CHICAGO, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- The Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago's only museum devoted solely to exhibition of works by American artists, has closed permanently.
The cause of the closing was failure to find an audience after 17 years of trying, the board of trustees announced.
Opened in the heart of the Michigan Avenue shopping district in 1987 by chemicals magnate Daniel J. Terra, a U.S. ambassador-at-large, the museum exhibited 50 important paintings and some 350 works on paper. They will be transferred to the Art Institute of Chicago on a 15-year-loan for exhibition beginning early next April.
The paintings included Samuel F.B. Morse's "Gallery of the Louvre," for which Terra paid $3.25 million -- a record for an American painting -- in 1982, George Caleb Bingham's iconic "Jolly Flatboatmen," and masterpieces of American expressionism. The trustees said another museum at Giverny near Paris, founded by Terra to display works by American expressionists, will remain open.
"The museum fund simply didn't have enough money to support two museums," said Marshall Field V, chairman of the Terra Foundation. "I didn't feel that the vast majority of Chicago really gave a damn. The Terra museum drew only 85,000 visitors a year, compared to 1.3 million visitors at the Art Institute."