Michigan 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 "Michigan 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:

Pewabic Pottery: Patronage, Private Residences, Public Buildings, Sacred Spaces by Thomas W. Brunk

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 491 pages including the state's name.


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

Detroit Institute of Arts

Ella Sharp Museum

Flint Institute of Arts

Gerald R. Ford Museum

Grand Rapids Art Museum

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Krasl Art Center

Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum

Michigan State University Museum

Muskegon Museum of Art

Saginaw Art Museum

University of Michigan Museum of Art


Other online information:

Artists from Michigan in Wikipedia. Accessed August, 2015.

Cranbrook Academy of Art website. Accessed August, 2015.

Detroit Institute of Arts website contains a catalogue titled Artists Take on Detroit: Projects for the Tricentennial, for an exhibition held in 2001. Also see online special exhibition catalogues dating from 1886-1919 (Detroit Museum of Art) and 1919-1923 (Detroit Institute of Arts) from one to forty pages in length. Accessed August, 2015.

The Dunes Revisited - Frank V. Dudley and the 1917 Dunes Pageant is a 2017 exhibit at the Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso University. A 12/27/17 article in  the Chicago Tribune says: "Dudley, who died in 1957, painted the Indiana Dunes for more than 40 years and his artist studio was located in a small building nestled along Lake Michigan amidst the same scenes that inspired his paintings." Accessed 12/17

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

Reynold Weidenaar: A Retrospective is a 2015 exhibit at the Grand Rapids Art Museum which says: "This retrospective exhibition of prints, watercolors, and oil paintings by Grand Rapids native Reynold Weidenaar (1915 - 1985) celebrates his varied and remarkable career on the 100th anniversary of his birth. Nationally recognized and locally beloved, Weidenaar is one of West Michigan's most acclaimed and talented artists. Also see news release. Accessed 8/18


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.


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

Fine Art of The Great Lakes: Artists of Michigan Northern and Central Regions, by Phyllis, A.H. Dobson. 184 pages. Publisher: AuthorHouse (July 17, 2007). ISBN-10: 1434316912. ISBN-13: 978-1434316912. Product Description: "The collectable coffee table book of fine arts includes numerous artists of Michigan; one of the Great Lake states. From the Northern Seas to the call of the wild, each artist represents their love of nature and this wondrous state. Known as the "Mitten" to many or to the indigenous peoples as "Greensky" by the natives of Michigan. In our presentation of individual artisans are a collection of oil and acrylic painters, watercolorists, pastel artists, a traditional glass blower, a stone sculptor, a wood carver, a metal sculptress, and a potterer. Each one of the artists is uniquely gifted and versatile as many write books and poetry, or are in dance or other performing arts as well. The author of this presentation: Phyllis A.H. Dobson worked many long hours to produce their mini-biographies and their beautiful works. If you wish to support the arts by purchasing a work from the artists or copies of Fine Arts of the Great Lakes, please contact authorHOUSE at 888.280.7715." (text courtesy of Amazon.com)

The Scarab Club, By Patricia Reed, Christine Renner, Michael E. Crane. Published by Arcadia Publishing, 2006. ISBN 0738541095, 9780738541099. 127 pages. Google Books says: "On the cusp of its centennial anniversary, the Scarab Club (founded in 1907) weaves itself into the city of Detroit's and the state of Michigan's artistic cultural heritage. From its humble beginning as the Hopkin Club to its current status in the 21st century, the Scarab Club focuses on fine, performing, and technical arts and is still housed in its original 1928 building, a historic local, state, and national landmark. The club's exhibitions, programs, and costumed balls, the prominent visitors' and members' signatures on the second-floor beams, and the architectural decor of the clubhouse combine for its unique distinction. From its inception, the Scarab Club's mission has been to educate and enlighten its members and the community in the arts. The organization maintains a clubhouse for the exhibition of arts, provides facilities for artists for the advancement of their craft, and for other activities directed toward the education in the arts."

Craft Works! Michigan: A Report on Traditional Crafts and Economic Development in Michigan, By Marsha MacDowell, Julie Avery, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Museum, Michigan State University. Published by Michigan State University Museum, 2006. 73 pages

Art in Detroit Public Places, By Dennis Alan Nawrocki, David Clements, Photographs by David Clements, Published by Wayne State University Press, 1999. ISBN 0814327028, 9780814327029. 183 pages. Google Books says: "Art in Detroit Public Places is a guidebook to the many major examples of public art in metropolitan Detroit and proof that the tradition of art in public places is enjoying a renaissance. This revised edition of a Detroit classic studies 120 sites organized into five geographical districts. Each area includes a map to facilitate a walking or driving tour. The text provides a brief discussion of the history of each work, the nature of its commission, its historical context, and its relation to its sit"

African American Quiltmaking in Michigan, by Marsha L. MacDowell, ed. Published: Michigan State University Press with the Michigan State University Museum, 1997. Pages: 162. ISBN: 0870134108. " Essays by Marsha MacDowell, Darlene Clark Hine, Cuesta Benberry, and Bill Harris examine the history and meaning of quilting in individual artist's lives and within the contexts of community and family. Also included are excerpts of interviews with quilters Sarah Carolyn Reese, Ione Todd, Deonna Green, and Rosa Parks." Information courtesy of Michigan State University Museum.

Anishnaabek: Artists of Little Traverse Bay, by Marsha MacDowell, ed. Published: East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State University Museum and The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, 1996. Pages: 73 ISBN: 0944311091. " This publication features the work of thirty-one artists who are Ottawa/Odawa and/or Chippewa/Ojibwa, descendants of nineteenth-century bands who lived in what are now Emmet, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, and Delta counties in Michigan. The book includes photos of their work, photographic portraits of the artists by Minnie Wabanimkee, and essays and artist biographical sketches by Frank Ettawageshik, Marsha MacDowell, Minnie Wabanimkee, James M. McClurken, and Kathy VanDeCar with Robert Shagonaby. " Information courtesy of Michigan State University Museum.

Michigan Quilts: 150 Years of a Textile Tradition, By Marsha MacDowell, Ruth D. Fitzgerald, Michigan State University Museum. Published by Michigan State University Museum, 1987. ISBN 0944311008, 9780944311004. 177 pages

Artists of Michigan from the Nineteenth Century: A Sesquicentennial Exhibition Commemorating Michigan Statehood, 1837-1987: the Muskegon Museum of Art, the Detroit Historical Museum, By J. Gray Sweeney, Nancy K. Anderson, Andrea P. A. Belloli, Michael P. DeMarsche, Muskegon Museum of Art, Detroit Historical Museum. Published by Muskegon Museum of Art, 1987. Original from the University of Michigan. Digitized Dec 29, 2006. 216 pages

Vintage Artists of Michigan, by Stuart ( Project Director) White (Author). Publisher: State Of Michigan (1987).

The Michigan Experience: A Traveling Exhibition of Paintings of Michigan Themes by Michigan Artists in Celebration of the State's Sesquicentennial, By Sadayoshi Omoto, Eldon N Van Liere, Kresge Art Museum. Published by Kresge Art Museum, Dept. of Art, Michigan State University, 1986

New Deal art projects in Michigan: Art as public policy, by Ann V Doty . Publisher: s.n (1986).

The Michigan experience: A traveling exhibition of paintings of Michigan themes by Michigan artists in celebration of the state's sesquicentennial, by Sadayoshi Omoto. 172 pages. Publisher: Kresge Art Museum, Dept. of Art, Michigan State University (1986).

Artists of Grand Rapids, 1840-1980: A cooperative exhibition, the Grand Rapids Art Museum and the Grand Rapids Public Museum September 14-November 30, 1981 by J. Gray Sweeney, Sylvia Krissoff, Published 1981 by Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Public Museum. 131 pages

Cast in Clay: The Folk Pottery of Grand Ledge, Michigan, By C. Kurt Dewhurst, Marsha MacDowell. Published by Museum, Michigan State University, 1980. 73 pages

Outdoor Sculpture in Grand Rapids, By Fay L. Hendry, Balthazar Korab, Contributor Balthazar Korab. Published by Iota Press, 1980. Original from the University of Michigan. Digitized Nov 13, 2007. ISBN 0936412003, 9780936412009. 146 pages

Outdoor Sculpture in Kalamazoo, By Fay L. Hendry, Balthazar Korab, Contributor Balthazar Korab. Published by Iota Press, 1980. Original from the University of Michigan. Digitized Nov 13, 2007. ISBN 0936412011, 9780936412016. 106 pages

Rainbows in the Sky: Folk Art of Michigan in the 20th Century, by C. Kurt Dewhurst and Marsha MacDowell. Published: East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State University Museum, 1978. Pages: 128. "This publication accompanied the 1978 exhibition of the same name. Includes biographies of artists, photographs of their work, and an essay on attitudes toward folk art." Information courtesy of Michigan State University Museum.

Early Michigan Paintings: Kresge Art Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, November 21, 1976-January 2, 1977, By Sadayoshi Omoto, Kresge Art Center Gallery. Published by The University, 1976. Original from the University of Michigan. Digitized Nov 14, 2007. 142 pages

Artists of Early Michigan: A Biographical Dictionary of Artists Native to Or Active in Michigan, 1701-1900, By Arthur Hopkin Gibson, Beverly Bassett, Jean Spang. Published by Wayne State University Press, 1975. Original from the University of Michigan. Digitized Dec 27, 2007. ISBN 0814315283, 9780814315286. 249 pages. Source: Google Books

IMPRESSIONISM IN MICHIGAN, PAINTINGS, DRAWINGS AND GRAPHICS FROM MICHIGAN ..., By Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, By Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. Published 1967 by Kalamazoo Institute of Arts "Paintings, drawings and graphics from Michigan Collections."

Michigan Civil War Monuments, By George Smith May, Michigan Civil War Centennial Observance Commission. Published by Michigan Civil War Centennial Observance Commission, 1965. Original from the University of Michigan. Digitized Feb 20, 2008. 76 pages

Biographies of Detroit and Michigan Artists of the Past, By Detroit Public Schools, Detroit Public Schools Dept. of Art Education, Dept. of Art Education. Published by Detroit Public Schools, 1965. 34 pages

Michigan Art Yesterday and Today, April 11th-May 5th, 1963, Flint Institute of Arts, By Flint Institute of Arts. Published by Flint Institute of Arts, 1963

The Founding and Growth of the Scarab Club of Detroit, By Scarab Club. Published by.Scarab Club of Detroit 16 pages. 1953

Exhibition of the Work of Painters in Detroit Before 1900, By Detroit Institute of Arts. Published 1949 by Detroit Institute of Arts

Artists in Michigan, 1900-1976: A Biographical Dictionary, By Dennis Barrie. Published by Books on Demand. (n.d.) ISBN 060810535X, 9780608105352. 240 pages



"Detroit is fertile ground for art," by Vivian M. Baulch, 1/31/98, from The Detroit News.


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