Big news in the Chicago art world this season! After undergoing months of restorative work, “Paris Street; Rainy Day” returns to the Art Institute of Chicago this May. The longtime favorite and a centerpiece of the Art Institute’s extensive Impressionist holdings, “Paris Street; Rainy Day” (1877) is an iconic work by French painter Gustave Caillebotte, best known for his blend of Realist and Impressionist techniques in his paintings of Parisian streets, men and women, and “la vie quotidienne.”
The painting has been a popular one with visitors since the museum first acquired the piece in 1964, at which point it was already nearly 90 years old. Museum staff notes that it had undergone some restorative treatments upon arriving in Chicago. Since that time, it’s been a cornerstone of Impressionist exhibits throughout the Art Institute of Chicago’s history, featured most recently in their wildly popular special exhibit “Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity” in the Summer of 2013.
While museum staff regularly undertake restorative work to maintain each piece in their collection, the restoration can sometimes reveal a few surprises. “Paris Street; Rainy Day” needed some revamping on the color and correction to a few flaking and peeling sections of paint – fairly standard work. But when the restoration was completed, it revealed a whole new color spectrum in the painting, including a diamond-esque sparkle in the woman’s earrings, which were previously assumed to have been pearl due to their muted color.
“Paris Street; Rainy Day” makes its official debut on May 19, 2014. It will be returning to the “European Art before 1900” gallery space as part of a new arrangement of Impressionist art. Even if you’ve been to the Art Institute of Chicago before, or seen this painting before, you will not want to miss this fresh perspective on a timeless classic. Visit the Art Institute as part of an art lover’s Chicago pass, or enjoy the full breadth of Chicago’s cultural scene with an all-inclusive Chicago attractions pass. For more information on the restoration process and the new exhibit, visit the Art Institute of Chicago’s special exhibits page on Caillebotte.