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Art Institute of Chicago Launches Online Scholarly Catalogues

The Art Institute of Chicago is pleased to announce the publication of its first online scholarly catalogues, Monet: Paintings and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago and Renoir: Paintings and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago.

The catalogues, which can be viewed at Monet and Renoir: Paintings and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago, feature 47 works by Claude Monet and 25 works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, all drawn from the permanent collection of the Art Institute. Entries on the paintings and drawings include new art historical research and unprecedented high-resolution imaging that allows readers to zoom in to see the artist's brushstrokes. Also included is previously unpublished technical photography that unveils information hidden beneath the surface of the artwork through interactive, layered images showing X-ray, infrared, and other technical imaging. Conservation reports on each artwork offer in-depth studies of the artist's process and incorporate new scientific data on his materials. Other features include a glossary, scanned archival materials, and biographical information about significant historical collectors for the museum. In order to take advantage of the full functionality of the catalogues, the latest version of Chrome, Safari, or Firefox is recommended.

Funded by the Getty Foundation and the Art Institute's David and Mary Winton Green Nineteenth-Century Research Fund, with additional staffing support from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and scientific research support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, these catalogues are part of the Getty Foundation's Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (OSCI). In 2009 the Getty Foundation launched OSCI in partnership with the J. Paul Getty Museum and eight other museums and issued them a challenge to transition from printed scholarly catalogues to multimedia, web-based publications. The goal of the consortium was to create online catalogues that would dramatically increase access to museum collections; make available new, interdisciplinary, up-to-date research; and revolutionize how research is conducted, presented, and utilized. The digital publishing team at the Art Institute of Chicago conceived and managed the Monet and Renoir projects and oversaw the development of the ChicagoCodeX, which has served as the foundation of the open-source, digital publishing platform OSCI Toolkit ( The ChicagoCodeX, which is an infinitely flexible set of publishing tools that can be adapted to a wide variety of projects, is an enormous achievement and a vital part of the multi-museum OSCI project.

"The launch of the inaugural volumes of the Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative, dedicated to the works of Monet and Renoir, is a milestone in the museum's history," said Douglas Druick , President and Eloise W. Martin Director of the Art Institute. "The OSCI catalogues are a testament to what the Art Institute does best: They combine groundbreaking curatorial research, innovations in conservation science and imaging, and new technology into an accessible resource that furthers our understanding of great works of art and allows us to share this information worldwide. This digital capability-nimble and virtually limitless in its potential-transforms the way we approach the study and publication of art history. We take great pride in the museum's collaborative achievement and are deeply grateful to the Getty Foundation for its visionary leadership and support of this pioneering project."

Free to the public, the Monet and Renoir catalogues are the first in the online series The Impressionist Circle at the Art Institute of Chicago. Three more volumes, focusing on Camille Pissarro, Édouard Manet, and Paul Gauguin, will be released in 2015 and are supported by the Mellon Foundation. Another online catalogue funded by Mellon, dedicated to the Art Institute's collection of Roman art, will be published in December 2015.

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Images: Screenshots of the Monet and Renoir catalogues

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