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Monet and Chicago

“Why go to Paris since Paris has come to Chicago?” —Chicago Daily Tribune, 1888

Chicago collectors’ love affair with Monet is showcased in this new exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Few artists in history have attained the enduring, near-universal acclaim of Claude Monet. The French Impressionist’s paintings hold prime spots in top museums worldwide, and exhibitions showcasing him never fail to draw big crowds.

No institution beyond France is more closely associated with Monet than the Art Institute of Chicago. It boasts the largest collection of his works outside of Paris, and, in 1895, it became the first museum in the United States to present an exhibition of the artist’s paintings.

Of the Art Institute’s 33 Monet paintings, just two were purchased by the museum. The rest were donated by local collectors starting in the 1920s.That enthusiasm has not diminished, as evidenced by the more than 30 works borrowed from today’s collectors around the Chicago area, many of whom have chosen to remain anonymous. They encompass both descendants of family members who purchased their holdings decades ago and more recent fans of the artist, including some the museum just discovered while organizing this exhibition.

To pay tribute to this long-standing bond between institution and artist, the Art Institute is presenting “Monet and Chicago,” featuring 68 paintings and 14 works on paper, it is the museum’s sixth solo exhibition devoted to Monet and the first anywhere to explore in depth the Impressionist’s ties to the Windy City.