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Collecting for Chicago: Prints, Drawings, and Patronage

June 14, 2008–September 14, 2008
Galleries 124–127

Collecting for Chicago, the inaugural exhibition of the Jean and Steven Goldman Prints and Drawings Galleries in the Richard and Mary L. Gray Wing, offers a survey of some of the significant print and drawing acquisitions that have been made for the museum over the past 40 years. Highlighting five families and their relationships to the museum, this assemblage celebrates the tradition of patronage that has made the Art Institute’s collection of prints and drawings one of the best and most celebrated in the world.

The exhibition demonstrates the different, even divergent, visions pursued by these outstanding collectors. Works given by Joan and Stanley Freehling reflect their far-ranging interests, from German Expressionism to contemporary printmaking. Gifts from Quinn E. Delaney showcase an impressive group of postwar works on paper. Included is the iconic 1967 portfolio Graphics of the Capitalistic Realism, which showcases works by Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Wolf Vostell, and other young Germans who were influenced by American Pop artists. Betty Regenstein Hartman has been particularly active in building the Art Institute’s holdings of works by African American and self-taught artists, including signal images by Elizabeth Catlett, Martín Ramírez, and Charles White. British printmakers and draftsmen, French and Italian Neoclassical artists, and other Old Master and 19th-century French artists are some of the collecting interests of Mary Adams Young and her late husband, George B. Young. Their gift reflects a wide variety of media and periods. And Dorothy and Alan Press have been active supporters of the Department of Prints and Drawings for almost 40 years. Initially they supported acquisitions of works by German Expressionists but later helped to enrich the department’s contemporary holdings of works on paper, including such artists as Robert Crumb, Ken Price, Ed Ruscha, and H. C. Westermann.

Works from the exhibition are displayed in the brand new Jean and Steven Goldman Prints and Drawings Galleries in the Richard and Mary Gray L. Wing, adjacent to the Goldman Prints and Drawings Study Center. Designed by Kulapat Yantrasast, principal architect of Workshop Hakomori Yantrasast (wHY), six galleries totaling 3,500 square feet of gallery space offer visitors the chance to experience a dynamic and comprehensive overview of the department’s holdings.


This exhibition is made possible by Lesley and Janice Lederer in memory of their parents, Carl and Lillian Lederer.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Two Women, 1912. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Freehling.