Thursday, October 20, 2016

Breen Week: Collectors’ Five Favorite Ornaments

We continue celebrating Breen Week and honoring Patricia Breen’s artistry by sharing five ornaments that have proven to be collectors’ favorites throughout the past few years! Find out which ornaments are our highest rated and reviewed, and save 30% on select Breen ornaments today and tomorrow.

★★★★ “This ornament is a wonderful addition to my collection of Patricia Breen ornaments. I love the kinetic motion she has incorporated into the piece and the design of the artwork on the Santa. Well done and beautiful.”

★★★★“Wow! Received the Thorne Room Santa and what an amazing work of art. There aren't enough words to describe the detail. I have been collecting Patricia Breen ornaments since 1995 and it just keeps getting better. There is no one that does holiday ornaments to this level that even compares. Thrilled with this piece. Thank you to the Patricia Breen Studio.”

★★★★ “WOW! The blue is as beautiful as the sky on a clear winter day. I think the Breen ornaments for The Art Institute of Chicago are among the most stunning, this year is no exception.”

★★★★ “This Santa is truly beautiful. It is obviously hand painted with care and the usual P. Breen attention to detail. If you are a collector, this is a must have piece.”

★★★★ “What a beautiful detailed piece of art. Absolutely glows on the tree. Another home run for the Patricia Breen Studio.”

Monday, October 17, 2016

Welcome to Breen Week!

For years, our fabulous limited edition Patricia Breen ornaments delighted collectors. In honor of Patricia Breen and her outstanding designs, we are celebrating Breen Week at the Museum Shop online! Starting today, save 30% on select Breen ornaments – a special sale for all dedicated collectors out there.

Artist Patricia Breen designs and creates original museum-quality collectible ornaments. Produced in limited quantities, each glass ornament is mouth blown, hand-silvered and exquisitely hand-painted in Breen’s studio in Krakow, Poland. Patricia is involved with every step in the creation and production of her designs, which is greatly apparent in the quality and detail of every single Patricia Breen ornament.

Over the years, we proudly sold exclusive Patricia Breen ornaments made for the Art Institute of Chicago. Whether it is a lovely rendering of our famous Edward Kemeys's Lions or inspired by our Thorne Miniature Rooms, Breen’s ornaments are a joyful hallmark of our Holiday collection.

Our 2016 exclusive Breen Ornaments:

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Open House Chicago: 200+ Free Architectural Tours This Weekend

For fans of Frank Lloyd Wright® and Louis Sullivan, Open House Chicago, an annual event hosted by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, is not something to be missed.

Taking place this weekend, October 15 – 16, the free festival gives the public access to more than 200 architectural sites around Chicago. These are places that the public usually never gets to see up close and a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Chicago’s world-renown architecture, as well as its marvelous hidden gems. You can learn more about the event at

 If you can’t make it to Open House Chicago, a perfect substitute is The Space Within: Inside Great Chicago Buildings, a new book added to our collection this fall that showcases some of the most stunning interiors inside the city’s buildings. Click here for more information or to purchase.

Monday, October 10, 2016

How it’s Made: Autumn Glass Leaves

Autumn Glass Leaves- Amber & Orange Set | Autumn Glass Leaves- Blue & Yellow Set
 In the heart of Pittsburgh resides a private glass blowing studio where unique and colorful glass leaves are produced daily. After making glass pumpkins for the past 10 years, it was time to create something else representative of fall and as a compliment to the pumpkins. Starting out with four or five simple colors, these Pennsylvanian glass blowers have expanded their color line to ones you see today in our Museum Shop. Find out how these remarkable glass leaves are made.

They first start by pulling, or gathering, a clear mass of glass from the main glass furnace.  It is basically a huge crucible full of molten, clear glass held at 2100 degrees inside a giant insulated kiln. From there, they add chipped up bits of colored glass and melt them in. 

Once the color is all worked in, they flatted, or smash, the mass and use special glass shears to cut all of the leaf petals. 

Finally, they pull the glass off of the pipe to create the stem, and it goes directly into a different hot kiln where it sits overnight to cool, or as they say, anneal.  After 16 hours, they are at room temperature and ready to ship!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Trick or Treat: Glass Bat Giveaway

Our glass bats are true spooky delights. These wonderful winged glass sculptures will add brightness to your Halloween display this season. Handmade in the USA using classical Venetian glass sculpting techniques, we are excited to give away one Pink Glass Bat to one lucky blog reader.

How do you enter to win?
Enter your name and email in the Rafflecopter application below. Rafflecopter is an application that randomly selects a winner. Once you submit your name and email, it will ask you to complete a few tasks as entries into the giveaway. The tasks include sharing the giveaway on social media, following “The Art Institute of Chicago Museum Shop” on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Please note that every time you complete a task, you increase your chance of winning! Come back every day to gain more entries.  The contest ends on midnight CST 10/13/16. One winner will be contacted via email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 3, 2016

In Focus: Music

Music comes in many forms. With today’s growing list of genres and popular new albums accompanied by short films, that comes as no surprise.  We find that transition between mediums fascinating. We’ve seen artists like Georgia O’Keeffe discover new ways to imitate music through art with Blue and Green Music. On the other end of the spectrum, we have experienced that which is born of physical components become vessels of harmony, especially with our assortment of glass wind chimes.

If you’re looking for an illuminating journey down memory lane with a music legend or wanting to create a harmonious space in sync with nature, we have you covered with not-so-obvious musical objects that promise tranquility and beauty.

Glass Wind Chimes: Multicolor | Earthtone | Blue & Green
The story of these chimes is music to the ears. Made from recycled glass wine bottles, they add beauty to your home and benefit the environment.  Soothing shades of colors will brighten any space or mood. Click here for more information or to purchase.

Few male stars in any medium carried a visual punch like Frank Sinatra. Photographs capture not only his ineffable sense of style, but also his aura of vulnerability, intensity, sexuality, and charm. Sinatra: The Photographs focuses on the decades after the war, when he towered over the American entertainment landscape. These were the years of the Rat Pack and Las Vegas, socializing with Jack Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, and making music with Nelson Riddle, Count Basie, and Quincy Jones.  Click here for more information or to purchase.

A portrayal of strength, grace and elegance; this iron sculpture captures beauty in one pose.  Inspired by Edgar Degas' (French, 1834-1917) Spanish Dance, our sculpture is generously sized and bronze colored. Click here for more information or to purchase.

Known for her large scale compositions and hypnotizing interpretations of natural forms, Georgia O'Keeffe (American, 1887-1986) has left a lasting impact on the art community.  In Blue and Green Music, 1919/21, O'Keeffe captivates with this spiritual study of art imitating sound.  Our reproduction captures the vibrant colors and organic movement of the original. Click here for more information or to purchase.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Happy National Coffee Day!

Van Gogh's The Drinkers Mug
Down a cup of Joe with Vincent van Gogh’s The Drinkers or stir up some imagination with Jackson Pollock’s Greyed Rainbow. Today, to celebrate National Coffee Day, we hope you choose your favorite brew, and enjoy a cup of coffee with a masterpiece from the Art Institute of Chicago’s collection.