Friday, June 17, 2005

The Art Institute of Chicago

I love this place!

Notes on specific things I saw :

c.1750 huge blue/white tin glazed earthenware from Puebla, Mexico, Allie (Allie spent a summer semester studying at a university in Puebla) - several pieces

The Trading Room from the Chicago Stock Exchange, designed by Adler and Sullivan in 1893 - restored in the late 70's. It is a fabulous room - nice woodwork - huge octagonal pillars of faux multi-color marble with ornate gold filigree at the tops - wonderful design all around the top of the room, and also on the middle section of the vaulted and beamed ceiling, in shades of green and melon - to me it is a mix of Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts with a Moorish flavor. This was painted on canvas and mounted on the walls and ceiling. Part of the ceiling is stained glass - in green and melon hexagons. I just had to go visit this room after meeting the fellow on the train who told me he did the refinishing of the woodwork and set the place on fire.

Charles Rohlfs 1853 - 1936 - Hall chair c.1900, Buffalo, NY, great, interesting design - oak with original black stain

Tiffany silver pitcher c.1878 silver, gold, copper, iris, dragonflies, fish. A wonderful piece - true art in silver.

Tiffany 1880/90 tiny coffeepot silver/pearls/chalcedony/ivory - beautiful, intricate flower design (Turkish cofee).

Sanford Robinson Gifford 1823-1880 - "Morning in the Hudson", Haverstraw Bay 1866 , and "Hunter Mountain, Twilight" 1866

Thomas Cole - his dark paintings reminiscent of mine.

Everytime I go to the Art Institute, I realize I need to go again. It makes you crazy. I pick out things I want to see, in certain areas, and on the way to that area, I get sidetracked looking at other things I like.

This time I concentrated on American Art - 1800's to early 1900's, including paintings, silver, furniture, glass, pottery. I wanted to see what they have from the Hudson River School. I am still trying to decide who the artists might have been of three paintings I own. I love the Hudson River School and I have for over thirty years. My paintings have the right "feel", and I have researched for a long time, but I am not an expert.

Orrefors "Celestial Sphere" 1929 Designer Edward Hald (1883 - 1980) - glass with wheel engraved decoration, pewter and brass, celestial figures, constellations in the glass, zodiac signs on base.

I just picked up a piece of Orrefors Sunday from the people selling beside me. It is a very heavy opalescent glass shallow bowl - pale green cast - signed and with the design number. The bottom is scratched from being moved around on a table top over many years, but it can be polished. It's the first piece I have ever had.

Thorne Miniature Rooms - a real treat, for those of all ages. Totally amazing!

The last time I was at the Institute, I concentrated on the Impressionists, the European Galleries, Architecture (very large Frank Lloyd Wright window collection), the Super famous Chagall Windows. On the way from here to there during both visits, I saw many other items of note, ancient art, Asian antiquities, armor, glass, jewelry. What an incredible place!

I enjoyed a peaceful lunch in the garden. There are tables around a large fountain area with four sculptures of mythological sea beings carrying fish and shells. It is a beautiful setting, very pleasant under the trees- a great European feel in a courtyard with huge arched windows of the galleries all around. The second floor has a balcony type area with sculptured posts, on all sides.

I took the free trolley to get to the Institute and also to get back to Union Station. The trolley stops right outside the station, so it is definitely convenient. I had checked my luggage first in the Metropolitan Lounge. I could do that because I was a sleeper passenger, and I saved myself the big expense of a locker. It really adds up over a period of several hours.

I sure wish we hadn't been at a hotel so far out of the city, because I would have been out sightseeing first thing this morning. I lost a lot of hours, although I got very tired walking around in the Museum. I guess I am really getting old. I would have loved to spend more time sitting in the garden court during lunch, just enjoying and soaking it all up, but I needed to see as much art as possible.

Traveling along beside Lake Michigan now - was pretty until we reached the steel plants and refineries. Now the stench is horrific and the black cloud hanging over the water isn't very scenic.

You would like this, Craig - grain elevators.


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