Art Institute of Chicago Purchases Nearly 1,500 Works From Art Collector Charles Hack

Selected works will be on view this fall, and the museum will celebrate the acquisition with a larger exhibition in 2027.

A well-muscled man rendered in pencil falls
Hendrick Goltzius, after Cornelis van Haarlem. Phaeton, from The Four Disgracers, 1588 The Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago yesterday (May 1) announced its acquisition of 1,440 works from prominent art collector Charles Hack.

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The artwork, which comes from the collection of Hack and the Hearn Family Foundation, managed by Hack, primarily focuses on Dutch Mannerists from the 1530s to 1750.

An artist featured heavily in the collection is Hendrick Goltzius, a 16th-century Dutch artist “and one of the greatest draftsmen and printmakers of his age,” according to the museum. Work from students of Goltzius, which included Jacob Matham, Jan Saenredam and Jan Muller, also comprise the collection.

“Unparalleled in both quality of impressions and breadth of coverage, the collection allows for a rich dialogue about evolving representations of the human body, iconographic variations in the depiction of familiar subjects, and the complex relationship between painting and printmaking during this period,” said Jacquelyn Coutre, the museum’s associate curator in painting and sculpture of Europe, in a statement.

A selection of prints from the acquisition will be shown in two galleries at the Art Institute of Chicago in November, with an exhibition and publication celebrating the collection scheduled for 2027.

Exterior shot of large stone museum with wide steps.
The Art Institute of Chicago is expanding its holdings. Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images.

Filling in a gap at the Chicago museum

Hack’s collection will fill a major gap in the museum’s collection of Dutch artwork from the 16th and 17th centuries, according to Jamie Gabbarelli, the Art Institute of Chicago’s associate curator in prints and drawing. “This purchase constitutes a monumental leap forward in the department’s Old Master holdings,” he said in a statement.

Hack additionally donated The Archer and the Milkmaid, a rare print designed by Jacques de Gheyn II, and established a purchase fund at the museum dedicated to the acquisition of Dutch Mannerist prints.

A real estate investor based in New York, Hack has focused on old master drawings throughout his art collecting. He is a member of the visiting committee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s prints and drawing committee and a trustee at Ithaca College and has previously lent pieces from his collection to the McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College and the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago.

Hack has also donated a number of works over the years to institutions like the National Gallery of Art and the Met, including Vilhelm Hammershoi’s 1911 Self-Portrait at Spurveskjul, which he pledged to the Met in 2020 in honor of its 150th anniversary.

The Art Institute of Chicago did not respond to requests for comment.

Art Institute of Chicago Purchases Nearly 1,500 Works From Art Collector Charles Hack