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Charles Hutchinson and the Art Institute of Chicago

Vol. 36, no. 1
Spring 2010
In print
Softcover $18.95
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Established in 1879 from the remnants of a foundering art academy, the Art Institute grew into a sturdy institution largely through the efforts of Chicago businessman and philanthropist Charles L. Hutchinson, who served as its president from 1882 to 1924. This issue of Museum Studies, written by cultural historian Celia Hilliard, charts the history of Hutchinson's remarkable involvement with the museum, shedding light on the tide of cultural philanthropy that swept across late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century America.

Hilliard describes how Hutchinson moved with assurance through the essential work of assembling financial backing to anchor the museum in suitable quarters and organize notable exhibitions. Once the museum had been grounded in public and critical support, he embarked on a worldwide hunt for exciting acquisitions. As a cultural leader, he was influential on both a local and national level, effective in the face of economic uncertainty, clashing priorities, ignorance, and indifference. Hilliard's text, which brings Hutchinson and the world of Gilded Age Chicago vividly to life, is illustrated by over 80 photographs, many of them archival images never before published.

Table of Contents:

James Cuno
Celia Hilliard
“The Original Art Impulse”
“A Bricks and Mortar Man”
“Picture Excitement”
“A Committee of Two”
“The Constant Improver”
“His Most Permanent Monument”

The Art Institute of Chicago, 2010
8 3/8 x 10 1/4 in.; 96 pages; 75 illustrations
ISBN: 978-0-86559-238-4