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Current Exhibits at the Art Institute of Chicago

by Lucy Toomey, CEO

The Art Institute of Chicago has three fascinating exhibits running now that will close in early 2020. Art and design enthusiasts should make a point to visit the museum this winter before these visually stunning and highly informative shows end. Below are summaries of each exhibit along with virtual galleries and photographs of relevant works offered by Toomey & Co. Auctioneers.

Weaving beyond the Bauhaus (August 3, 2019 – February 17, 2020)


Among the contributions of Germany’s famed Bauhaus academy was the introduction of groundbreaking weaving techniques. While the institution’s tenure was relatively short-lived (1919-1933) given its involuntary closure, many Bauhaus artists and designers later spread their ideas all over the world. In the United States, Anni Albers and Marli Ehrman were particularly influential with their connections to schools such as Chicago’s Institute of Design and the Illinois Institute of Technology as well as Yale University and Black Mountain College. Weaving beyond the Bauhaus presents work from various textile masters who turned their craft into art. Pictured here are several impressive examples on view at the Art Institute of Chicago from Claire Zeisler, Sheila Hicks, Else Regensteiner, Ethel Stein, Lenore Tawney, and others. Following the gallery is a Zeisler hanging jute sculpture that Toomey & Co. sold for $11,875 in its Art & Design with Tradition & Innovation sale on December 8, 2019.

“I had no idea that I was going to weave. I had nothing in mind, except I sort of wanted to be refreshed […] I always set out with an idea — even thick-witted I learned that. I learned that again from that marvelous Bauhaus here [in Chicago].” — Claire Zeisler, 1981



Toomey & Co. Auctioneers, Art & Design with Tradition & Innovation, Sunday, December 8, 2019
LOT 43: Claire Zeisler, (American, 1903-1991), Untitled, circa 1970, jute, 94″ x 24″dia (as shown; adjustable), sold for $11,875

Andy Warhol — From A to B and Back Again (October 20, 2019 – January 26, 2020)


Organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, this is the first major Andy Warhol retrospective held within the United States in 30 years. Over 400 works have been assembled covering the range of Warhol’s creative output and contextualized with new research from leading scholars. In particular, the ways in which Warhol’s aesthetic philosophies and life as a celebrity anticipated our present digital moment are addressed throughout the retrospective. By virtue of the fact that Warhol himself categorized his oeuvre as encompassing ‘A to B,’ the artwork on display represents different phases of his career and the myriad artistic media in which Warhol was a fluent practitioner. Below are several iconic images from the show along with a Warhol color screenprint, After the Party, 1979, which Toomey & Co. sold for $18,750 in its Art & Design auction on March 10, 2019.


Toomey & Co. Auctioneers, Art & Design, Sunday, March 10, 2019
LOT 106: Andy Warhol, After the Party, 1979, color screenprint, signed and numbered in pencil, 21″ x 30″, sold for $18,750

In a Cloud, In a Wall, In a Chair: Six Modernists in Mexico at Midcentury (September 6, 2019 – January 12, 2020)


Including works by both Anni Albers and Sheila Hicks, In a Cloud, In a Wall, In a Chair intersects with Weaving beyond the Bauhaus. However, the focus of In a Cloud goes beyond textile artistry to survey the varied creative production of six artists and designers who made Mexico their home from 1940 to 1970. Not all of these individuals were acquainted, but they did share a passion for sourcing their inspiration broadly and blurring genre lines. In addition to Albers and Hicks, the exhibit includes works by Cynthia Sargent, Lola Álvarez Bravo, Ruth Asawa, and Clara Porset. After the virtual tour below is a photograph of a Scarlatti rug by Cynthia Sargent that Toomey & Co. sold for $1,375 in its Art & Design auction on June 9, 2019.


Toomey & Co. Auctioneers, Art & Design, Sunday, June 9, 2019
LOT 627: Cynthia Sargent (b. 1922) for Tamacani, Scarlatti rug, USA, 1983, hand-hooked wool, Tamacani label, 99″dia, sold for $1,375