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New and traditional ways of exploring the globe, and your own backyard.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Louvre of Chicago

I am realizing when we finally ease Adam into driving, we could play a heck of a game of Barns Shacks and Silos (a drinking game I was introduced to in college where you drink every time you see a barn, shack, or silo).

Ohio is about what I remembered from the train trip last year - it's flat.

Woke up today around 6:30 a.m. and got a free breakfast with our hotel stay at the adjacent TrueNorth gas station. We were on the road by 7:45 a.m.

It's a beautiful day - good temperature and blue, clear sky.

We passed fake buffalo near Buffalo (yesterday), Kent State, and a Rutherford B. Hayes site near Fremont/Port Clinton exit off I-90.

We ended up stopping in Indiana to see the University of Notre Dame's football field and tour the campus and surrounding community. This is where I saw the random painted leprechaun-looking fire hydrant.

I'm looking forward to seeing Lake Michigan in Chicago.

We arrived in Chi-town, as some of my friends tend to call it, and were greeted by bumper-to-bumper traffic. Which was nice in a way because it was slow and gave us opportunity to take photos of the skyscrapers and a weird Halloween/Michael bobblehead in the car behind us.

After about 40 minutes or so of that, we found our way to Jess' cousins' place near the Artists District and Oak Park area of Chicago's west suburbs.

The residential neighborhood was very cute; nice single-family homes. Her cousins purchased a condo and were married last year. Jess brought their wedding gift, a Jess original painting.

I was especially excited I wouldn't have to pay for parking.

We took the train in and I somehow remembered how to get to the Art Institute, which we went to last year as well during our train layover.

Adam and I went to the basement first and an old museum employee told us about the miniature exhibit where a woman who married into the Montgomery-Ward family visited homes around the world and made replicas of rooms using all the same materials like marble, jade, crystal,etc. It was impressive.

The whole museum is immense. I found it more intimidating than the Louvre in size. It has works like American Gothic by Grant Wood, Un Dimanche d’été à l’Île de la Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat, and The Guitar by Pablo Picasso. They had an Impressionism collection that could match the Musee D'orsay in Paris.

They had, it seemed, a dozen Monets, Cezannes, Renoirs, Vuillards, Gaugins and a new one to me, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who reminded me of Degas with some dancer paintings and quasi-action portraits of ballerinas. There were some interesting Rodins as well and it's fun seeing the Frederic Remington Western sculptures and paintings since his family lived in Ogdensburg, near where I went to college.

I enjoyed the Homer Winslow fisherman painting and Childe Hassam's work as well. And I saw a familiar Mary Cassatt of a Spanish man.

I spent nearly three hours at the museum - the same amount of time I was in the Louvre.


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