Drawings given to the Art Institute of Chicago – 1944 to 1970 – by Margaret Day Blake, Art Institute of Chicago 1970. Exhibited from April 28 – June 7, 1970 [p.2 of 2].
- Wedding photograph of Margaret Day Blake and Tiffany Blake, 1905.
- Margaret Day Blake at a young age, n.d.
- Edward Barry "A Look at the Blake Show" Chicago Tribune. May 5, 1970.
- Margaret Day Blake with a Jean-Antoine Watteau drawing from her collection, c.1965.