Established in 1879, the Art Institute of Chicago collects, preserves, and interprets works of art of the highest quality, representing the world’s diverse artistic traditions, for the inspiration and education of the public and in accordance with the museum profession’s highest ethical standards and practices. With an encyclopedic collection comprising 270,000 objects and spanning fifty centuries of human creative achievement, the Art Institute is recognized worldwide as a leading center for the preservation, exhibition, and study of visual art across all eras and cultures. Last year, the museum hosted more than 1.5 million local, national, and international visitors. Through its education and outreach initiatives—encompassing programs for students, teachers, adults, and families—the Art Institute also promotes lifelong learning and engagement in the visual arts among more than 600,000 diverse community members annually.
The Art Institute’s holdings of Whistler’s prints, drawings, and paintings number over 1200 works. A long-term loan from the Terra Foundation for American Art brings the total number of works on view in the museum’s galleries and available for study to over 1400 objects. Beyond objects created by Whistler himself, the Art Institute boasts an impressive representation of the paintings, prints, drawings, and sculptures of Whistler’s contemporaries—including, for example, Theodore Roussel, Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, and Winslow Homer, among many others. Since the earliest decades of the Art Institute’s collecting history, the nineteenth century-–and Whistler in particular–have occupied a place of special fascination for the donors and curators who helped create the museum’s vast collection. www.artic.edu