And that word is "amazing." As I noted earlier, I took the train into the city and spent the day at the Art Institute of Chicago. It was an absolutely great time and though a massive amount of walking, well worth it. It had been much too long since I'd been there, and what's so impressive is not just the collection (which is other worldly), but how it's all laid out, and the building itself. I've never cared for the Los Angeles County Art Museum, expect when they occasionally get a good traveling exhibit. I do like the new Getty, but it pales in comparison to the Art Institute.
By the way, when I posted my earlier note and mentioned some of the artists, I had forgotten about the European modern art section, which I hadn't gotten to yet. Folks like Picasso, Chagall, Matisse, Salvador Dali, Paul Klee and so much more.
It's not just the famous artworks, but so much of what they have, even the lesser work is so wonderful. But also the depths of an artist. A whole wall of Monet haystacks, for instance.
I'll post a few things over the next few days, but here are just a few standouts.
This here is known as the Chagall Windows, paintings he did on glass in honor of the Biecentennial that he dedicated to Mayor Richard J. Daley. (Chagall must have loved Chicago and Daley -- he also made a spectacular outdoor mosaic, the Four Seasons, that's a huge rectangle block that sits in a bank plaza). My photo here doesn't come close to doing America Window justice, since it's the details that are so joyous and vibrant.
Or just take a look at this view --
At the heart of the picture is the renowned painting by Caillbotte, "Paris Street, Rainy Days," (which was only just returned to the regular exhibit five days ago -- lucky me -- I don't know if it was being restored or on tour). But off to the left, you can see a bronze by Auguste Rodin, made of the author Balzac. And on the far way, almost all of those paintings are Monets -- including just to the right of center, one of his famous train station paintings of the Gare St. Lazar.
Keep in mind, this is is just one room! Not an especially special room. There's a room that just all of Toulouse Lautrec, for instance. And rooms filled with Degas, and Cezanne, and Gauganne, and just on and ever on.
And this below is simply one of them.
I don't think it needs much explanation...
Or this from Edward Hopper.
Just another ho-hum masterpiece. Nighthawks.
I'll post some more in the coming days. A bunch of more masterpieces that you'll know (trust me...), and some lesser-known ones that I particularly liked. But the larger point here is that if you have a trip planned to Chicago, set aside a day for...well, a lot of things. The Museum of Science and Industry should be on the list, for maybe two days. But the Art Institute is right there at the top. Most especially if you love French Impressionism, this is heaven. But even if you're not a big art fan (which I'm not) -- this is just too impressive to miss.
It's been too long. Glad I went again, finally.
More to come.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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