I made very cold and brisk visit to Chicago a few weeks ago, for the Women’s Caucus for Art Conference and the College Art Association annual conference.  I’m currently serving as President of the NH chapter of WCA, and this was an opportunity to connect with artists from all over the country that I met more than a few years ago while serving on the National Board of WCA and to make some new connections.

We arrived early and spent the first day exploring downtown Chicago. First order of business–a trip to the Art Institute of Chicago, which happily was right near the hotel. My friend wanted to visit the Thorne Miniature Rooms collection, which she remembered from a family visit when she was eight years old. It was delightful. The detail was extraordinary, especially the views through miniature windows that showed additional carefully crafted gardens and bedrooms.

Still, I was there to see art, to visit paintings and drawings and sculpture, so we headed back upstairs. We discovered an exhibition titled “Dreams and Echoes: Drawings and Sculpture in the David and Celia Hilliard Collection“.  This was a really beautiful show of sculpture and works on paper from the 16th to the late 20th century. Drawings, etchings, lithographs by my favorites, Degas, Gauguin, Redon, Kollwitz. There is just something luscious about those limitless deep blacks in etchings and lithographs.  Unfortunately, I was too engrossed to take pictures. Still don’t have the knack to be there and to document.

But I did take a closeup of Chagall stained glass window.  From Elliott Beazley’s 2010 article: “Chagall gave the deep cobalt blue windows to the Art Institute in 1977 to commemorate the American Bicentennial in honor of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley who died in 1976. The work is a nod to Chicago’s support of public art in the ’60s and ’70s and features six panels depicting freedom of expression.”
(Source: http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Art-Institute-Welcomes-Back-Famous-Windows-106072508.html#ixzz2uAt41aIV)

Marc Chagall, America Windows

I’ve done some stained glass myself, and always appreciate the delicate dance of insert lead lines that balance the structural needs of the glass with the graphic design of the image. These were beautiful.

And, for my artist friends who use encaustic, a snap of a portrait done in wax:

Mummy Portrait of a Man, Roman Period, (2nd century A.D.) Wood, wax, pigment and gold

Mummy Portrait of a Man, Roman Period, (2nd century A.D.)
Wood, wax, pigment and gold

Visually spent after visiting nearly every gallery in the museum, we wandered back out into the cold, visited the “Bean” and the Gehry’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millenium Park, and then went looking for tea. To be continued…