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  • Russ Ramsey

Where to Start at the Art Institute of Chicago

For this Art Wednesday we’ll get to know a few key pieces housed at one of my favorite art museums in the world—the Chicago Art Institute. This place has so many amazing works, including Hopper’s Nighthawks.

Edward Hopper, Nighthawks, 1942


American Gothic: Grant Wood said, “I imagined American Gothic people with their faces stretched out long to go with this American Gothic house,” he said. He used his sister and his dentist as models.

Grant Wood American Gothic, 1930


Van Gogh painted his bedroom several times. This was his room in The Yellow House he rented in Arles, France. He wanted to make the house into an artist colony, and Gauguin lived in the room next door for a time.

Van Gogh, The Bedroom, 1889


The Chicago Art Institute has an impressive hall of armor and weaponry. If you’re taking children, you must visit this hall. Kids will remember this room forever. Adults will dig it too.

Medieval Field Armor for Man and Horse


When people think of Seurat they usually think of this painting. The pointillism is amazing, and you can get up close to it to see the math that went into this large-scale work.

Seurat, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 1884


Picasso’s “The Old Guitarist” (1903) is from his blue period—a time when his works were almost exclusively blue. This one has a hidden face if you look closely. It seems he originally held his head up.

Picasso, The Old Guitarist, 1903


There is something perfect about this wood block print of Mount Fuji. Hokusai created this in his 70’s as part of his series “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji.”

Katsushika Hokusai, The Great Wave, 1830/33

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