History of the Nickerson Mansion: 1888

Chicago Daily, February 11, 1894, page 36

Have Rare Pictures
Fine Art Collections Owned By Chicago Citizens.
Paintings by Old and Modern Masters in the Possession of Mr. and Mrs. S. M. Nickerson — One of the Three Private Galleries That Form a Part of as Many Residences in Chicago — Famous Artists Among the Canvases of Albert A. Munger and Charles L. Hutchinson.

One of the blessings which all Chicagoans do not appreciate is the great value of the private collections of paintings to be found in this beauty-loving town. Many are the art students here who are panting to get to Paris or straining at their leash to race to Rome, but who have no clear notions as to just how many masterpieces are waiting to be studied at their doors today. They would be sorely put to it if asked who of their townspeople has the most precious collections of paintings; where was the fullest gallery of modern landscapes; who had gathered a carefully classified sequence of English pictures; which citizen had made a patriotic study of American art; or which possessed one of Vane der Capelle’s most delicate and lovely marines.

It is true that such galleries are not open to every comer, bit it is quite as true that the genuine picture liver can find out a way. As a rule Chicago collectors are like other collectors the world over and enjoy showing their treasures to discriminating fellow-beings.

Mr. and Mrs. S. M. Nickerson, for example, have always shown the most gracious hospitality in admitting students to the gallery in their home at No. 317 Erie street. Their large collection is a general one, but chosen with extreme care, and begun immediately after the great fire had destroyed their first gallery.

Most of the paintings are in a room built for the purpose and lighted from above. There are as yet but three such specially arranged private galleries in town, other collectors making the best of the good and bad lights in their living rooms. Columns of dark colored marble separate the picture gallery from the long suite of rooms leading thereto, a beautiful snow white group by Benzoni standing between the middle columns. The tone of the room is dull green, with ebony woodwork. Shelves of books about art fill the space below the “eye line,” and in the center of the room are cabinets filled with jade, enamel, and metal curious.

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