Sunday, March 11, 2012

An Unexpected Treasure

The Chicago Art Institute Study Group went to a local art museum located in the western suburbs of Chicago.  It was quite a wonderful and an unexpected surprise!

Elmhurst Art Museum
Built in 1998

The Elmhurst Art Museum was built to match the design of this Mies Van Der Rohe home built in Elmhurst in the 1950's.  The home was later moved piece by piece to the property where the Elmhurst Art Museum would be built.  Robert McCormick, a Chicago real estate developer, was the first owner for nine years and there was only one other owner for twenty-nine years before it was sold to the developers of the Elmhurst Art Museum.  Mies Van Der Rohe only built three of these innovative aluminum and glass homes, Elmhurst and Plano, Illinois and Connecticut.

His dream was to revolutionize the building industry after WWII thinking that everyone would want one of these glass homes.

This is the only room open in the house at this time furnished in mid-century furniture.  Other rooms will be completed as funds allow. 

A little background on Mies Van Der Rohe is that he was a student of the German Bauhaus movement which we see so prevalent in mid-century design.  He designed many high rise buildings in Chicago and is known as the "father of the high rise."

Original Bauhaus Chair

The museum is unusual in that they display the works of up and coming artists who have not quite made it yet.  They are all alive and most are local to the Chicago area and recently being shown in Chicago galleries.

Hanging stainless steel replicas of dried garden plants by Carolyn Ottmers who is also the Director of Sculptural Art for the Art Institute of Chicago

The above are digital photographs shot by David Weinberg through the glass of a dilapidated greenhouse.

Hand cut pieces of photos from art books, catalogs, magazines to form collages of plants by Stephen Eichorn

Molly McCracken Kumar is the only non-local artist in this exhibition.  She is from San Francisco and works in a layering process.

Terrariums are back big time even in the art world.  Meghan Q. McCook calls these Terra Hives, blown glass and copper with small plantings inside.

Art is a wonderful way to have a garden inside your home!


Angela said...

What a wonderful and unique museum. I will definately visit it during my next trip to Chicago.

allanbecker-gardenguru said...

Awesome museum building,. What an apt homage to the architect.

Gatsbys Gardens said...


I have been around here many years and never realized it was there.


Gatsbys Gardens said...


It is a great testament to Mies even if his idea for glass houses never took off.


Jennifer said...

Hi Eileen, I love older homes, but also mid-century modern ones as well. If we traded in our 100 year old house, I might think about buying something with lots of glass and very much like the one you visited (although on my a scale more suited to our modest budget). I like looking through the art and especially like the work of the San Francisco artist.

garden girl said...

Very cool place, Eileen. I was never a fan of mid-century decor, but it's grown on me in recent years.