Georges Seurat's A Sunday on La Grande Jatte rarely moves. As one of the masterpieces in the collection, it's almost always in the galleries for your viewing enjoyment. It's also one of the very few works in the Art Institute's collection that absolutely does not travel.
In fact, the last time it left the museum was over 50 years ago. The occasion was a Seurat retrospective that began at the Art Institute and traveled to the Museum of Modern Art in March 1958. The painting was famously insured for one million dollars and accompanied by a conservator and an armed guard during its trip. The exhibition was a hit in New York and all was fine until Tuesday, April 15. On that day, workmen were busy installing a new air-conditioning system and when they left for lunch, combustible painting materials close by caught fire. The blaze quickly spread and although the consequences were severe—one electrician was killed, dozens of firefighters were injured, and a Monet water lily was destroyed—the fire narrowly avoided La Grande Jatte, which was quickly ushered to another building. After that close call, trustees made the decision that the painting would never again leave Chicago.
So here it stays. But it will be included inour upcoming Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity, so just this morning, a multitude of art handlers, conservators, and the exhibition's collection manager had the complicated task of moving this 10-foot painting from our Impressionist galleries to Regenstein Hall, where the exhibition will open to members on June 23 and to the public on June 26. We're pleased that the move was successful and here are some pictures of the journey. . .
Image Credit: Georges Seurat. A Sunday on La Grande Jatte--1884, 1884-86. Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection
3 hours 11 min 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.
5 hours 33 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room
$10 per member
Grab your yoga mat and come dressed to stretch. Only members get this unique opportunity to do yoga in the museum. All experience levels are welcome.
Please bring your own mat. Enter at the Columbus Drive Entrance, 230 S. Columbus Drive.
7 hours 47 sec ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW OPEN—Natural Allusions
For Chinese painters, images of plants and animals could convey human aspirations, seasonal themes, or wishes for well-being and good fortune. This focused exhibition features 17th- and 18th-century handscrolls reflecting a variety of artistic traditions as well as a selection of round, handled fans made for wealthy and fashionable men and women of 19th-century Shanghai.