June 13, 2017

Four Sisters and a Mother

Two Sisters, Valencia  (1909) by Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida
Art Institute of Chicago

This past Sunday had a lot going on here in Chicago. The annual Old Town Art Fair has been held every June for 70 years but GSL has an Ex on the Planning Committee who has created a little Beer & Wine Garden Drama for about 10 of those 70 years.  GSL decided that a scorching hot and muggy 94 degrees wasn't likely to help her find 'deep in cups' closure. An indoor air-conditioned Drama-free venue seemed a far better option to whet one's aesthetic 'Whistle'.

GSL boarded the Brown Line 'L' Train bound for the Loop and our wonderful Art Institute. As we snaked thru Old Town, GSL knelt for cover under window view as we passed over the Beer/Wine Garden.

The Art Institute of Chicago on Michigan Avenue sits right in front of Grant Park.
I remembered that this was the very last day to see a work of iconic American art that hasn't been in Chicago since the Old Town Art Fair began.

Upon arrival, I realized that my membership card had recently expired and had it renewed within a few short minutes.
This floral arrangement is among the best I've ever seen.

In fact, within 75 feet of each other for the first time ever were three of the most famous works of American Art. I'll bet you could guess one quite easily and the other two would come to mind in a short while.

But first, I always pay my respects to The Den's Kindred Spirit.

Paris Street, Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte

Then stop by to see the most beautiful painting in the collection.

Two Sisters on the Terrace by Renoir.

OK, ready for those three Icons of American Art?

American Gothic by Grant Wood.

This next one has inspired numerous imitations.

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

This last one was here for only a short time as it's owned by the French State.

Whistler's Mother by James McNeill Whistler

I picked up a couple of books in the gift shop.
I had no idea Whistler's Mother was so well known internationally.  By coincidence, Den reader, Yvonne from Down Under, commented on a post I did on Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol mentioning how Whistler's Mother was then on tour in Melbourne and only a couple hours prior to her comment, I was reading a fabulous novel by Josephine Tey where a central character was said to resemble Whistler's Mother. I didn't know then that she'd soon make her way to Chicago.

The small and combative James Abbott McNeill Whistler had feuds with Oscar Wilde, who satirized him in The Picture of Dorian Gray, and John Ruskin. Whistler's guiding principle was "Art for Art's Sake" and he wasn't bashful about ruffling feathers and even wrote a book titled The Art of Making Enemies.

Portrait of Whistler by
 William Merritt Chase circa 1885 resides in Boston's MFA.
Whistler and the entire Art World thought Chase lampooned Whistler's dandyish ways and preening self regard. Whistler and Chase remained 'frenemies' forever after.
GSL wonders how Whistler handled his Beer/Wine Garden Drama.