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"A Day in the Country: Impressionism and the French Landscape"
Art Institute of Chicago

“A Day in the Country: Impressionism and the French Landscape” represents the first time the Art Institute of Chicago hired a professional architectural firm to design a temporary exhibit for the museum. Co-organized by the Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum, and the Orsay Museum in Paris, the show featured 128 Impressionist landscape paintings.

A principal underlying the design of the 20,000-square-foot installation was that the observation of paintings does not preclude a powerful architectural setting. Arranged by subject, the theme of each section was underscored by colossal abstracted spaces and forms that create a context for the paintings without tying them to the present or the past.

The spaces of the exhibit—interpenetrating yet defined—also solved pragmatic requirements: the views opened between spaces reduced bottlenecks in the circulation and provided high visibility for security purposes.

Award: AIA Chicago, Citation of Merit, 1986

Photography: M. Elizabeth Ernst