By Date: Turning the Pages at the Art Institute of Chicago

Browse all the Art Institute books that are available to read in their entirety through Turning the Pages. They are listed below in chronological order.
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Christina Ramberg is one of the Chicago Imagists who exhibited in the 1960's and 1970's. Her notebook contains fragments and sketches of costumes and clothing that are referenced in her drawings and paintings as well as her personal notes and even a recipe for a vegetable and sprout medley.
Christina Ramberg is one of the Chicago Imagists who exhibited in the 1960's and 1970's. Her notebooks contains fragments and sketches of costumes and clothing that are referenced in her drawings and paintings as well as her personal notes.
Ed Flood, born and schooled in Chicago, exhibited in shows in the 1960s such as the Nonplussed Some. His sketchbook reflects his beautifully and obsessively crafted paintings and sculptures, and includes floral forms, ideas for objects and the typographic elements they are partially composed of, and figure drawings. Artwork © The Estate of Ed Flood.
Joseph Elmer Yoakum was an artist who started drawing in his seventies, creating inventive landscape drawings between the early 1960s and his death in 1972. Unlike most self-taught artists, Yoakum enjoyed a degree of success and attention while he was alive due to his association with the Chicago Imagists. Artists such as Roger Brown, Lori Gunn, Phil Hanson, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Christina Ramberg, Karl Wirsum, Ray Yoshida, and others avidly collected his drawings. Whitney Halstead, an art historian, artist, and professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, was the greatest collector and chronicler of Yoakum's work. Halstead entrusted four of Yoakum's five known sketchbooks to the Art Institute of Chicago. These books are titled Workbooks A through D, due to the high level of finish of the drawings. These four Workbooks join hundreds of single sheets gifted by Halstead, Yoshida, and others, making Chicago the largest repository of the artist's oeuvre.
Joseph Elmer Yoakum was an artist who started drawing in his seventies, creating inventive landscape drawings between the early 1960s and his death in 1972. Unlike most self-taught artists, Yoakum enjoyed a degree of success and attention while he was alive due to his association with the Chicago Imagists. Artists such as Roger Brown, Lori Gunn, Phil Hanson, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Christina Ramberg, Karl Wirsum, Ray Yoshida, and others avidly collected his drawings. Whitney Halstead, an art historian, artist, and professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, was the greatest collector and chronicler of Yoakum's work. Halstead entrusted four of Yoakum's five known sketchbooks to the Art Institute of Chicago. These books are titled Workbooks A through D, due to the high level of finish of the drawings. These four Workbooks join hundreds of single sheets gifted by Halstead, Yoshida, and others, making Chicago the largest repository of the artist's oeuvre.
Joseph Elmer Yoakum was an artist who started drawing in his seventies, creating inventive landscape drawings between the early 1960s and his death in 1972. Unlike most self-taught artists, Yoakum enjoyed a degree of success and attention while he was alive due to his association with the Chicago Imagists. Artists such as Roger Brown, Lori Gunn, Phil Hanson, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Christina Ramberg, Karl Wirsum, Ray Yoshida, and others avidly collected his drawings. Whitney Halstead, an art historian, artist, and professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, was the greatest collector and chronicler of Yoakum's work. Halstead entrusted four of Yoakum's five known sketchbooks to the Art Institute of Chicago. These books are titled Workbooks A through D, due to the high level of finish of the drawings. These four Workbooks join hundreds of single sheets gifted by Halstead, Yoshida, and others, making Chicago the largest repository of the artist's oeuvre.
Joseph Elmer Yoakum was an artist who started drawing in his seventies, creating inventive landscape drawings between the early 1960s and his death in 1972. Unlike most self-taught artists, Yoakum enjoyed a degree of success and attention while he was alive due to his association with the Chicago Imagists. Artists such as Roger Brown, Lori Gunn, Phil Hanson, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Christina Ramberg, Karl Wirsum, Ray Yoshida, and others avidly collected his drawings. Whitney Halstead, an art historian, artist, and professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, was the greatest collector and chronicler of Yoakum's work. Halstead entrusted four of Yoakum's five known sketchbooks to the Art Institute of Chicago. These books are titled Workbooks A through D, due to the high level of finish of the drawings. These four Workbooks join hundreds of single sheets gifted by Halstead, Yoshida, and others, making Chicago the largest repository of the artist's oeuvre.
Enigmatic and extraordinary, James Castle was a self-taught artist who was deaf and mute from birth, but created his own visual language through his drawings, books and three-dimensional constructions. Like many of his artworks, Untitled (Book), reacts to the graphic elements of found paper advertisements, which he liberally augmented with his trademark soot and spit ink drawings of nearby buildings and landscapes, and tied together with shoelaces.
African American sculptor Marion Perkins lived and worked in Chicago after moving there from Arkansas in 1916. Initially self taught, he had some training through the South Side Community Arts Center in the early 1940s, and also studied ceramics at Hull House. His public sculpture in stone and wood (which he initially displayed in-progress near the news stand he owned on the South Side) aimed at universally understandable imagery. He was a strong believer in racial equality and the need to alleviate African American poverty; seeing abstraction as elitist, he addressed these views in his art. Perkins began to receive commissions, and exhibited in juried exhibitions at the Art Institute throughout the 1940s and 1950s. The Art Institute received a gift of four Perkins sketchbooks from his family in 2010, a group that offers insight into his sources (including African masks), as well as including a variety of types of drawings. This one is predominantly composed of portrait heads with some sketches of religious scenes, as well as a page with three trial impressions of a woodcut of a mother and child.
In this colorful sketchbook, Neiman depicted the North Avenue Beach, bordered by Chicago’s soaring skyscrapers, among other scenes. Drawn in the same year that Neiman’s friend Hugh Hefner founded Playboy magazine, the artist seemed here to capture the sort of lifestyle embodied by the magazine.
These dynamic, rough-hewn linocuts from a 1948 limited-edition portfolio were originally produced by Méndez to serve as full-screen backdrops for the credits of the 1947 feature film Río Escondido (Hidden River). The first of several collaborations with director Emilio Fernández, the film provided Méndez with a platform to create a “moving mural” capable of reaching new audiences. In the film, a young, idealistic schoolteacher, played by María Félix, is sent by the government to the remote, impoverished village of Río Escondido, where a cruel local boss controls the town’s resources. The teacher’s resistance to the boss’s authority serves as an inspiration to the townsfolk, who eventually overthrow their oppressors. Both the film and the prints highlight the fragile reality in which rural Mexicans lived and underscore the importance of popular resistance as a means of social change.
Margo Hoff was an American artist from Tulsa, Oklahoma, who based her artistic practice in Chicago from 1933 to 1960, where she was at the National Academy of Art in Chicago and later at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, after which she moved to New York City. Hoff drew her imagery from various events, places, and objects in her life. Her existence in Chicago—the cold, icy, and windy winter, her new life alone in a large city, and her encounters with a new community of people—brought about new elements and discoveries in her work. Hoff recorded and responded to her surroundings, describing her sketches as a "kind of shorthand writing." She likely completed the bulk of this sketchbook at the Ox-Bow School of Art, in Saugatuck, Michigan. It contains drawings of ceramics, carved wood sculpture, and landscapes from the area. She also documented the porch of the old Ox-Bow Inn, with its dining tables and chairs, as well as a lithography press and the dock, all of which still exist today on the campus. Ellen Lanyon, an artist and champion of Chicago art as well as a fellow SAIC graduate, gave the sketchbook to the Art Institute the year after Hoff's death.
On the Day of the Dead the Taller de Gráfica Popular produced calavera sheets, continuing the tradition popularized by José Guadalupe Posada. In this energetic, collaborative four-page broadside, several Taller artists took up the calavera’s dark humor to lionize military heroes, satirize murderers and the press, and reveal local scandals and international incidents. The broadside’s overarching theme of strangulation was inspired by the recently captured serial killer Gregorio Cárdenas Hernández, the first such criminal to receive extensive coverage in the Mexican press. On the pamphlet’s front page, insectlike reporter-calaveras swarm Cárdenas as he kneels in his jail cell. The interior pages expose the deadly effects of tainted milk and expensive medication and display skeletonlike caricatures of Hitler and French collaborationist leaders Petain and Laval. In contrast, on the back page, Méndez depicted the heroic, mounted calavera of General Seymon Timoshenko, who led the Soviet Red Army against the Nazi siege of Stalingrad, as a new Zapata, the Mexican revolutionary leader.
The handbills in this album exemplify the Taller de Gráfica Popular’s attempts to achieve one of its primary goals: to speak directly to and for the Mexican people, in this case chiefly urban and rural workers. Published monthly by subscription, the handbills address themes of immediate interest and adapt the popular broadside format, developed in the 19th century, of combining informative text with compelling imagery. Some underscore the importance of so-called “graphic propaganda” in promoting workers’ unity and in defending teachers against attacks by antirevolutionary forces. Others had specifically educational functions, such as demonstrating how to post handbills or instructing farmers how to negotiate crop prices.
This bold and colorful sketchbook was made by Charles Wilbert White (1918-1979), an African American painter and printmaker. In fact, he started it while he was a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
The visionary Belgian artist James Ensor inventoried nearly 250 paintings and drawings he had made from 1876 onward in this orderly sketchbook. This autograph album with pastel-colored papers was given to the artist in 1929, and Ensor filled it from end to end with idiosyncratic colored-pencil drawings. Alternating between full-page sketches and tiny vignettes, the artist signed and dated each composition. He also inscribed dimensions and current owners and included exacting notes from the versos of artworks still on hand. One watercolor from 1895 of Ensor's niece in Chinese costume that appears in miniature on page 54 is recognizable as a work now in the Art Institute of Chicago collection. Whether summing up the artist's oeuvre or documenting the new owners of his artworks, this album provides a rich distillation of all things Ensor.


The large scale and legible text and music of choir books like graduals enabled a group to sing together from a single book.

While we encourage personal discovery and interpretation of works of art in our care, the commentaries associated with the works in My Collections have not been reviewed or approved for accuracy or content and are expressly not endorsed by the Art Institute of Chicago.

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