After much longing, anticipation, and innumerable people asking where all the Matisse went, we reopened the third floor of our Modern Wing in mid-April. Our world-renowned collection of modern art spent a sunny winter in Ft. Worth, Texas on loan to the Kimbell Art Museum while we made a few necessary improvements to the building (ranging from painting and floor work to recalibrating the lighting system to ensure consistent light levels in all galleries). While having all that art available to Chicagoans again is joyous enough, we hate to let a good homecoming go to waste. So we decided to mark the occasion with the publication of The Age of Picasso and Matisse: Modern Art at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Our Modern European holdings were long overdue for the proper catalogue treatment all good art deserves, and this is it. The book kicks off with a history of the collection written by curator Stephanie D'Alessandro, starting with the 1913 Chicago presentation of the International Exhibition of Modern Art (aka the Armory Show). Inspired by the presentation, Chicago businessman Joseph Winterbotham provided the funds for the Art Institute to buy thirty-five works by contemporary European painters. And so it began. (You have to buy the book to read the rest.)
A quick skim through the catalogue hints at the rest of the story, though—150 paintings and sculpture by Klee, Léger, Brâncusi, Kandinsky, Mondrian, Ernst, Cornell, Chagall, Malevich, and oh so many more (like Picasso and Matisse, if the title of the book wasn't enough of a giveaway).
Available now in the Museum Shop, The Age of Picasso and Matisse is a perfect companion to the Art Institute's new iOS App, Closer, available in the App Store! Get both, and get yourself to the third floor of the Modern Wing ASAP!