Treasures of the Art Institute of Chicago

Enjoy special access to the Art Institute of Chicago, where you’ll hear engaging lectures, speak with curators and learn the story behind this world-renowned collection of art.
Rating (5)
Program No. 1423RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Immerse yourself in the history of Chicago's artistic founders and the world-renowned collection at the Art Institute. As a leading art school and museum for almost 130 years, the Art Institute has amassed a collection spanning 5,000 years of human expression. Learn from the Art Institute of Chicago's curatorial staff and professional museum education art historians as they lead you through gallery walks and discussions in the museum galleries.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Examine ideas, techniques and achievements from ancient Egypt to modern America as you enjoy early access to the museum each morning before it opens to the public and expert-led discussions before original works of art without the crowds.
  • Discover Chicago’s rich architectural history on a walking exploration of the downtown “Loop.”
  • Includes an expert-led exploration of the Art Institute’s new Modern Wing and Marc Chagall’s recently reinstalled “America Windows,” plus admission to all special exhibitions.

General Notes

You may be interested in a three-night version of this program, "Monet to Modern at the Art Institute of Chicago" (#17465). All dates include unlimited admission to all special exhibitions.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Age of Impressionism at the Art Institute of Chicago
by Gloria Groom and Douglas Druick
The Art Institute has one of the largest and finest holdings of late 19th-century French art in the world. This new, lavishly illustrated volume features more than 90 paintings engagingly discussed in the context of the memorable era in which they were created. The Age of Impressionism at the Art Institute of Chicago is divided into three distinct sections. The first addresses the work of artists like Édouard Manet, who wished to exhibit and gain recognition at the annual state-sponsored Salons. The second section features celebrated examples by notable Impressionists, including Gustave Caillebotte, Claude Monet, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and exemplifies the subjects and techniques that they embraced. The final section examines the work of artists—from Paul Cézanne to Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec—who were influenced by the Impressionists' example and compelled to explore new avenues of expression. Cowritten by Art Institute curators Douglas Druick and Gloria Groom, the publication features beautiful reproductions of each painting and incorporates recent scholarship on the collection. It magnificently captures the diversity of ideas and extraordinary wealth of talent at work in late 19th-century France.
The Essential Guide
by Edited by Robert Sharp and Wilson McBee, Foreword by Douglas Druick
This revised and expanded edition of the Essential Guide features 330 works of art, over fifty of them new additions to the book. The entries represent some of the finest pieces from—and were selected with the assistance of—the museum’s eleven curatorial departments: African Art and Indian Art of the Americas, American Art, Ancient and Byzantine Art, Architecture and Design, Asian Art, Contemporary Art, European Decorative Arts, Medieval to Modern European Painting and Sculpture, Photography, Prints and Drawings, and Textiles. Each work is reproduced in full color and discussed in a brief and lively entry. This convenient volume offers the reader a generous sampling of the celebrated works of one of the country’s most highly esteemed museums. 352 pages with 330 color illustrations. Softcover. 6" x 9". http://www.artinstituteshop.org
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
by Erik Larson
The history of the Art Institute and the people that helped build its collection are intimately linked to the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, the Columbian Exposition. Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the World's Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book's categorization to be sure that The Devil in the White City is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor. (Description adapted from Amazon.com)
Edlis / Neeson Collection: The Art Institute of Chicago
by James Rondeau, Art Institute of Chicago
Marking an important moment in the Art Institute of Chicago’s 136-year history, this book documents an exceptional gift to the museum: the Edlis/Neeson Collection, consisting of 44 stellar works of contemporary art. Among the highlights are major paintings by some of the 20th century’s best-known artists, including Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter, Cy Twombly, and Andy Warhol. Also included in the gift are paintings, photographs, and sculptures by icons of contemporary art such as Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, and Cindy Sherman. This catalogue places the Edlis/Neeson Collection in direct dialogue with works already in the Art Institute’s holdings. An essay by James Rondeau situates the gift in the context of the museum’s history and uses it to illustrate the growth and development of Pop Art. Most importantly, this book celebrates a transformative gift that allows the Art Institute to claim the most important collection of modern and contemporary art in any encyclopedic institution in the world.

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