You are here

For Kith and Kin: The Folk Art Collection at the Art Institute of Chicago

Judith A. Barter and Monica Obniski

Hardcover $30 ($27 members)
To order: 

Order online from the Art Institute Museum Shop or call 1-888-301-9612. Available to booksellers at wholesale prices from Yale University Press.


The Art Institute of Chicago is home to one of the world’s finest collections of American folk art. For Kith and Kin provides an introduction to that collection through more than sixty of its most outstanding objects. Selected by premier American art scholar Judith A. Barter, the majority of these works have never before been published.

In a groundbreaking opening essay, Barter revisits the earliest days of folk-art collecting in Chicago, beginning in the 1890s. She pays special attention to the passionate individuals who sought out unique and expressive examples of American folk art, building private collections that they later donated to the Art Institute. Including beautiful reproductions and detailed entries for each of the sixty-one objects it features, this book highlights an array of masterworks such as “primitive” New England portraits, a face jug from South Carolina, New Mexican ceramics, a weathervane, and ship figureheads.

Judith A. Barter is chair and Field-McCormick Curator of American Art, and Monica Obniski is assistant curator in the Department of American Art, both at the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Art Institute of Chicago, 2012
9 ½ x 8 ½ in., 120 pages, 107 color/9 black-and-white illustrations