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  • Smart Museum of Art, David and AlfredSmart Museum of Art Chicago, Illinois
    The David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art is located on the grounds of the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois and houses more than 10,000 works of art that include such masters as Ansel Adams, Edgar Degas, Mark Rothko, Francisco Goya, Auguste Rodin, Frank Lloyd Wright, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Diego Rivera. This museum and the Cochrane-Woods Art Center next door were designed by architect Edward Larrabee Barnes and was opened in 1974 in association with the university. It was endowed with funds from David A. Smart and his brother, Alfred, publishers of Coronet and Esquire. The museum was separated from the university in 1983, to better serve the needs of the entire city and outlying communities, with special emphasis on educational outreach programs for the public school system, finishing a $2 million restoration in 2000. The collection spans 5000 years of artifacts from the Western and Easter civilizations with an exciting permanent collection and marvelous rotating exhibitions like the current "the Darker Side of Light: Arts of Privacy 1850-1900" that focuses on the darker side of artistry in Europe during the 19th century, when many artists were painting with light endowed landscapes and boulevards, and glorious portraits. This fine art museum was able to start its marvelous history working with one of the world's best research institutions, and to promote understanding and appreciation of the visual arts by direct experiences with original works and by its interdisciplinary access to the collections, publications, programs and exhibitions. Every year, the museum continues to work with museums, collectors and artists from around the city and the world. Since beginning, the museum has been available as a great repository for many fine arts collections from the university and its department holdings that have been held since the 1890s. It has continued to grow, both by gifts and active acquisitions, with it main strength being in the 20th century paintings and sculptures.  Another current exhibition is Joseph Yoakum: Line and Landscape, that runs until May, 2010 and is being shown in the Carole and Joel Bernstein Gallery for Works on Paper. The permanent collection has grown to include; Tiffany glass, Frank Lloyd Wright furniture, European and American contemporary and modern works, Chinese bronzes, East Asian art, modern sculpture by Rodin, Degas and Matisse, works on paper from all eras, ancient Greek vases, old master paintings, medieval sculpture, sculpture by Rothko, Rivera, Richard Hunt, Arthur Dove and Henry Moore.  The museum contains a store and cafe, that serves salads, sandwiches, baked good, Thai food and middle-Eastern sandwiches. 

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  • Art Institute of ChicagoArt Institute of Chicago Chicago, Illinois
    The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois is an encyclopedic fine art museum in the city's Grant Park area and contains one of the world's most extraordinary collections of Post-impressionist and Impressionist artworks. They also house important collections of European and American decorative arts, old master works, modern and contemporary art, American art and Asian art. It is associated with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and contains 1 million square feet, making it the second biggest art museum in the nation with only the Met in New York being bigger. The museum started in 1866, when a group of men started the Chicago Academy of Design, planning to run a free school that held its own gallery. It was modeled after European art academies like the Royal Academy, with classes beginning in 1868. It became so successful that it was able to construct its own place, which turned out to be a 5 story stone building that opened in 1870. The Great Chicago Fire completely destroyed the building in 1871, and threw the academy into huge debt, although they tried to continue in rented buildings, but ultimately failed and by 1878, they owed $10,000. The members tried making various deals with local businessmen, but had to give it up in 1879, and a new organization took over the attempt. It was to be named the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, and since the Chicago Academy of Design went belly up that year, the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts bought out the assets at the auction. In 1882, they changed their name to the Art Institute of Chicago and bought a lot on Michigan Avenue for $45,000. The building on the property was leased and a newer one built behind the current one for the new school facilities. The collection contains over 5000 years of human expression from around the world, with over 260,000 individual works of art. There are over 30 paintings by Claude Monet, with 6 of his Haystacks and numerous Water Lilies; plus works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cezanne, Vincent Van Gogh, Edward Hopper, Gustave Caillebotte, Henri Matisse, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Georges Seurat, Grant Wood, and many more.

January 11, 2011