Chicago Resource Guide

Visual Arts

Several world-class museums anchor a thriving visual arts community in Chicago. The Art Institute of Chicago houses some of the world’s great visual treasures and works of art. The University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute Museum holds a valuable collection of Persian artifacts among other precious pieces from the Near East.

A newer center for creativity, The Museum of Contemporary Art brings new life and new artists to the city every day. But there are museums and galleries here devoted to almost any passion or interests, including photography, veterans’ issues, stained glass, ethnic groups, holography, and broadcast.

Resources on Chicago’s visual art scene are as plentiful as the galleries and museums themselves.

See Chicago Art


  • Becker, Heather. Art for the People: The Rediscovery and Preservation of Progressive and WPA-Era Murals in the Chicago Public Schools, 1904-1943
  • Ceolfrith Gallery, Sunderland Arts Center. Who Chicago?: Produced to accompany a traveling exhibition of Chicago Imagism throughout England and Scotland, 1980
  • Gray, Mary Lackritz. A Guide to Chicago’s Murals
  • Gude, Olivia. Urban Art Chicago: A Guide to Community Murals, Mosaics, and Sculptures
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Art In Chicago 1945-1995: Produced to accompany an exhibition of the same name, 1996

20th Century Chicago artists of note

(in parenthesis are the larger movements they are associated with):

Gertrude Abercrombie
Vince D’Agostino
Ivan Albright
Malvin Marr Albright
Robert Amft
Morris Barzani
Don Baum (Monster Roster)
Jack Beal
George Bellows
Margot Bergman
Aaron Bohrod
Roger Brown (Chicago Imagists)
Cosmo Campoli (Monster Roster)
Francis Chapin
Eleanor Cohen
George Cohen (Monster Roster)
Henry Darger
Jordan Davies
Dominick Di Meo (Monster Roster)
Robert Donley
Eleanor Dube (Chicago Imagists)
Briggs Dyer
James Falconer (Hairy Who)
Eve Garrison
Leon Golub (Monster Roster)
Joseph Goto
Art Green (Hairy Who)
Oskar Gross
Walter Hahn
Kerry James Marshall
Theodore Halkin (Monster Roster)
Philip Hanson (Chicago Imagists)
Harold Haydon
Linda Kramer
Max Kahn
Thomas Kapsalis
June Leaf (Monster Roster)
Robert Lostutter
Gladys Nilsson (Hairy Who)
Jim Nutt (Hairy Who)
Ed Paschke (Chicago Imagists)
Jerry Pinsler
Christina Ramberg (Chicago Imagists)
Ric Riccardo (WPA muralist; with Ike Sewell, he invented deep-dish pizza in 1943)
Louis Ritman
Suellen Rocca (Hairy Who)
Seymour Rosofsky (Monster Roster)
Barbara Rossi (Chicago Imagists)
William Schwartz
Hollis Sigler
Nancy Spero (Monster Roster
Eleanor Spiess-Ferris
Ann Starr
H.C. Westermann (Monster Roster)
Rudolph Weisenborn
Karl Wirsum (Monster Roster, Hairy Who)
Robert Francis White
Jimmy Wright
Kerry James Marshall
Joseph Yoakum


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The birthplace of the skyscraper, Chicago itself is a living museum, home to many masterpieces of modern architecture. Downtown Chicago alone is known for its architectural innovation, diversity, and beauty. But just about anywhere you go, you’re bound to discover an architectural treasure.

Here are some resources to help you uncover these gems:

Online Resources


Chicago Architecture Foundation

Site: Chicago Architecture Foundation

Address: 224 South Michigan Avenue

Phone: 312.922.3432

Free admission to enter exhibit space. You can also choose from more than 40 different architectural tours, which vary in price. Read Capturing Chicago’s rich architectural history , an article about the Foundation’s tours.

Clarke House Museum

Site: Clarke House Museum

Address: 1827 South Indiana Avenue

Phone: 312.745.0040

Chicago’s oldest surviving building and an interesting place to see how an early Chicago family lived. Tours for students cost $9 and begin at Glessner House Museum’s coach house.

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Foundation

Site: Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Foundation

Address: 951 Chicago Avenue, Oak Park

Phone: 708.848.1976

Admission: $12 for adults

This building served as both the Wright family residence and Wright’s studio from 1889 to 1909.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House

Site: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House

Address: 5757 South Woodlawn Avenue

Phone: 773.834.1361

On the University of Chicago’s campus. For details, see “Robie House” sidelight link on the Hyde Park Attractions page in this section.

Glessner House Museum

Site: Glessner House Museum

Address: 1800 South Prairie Avenue

Phone: 312.326.1480

Designed by H. H. Richardson in 1885, this 27-room house helped redefine American domestic architecture. Tours for students cost $9 and move from Glessner House to Clarke House.


  • Connors, Joseph. The Robie House of Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Kamin, Blair. Why Architecture Matters: Lessons from Chicago
  • Smith, Carl. The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City
Full Listing of Books »
  • Bigott, Joseph C. From Cottage to Bungalow: Houses and the Working Class in Metropolitan Chicago, 1869-1929
  • Bruegmann, Robert. The Architects and the City: Holabird & Roche of Chicago, 1880-1918
  • Condit, Carl W. The Chicago School of Architecture: A History of Commercial and Public Building in the Chicago Area, 1875-1925
  • Connors, Joseph. The Robie House of Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Feldman, Roberta M. The Chicago Greystone in Historic North Lawndale
  • Garb, Margaret. City of American Dreams: A History of Home Ownership and Housing Reform in Chicago, 1871-1919
  • Gilfoyle, Timothy J. Millennium Park: Creating a Chicago Landmark
  • Kamin, Blair. Why Architecture Matters: Lessons from Chicago
  • Longstreth, Richard. The Charnley House: Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and the Making of Chicago’s Gold Coast
  • Schulze, Franz. Mies van der Rohe: A Critical Biography
  • Siry, Joseph M. Carson Pirie Scott: Louis Sullivan and the Chicago Department Store
  • Siry, Joseph M. The Chicago Auditorium Building: Adler and Sullivan’s Architecture and the City
  • Smith, Carl. The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City
  • Solomonson, Katherine. The Chicago Tribune Tower Competition: Skyscraper Design and Cultural Change in the 1920s
  • Stamper, John W. Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue: Planning and Development, 1900-1930
  • Storrer, William Allin. The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright: A Complete Catalog, Updated 3rd Edition
  • Waldheim, Charles. Chicago Architecture: Histories, Revisions, Alternatives
  • Wheeler, Daniel. The Historic Chicago Greystone: A User’s Guide for Renovating and Maintaining Your Home
  • Zukowsky, John and Martha Thorne. Masterpieces of Chicago Architecture
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