University of Dubuque Goes to Chicago

>> 25 Masterworks at the Art Institute of Chicago <<

>> Alan Garfield's Cell Phone: 563-599-5205 <<

 7am  Board (crawl sleepily) onto the Coach.
 7am - 11am  In transit to Chicago. Stop for McD's at Winnebago Corners.
 11:30 - 12:30pm  Tour Art Institute of Chicago. 20 top works, or so.
 12:30pm - 2:45pm  It's Chicago. Go shopping. Eat lunch. Walk around.  Stay at the Art Institute.
 Go walk the so-called "Magnificent Mile".
 2:45pm - 3pm  Meet inside entrance to AIC. Use nice, clean restrooms. Board the Coach.
 3pm - 8pm  In transit back to Dubuque. Stop for greasy dinner. By the way, we leave at
 3pm, so be there or be  prepared to walk.
The Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60603
(312) 443-3600

Museum Hours
Monday 10:30-4:30
Tuesday 10:30-8:00
Wednesday 10:30-4:30
Thursday 10:30-4:30
Friday 10:30-4:30
Saturday 10:00-5:00
Sunday 10:00-5:00

The museum is located at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Adams Street (111 S. Michigan Avenue), on the eastern edge of Chicago's famous downtown "Loop." The Art Institute, which comprises both a museum and a school, found its permanent home on Michigan Avenue in 1893. The original, core beaux-arts building, designed by Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge, was built for the World's Columbian Exposition.

The museum houses more than 300,000 works of art within its 10 curatorial departments. Among its great treasures are the legendary masterpieces A Sunday Afternoon on La Grand Jatte--1884 by Georges Seurat, American Gothic by Grant Wood, Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, and 33 paintings by Claude Monet.

 Mater Dolorosa (Sorrowing Madonna)Dieric Bouts

Mater Dolorosa (Sorrowing Madonna)

Oil on panel, 1470/75; 38.8 x 30.4 cm
Chester D. Tripp Fund; Chester D. Tripp Endowment; through prior acquisition of Max and Leola Epstein, 1986.998

The great Netherlandish painters combined traditional forms expressing medieval piety with sensitive observation of the natural world to create new, movingly human devotional images such as Dieric Bouts's Mater Dolorosa (Sorrowing Madonna). By focusing on the head and hands of the Virgin against a simple gold background, Bouts gave the painting the detached and timeless quality of an icon. Yet he sensitively portrayed the Virgin's humanity; her eyes brimming over with tears, she contemplates her son's suffering with a tender, absorbed gaze.

The Assumption of the VirginEl Greco

The Assumption of the Virgin

Oil on canvas, 1577; 401.4 x 228.7 cm
Gift of Nancy Atwood Sprague in memory of Albert Arnold Sprague, 1906.99

The Assumption of the Virgin is one of seven paintings El Greco did for a monumental altarpiece, his first commissioned work in Toledo, Spain. The large, crowded canvas seems barely to contain the energy of the gesturing apostles and angels and the majestic figure of the Virgin ascending to heaven on a crescent moon. The composition is divided into earthly and heavenly zones that are connected by a complex network of gestures and poses and a palette of silvery, almost supernatural colors. This is one of the first works by El Greco to enter an American museum.


Cupid ChastisedBartolomeo Manfredi

Cupid Chastised

Oil on canvas, 1605/10; 175.3 x 130.6 cm
Charles H. and Mary F. S. Worcester Collection, 1947.585

Bartolomeo Manfredi chose not to interpret the stories of the Bible and classical mythology as idealized subjects enacted by heroic protagonists but rather as events that happened, or could have happened, to ordinary people. In Cupid Chastised, Mars, the god of war, beats Cupid for having caused his affair with Venus, which exposed him to the derision of the other gods. Using dramatic light effects and depicting the action as close to the viewer as possible, Manfredi conveyed with great immediacy and power this tale of domestic discord, which also symbolizes the eternal conflict between love and war.


Old Man with a Gold ChainRembrandt Harmensz van Rijn

Old Man with a Gold Chain

Oil on panel, c. 1631; 83.1 x 75.7 cm
Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Kimball Collection, 1922.4467

Old Man with a Gold Chain depicts one of Rembrandt's favorite models from his early years. The unidentified man's proud, weathered face is illuminated by Rembrandt's evocative and dramatic light and he wears the opulent costume (one of many the artist kept in his studio for such models) with dignity and ease. Through images such as this, the ambitious, young Rembrandt displayed his technical skills and revealed concerns that would increasingly absorb him, such as the nobility of the spirit and the wisdom of age.

Fishing Boats with Hucksters Bargaining for FishJoseph Mallard William Turner

Fishing Boats with Hucksters
Bargaining for Fish

Oil on canvas, 1837/38; 174.5 x 224.9 cm
Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Kimball Collection, 1922.4472

Much of the Englishman J. M. W. Turner's career was devoted to increasingly abstract renderings of dramatic atmospheric effects. The low horizon line in Fishing Boats with Hucksters Bargaining for Fish, as well as the subject itself, derives from Turner's exposure during his formative years to 17th-century Dutch sea paintings. But the vulnerability of men and boats under ominous skies and in rough seas and the impotence of man in the face of the overwhelming power of nature are the real subjects of Turner's Romantic image.

The Mocking of ChristEdouard Manet

The Mocking of Christ

Oil on canvas, 1865; 190.3 x 148.3 cm
Gift of James Deering, 1925.703

Edouard Manet is known today as a painter of modern life. The Mocking of Christ is a rare religious picture whose subject matter, heroic scale, and dark colors relate it to Old Master paintings. The treatment of this traditional subject, however, is unconventional. We are confronted, like the three tormentors, with a naked man whose fate is no longer his to determine. The raw, powerful impression of the picture is enhanced by Manet's use of stark contrasts, flat forms, and thick paint.

On the Bank of the Seine, BennecourtClaude Monet

On the Bank of the Seine, Bennecourt

Oil on canvas, 1868; 81.5 x 100.7 cm
Potter Palmer Collection, 1922.427

Included among the Art Institute's great collection of French Impressionism is one of the largest group of works outside France by Claude Monet. Concentrating on outdoor scenes of everyday life, he attempted, in such works as On the Bank of the Seine, Bennecourt, to capture conditions of light and atmosphere with bright colors and lively, broken brush strokes. By boldly applying broad areas of color, Monet defined clearly, without exact detail, the dappled patterns of light and shade on the seated figure and boat, the reflections of the calm river, and the strong sunlight on the sleepy village opposite.

Paris Street; Rainy DayGustave Caillebotte

Paris Street; Rainy Day

Oil on canvas, 1877; 212.2 x 276.2 cm
Charles H. and Mary F. S. Worcester Collection, 1964.336

Gustave Caillebotte began his career by painting several very large pictures of the newly constructed neighborhoods of northern Paris. One of these, Paris Street; Rainy Day, shows a complex intersection near the Gare Saint-Lazare. A meticulous and highly intellectual artist, Caillebotte based the painting's careful organization on mathematical perspective. Despite its highly organized structure and finished surface, Paris Street; Rainy Day expresses the momentary, the casual, and the atmospheric as effectively as the paintings by Monet, Renoir, and Degas included here. This monumental urban view, which measures almost seven by ten feet, is considered the artist's masterpiece. The painting dominated the celebrated Impressionist exhibition of 1877, largely organized by Caillebotte himself.

The Herring NetWinslow Homer

The Herring Net

Oil on canvas, 1885; 76.5 x 122.9 cm
Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection, 1937.1039

In 1883, Winslow Homer moved to Prout's Neck, Maine, and proceeded to create a series of images of the sea unparalleled in American art. Long inspired by the subject, Homer had spent summers visiting New England fishing villages during the 1870s and, in 1881, he made a trip to a fishing community in Tynemouth, England, that fundamentally changed his work and life. His late paintings focused almost exclusively on mankind's age-old contest with nature. Here in The Herring Net, Homer depicted the heroic efforts of fishermen at their daily work, hauling in an abundant catch of herring. In a small dory, two figures loom large against the mist on the horizon, through which the sails of the mother schooners are dimly visible. While one fisherman hauls in the netted and glistening herring, the other, a boy, unloads the catch. With teamwork so necessary for survival, both strive to steady the precarious boat as it rides the incoming swells.

Millinery ShopEdgar Degas

The Millinery Shop

Oil on canvas, 1884/90; 100 x 110.7 cm
Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Larned Coburn Memorial Collection, 1933.428

While Edgar Degas' compositions seem casual and spontaneous, nothing could be more considered or contrived than his works. One of the 19th century's greatest draftsmen, he based paintings such as his Millinery Shop on careful and repeated observation, making many drawings which he then synthesized in the studio. This composition, with its unusual croppings and tilted perspective, was calculated to suggest the viewpoint of a passerby, perhaps looking down at the milliner through a window. The young Parisian woman, absorbed in the fabrication of a new hat, and the brightly colored, finished bonnets on display next to her are a metaphor for the effort and skill that underlie all of Degas' art.

 A Sunday on La Grande Jatte –1884Georges Seurat

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte–1884

Oil on canvas, 1884-86; 207.6 x 308 cm;
Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection, 1926.224

"Bedlam," "scandal," and "hilarity" were among the epithets used to describe what is now considered Georges Seurat's greatest work, and one of the most remarkable paintings of the 19th century, when it was first exhibited in Paris. Seurat labored extensively over A Sunday on La Grande Jatte–1884, reworking the original as well as completing numerous preliminary drawings and oil sketches (the Art Institute has one such sketch and two drawings). With what resembles scientific precision, he tackled the issues of color, light, and form. Inspired by research in optical and color theory, he juxtaposed tiny dots of colors that, through optical blending, form a single and, Seurat believed, more brilliantly luminous hue in the viewer's eye. To make the experience of the painting even more intense, he surrounded it with a frame of painted dots, which in turn he enclosed with a pure white, wooden frame, which is how the painting is exhibited today.

Self-PortraitVincent van Gogh


Oil on artist's board mounted on cradled panel, 1886/87; 41 x 32.5 cm
Joseph Winterbotham Collection, 1954.326

Vincent van Gogh painted 24 self-portraits during a two-year stay in Paris (1886-88). In this Self-Portrait, the Dutch artist employed Seurat's dot technique. But what for Seurat was a method based on science became in van Gogh's hands an intense emotional language. Here the red and green dots are disturbing and totally in keeping with the nervous tension evident in van Gogh's gaze. Such self-portraits reveal the profound insecurity and frustration of a gifted man, whose odyssey in search of acceptance and peace of mind is powerfully expressed in his work.

Ancestors of TehamanaPaul Gauguin

Ancestors of Tehamana

Oil on canvas, 1893; 76.3 x 54.3 cm
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Deering McCormick, 1980.613

Paul Gauguin turned away from the Impressionist desire to show the world as we see it. By removing himself to such remote places as Martinique, Brittany, and, finally, Tahiti, he rejected the modern world and what he considered to be its tired and decadent aesthetic traditions. As its title indicates, Ancestors of Tehamana is not just a portrait of the artist's Tahitian mistress, but a study of the mythic elements of non-Western culture. Posed somewhat stiffly, the beautiful young woman seems to listen intently to the messages of the ancestor spirits represented symbolically in the relief behind her.

The BathMary Cassatt

The Bath

Oil on canvas, 1891-92; 100.3 x 66.1 cm
Robert A. Waller Fund, 1910.2


Responding to the work of Edgar Degas and Japanese prints, Mary Cassatt created unorthodox compositions such as The Bathby using then-unconventional devices like an elevated vantage point, cropping of forms, and bold outlines. In her portrayals of women and children, Cassatt was able to avoid sentimentality because of her natural reserve and her observation of the treatment of the same subject in Japanese prints. In The Bath, the crisp, clear forms and lively patterns are as appealing as the private, domestic moment we are permitted to witness.


At the Moulin RougeHenri de Toulouse-Lautrec

At the Moulin Rouge

Oil on canvas, 1895; 123 x 141 cm
Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection, 1928.610
Like van Gogh and Gauguin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec has become a legend, and his biography is as intriguing as his art. He chose to immerse himself in an aspect of modern life far removed from the healthy, outdoor scenes of the Impressionists, the spirited nightlife of Montmartre. In At the Moulin Rouge, he focused on a group of friends, clientele and employees of Paris's most famous dance hall (the artist included himself in the background). The composition, with its oblique perspective, acid palette, bizarre artificial lighting, and mask-like faces, is a haunting and unforgettable image of the dissolute Bohemian life of turn-of-the-century Paris.

The Basket of ApplesPaul Cézanne

The Basket of Apples

Oil on canvas, c. 1895; 65 x 80 cm
Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection, 1926.252

Paul Cézanne was the greatest still-life painter of the 19th century, and his contributions to that genre played a principal role in the birth of Cubism. The French painter was drawn to still life not to suggest the touch or taste of the objects depicted but rather to analyze the solidity and essential geometry inherent in each form. Far from being static, such compositions as The Basket of Apples, with its shifting planes (note the table top and complex folds of the drapery) and brushwork, possess a sense of potential movement. Here Cézanne achieved an image that is at once balanced and dynamic, two and three dimensional.

The Old GuitaristPablo Picasso

The Old Guitarist

Oil on panel, 1903; 122.9 x 82.6 cm
Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection, 1926.253

No artist has dominated the 20th century in the way Pablo Picasso has. This extraordinarily gifted Spanish artist, working most of his life in France, produced a voluminous body of work in a variety of styles that influenced nearly every major trend of the first half of this century. When Picasso painted The Old Guitarist in 1903, the young and struggling artist was following in the footsteps of Toulouse-Lautrec and other modern artists. His subjects were society's outcasts, lonely figures whom he rendered in an all-pervasive blue that creates a melancholy mood

Bathers by a RiverHenri Matisse

Bathers by a River

Oil on canvas, 1909, 1913, and 1916; 259.7 x 389.9 cm
Charles H. and Mary F. S. Worcester Collection, 1953.158

In the monumental Bathers by a River, French artist Henri Matisse chose a traditional subject, the nude in a natural setting, and reinterpreted it in a totally contemporary way. The figures have been radically simplified, their forms defined in heavy, bold outlines; the background and river have become a series of vertical bands, the foliage a patterned field of arc-like shapes. The flattened space and muted colors indicate Matisse's awareness of Cubism, while the curved, sensuous lines and strong color contrasts reveal his highly personal, expressive vision.

Daniel-Henry KahnweilerPablo Picasso

Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler

Oil on canvas, 1910; 101.1 x 73.3 cm
Gift of Mrs. Gilbert W. Chapman, in memory of Charles B. Goodspeed, 1948.561

Cubism challenged the tradition of considering painting as an orderly spatial unity that mirrors reality. Instead of seeing painted equivalents of recognizable things, the viewer was presented with objects represented simultaneously from several points of view. In Picasso's portrait of his dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, the subject's head, suit, hands, and a still life to the left remain identifiable. But they have been broken up into planes that have been flattened and arranged across the picture surface as if to remind us that this portrait of Kahnweiler is, after all, a painting.

Diagonal CompositionPiet Mondrian

Diagonal Composition

Oil on canvas, 1921; 60 x 60 cm
Gift of Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., 1957.307

The Dutch artist Piet Mondrian evolved an extreme abstract language to evoke the unity and order of nature by reducing natural forms to their purest linear and colored equivalents. He believed that vertical and horizontal lines and primary colors expressed universal truths. In Diagonal Composition, the artist turned the square canvas on edge to create a dynamic relationship between the rectilinear composition and diagonal lines of the work's edges. While Mondrian's art may seem simple at first glance, it is the result of constant adjustment to achieve absolute balance and harmony.

American GothicGrant Wood

American Gothic

Oil on beaverboard, 1930; 74.3 x 62.4 cm
Friends of American Art Collection, 1930.934

Grant Wood adopted the precise realism of 15th-century northern European artists, but his native Iowa provided the artist with his subject matter. American Gothic depicts a farmer and his spinster daughter posing before their house, whose gabled window and tracery, in the American Gothic style, inspired the painting's title. In fact, the models were the painter's sister and their dentist. Wood was accused of creating in this work a satire on the intolerance and rigidity that the insular nature of rural life can produce; he denied the accusation. American Gothic is an image that epitomizes the Puritan ethic and virtues that he believed dignified the Midwestern character.

Time TransfixedRené Magritte

Time Transfixed

Oil on canvas, 1938; 147 x 98.7 cm
Joseph Winterbotham Collection, 1970.426

From the 1920s on, the Surrealists, following laws of chance and the inspiration of dreams, sought to weave inner and outer experience into a totally new expression of reality. In his witty paintings, the Belgian René Magritte created absurd juxtapositions and visual puns. His Time Transfixed features improbable elements, a locomotive emerging from a fireplace, clock, empty candlesticks, plain room, and mirror without reflections, all painted with a realistic technique that paradoxically heightens the mysterious quality of this vivid but dreamlike image.

NighthawksEdward Hopper


Oil on canvas, 1942; 84.1 x 152.4 cm
Friends of American Art Collection, 1942.51

Edward Hopper said that Nighthawks was inspired by "a restaurant on New York's Greenwich Avenue where two streets meet," but the image, with its carefully constructed composition and lack of narrative, has a timeless quality that transcends its particular locale. One of the best-known images of 20th-century art, the painting depicts an all-night diner in which three customers, all lost in their own thoughts, have congregated. Fluorescent lights had just come into use in the early 1940s, and the all-night diner emits an eerie glow, like a beacon on the dark street corner. Hopper eliminated any reference to an entrance, and the viewer, drawn to the light, is shut out from the scene by a seamless wedge of glass. The four anonymous and uncommunicative night owls seem as separate and remote from the viewer as they are from one another.

ExcavationWillem de Kooning


Oil on canvas, 1950; 206.2 x 257.3 cm
Mr. and Mrs. Frank G. Logan Purchase Prize; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Noah Goldowsky and Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., 1952.1

Abstract Expressionism was the first American movement to have worldwide impact. In the years after World War II, a group of Americans, influenced by the European Surrealists and Expressionists, created paintings in which the very weight, shape, and direction of paint and brushwork embody feelings and meanings. In Willem de Kooning's Excavation, the sheer energy of the painted surface binds together shattered figural and natural forms. Whatever he specifically intended by his title for this work, it certainly reflects his painting process of intensively working his forms and surface over and over until the desired effect is achieved.

MaoAndy Warhol


Acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas, 1973;
448.3 x 346.7 cm
Mr. and Mrs. Frank G. Logan Purchase Prize Fund, Wilson L. Mead Fund, 1974.230

The American Pop artist Andy Warhol strove to examine every aspect of mass culture through his silk-screened images of commercial products, celebrities, and political figures. Nearly fifteen feet in height, this towering portrait of Mao, the Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong (1893-1976), mirrors the representations of political figures that were displayed throughout China. Contradicting Warhol's claim that he made art free of personal expression, this striking portrait, with its flamboyant brushwork and colors, is a powerful painterly statement.