Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chicago (continued)

Close to Millennium Park is the Art Institute of Chicago. Naturally we visited and spent the better part of a day there, including having lunch in their pleasant cafeteria, overlooking an inner courtyard.
Some of the world's best known art pieces are here, like Grant Wood's American Gothic, Edward Hopper's  Nighthawks and Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. There was also the best collection of Monet's haystack paintings we've seen, six of them on temporary loan from other institutions, all hung together so that you could see how the artist had interpreted the subject in different lights and at different times of the year. Apart from these and a few other canvases, however, we were slightly disappointed in the quality of the paintings; there were a lot of second-rate works by first-rate artists.

One object of interest to me was this clay chicken. I like its simplicity and the way the body was fashioned as a flat piece and then folded to give a realistic tail.

Another temporary exhibition was a series of baskets made by one of the last practitioners of this traditional style Japanese of basketry, an American who returned to his ancestral home to study the techniques. The baskets, all exquisite, ranged from large, powerful pieces... small, delicate ones.

Even the room they were in was beautiful, specially designed to complement the display.

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