March 11, 2016
BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
A sold-out success with 450 guests, the recent Van Gogh Gala at the Art Institute of Chicago raised $600,000 for the Old Masters Society. The benefit opened the exhibit of the artist’s paintings of possibly the most famous bedroom in art, rendered in three paintings.
Gloria Groom, Chairman of the Department of European Paintings and Sculpture, curated the exhibit. Benefit Chairs James Bay and Linda Buonanno, and Sponsorship Chair David Horn aspired to offer winter’s most glorious event, and their creativity made it so.
Old Masters President Laura de Frise shares details:
“A projection of Van Gogh’s Starry Night covered the entire west wall of Griffin Court, while his Night Café was projected on the east wall. Six large Cyprus trees were planted in the Court, and pottery pitchers holding bunches of sunflowers flourished on the tables. Laurie Bay deserves a special shout out as this gala was all about her great style, oversight every day for months, and collaboration with John Hensel at HMR Designs.”
And guests certainly got into the Van Gogh spirit. Axel Ruger, Director of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, wore a sunflower dinner jacket. Diana Senior wore sunflower corsage and husband Richard, a matching boutonniere. Joe Berton donned a Starry Night-inspired version.
Two of the artist’s relatives, Willem van Gogh, his great grand nephew, and his great grand niece, Machteld van Laer, came from Amsterdam for the party. They served as Honorary Chairs along with Vincent Floreani, Consul General of France in Chicago, and Klaas van der Tempel, Consul General of the Netherlands in Chicago.
The signature drinks for the evening, including a chocolate martini served with dessert, were made with Van Gogh Vodka. Guests posed against a backdrop of the famous bedroom, taking home photos in addition to lavish Sotheby’s goodie bags that included the exhibition catalogue written by Gloria Groom.
Following dinner, Gloria toasted Douglas Druick, retiring as Art Institute President and Director and his successor James Rondeau.
Van Gogh Bedrooms runs through May 10 at the Art Institute. The exhibit includes an exact reproduction of the bedroom, some of his paints and brushes and examples of the artist’s ephemera including bird’s nests. For further information, please visit their website, http://www.artic.edu/, or call 312.443.3600.
Photo Credit: The Art Institute of Chicago