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.
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.
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.
"From the Strongholds of Sleep: Materialized Poems" is one of the rarest and most important photobooks produced in the 20th century. Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, Mary Reynolds Collection.
Pablo Picasso's Unknown Masterpiece is an exuberantly illustrated rendition of Honoré de Balzac's nineteenth-century short story about the power and potential tragedy of artistic creation. Picasso drew numerous extra drawings in the margins and over existing prints to embellish this dedication copy for his publisher Henri Matarasso. In some cases, the wood engravings have become unrecognizable as the artist's flourish of color overwhelms the original image.
This pristine unbound copy of Picasso's Unknown Masterpiece shows the book in its original state and paper wrappers, the way it would have been offered for sale in 1931. (This digital version makes it appear bound.)
Tango with Cows is a supremely fine example of Russian Futurism in print. Subtitled Ferro-Concrete Poems, this collection was printed in letterpress on wallpaper samples, the sheets cut at a provocative angle so that the book’s quality as a visual object overwhelms the legibility of the verses it contains. An encounter between industrial production and personal creativity is compared as a meeting of ballrooms and farm pastures—with the poet merging the two in his guise as a freewheeling, bovine dancer.
Kazimir Malevich put a Cubist and Neoprimitive spin on Russian Futurist books from 1912 to 1914. This one illustrates a poem on the exploits of the devil attempting to trap sinners via the title game of cards. Nathalia Goncharova made her own, very different version of this poem two years earlier, which the Art Institute also owns. Both books were intentionally produced inexpensively on low-quality paper decorated with lithographic image and text, and stapled together. As a result, these works of avant-garde ephemera were never exactly the same, and are now quite rare.
Nathalia Goncharova produced several of these cheaply-made, pocket-sized illustrated books with copious lithographs in an attempt with her Russian avant-garde group of writers and artists to create entirely new ways of relating text and image. Her treatment of Russian Orthodox imagery and icons of saint (in this case, a variety of male and female hermits) and sinners made her work controversial.
Nathalia Goncharova's futurist devil takes many forms as he plays a card game with sinners in this slyly ironic and provocative illustrated poem from the Russian avant garde. © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
A sketchbook by the Chicago artist Alfred Juergens, from the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries.
The first director of the Art Institute's notebook of observations and experiences during a trip to Europe in 1889.
German buildings and architectural details drawn by Peter J. Weber, who later practiced architecture in Chicago. From the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries.
This is the only known sketchbook by the French Impressionist painter Gustave Caillebotte, painter of the Art Institute of Chicago's famous Paris Street; Rainy Day from 1877 (1964.336). From 1876 he contributed regularly to Impressionist group's shows; he even organized the exhibition of 1877, where Paris Street; Rainy Day debuted. Until 1881, most of Caillebotte’s paintings depicted the contemporary urban life of Paris. This sketchbook of mainly landscape views demonstrates the artist's preoccupation with more bucolic topics in the years after he moved out of Paris to the French countryside. Little is known about his work, travel, or friendships during this period—save for his continued correspondence with Monet and well-documented interest in boating. As a result, this sketchbook, dated precisely during these mysterious years, provides new insights into the life and work of Caillebotte. Nearly every sheet is dated and most have additional inscriptions detailing the specific location depicted. As a result, one can now partially map his travels from June 1883 to September 1886.
Henry Somm (the pseudonym of Francois-Clement Sommier) is best known as an illustrator and caricaturist of late nineteenth-century Paris. Frequenting the same cafés and nightclubs as the Impressionists, he remained on the fringes of that movement with his persistently realistic style. He knew some of these artists well; Henri de Toulouse Lautrec even portrayed Somm in a drypoint print. Somm's sketchbooks are invaluable troves of observation of the Parisienne and her changing wardrobe. Indeed, Somm's Art Institute sketchbook serves as an important counterpoint to the more abstract renderings of women's fashions in the summer 2013 Art Institute exhibition Impressionism, Fashion, & Modernity.
An untiring chronicler of the Parisian underworld, Henri de Toulouse Lautrec drew prolifically throughout his career, and with great skill from the outset. In fact, he completed his Art Institute Sketchbook around the early age of fifteen. It contains numerous views of fashionable horses and riders in motion, possibly reflecting the interests of his first teacher, an equestrian and military painter. Several sheets evoke circus acts, a topic that remained interesting to Lautrec throughout his life. Others focus on hunting and hunting dogs, including a curious list at the very end translating Russian dog names into French.
Odilon Redon's oblong sketchbook of whimsical creations ranges from melancholy sketches to more finished designs, with contrasting darks and lights abounding.
Cézanne's sketchbook from 1875-86 testifies to the everyday nature of his drawing exercises. Not only does he sketch his entire family, his young sons occasionally take their turn in this book, and a list scribbled near the front details the types of meat the artist ate for a week.
Odilon Redon sporadically contributed original and reproductive sketches to this book through much of his apprenticeship and career, as well as numerous textual and diagrammatic observations on art theory. The changes in handwriting and drawing style alone mark the book as an object he frequently revisited. While sparer than the second sketchbook by the artist owned by the Art Institute and dating from around 1879-85 (also available in Turning the Pages), this one demonstrates a wide range of Redon's classical and technical sources, especially drawings after Old Masters at the Louvre and elsewhere in Paris.
This digitally-rebound sketchbook consists of sheets of soldiers, horses, and other subjects drawn by Géricault around 1818-19. A second sketchbook, from 1813-14 has also been digitized, using the same cover, a type of paper over boards binding that Géricault himself might have used.
This digitally-rebound sketchbook of animals, society portraits and copies of old master art by the French artist Géricault is one of two separate books from the same group of drawings now available in Turning the Pages.
Kawamura Bumpo captures the residents of Kyoto, his beloved hometown, working hard and playing hard through his expressive illustrations on the pages of this Japanese woodblock-printed drawing manual.
A Bavarian monastery librarian's love letter to printmaking and religious imagery, completed on February 14, 1798 and comprising almost 1000 separate prints and drawings.
Gabriel Jacques de Saint-Aubin's delicate but exuberantly filled sketchbook still retains the printed colored papers with which it was initially bound.
This rare album contains the frontispiece and 22 etchings of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo's Scherzi di Fantasia, as well as Saint Joseph and the Christ Child, forming one of nine known sets of the Scherzi di fantasia and the only one preserved in its original cover.
This lavish 158-page bound manuscript is devoted to the miracles of Mary. It was created in the late 17th century in Gonder, the newly established capital of Christian Ethiopia's Solomonic kings. The manuscript is part of a closely related group of manuscripts that were created during a period of great artistic innovation in Christian Ethiopia, when manuscript illuminators were exploring new approaches to their art including the introduction of narrative illustrations. It is likely that this book was commissioned by a wealthy individual as a high-status guide for family devotion.
Lucas Kilian's set of three 'Visions' are interactive anatomical flap prints that allow the viewer to dissect the paper bodies themselves.
Lucas Cranach's patron, the Elector Frederick the Wise of Saxony in sixteenth-century Germany, asked the artist to illustrate a catalogue of his famed collection of saintly remains so that visiting pilgrims and dignitaries could take a souvenir of the experience home with them.
This controversial manuscript with its allegorical line-drawn miniatures cast doubts on the legitimacy of certain members of the papacy.
This very early Book of Hours manuscript for personal devotions boasts intricate Belgian illuminations of the Life of Christ, and prayers added in English.
During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, monks and preachers throughout Europe employed the Speculum humanae salvationis as an educational tool, including printed versions beginning in the late fifteenth-century. The Art Institute Speculum contains the standard Speculum text, which is comprised of a table of contents, an introduction, forty-five verse chapters, and forty-seven miniatures in varying degrees of completion.
Over 475 human figures populate this over-20-foot-long handscroll, documenting a relatively undiscovered subject in the fourteenth century: the common people. See more handscrolls in motion at the University of Chicago: http://scrolls.uchicago.edu/.
This important anonymous 13th-century Chinese handscroll adopts large-scale figures to enhance the dramatic parting of a scholar from his home province.

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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