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Seven Must-See Exhibits for Fall

With so many museum and gallery offerings to choose from currently, the staff at Toomey & Co. Auctioneers have done the work for you. Presented below are seven must-see exhibits that we recommend you visit if time and proximity allow. From Arts and Crafts furniture to a major Warhol retrospective and much in between, here are our top choices for shows in Chicago and elsewhere this fall:

Lucy Toomey, CEO

Inlaid chair (detail). Photo from The Stickley Museum

The American Arts & Crafts Chair: “A Message of Honesty and Joy”
(June 1, 2019 – January 5, 2020)

The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms
Morris Plains, New Jersey


The American Arts & Crafts Chair: “A Message of Honesty and Joy” exhibit at The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms includes 13 exceptional examples of chairs designed during the Arts and Crafts era. Curated by David Cathers, and with commentary and research by some of the leading scholars in the field, this is a “must see” show for anyone interested in early 20th century design.

John Walcher, Vice President & Senior Specialist

Margaret Jordan Patterson, Heartsease, circa 1920s. Photo from the Minneapolis Institute of Art

Color Woodcuts in the Arts and Crafts Era
(September 14, 2019 – March 22, 2020)

Minneapolis Institute of Art
Minneapolis, Minnesota


With an emphasis on handcrafting, production of color woodcuts increased during the Art and Crafts Movement. The Minneapolis Institute of Art’s new exhibit, Color Woodcuts in the Arts and Crafts Era, features 80 vivid woodcuts from the United States, Britain, and German-speaking countries, with virtually half by women. Notable artists include Margaret Patterson, Pedro de Lemos, Frances Gearhart, Eliza Draper Gardiner, and Frank Morley Fletcher.

Gorham Mfg. Co., Octopus chatelaine (detail), 1887. Photo from The Met Fifth Avenue

Jewelry for America
(June 10, 2019 – April 5, 2020)

The Met Fifth Avenue
New York, New York


The Met Fifth Avenue’s Jewelry for America exhibit charts the 300-year progression of jewelry-making in the United States, documenting shifts in styles, techniques, and materials. Over 100 examples are displayed with relevant historical and social background.

Andy Warhol, Flowers, 1964. Photo from the Art Institute of Chicago

Andy Warhol — From A to B and Back Again
(October 20, 2019 – January 26, 2020)
The Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois


Starting on October 20, 2019, the Art Institute of Chicago will host Andy Warhol — From A to B and Back Again, which is the first major retrospective by an American institution in 30 years. In excess of 350 works will be on view, contextualized with significant new research on Warhol and in relation to present-day digital culture. This exhibit was organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, and began there, before traveling to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art en route to the Art Institute.

Aron Packer, Senior Specialist, Contemporary & Outsider Art

Gladys Nilsson, Blank Verse, 2018. Photo from the Rhona Hoffman Gallery (also header image)

Gladys Nilsson: New Work
(September 13 – October 26, 2019)

Rhona Hoffman Gallery
Chicago, Illinois


An original member of Chicago’s Hairy Who, Gladys Nilsson has really gotten her due lately following the Hairy Who retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago last year. Gladys Nilsson: New Work is a compelling exhibit with many recent acrylic on canvas paintings as well as various works on paper created within the past five years. The show is a testament to Nilsson’s still evolving use of color and form.

Erin Marcell, Senior Specialist, American & European Fine Art

John Dillwyn Llewelyn, A Summer’s Evening, Penllergare, August 25, 1854. Photo from the National Gallery of Art

The Eye of the Sun: Nineteenth-Century Photographs from the National Gallery of Art
(September 8 – December 1, 2019)

National Gallery of Art
Washington, District of Columbia


The Eye of the Sun: Nineteenth-Century Photographs from the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC explores a window into the past with the first 50 years of photography by American photographers, among others, and the subjects that captured the creativity of artists in this newly discovered, yet now ever-present, medium. The National Gallery of Art is celebrating the 180th anniversary of the invention of photography in 1839 by displaying roughly 140 early photographs by William Henry Fox Talbot, Mary Dillwyn, Francis Frith, Gustave Le Gray, Eadweard Muybridge, John Moran, and others.

Don Schmaltz, Senior Specialist, Modern Design

Exterior of Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin. Photo from the Blanton Museum of Art

Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin

Blanton Museum of Art
The University of Texas
Austin, Texas


The Elsworth Kelly Chapel in the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin is quite interesting to visit. The architecture and fine art housed within the space blend together in a uniquely harmonious way. Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin is a complex that was three decades in the making and the artist’s last project before he passed away in 2015. Despite being an atheist, Kelly constructed an environment fit for spiritual contemplation where the color-filtered light constantly changes throughout the day.