Katharine Kuh, Chicago, May 1951. Llewellyn Studio Ltd. Art Institute of Chicago Museum Archives.
Katherine Kuh was the Art Institute’s first curator of Modern Painting and Sculpture as well as one of the first women to have such a significant role in any American museum. She came to the Art Institute in 1943, when she was hired as an interim director of the public affairs office while its regular director served in the military. From that position she went on to lead the Gallery of Art Interpretation at the museum, becoming an associate curator and then full curator in 1954. A tireless champion of modern art, the works acquired by purchase and gift during her tenure––including The Red Armchair––form the the backbone of the Art Institute’s outstanding collection. Below are other pivotal works acquired during the "Kuh era."
Max Beckmann, Self-Portrait, 1937. Gift of Lotta Hess Ackerman and Philip E. Ringer. © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.
Constantin Brâncusi, Leda, c. 1920. Bequest of Katherine S. Dreier. © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York /ADAGP, Paris.
Pablo Picasso, The Red Armchair, December 16, 1931. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Saidenberg. © 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Pablo Picasso, Mother and Child, 1921. Restricted gift of Maymar Corporation, Mrs. Maurice L. Rothschild, and Mr. and Mrs. Chauncey McCormick; Mary and Leigh Block Fund; Ada Turnbull Hertle Endowment; through prior gift of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin E. Hokin. © 2014 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Piet Mondrian, Lozenge Composition with Yellow, Black, Blue, Red, and Gray, 1921. Gift of Edgar Kaufmann, Jr. © Mondrian/Holtzman Trust c/o HCR International, Warrenton VA.
Henri Matisse, Bathers by a River, March 1909–10, May-November 1913, and early spring 1916–October (?) 1917. Charles H. and Mary F. S. Worcester Collection. © 2014 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Francis Bacon, Figure with Meat, 1954. Harriott A. Fox Fund. © 2014 Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. ARS, New York / DACS, London.