Georges Seurat's A Sunday on La Grande Jatte is one of the most beloved paintings at the Art Institute. Visitors marvel at its scale (it's over 10 feet wide!), the pointillist technique Seurat used to create it (little dots make up the whole painting!), and just the sheer fact that they're seeing it in person (it doesn't just exist in reproductions?!).
But later this month, we'll be asking you to think about this seemingly familiar painting in a different way. It will be moving from its home in the Impressionist galleries to the special exhibition Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity where we'll encourage you to learn the answer to the question: why is everyone dressed just so? What are we able to tell about these characters from their attire? And how would they have appeared to people in 1884? Were they in style? Passé?
Spoiler alert: the woman on the right was quite en vogue. Scientific analysis has shown us that Seurat increased the size of her bustle several times during the two years he worked on this painting keeping her very on trend. She also wears a bodice with a tiny waist, kid gloves pulled up to the edge of her sleeves, and a parasol with a ribbon, all of which would have been considered very chic.
Image Credit: Georges Seurat. A Sunday on La Grande Jatte -- 1884, 1884-1886. Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection.
4 hours 7 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago COMING SOON—Provoke: Photography in Japan between Protest and Performance, 1960–75
The short-lived Tokyo magazine Provoke is now recognized as a major achievement in world photography of the last 50 years. A major international traveling show, which has Chicago as its only North American venue, this exhibition is the first survey of postwar Japanese art to be organized at the Art Institute and draws heavily on the the museum’s collection—more than 60% of the over 200 items on display belong to the Art Institute.
OPENING JANUARY 28—http://bit.ly/2jMlnUx
7 hours 19 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW ON VIEW—The Italian–born American artist Josef Stella revisited his native Italy in 1922, where he became fascinated by Renaissance painting. Drawing inspiration from Sandro Botticelli, Stella began to produce decorative, detailed, symbolic compositions, such as A Vision (seen here). Stella was enthralled by the tropical plants he observed at the Bronx Botanical Garden in New York, and he imagined an iconic woman growing out of the earth like the towering flowers on either side of her.
The French–born American artist Gaston Lachaise found his own iconic inspiration for the sculpture, Woman (Elevation), in Isabel Dutaud Nagle, whom he later married, telling her, “I want to create a miracle with it… as great as you.” This sculpture represents Lachaise’s first full-scale expression of the idealized female form that would come to dominate his art. Modernists like Lachaise believed preclassical art possessed a primitive vitality absent from later art forms.
See Josef Stella’s A Vision (1925/26) and Gaston Lachaise’s Woman (Elevation) (1912–15; cast 1927)—on view in Gallery 271.
1 day 3 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW OPEN—Rodney McMillian: a great society
Our latest exhibition in the Modern Wing represents the last decade of the artist’s work in video. Grappling with the complexities of class, race, and place in America, Rodney McMillian employs elements of performance, public speaking, oral history—and his interest in the science fiction genre—to expose the social and psychological consequences of economic inequality, endemic racism, and the failed promise of freedom and prosperity for all of its citizens. While McMillian's work engages the often stark realities of history and contemporary culture, it is motivated by the potential for alternative realities and future transformation.
See Rodney McMillian: a great society on view in the Modern Wing through March 26.