Just in time for the 2008 holiday season, the Art Institute of Chicago
's famed Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collection will be fully reinstalled in 11 newly renovated and expanded galleries by December 19, 2008. Masterpieces by artists such as Gustave Caillebotte, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, and Vincent van Gogh --many of which were loaned to the Kimbell Art Museum in Ft. Worth, Texas, and enjoyed by approximately 170,000 visitors there during a four-month stay--have returned to Chicago. Their new galleries now feature more than 180 works on view and transform the way visitors experience this remarkable collection. Rearranged to more clearly and completely tell the story of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, these new Art Institute galleries offer an even richer presentation of this pivotal art movement of the late 19th century.
In this new installation of the Art Institute's Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collection, visitors will once again be greeted at the top of the Woman's Board Grand Staircase by Gustave Caillebotte's monumental Paris Street, Rainy Day and other iconic paintings from the height of the Impressionist period in the 1870s. Works that were once located in galleries south of this central space will now stretch east through upper Gunsaulus Hall, completing the Allerton Building's new chronological circuit of European painting from the 15th through the 19th centuries. Two additional galleries and nearly 5,000 square feet of extra space now house the paintings that had been on loan during the renovation as well as European decorative arts and recently acquired objects that have never before been displayed. The new design offers a more comprehensive view of creative expression during this seminal period of art history.
Especially notable among the new objects on view are several three-dimensional works, including Le Grenouillard (Frog-Man), a patinated plaster by symbolist artist Jean-Joseph Carriès, and Earthly Paradise, a buffet cabinet carved and painted by Paul Gauguin and É;mile Bernard in 1888. A number of the museum's best-known paintings have also been reframed, including Edgar Degas's Young Spartan Girls, Claude Monet's Gare Saint-Lazare, and Pierre Auguste Renoir's Woman at the Piano. These works will now be displayed in their original historic frames. The new suite of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist galleries is completed by a selection of Wiener Werkstätte decorative arts with paintings by Swiss artist Fernand Hodler from around 1900, creating an ideal stepping-stone to the collections of 20th- and 21st-century art that will find their new home in the Modern Wing.
The reinstallation of the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collection is one of the signal events leading up to the opening of the Modern Wing on May 16, 2009. It is the movement of the collections of contemporary art, modern art, architecture and design, and photography into the Modern Wing that allowed for the rare opportunity to reinstall these Allerton galleries, many of which had not been renovated in 30 years.
The return of this cherished Art Institute collection will bring with it a host of related events, including gallery tours of selected works on December 22, 24, and 29, 2008; and the first "After Dark" art party of the New Year on January 23, 2009.