For Ego Painting, Faith Ringgold borrowed a compositional format from Kuba textile designs of the Democratic Republic of Congo to create a multiplicity of word associations. Part of her Black Light series, through which the artist addressed blackness as both a color and a precarious social identify, Ego Painting features equally dark colors placed directly adjacent to one another, emphasizing their contrast and idiosyncrasy. It is one of the first works by Ringgold to incorporate text in its composition and is the first painting by the artist to enter the museum’s holdings.
See Ego Painting on view now in Gallery 295.
Georgia O’Keeffe produced only a few completed portraits over her seven-decade career, five of which feature Harlem Renaissance artist Beauford Delaney. For this intimate portrait in charcoal, O’Keeffe used her finely detailed drawing style to render her subject’s gentle eyes; wise, ambiguous smile; and almost three-dimensional features.
This powerful drawing can be seen alongside Delaney’s own boldly expressionistic Self-Portrait in Gallery 160.
Intimately scaled crosses, such as this newly acquired work, were extremely popular devotional objects in 17th-century Spain. This example is exceptional as it is dated and signed by a female artist, María Josefa Sánchez. Very little is known about Sánchez; she was active 1639–49, probably in Castile, and the only works currently attributed to her are four other crucifixes.
The work is currently installed in Gallery 212.
James Falconer, a member of the Hairy Who exhibition group, created this graphite drawing based on half of an underwear ad that fellow Hairy Who artist Jim Nutt sent to him, recasting the neatly coiffed gentleman in his undergarments as a monstrous, almost alien figure with a misshapen head, bulging eyes, and wildly wagging nose.
See this work as well as the inspiring ad and the exhibition catalog cover created from it in the exhibition Hairy Who? 1966–1969 through January 6, 2019.
The works that Dutch painter Gerrit van Honthorst created during and after his studies in Rome often feature candlelight or torchlight in night scenes, presenting a gentler, more meditative variation on the dramatic light effects employed by his Italian peers. This painting expands the range and complexity of the Art Institute’s collection of Dutch paintings. Moreover, as a character or head study—called a tronie, in the parlance of the day—it complements our great Rembrandt, Old Man with a Gold Chain (1631).
See A Boy Blowing on a Firebrand in the John L. and Helen Kellogg Gallery 213 alongside other Dutch works.
One of Duchamp’s iconic readymades—an ordinary object transformed into art by the artist’s selection of it—this version of Bottle Rack was a prized possession of the painter Robert Rauschenberg before coming in to the Art Institute’s collection.
Find this transformative piece of modern art in Gallery 395.
This tapestry by Roberto Burle Marx, a Brazilian artist best known for his landscape designs, is one of a pair by the artist acquired in fall 2017. Burle Marx had a wide-ranging artistic career, encompassing painting, sculpture, photography, printed fabrics, and ceramic tiles. Like his gardens, his tapestries feature a combination of colors, forms, and textures carefully arranged to highlight contrasts and produce an overall sense of balance and harmony.
Find this tapestry in the exhibition Movement and Music: Rhythm in Textile Design, open through January 6, 2019.
This recent acquisition is a superb example of a well-known genre of helmet mask of the Makonde people. It is characterized by the realistic imitation of incised angular facial scarification marks, carved renderings of chipped teeth, and insertion of real human hair in asymmetrical patterns on the mask’s skull.
Find it in Gallery 137.
This depiction of Saint Jerome, hailing from the Flemish city and trade center of Antwerp, shows him as both a scholar and a penitent. The exaggerated angle of his head, the gesture of his open hand, the thin application of paint, and the nervous contours all belong to the Master of the Lille Adoration’s signature style.
Find this Old Master work in Gallery 207.
This sculpture represents the 13th petal from Yoko Ono’s installation SKYLANDING, a 12-petal lotus in Chicago’s Jackson Park that rises from the ashes of the Phoenix Pavilion. In contrast to the smooth petals of SKYLANDING, MENDED PETAL has visible seams of repair, symbolically commemorating the ground-healing ceremony held by the artist in June 2015 through which she prepared the site of the lost Phoenix Pavilion for her new work.
Find MENDED PETAL in Pritzker Garden.
The five vessels in this set would have been the focus of either Buddhist or Confucian spiritual ceremonies. Each vessel is painted with the Eight Buddhist Emblems over a lime green background—a color perhaps inspired by enameled metalwork introduced to China from Europe.
Find this altar set in Gallery 134.
Yellow and underglaze-blue dishes of this type are among the most treasured Ming dynasty porcelains in China; they are particularly rare, making this example, covered in traditional motifs, an exquisite acquisition for the Art Institute.
Find this dish in Gallery 134.
Gorham was the first major American silver company to introduce Japanese-inspired designs to their product line, with this particular vessel featuring interpretations of Asian motifs, likely drawn from print sources: giant carp and a turtle thrash in violent waters, suggesting the movement of the sea.
Find this tureen in Gallery 171.
Sebastiano’s depiction of Christ carrying the cross has dramatic visual impact in the expressions of the figures, in the diagonals lines created by the cross, and the luminous background. This work is a significant addition to the museum’s holdings of central Italian paintings.
Find this painting in Gallery 205.