Illinois Art History

with an emphasis on representational art



This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "Illinois Art History." Articles and essays specific to this topic published in TFAO's Resource Library are listed at the beginning of the section. Clicking on titles takes readers directly to the articles and essays.

Following the links to Resource Library articles and essays are a listing of museums in the state which have provided materials to Resource Library for this or any other topic.

Listed after Resource Library articles, essays and museums are links to online resources outside the TFAO website. Following these resources is information about offline resources including DVDs, paper-printed books, journals and articles. Our goal is to present complete knowledge relating to this section of Topics in American Art.

TFAO welcomes volunteers to further the broadening of knowledge related to this topic. To learn more about TFAO's many volunteer opportunities please click here. Volunteers are welcome to contribute suggestions for additional content in this catalogue. Please see Catalogue and database management for details.


Resource Library essays listed by author name in alphabetical order, followed by articles:

Skirting Convention: Illinois Women Artists 1840 to 1940 by Channy Lyons

llinois Women Artists: The New Millennium

They Seek a City: Chicago and the Art of Migration, 1910-1950

Window on the West: Chicago and the Art of the New Frontier, 1890-1940

We recommend that researchers always search within Resource Library for additional material. Please see TFAO's page How to research topics not listed for more information. As of April, 2015 Resource Library contains 477 pages including the state's name.


Museums and other non-profit sources of Resource Library articles and essays:

Art Institute of Chicago

Cedarhurst Art Center

Chicago Cultural Center

Chicago Historical Society

Concordia University - Ferguson Gallery

Discovery Center Museum

Freeport Art Museum

Illinois State Museum

Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art

Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences

Loyola University Museum of Art

Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

Oil Painters of America Representational

Rockford Art Museum

School of Representational Art

Smart Museum of Art - University of Chicago

Tarble Arts Center at Eastern Illinois University

Terra Museum of American Art


(above: John Buczak, 44th Annual Exhibition, The Art Institute of Chicago. Works Projects Administration)


Other online information:

Art by Lynne Warren and Art Colonies by Devereux Bowly, Jr. from The Encyclopedia of Chicago website with copyrights by Chicago Historical Society and The Newberry Library, Accessed August, 2015.

Art and Handicraft in the Women's Building of the World's Columbian Exposition., Maud Howe Elliott, ed. put online by Laura June Dziuban, Susan Quinlan, and Mary Mark Ockerbloom. Accessed August, 2015.

Artists from Illinois in Wikipedia. Accessed August, 2015.

Arts and Crafts Movement from The Encyclopedia of Chicago. Accessed August, 2015.

Bernard Friedman Collection, which says in its Modernism in the New City: Chicago Artists, 1920-1950 website: "represents the artistic culture of Chicago from the 1920s to the 1940s. It was a culture graced with the iconoclastic liberty that life in the modern city afforded." Accessed August, 2015.

Between the Buildings: Art From Chicago, 1930s-1980s is a 2018 exhibit at the Krannert Art Museum which says: "This exhibition considers the problematic nature of art historical categories and explores what other stories are missed by perpetuating a single narrative." Accessed 9/18

Chicago Artists in the 1930's is a section of a website named Chicagology. Accessed July, 2016.

Chicago Calling: Art Against the Flow is a 2018 exhibit at the  Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art which says: "Culled from 30 collections (and many more examined), the exhibition explores the commingled histories of the ten artists, and the artists, educators, curators, dealers, collectors, and appreciators who comprised the culture of receptivity in Chicago, and embraced their work. The history of exhibitions of non-mainstream work in Chicago, from 1941 to the present, amplifies and underscores the curatorial premise." Accessed 8/18

Chicago Imagists at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, an exhibit held September 11, 2011 to January 15, 2012 at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum's website says: "In the late 1960s, art audiences were introduced to a vibrant new group of artists who would soon be identified collectively as the Chicago Imagists. The Imagists initially showed their work between 1966 and 1971 at the Hyde Park Art Center. Don Baum, artist and director of the center, facilitated several exhibitions that included the work of, most significantly, Roger Brown, Sarah Canright, James Falconer, Ed Flood, Art Green, Philip Hanson, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Ed Paschke, Christina Ramberg, Suellen Rocca, Barbara Rossi, and Karl Wirsum. These young artists banded together variously to present their art in a series of exhibitions with titles such as Hairy Who, Nonplussed Some, False Image, Marriage Chicago Style, and Chicago Antigua. Most of the artists were native to Chicago, in their later twenties, and current or former students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)." Accessed February, 2015

Chicago School: Imagists in Context, an exhibit held September 11, 2011 to January 8, 2012 at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum's website says: "Chicago School: Imagists in Context explores the distinctive artistic style that began to emerge in Chicago after World War II and which dominated the visual culture of the city for many decades. The exhibition offers a broad cultural framework in which to consider the work of the artists who became known as Chicago Imagists." Accessed February, 2015

Eagle's Nest Art Colony from The Oregon Public Library's Eagle's Nest Colony Art Collection, Oregon Illinois. Includes numerous artist biographies and images of artworks in the collection. Accessed July, 2016.

Eagle's Nest Art Colony from Wikipedia. Accessed August, 2015.

Establishing The Sculpture Program at the University of Illinois by Glen Martin, June, 2001. Accessed August, 2015.

A Gift to Biro-Bidjan: Chicago, 1937 - From Despair to New Hope from Oakton Community College. Accessed August, 2015.

Hairy Who (and some others), an exhibit held October 14, 2007 to January 8, 2008 at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum's website says: "Featured artists include Art Green, Gladys Nilsson, and Jim Nutt, all original members of the Hairy Who; Ed Paschke, who with four other artists showed at the Hyde Park Art Center in 1968 under the banner of "Nonplussed Some"; and Roger Brown and Christina Ramberg, who exhibited with two other artists in a group calling themselves "False Image" in 1968 and 1969. The survey also includes works by the Chicago Imagists' mentor, Ray Yoshida, and Robert Lostutter, a close friend of Paschke who did not show with the groups but is closely affiliated with the Imagists in his eccentric style and expression." Accessed February, 2015

Hebru Brantley: Forced Field is a 2017 exhibit at the Elmhurst Art Museum  which says: " A native of the city's Bronzeville neighborhood, Brantley is known for his public art commissions such as Chi Boy on S. Wabash and an eight-panel mural at the McCormick Place CTA Green Line station. His work is influenced by an array of pop culture icons, comic book heroes, Japanese anime, and street art pioneers Jean-Michel Basquiat, KAWS and Keith Haring." Also see artist's website    Accessed 11/17

Illinois artists collected by Kevin Daniel. Accessed August, 2015.

Illinois (sampling of artists and works connected to state) from askArt. Accessed August, 2015.

Illinois Historical Art Project contains a large list of Illinois artists, essays on many artists, and other information. The website says "Our relational database can help the scholar who is seeking to organize an exhibition and generate thematic plans. If for example you are interested in George Bellow's impact on modernism in Chicago, our database can provide a student list of those artists who worked under him at the Art Institute of Chicago and when. If you are interested in the Illinois artists who studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, our database will provide the answer. Our library covers all of the art organizations functioning in Illinois since 1859 including articles and exhibition catalogs." Accessed April, 2016.

Illinois Women Artists Project including essays and biographies of hundreds of historic Illinois women artists. Accessed 6/18.

Ivy Wild (artist colony) from Hamilton City Hall / Visitor Information Center. Accessed August, 2015.

Kings and Queens: Pinball, Imagists and Chicago is a 2017 exhibit at the Elmhurst Art Museum which says: "Most of the world's finest pinball machines were made in Chicago's North Side factories, and many of those were manufactured by Elmhurst residents, the Gottlieb family, and designed and illustrated by local Chicago artists. As those machines reached the apex of pictorial and engineering ingenuity, the artists now known as the Imagists were finding their unique visual style with inspiration from many vernacular sources including the arcades and Riverview Park." Accessed 3/17

M. Christine Schwartz Collection website says it is a "privately owned selection of paintings created by Chicago artists from the mid-nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries." Accessed August, 2015.

A New Deal for Illinois: The Federal Art Project Collection of Western Illinois University is a 2013-14 exhibit at the Figge Art Museum which says: "In contrast to the national scope of the Smithsonian Institution's 1934 exhibition, A New Deal for Illinois examines New Deal art in the regional context of Chicago in the 1930s and in relation to the institutional history of WIU. The exhibition and accompanying catalog are the first scholarly studies to research the historical, socio-cultural and artistic factors associated with the formation of WIU's FAP art collection." Accessed 2/17

The Oak Park Art League was founded in Oak Park, IL in 1921. It's website says it " one of Illinois' longest, continually-running non-profit arts organizations. OPAL fulfills its mission through its offering of high quality art education to people of all ages and skill levels, programs and guest lectures, artist demonstrations and critiques, plus monthly exhibition opportunities in our art gallery." Accessed April, 2016.

Palette & Chisel Academy of Fine Arts was founded in Chicago in 1895 as an association of representational artists. A Wikipedia page on the organizatiion lists some early members, including several covered in Resource Library articles such as Victor Higgins, Edgar Alwin Payne and Walter Ufer. It is listed in TFAO's Illinois Art History. Accessed April, 2016.

Park Ridge Art Colony from Accessed August, 2015.

Roger Brown / Matrix 35 is a 1980 exhibit at the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive which says: "The common denominator of his work is Memory of things visual, episodic, current, traditional, and personal-all of which are expressed by this artist who has maintained a fresh and independent point of view in the seething urban bustle and competitive art scene of Chicago." Also see entry in Wikipedia. Accessed 3/17

Society for Sanity in Art from Wikipedia. Accessed August, 2015.

Sundblom Circle/Sundblom Studio from Accessed August, 2015.

Teco Art Pottery from Wikipedia. Accessed August, 2015.

The Time Is Now! Art Worlds of Chicago's South Side, 1960-1980 is a 2018 exhibit at the Smart Museum of Art - University of Chicago which says: "Together with a scholarly catalogue and a series of public programs, The Time Is Now! reassesses and recalibrates traditional narratives of postwar Chicago art, revealing how artists living, working, and exhibiting on the South Side charted new artistic courses, challenged the political status quo, created new spaces for art, and reimagined the future in ways that continue to resonate through current national dialogues around race, gender, protest, and belonging."   Also see press release. Accessed 10/18

Vanderpoel Art Association website sayds: "...founded in 1913 by friends of John H. Vanderpoel, as a memorial..." Accessed August, 2015.

Women's Art at the World's Columbian Fair & Exposition, Chicago 1893 from Kathleen L. Nichols, Pittsburg State University. Accessed August, 2015.

World's Columbian Exposition from ExpoMuseum. Includes online bibliography. Accessed August, 2015.

World's Columbian Exposition, from Wikipedia. Accessed August, 2015.

The World's Columbian Exposition from the Chicago Historial Society. Accessed August, 2015.

The World's Columbian Exposition (1893), from PBS. Accessed August, 2015.

The World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 from the Paul V. Galvin Library Digital History Collection, Illinois Institute of Technology. Accessed August, 2015.

World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893, from the University of Delaware. Accessed August, 2015.

World's Columbian Exposition Catalog. Revised Catalogue, Department of Fine Arts, with Index of Exhibitors, Chicago 1893, from Google Books. Accessed August, 2015.

World's Columbian Exposition, 1893: Official Catalogue. Part X. Department K, Halsey Cooley Ives, ed. Chicago 1893, from Google Books. Accessed August, 2015.

World's Columbian Exposition: Idea, Experience, Aftermath by Julie K. Rose, from University of Virginia. Accessed August, 2015.

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) Collection of the Illinois State Museum. Accessed August, 2015.

The Illinois Women Artists Project offers a page with links to videos including, as of June 2010, Mary Agnes Yerkes (1886-1989), part 1 and 2; Louise Woodroofe; Eleanor Coen; IWA Project's Development, and Nell Brooker Mayhew Life & Art. Accessed August, 2015.


Books, listed by year of publication, with most recently published book listed first:

Art in Chicago: Resisting Regionalism, Transforming Modernism, by Robert Cozzolino, Philadelphia: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 2007.

Chicago Painting, 1895 to 1945: The Bridges Collection by Wendy Greenhouse and Susan Weininger. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004.

Chicago Modern, 1893-1945: Pursuit of the New, by Elizabeth Kennedy, ed. Chicago: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 2004.

Union League Club of Chicago Art Collection, by Marianne Richter and Wendy Greenhouse, Chicago: Union League Club of Chicago, 2003.

Window on the West: Chicago and the Art of the New Frontier, 1890-1940, by Judith A. Barter. 224 pages. Hudson Hills Press (September 25, 2003). ISBN-10: 0865591997. ISBN-13: 978-0865591998. Product Description: "A social and cultural history of the role played by Chicago artists and their patrons in the evolution of depicting the landscape and people of the American West. Works by a variety of artists including Remington, MacNeil, Ufer, Higgins, and O'Keeffe." (text courtesy of

The Friedman Collection: Artists of Chicago, March 7-April 6, 2002. Essay by William H. Gerdts, Ira Spanierman Gallery ( 2002)

Art for the People: The Rediscovery and Preservation of Progressive- and WPA-Era Murals in the Chicago Public Schools, 1904-1943, by Heather Becker, San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2002.

A Guide to Chicago's Murals, by Mary Lackritz Gray. 520 pages. Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (April 1, 2001). ISBN-10: 0226305996. ISBN-13: 978-0226305998. Google Books says: "Chicago is a city known for its fabulous architecture and public sculpture by artists such as Picasso and Calder, but anyone who has seen the gorgeous lunettes in the Auditorium Theater or the South Side's Wall of Respect, which inaugurated the city's contemporary mural movement, knows that Chicago has an equally rich tradition of mural painting. Through these murals, the history of Chicago and the nation is writ in churches and lobbies, on viaducts and school walls. Mary Gray's A Guide to Chicago's Murals is the first definitive handbook to the treasures that can be found all over the city. With full-color illustrations of nearly two hundred Chicago murals and accompanying entries that describe their history -- who commissioned them and why, how artists collaborated with architects, the subjects of the murals and their contexts -- A Guide to Chicago's Murals serves both a general and a specific audience. Divided into easy-to-read geographical sections with useful maps for walking tours, it is the perfect companion for tourists or Chicagoans interested in coming to know better this aspect of the city's history. Gray also provides crucial information on lesser-known artists and on murals that have been destroyed over the years, filling a gap in the visual record of the city's development. Gray also includes biographies of more than 150 artists and a glossary of key terms, making A Guide to Chicago's Murals essential reading for mural viewing. From post offices to libraries, fieldhouses to banks, and private clubs to street corners, Mary Gray chronicles the amazing works of artists who have sought to make public declarations in this most social of art forms. "A major lacuna in the history of art in Chicago has been filled, with the thoroughness of the research proportionate to the richness of the material revealed." -- From the Foreword by Franz Schulze "Gray's book . . . can function as a guidebook, as the murals are conveniently arranged according to the quadrants of the city. But the book is also beautiful to look at and indespensable as art history and Chicago history as well. . . . This book is a wonderful guide to Chicago's rich and unique mural tradition." - Elizabeth Alexander, Chicago Tribune Books "If you love art and history, this is a book you'll truly enjoy." - Al Paulson, Utne Reader" (right: front cover of A Guide to Chicago's Murals. image courtesy of Google Books)

Illinois Women Artists: The New Millennium, by The Illinois Committee for the National Museum of Women in the Arts. 68 pages. Illinois Committee Nat'l Museum of Women (May 12, 1999). ISBN-10: 0252068556. ISBN-13: 978-0252068553. Product Description: ""Illinois Women Artists: The New Millennium" showcases fifty pieces that celebrate the wit, conviction, and creativity of women artists in Illinois. The honesty and energy of these pieces -- paintings, sculptures, lithographs, etchings, woodcuts, collages, quilts -- emanate from the pages of this beautiful full-colour book that serves as the exhibition catalogue. The show travels from Chicago to the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., and then throughout Illinois." (text courtesy of

Art in Chicago, 1945-1995 by Lynne Warren, ed., Chicago: Museum of Contemporary Art, 1996, ISBN-10: 0933856415, ISBN-13: 978-0933856417. 312 pages

The "New Woman" in Chicago, 1910-1945: Paintings from Illinois Collections, by Rockford College of Art Gallery, Rockford, IL: Rockford College, 1993.

Art-related Archival Materials in the Chicago Area, by Betty.Blum, Washington, DC: Archives of American Art, 1991.

The Old Guard and the Avant-Garde: Modernism in Chicago, 1910-1940, by Sue Ann Prince. 304 pages. Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (December 18, 1990). ISBN-10: 0226682846. ISBN-13: 978-0226682846. Product Description: "The Old Guard and the Avant-Garde: Modernism in Chicago, 1910-1940 brings together the history and the critical reaction to the new developments in art and design, places them in the context of conservative yet innovative Chicago at the turn of the century, and explores the tensions between tradition and innovation. The individual essays present the best in specialized current research, yet one can clearly understand the impact of modernism on the broader intellectual and cultural life of the city. I eagerly await as cohesive and thorough an analysis of the subject for New York."-David Sokol, University of Chicago. ..."This is fresh and fascinating research about the ups and downs of modernism in Chicago, a city where art students reportedly once hung Matisse in effigy. Regional studies like this one broaden our understanding of how the art world has worked outside of New York and gives depth to a story we know too narrowly. Applause all the way around." - Wanda M. Corn, Stanford University. (text courtesy of

Federal Art Project in Illinois, 1935-1943, by George Mavigliano, Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1990.

Biographical Dictionary of Painters and Sculptors in Illinois 1808-1945, A (2 Volume set), by Esther Sparks (Author). Publisher: UMI Dissertation Services (1988). ASIN: B001JL1R9M

Chicago Furniture: Art, Craft, and Industry, 1833-1983 by Sharon Darling. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1984.

A Guide to Chicago's Public Sculpture, By Ira J. Bach, Mary Lackritz Gray, Mary Alice Molloy. Photographs by Mary Alice Molloy. Illustrated by Mary Lackritz Gray. Contributor Mary Lackritz Gray. Published by University of Chicago Press, 1983. ISBN 0226033988, 9780226033983. 379 pages

After the Great Crash: New Deal Art in Illinois : an Exhibition of Art from the Period 1934-1943 Produced by Artists on the Various Federal Art Projects in Illinois : April 3-May 29, 1983, Illinois State Museum, Springfield, By Illinois State Museum. Published by Illinois State Museum Society, 1983. 32 pages

A Biographical Dictionary of Peoria Artists, 1830-1982, with Reference Guide, By Adelaide N Cooley. Published by s.n, 1982

Over a Century: A History of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1866-1981, By Roger Gilmore, Art Institute of Chicago School. Published by The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1982. 132 pages

Chicago Sculpture: Text and Photographs, By James L. Riedy, Published by University of Illinois Press, 1981. Original from the University of Michigan. Digitized Nov 13, 2007. ISBN 0252008197, 9780252008191. 339 pages

Your Guide to Loop Sculpture, By Chicago Council on Fine Arts. Published by The Council, 1980. 19 pages

100 Artists 100 Years: Alumni of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Centennial Exhibition, The Art Institute of Chicago, November 23, 1979 Through January 20, 1980, By Katharine Kuh, Art Institute of Chicago School, Art Institute of Chicago. Published by The School of the Art Institute of Chicago], 1979. 67 pages

Role and Impact, the Chicago Society of Artists, by Louise Dunn Yochim. Published by Chicago Society of Artists, 1979. ISBN 0960253203, 9780960253203. 297 pages

Currents of Expansion: Painting in the Midwest, 1820-1940, by Judith A. Barter and Lynn E. Springer. St. Louis: St. Louis Art Museum, 1977.

Illinois Landscape Art, 1830-1975, By Lakeview Center for the Arts and Sciences, Lakeview Center for the Arts and Sciences. Published by Illinois Arts Council?, 1976 .39 pages

Naive Art in Illinois, 1830-1976: [exhibition], By Joshua Kind, Illinois Arts Council, Illinois Arts Council, Published by The Illinois Arts Council, 1976. 31 pages

Art, Crafts, and Architecture in Early Illinois, By Betty I. Madden. Published by University of Illinois Press, 1974. ISBN 0252006755, 9780252006753. 310 pages

Illinois Portrait Index, By National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Illinois, National Historical Activities Committee. Published by National Society of the Colonial Dames of America Illinois, 1972. 72 pages

Painters and Sculptors in Illinois 1820-1945, by Illinois Arts Council. Chicago: Illinois Arts Council, (1971).

"A Biographical Dictionary of Painters and Sculptors in Illinois 1808-1945," by Esther Sparks, PhD dissertation Northwestern University, 1971.

The Artist Sees Historic Illinois; December 2, 1967-February 4, 1968, By Illinois State Historical Library, Illinois State Museum. Published by Illinois State Museum, 1967

Art of Today, Chicago, 1933, By Jacob Zavel Jacobson. Published by L. M. Stein, 1932. 154 pages

History of Music and Art in Illinois: Including Portraits and Biographies of the Cultured Men and Women who Have Been Liberal Patrons of the Higher Arts, Published by Merrill & Baker, 1904. 708 pages

Historical Sketch and Description of the Art Institute of Chicago, By William Merchant Richardson French. Published by s.n.], 1904. 23 pages

Chicago in Picture and Poetry: With One Hundred Illustrations, By Horace Spencer Fiske. Published by R.F. Seymour for the Industrial Art League, 1903. Original from Harvard University. Digitized Sep 13, 2006. 187 pages. Full View of this book available via Google Books



Judith A. Barter & Sarah Kelly: "Chicago and the Art of the New Frontier, 1890-1940" American Art Review September-October 2003 (Volume XV, Number 5)

Clarkson, Ralph. Chicago Painters: Past and Present. Art and Archaeology 12 September - October 1921)

Sharon S. Darling: "Chicago Metalsmiths" American Art Review January 1978 (Volume IV, Number 4)

Robert Eskridge & Elizabeth Seaton: "Art from the Chicago Public Schools" American Art Review May-June 2002 (Volume XIV, Number 3)

Wendy Greenhouse: "Chicago Modern, 1893-1945" American Art Review July-August 2004 (Volume XVI, Number 4)

Susan C. Larsen, Wendy Greenhouse & Susan S. Weininger: "Chicago Painting 1895 to 1945: The Bridges Collection" American Art Review March-April 2000 (Volume XII, Number 2)

Robert M. Sill: "Portraits by Illinois Artists Past & Present" American Art Review January-February 2004 (Volume XVI, Number 1)


TFAO's Distinguished Artists catalogue provides online access to biographical information for artists associated with this state. Also, Search Resource Library for online articles and essays concerning both individual artists associated with this state's history and the history of art centers and museums in this state. Resource Library articles and essays devoted to individual artists and institutions are not listed on this page.

Do you know of additional sources whether online or paper-printed? TFAO welcomes your suggestions. Please send them to:

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