Star Wars meets the Art Institute of Chicago

22 modern artworks from the Art Institute of Chicago matched up with Star Wars images

Two monumental cultural events are about to happen in the same week:

  1. Star Wars is releasing episode VII: The Force Awakens
  2. The Art Institute is about to exhibit their largest donation of artwork ever.

44 monumental modern artworks were donated to the Art Institute. These pieces are so massively impressive in the course of art history, they bear a collective value of $400 million. Would you like to see a half-billion dollar collection? It will be showing at the Art Institute of Chicago, thanks to donors Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson.

This gift is so large, that the Art Institute promised the donors that all the artworks will be shown together for 25 consecutive years as the Edlis/Neeson Collection. That’s right, that means this exhibit is not up for just a couple months, this collection will be shown together until 2040. After that, the artwork on display in its galleries for another 25years. This is immense staying power.

What else in our culture has such awesome cultural power? Star Wars. The characters in this 38-year franchise is known by everyone. Star Wars has been around for 38 years. The Edlis-Neeson collection will be on display for at least 50 years.

I took 22 of these iconic paintings from the collection and found a visually similar each for each, using a Star Wars theme.

Self-Portrait by Andy Warhol • Luke Skywalker by Kopnina Alyona Dmitrievna


Four Mona Lisas, 1978 by Andy Warhol • Princess Leia and Wicket Warrick ewok


Twelve Jackies, 1964 by Andy Warhol • Star Wars Sketch Cards - Prequel I by clayrodery


Big Electric Chair, 1967–68 by Andy Warhol • Star Wars wallpaper

Flowers, 1964 by Andy Warhol • Star Wars Stormtrooper Pop Art by DogHollywood


Little Race Riot, 1964 by Andy Warhol • Star Wars: A New Hope poster


Self-portrait, 1966 by Andy Warhol • Star Wars - Minimalism by Keith Bogan


Hunting Party (Jagdgesellschaft), 1966 by Gerhard Richter • The Force Awakens - Stormtrooper by DarthTemoc


Venice (Staircase) [Venedig (Treppe)], 1985 by Gerhard Richter • StarWars The Force Awakens: X-Wing


Davos, 1981 by Gerhard Richter • Tatooine's two suns, Tatoo I & Tatoo II


Townscape (P1) [Stabtbild (P1)], 1968 by Gerhard Richter • Death Star Greebles Conversion by PixelOz


11 more comparisons below…

How the new Art Institute Modern Art collection is like Star Wars

Worth hundreds of millions

  • New Contemporary Collection worth half a billion dollars.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens expected to bring in 1.5 billion.

Legacy staying power

  • New Contemporary Collection to be exhibited for 50 years.
  • Star Wars franchise 38 years old, and getting better every year.

Connections to Chicago 

  • Collectors Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson live up the street on Michigan Avenue
  • George Lucas has a home in Chicago and will be opening his museum in Chicago in the near future

Impact in history

  • Abstract expressionism, Pop art, German Neo-expressionism, photo-based conceptualism
  • Epic space opera, fictional universes, Entertainment licensing

Made with a vision

  • The Chicago Tribune reportsBut mostly the aesthetic, said Rondeau, “I’m sorry it’s so banal to say, but it’s about excellence. Stefan and Gael would wait. They did not buy based upon opportunity. They did not buy based upon what was offered to them. They did not buy dictated by the fashions of the marketplace. They waited until they had the opportunity to acquire the most iconic, most significant (work) in terms of provenance, in terms of condition, in terms of its place in an artist’s career. … This is the result of a very cautious, conscientious, connoisseurship-driven waiting game to get the right pictures.”
  • George Lucas structured the original contracts for Star Wars to ensure that original trilogy didn’t get watered down as sequels.

Iconic figures

  • Warhol, Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns
  • Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Darth Vader

Let’s become familiar with the incredible Edlis-Neeson collection through the lens of Star Wars. Every painting in the collection is paired with a Star Wars visual equivalent.

  • Andy Warhol’s Self-Portrait is matched up with Luke Skywalker.
  • Gerhard Richter’s sunset pairs up with Tatooine’s two suns.
  • Roy Lichtenstein’s pop culture comic style complements a frame from the Star Wars #7 comic book
  • Squiggly lines of Brice Marden squiggle along with a detailed drawing of an AT-AT
  • And one of my favorites: Cy Twombly’s esoteric painting and scratches pair with the quiet Ithorian concept art.
  • Oh, and the dark slumber party of Eric Fischl is matched with the underground of Jabba’s lair.

Please share the following images. Enjoy them. When you go to the Art Institute, maybe you appreciate the iconic nature of these paintings—both for their art historic significance, but also for their visual connection with Star Wars.

Woman III, 1982 by Roy Lichtenstein • Star Wars #7 comic book by Howard Chaykin, 1978


Artist's Studio Foot Medication, 1974 by Roy Lichtenstein • Star Wars Weekly, March 8, 1978


Target, 1961 by Jasper Johns • Boba Fett Bounty Hunter Star Wars Acrylic Painting by DavidYakos
Target, 1961 by Jasper Johns • Boba Fett Bounty Hunter Star Wars Acrylic Painting by DavidYakos


Figure 4, 1959 by Jasper Johns • Maul Galaxy 7 by Mark McHaley, 2012


Alphabet, 1959 by Jasper Johns • Star Wars cartoons by Sugarfueledart


Untitled, c. 1955 by Robert Rauschenberg • Stormtrooper helmet mask diagram


Study for the Muses (Eaglesmere Version), 1991–1994/1997–99 by Brice Marden • Imperial Walker Transportation by Mattias Adolfsson


Mr. Pointy, 2011 by Takashi Murakami • Millennium Falcon bedding


Untitled (Bolsena), 1969 by Cy Twombly • Ithorian concept art by Ron Cobb, 1977


Slumber Party, 1983 by Eric Fischl • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)


Stamford after Brunch, 2000 by John Currin • Qui-Gon Jinn, Jar Jar Binks, and Anakin Skywalker in Phantom Menace


Do you have any favorite pairings? Please tweet or pin your favorites.

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8 years ago

You found a TON of art.

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