Chicago Artists’ archive

Inclusive Dates: 
circa 1890–present (bulk 1946–present )

This record forms part of the Chicago’s Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource project funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. For this project, the Archives surveyed archival repositories throughout the Chicago region to identify art-related materials contained in their holdings. While the Archives of American Art does not own any of the materials described herein, information about those materials and links to the original repositories have been included when available.

Descriptive Summary

48 linear feet of vertical files, 10 flat files of posters and images, 15 linear feet of artists’ books, 10,000 35-mm slides, 132 photo CDs, and 236 videos (VHS and DD) documenting more than 100 years of Chicago art history, with material on over 10,700 artists, art movements and arts organizations. Included are fine and commercial artists in all visual media, street artists, designers, architects, craftspeople, landscape architects, performance artists, photographers, collectors, curators, critics, gallery directors, galleries, and art organizations, from late 19th- through 21st-century Chicago. Materials include press clippings, gallery notices, résumés, newspaper articles, artist books, photographs, slides, and CDs.

Biographical Historical Note

Beginning in the 1930s the Chicago Public Library exhibited the work of local artists at its main and branch libraries. Since 1946, the library’s Art Department has gathered material about local artists for its files. The Archive has greatly expanded since the resumption of artists’ exhibitions with the main library’s move into its current building, the Harold Washington Library Center, in 1991.