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A City Park

A City Park

William Merritt Chase

An item at Art Institute of Chicago

William Merritt Chase's paintings of public parks in Brooklyn and Manhattan are intimate renditions of familiar locations that chart the artist's response to America's rapid urban growth. A City Park is an early example and exhibits the dramatic spatial effects, high-keyed palette, and small scale that characterize these works and point to French Impressionist influences. It is probable that Chase executed his park scenes, like the French Impressionists, en plein air. The strong light, vivid color, and fluid brushwork of A City Park suggest a spontaneous method of composition rather than a studio production. The small scale of the work also conforms to Chase's practice of painting outdoors unburdened by unnecessary or bulky materials.

Americas in the Making

An exhibit at Art Institute of Chicago

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These galleries present dynamic and wide-ranging art forms made in the Americas, where artists have been at work since time immemorial. The region now known as Chicago has long been a vibrant center of Native artistic practices, including those of Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi nations. European settler colonialism and the development of the metropolis-including our museum's founding in 1879-introduced global art forms. Together, these local histories shape the collections we steward today, which encompass diverse makers, objects, and styles spanning centuries and continents, from North to South America and the Caribbean. The works here offer layered stories of the Americas in the making. Created for a variety of purposes-from aesthetic to ceremonial to practical —they have the power to evoke a range of emotions and responses. Complex factors impacted their making, including displacement and immigration, enslavement, global trade, and indus-trialization. As a result, they offer insights across eras while inviting reinterpretation in our moment. Just as artistic traditions are continually made and remade, so, too, are our efforts to present them. Today you can find selections of the many histories of art in the Americas on this floor and the floor above, in tandem with Gallery 136, a dedicated space for celebrating Indigenous art.