Of course, the scene is not just a documentary view of paintings and sculpture, the various characters are seen posing, watching, pondering and even kissing in front of the art. While there are scores of famed artworks I could describe, I'm only going to mention a few of the pieces I feel are very important namely because they allow me to indulge in some character study.
1. Portrait of Balzac by Auguste Rodin
The first piece I'm going to mention is a sculpture by the French master, Rodin (of Thinker fame, if you don't recognize the name). This piece is only important because the characters pose in front of it with their legs outstretched and their arms crossed staring at the famed author set in bronze (see above). Let's move on.
2. The Picasso Portraits
In case you were wondering, the paintings can be identified as the following. From left to right: The Red Armchair(1931), Portrait of Sylvette David (1954), and a third painting which I can't seem to find anywhere else. I think the Art Institue must of sold it or something, because I can't find a Picasso matching the description in their database. If you know what it is, just let me know and I'll add it.
3. Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat
4. Marc Chagall's America Windows
The final piece I'm going to mention is a unique piece of art in itself without mentioning that it is now a famed piece of movie art as well. I'm referring to Marc Chagall's America Windows, beautiful example of modern stain glass work. In the film, Hughes indulges in his most touching scene thus far in front of these Chicago landmarks. While Cameron is pondering his existence and feeling very teen-angst-y, Sloane and Ferris enjoy a moment alone and can be seen kissing in front of the windows. The beautiful blue light created by the windows creates a lovely aura in the scene.
The Washington Post
"John Hughes video explains 'Ferris Bueller" scene at Art Institute" (11/16/2011)
Wikipedia: "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"