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Consider augmenting your class commentary and activities with the work and stories of artists closer to home.
Sure, you need to talk about Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, show Monet’s Giverny paintings, and Picasso’s Guernica. But what about also describing the artwork of an Illinois artist, someone who lived in your city or your area. Tell her story, show her work. Imagine how engaging it could be for a student to recognize the house the artist lived in, the fields she pictured in her images, the school she went to.
You can also have students make their own artwork in the style of an Illinois woman artist. Creating their own studies will help students understand the techniques and aesthetics of historical art styles, methods, and subjects.
We can help you locate Illinois women artists included on our database. Send us an email telling us your Illinois town, and we’ll locate the artist who is nearest to you. Then you can go to the Artists section of our website to learn what we’ve found out about her. You may want to do a little digging to learn more about her and her time period. Check out our Timeline as well.
Seeing the Sites
You’ll find information and resources about Illinois art, history and writing at the sites listed below. Check our Links page also. Be sure to look for facts, historical descriptions, and ideas at your local historical society, art center and library. Libraries have often been repositories for local artists’ works. Visit the artist’s home and places she frequented if they are still standing.
Illinois Representational Art History
At the Traditional Fine Arts Organization, a list of essays and arts organizations concerned with Illinois representational art history.
Depression Era Art/WPA-FAP in the Illinois State Museum’s Fine Arts Collection. Includes descriptions and definitions, activities and additional resources. And, WPA Artworks a gallery of WPA artwork at the Western Illinois University Gallery.
New Deal Art
The essay Chicago and New Deal Art provides art history, political history, and biography from the Center for New Deal Studies at Roosevelt University.
Brief description of the book Chicago Modern, 1893-1945: Pursuit of the New, a survey of early modernism by Chicago artists.
Brief description of the book Chicago Painting 1895 to 1945: The Bridges Collection:/em" with articles by art historians Wendy Greenhouse and Susan Weininger.
The Old Guard and the Avant-Garde, Modernism in Chicago, 1910-1940 an exploration of Chicago’s early cultural development can be partially viewed at googlebooks.
Illinois Women Artists’ Works
The National Museum of Women in the Arts includes Illinois women artists’ works in their collection. Research materials and access to their Clara Database are easily available and certainly worth viewing.
Smithsonian Collection of Illinois Women Artists’ Works
Smithsonian American Art Museum site. Search for artist information and images in the Museum’s Collection using the National Art Inventory. View exhibitions and investigate the online activities.
Two Centuries of Art in Illinois
William Gerdts has written 25 books on American art, including the 3-volume set Art Across America: two centuries of regional painting, 1720-1920. One volume is devoted to art of the South and Midwest. It considers the work of several women artists of Illinois and tells the history of art in the state. In a later interview (see url above), Gerdts stated that “Illinois is not interested in Illinois art.” If he is correct, we can help fix that by learning more about the state’s artists.
Art Museums in Illinois
A list of Illinois art museums, organizations and art centers.