Art Institute of Chicago

In 1866, Chicago wasn’t exactly known for its culture. Culture? Art? In Chicago? Nah—that town was all about making money. It was dirty and consumed with building and the accumulation of wealth. It stunk, with its stockyards and grain elevators and sewage-filled river, and the people that kept coming, thousands of them, hoping to make their own fortune, or at least have a chance.

But even in the mercenary, rapidly expanding city of Chicago, art was necessary, and in 1866, the Chicago Academy of Design began with thirty-five artists. The Dearborn Street studio featured a school and gallery, holding daily classes, regular receptions, and exhibitions. By 1870, they needed more room and moved into a five-story building on Adams Street.

Yes, even in Chicago, art was necessary.

Read more about this landmark in Living Landmarks of Chicago.

Completed: 1893
Architects: Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge
Address: 111 S. Michigan Ave.

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Sources for Art Institute of Chicago

This is a selection of specific sources used to provide details while researching this landmark. Additional sources, including books and websites, can be found on the Resources page.

  • Art in Chicago: A History from the Fire to Now. United Kingdom, University of Chicago Press, 2018.
  • Art Institute of Chicago. The Collections Illustrated: With a Historical Sketch And Description of the Museum. Chicago, 1910.
  • The Art Institute of Chicago Thirty-Ninth Annual Report for the Year 1917
  • Funigiello, Philip J.. Florence Lathrop Page: a biography. United Kingdom, University Press of Virginia, 1994.
  • Koehler, S. R. (Sylvester Rosa), 1837-1900. The United States Art Directory And Year-book. New York: Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago