The maintenance and long-term preservation of the collection are vital to the Art Institute of Chicago’s purpose. The museum maintains an active conservation program to care for its permanent collection with a staff of 20 conservators and scientists that includes specialists in the care of prints and drawings, paintings, three-dimensional objects, textiles, books, and photographs.
The Department of Conservation was established in 1956 with the appointment of Paintings Conservator Louis Pomerantz to the staff. Facilities for textile paper and photographic conservation were added in later years. The conservation department is also equipped for radiography of paintings and three-dimensional objects and for infrared imaging.
In recent years science has played an increasing role in art conservation, both for devising better conservation treatments and to gain a deeper understanding into the material nature of art objects and of artists' techniques and studio practices. In 2003 the Art Institute of Chicago established a state-of-the-art scientific laboratory, with major funding of $2.75 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and appointed Francesca Casadio as its first conservation scientist. Two years later an associate conservation scientist was added to the staff. The laboratory is equipped with polarized and fluorescence light microscopy, FTIR and Raman microspectroscopies, X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, and GC/MS analysis
12 hours 29 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW ON VIEW—Otis Kaye incorporated currency into a series of works as a commentary on the close relationship between art and commerce. Heart of the Matter shows a torn-up representation of Rembrandt’s Aristotle with a Bust of Homer with a stack of cash hanging from its center. The painting was purchased at the time for a record-breaking price. Kaye sought to critique the commercialism at the “heart” of the art world while paying tribute the great artists who make it possible.
See our new acquisition—Otis Kaye's Heart of the Matter—on view in Gallery 262.
17 hours 10 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW OPEN—To Build a Modern Campus: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and the Illinois Institute of Technology, 1939–1948
Former Bauhaus director Ludwig Mies van der Rohe began designing the IIT campus mere months after arriving in Chicago. To Build a Modern Campus examines both the project’s exemplary expression of modern technology and the social struggle of those displaced by its construction.
2 days 19 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago "We still live in a country where only tragedy teaches us the names of invisible men."
Chicago Reader visits Invisible Man: Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison in Harlem, on view through August 28.