Marc Chagall's Spectacular America Windows to Sparkle Again at Art Institute of Chicago.


Marc Chagall. America Windows, 1977. A gift of Marc Chagall, City of Chicago, and the Auxiliary Board, commemorating the American bicentennial in memory of Mayor Richard J.Daley. © 2010 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

A Reason to Celebrate.


Something’s been missing at the heart of the Art Institute. Chagall’s America Windows, popularly referred to as the Chagall Windows, were removed more than five years ago (May 2005) when the construction of the AIC’s Modern Wing began–both for their own safety and to be cleaned, examined and restored.  Now this sorely missed icon will be reinstalled and celebrated with much media frenzy, fanfare and special events kicking off November 1, 2010.

Accompanying the reinstallation of the America Windows is a celebratory presentation that gathers models and maquettes from the earliest moment of the modern cultural renaissance in the city’s center–works from artists including Jean Dubuffet, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso–which are in the collection of the Art Institute, and are connected to the historical inception of Chagall’s gift. Augmenting the installation is the model for Alexander Calder’s Flamingo (c. 1975), on loan from the Fine Arts Program, Public Buildings Service, U.S. General Services Administration.

About the America Windows.
The “windows” were designed by Chagall, expressly for the Art Institute, in the 1970s.  Chagall employed French stained-glass artist Charles Marq to fabricate 36 colored glass panels to Chagall’s specifications. Upon completion, Chagall painted his designs onto the glass using metallic oxide paints that were permanently fused to the glass through a subsequent heating process.  The completed six-panel work measures more than eight feet high and more that 30 feet wide.  It details the arts of music, painting, literature, theater and dance.

The Chicago Connection.
In the early 1970s  Chagall came to Chicago for work related to his mosaic installation, The


America Windows in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Four Seasons, at Chase Tower.  Chagall fell in love with the city and the city fell in love with Chagall. A seed was planted and the America Windows were conceived. Over the next three years, plans were clarified and Chagall determined that the windows would commemorate America’s bicentennial celebration by paying homage to the arts.  Chagall infused his landscape with familiar American icons, references to Chicago, and symbols of the fine arts  that showcase the creative expansiveness made possible by American freedom and liberty.

Because of his love for Chicago and its strong commitment to public art, Chagall dedicated the work to then Mayor Richard J. Daley. The America Windows were presented at a formal unveiling on May 15, 1977.  Ten years later the Windows were immortalized in an appearance in the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Marc Chagall’s America Windows, will be reinstalled in their rightful spot on the east side of the museum’s Arthur Rubloff building (Gallery 144) where they have been viewed by millions since 1977.  In their new home, the vibrant colors of the windows will once again come alive due not only to their recent conservation but to a new and insightful context of other modern artworks in the museum’s collection and the city’s on-going love affair with public sculpture.

Related Events.
December 2, 2010.  On the first night of Hannukah, The Festival of Lights, the Art Institute celebrates the re-installation of Chagall’s America windows with a program featuring Chicago’s Maxwell Street Klezmer Band. Free with Museum admission. 6 to 7p.m., Fullerton Hall.


Franco-Flemish. Saints and Worshippers in Adoration, c. 1515. Gift of the Antiquarian Society.

December 4, 2010. A symposium, Chagall’s America Windows Return, celebrates the re-installation of Marc Chagall’s iconic America Windows.   The symposium will highlight masterpieces of European and American stained glass and art in the museum’s collection. The program will cover nearly eight hundred years of the history of stained glass and will highlight such topics as the divine, visual and metaphysical experience, the power of color, the impact of abstraction, as well as Chagall’s unique achievement for the Art Institute of Chicago.  Speakers include Barbara Larson, University of West Florida; Mary Shepard, Friends University; and Stephanie D’Alessandro, Ellen Heye, Christina Nielsen, and Ellen Roberts from the Art Institute of Chicago.Space is limited.   Register online or call (312) 857-7138.  

Member Events.
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