Every year, the Art Institute adds to its permanent collection. If you're curious about when a work made its début, you can tell from the accession number on the label. For example, American Gothic's accession number is 1930.934, showing that it was the 934th work acquired in 1930 (coincidentally, also the year it was painted). For a loan, the order is reversed, and right near American Gothic you can see Charles Sheeler's Bucks County Barn, 1940, which is on loan from the Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection. Its number is 409.2005.
2009 was a great year! Here are a few noteworthy pieces currently on display.
Greek Funerary Fragment, 2009.76
Leon of Halai reaches to hold the hand of the seated Demagora, while Helike, who may be their daughter, looks on. Carved in the 5th century BCE, the fragment was once part of a tall monument shaped like a lekythos, a vessel for storing precious oils.
English Side Chair, 2009.127
The ornate decoration on this sturdy chair was inspired by Egyptian motifs. It's based on designs published by Thomas Hope, an influential antiquarian, art collector, and aesthete of the early 19th century.
Man Ray, Cadeau, 2009.129
Talk about a pressing problem! This is a 1963 edition of a work of art created by Man Ray in 1921. The original was lost, but several reproductions were authorized by the artist before his death in 1976. Like Marcel Duchamp's Readymades, the authenticity of the artwork lies in its conception, rather than in its fabrication.
Greek, Halai (outside Athens). Attributed to the Demagora Master. Fragment of a Funerary Monument, 4th century B.C. Katherine K. Adler Memorial, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Alexander Classical Endowment, Costa A. Pandaleon Greek Art Memorial, and David P. Earle III funds, 2009.76.
Side Chair, c. 1802-1810. Robert Allen Purchase Fund; Mary Waller Langhorne Memorial Fund; John and Neville Bryan Fund, 2009.127.
Man Ray. Cadeau (Gift), 1963 (1921 original now lost). Through prior gift of Mrs. Gilbert W. Chapman, 2009.129.