Presenting over 300 objects drawn from public and private collections across North America—as well as the Art Institute’s own important collection of Irish decorative and fine arts—this exhibition is the first to explore the rich and complex art and culture of Ireland during the long 18th century.
The seeds for the exhibition were first planted by historian Desmond Fitzgerald, 29th Knight of Glin, who in his 2007 book, Irish Furniture, outlined his vision for “a major exhibition on Ireland’s decorative arts of the 18th century, which would . . . waken up the world to a staggering array of art that was manufactured in Ireland during this period.” Surprisingly, such an exhibition has never before been undertaken on either side of the Atlantic. Ireland: Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690–1840 expands on the Knight of Glin’s vision to also include paintings, sculpture, and architecture. Irish book bindings, ceramics, glass, furniture, metalwork, musical instruments, and textiles are also featured in a series of “Made in Ireland” galleries highlighting Dublin, Cork, Belfast, and Waterford as centers of production.
Ever since the agricultural depression in the British Isles in the 1880s, many extraordinary objects from Ireland have come to the United States and Canada. Today they are scattered in locations from Honolulu to Boston and from Ottawa, Ontario, to San Antonio, Texas. These often little-known objects come together for the first time in this pioneering exhibition and the accompanying catalogue, which includes the latest scholarship by some of Ireland’s most respected historians. Works of art representing 24 Irish counties are installed in ten galleries focusing on such themes as the history of Ireland through portraiture; Dublin as a center of commerce, culture, and government; Irish landscapes and tourism; and life in the Irish country house.
The Art Institute of Chicago is not only the first but the only venue to present this show celebrating the Irish as artists, collectors, and patrons—a fitting tribute to Chicago’s own deep Irish roots.
Sponsors Lead funding has been generously provided by Kay and Fred Krehbiel, Jay Frederick Krehbiel, and the Krehbiel Family Foundation.
Lead Corporate Sponsor
Major support has been provided by Molex, Incorporated; Neville and John Bryan; Caryn and King Harris, The Harris Family Foundation; the Eloise W. Martin Legacy Fund; and R. J. O'Brien & Associates LLC and Patricia and John O’ Brien.
Additional support has been generously contributed by The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Maureen O’Malley Savaiano, The Buchanan Family Foundation in honor of Katherine H. Buchanan, Pamela and Roger Hull, Patrick and Aimee Butler Foundation, Richard and Ann Carr, Art and Diane Kelly, Maureen and Edward Byron Smith Jr. Family Endowment Fund, Doris and Stanford Marks, Philip and Betsey C. Caldwell Foundation, the Irish Georgian Society, Shawn M. Donnelley and Christopher M. Kelly, The Felicia Fund, Inc., Ellen and Jim O'Connor, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, Ronald and Rose Wanke, Gloria G. Gottlieb, and Steven J. Zick.
Annual support for Art Institute exhibitions is provided by the Exhibitions Trust: Kenneth and Anne Griffin, Robert M. and Diane v. S. Levy, Thomas and Margot Pritzker, and the Earl and Brenda Shapiro Foundation.
4 hours 43 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago CLOSING SOON—Modern Velvet: A Sense of Luxury in the Age of Industry
With their plush, inviting, and varied textures, the velvets featured in this exhibition showcase the diversity of modern velvet as well as the effects of industry on its production. As industrial innovations at the turn of the 19th century allowed for faster production and encouraged the use of less costly materials, designers and manufacturers of velvet sought to maintain its association with wealth, luxury, and splendor.
Learn how this elegant fabric has inspired designers for centuries, with a wide range of examples from the 19th century to present day—closing March 19.
15 hours 42 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago Just like the museum's collection comes from artists around the world, so does the Museum Shop’s assortment of products. We source exclusive products from artisans that are inspired by the cultures, mediums, and techniques represented in our museum collection. View our assortment of unique items from India.
1 day 50 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW ON VIEW—Provoke: Photography in Japan between Protest and Performance, 1960–1975
Provoke was the English-language title for a Japanese photo magazine of the late 1960s; the name also designates the group of photographers and writers who put that formative publication together. Their influence has grown so great that the “Provoke era” is now international shorthand for sixties counterculture in Japan. This generational uprising swelled from the massive unrest, and sheer cultural disorientation, that accompanied the country’s transformation from ruined empire to superpower after World War II.
This exhibition places the achievements of Provoke alongside those of protesters and protest collectives, who made riveting photobooks, films, and photographs throughout the same era, as well as artists and art collectives keenly interested in live performance and its relation to the mechanical image.