She’s back: ‘Whistler’s Mother,’ a more exciting painting than you might think, returns to Chicago’s Art Institute

CHICAGO — The first time “Whistler’s Mother” came to Chicago, it was a sensation. It was the “Most Talked of Canvas” in the exhibition of celebrated works the Art Institute showed in conjunction with the 1933 World’s Fair here, according to a Tribune headline of the time. Now James McNeill Whistler’s iconic but little traveled 1871…