A Guide to Chicago's Murals


Sample images from
A Guide to Chicago's Murals
by Mary Lackritz Gray


About the book:

A Guide to Chicago's Murals is the first definitive handbook to the murals of Chicago and suburbs. With full-color illustrations of nearly two hundred murals and accompanying entries that describe their history—who commissioned them and why, the subjects of the murals and their contexts—A Guide to Chicago's Murals serves both a general and a specific audience.

Divided into easy-to-read geographical sections with useful maps for walking tours, it is the perfect companion for tourists or Chicagoans interested in coming to know better this aspect of the city's history. Gray also provides crucial information on lesser-known artists and on murals that have been destroyed over the years, filling a gap in the visual record of the city's development. Within these pages you will join artists who came to Chicago to participate in its two famous world's fairs of 1893 and 1933; you will learn of the impact of the School of the Art Institute and the New Deal on mural paintings in the city; and you will be introduced to the influential Chicago mural movement that began in the 1970s.

Gray also includes biographies of more than 150 artists and a glossary of key terms, making A Guide to Chicago's Murals essential reading for mural viewing. From post offices to libraries, fieldhouses to banks, and private clubs to street corners, Mary Gray chronicles the amazing works of artists who have sought to make public declarations in this most social of art forms.

"A major lacuna in the history of art in Chicago has been filled, with the thoroughness of the research proportionate to the richness of the material revealed."—From the Foreword by Franz Schulze


Sample images: some WPA murals

Of the nearly two hundred murals included in A Guide to Chicago's Murals, we present ten murals commissioned in the 1930s by the Federal Art Project of the Works Progess Administration. (Please note that images transferred over the internet do not do full justice to the richness of the images in the actual book.)

51.University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center, The Story of Natural Drugs, 1937
56.Chopin School, Chopin and Stephen Collins Foster, 1940
75.Wentworth School, American Youth, 1937
112.Lane Technical High School, Indian Motif, 1936 or 1937
115.Lane Technical High School, The Teaching of the Arts, 1938
116.Old Town School of Folk Music, The Children's World, 1937
117.Mozart School, Characters from Children's Literature, 1937
121.Nettelhorst School, Contemporary Chicago, 1939
149.Ravinia School, Robin Hood, 1940
177.Field Museum, The Story of Food Plants, 1938-40



Copyright notice: Excerpted from A Guide to Chicago's Murals by Mary Lackritz Gray, published by the University of Chicago Press. ©2001 by the University of Chicago. All rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of U.S. copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that this entire notice, including copyright information, is carried and provided that the University of Chicago Press is notified and no fee is charged for access. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the consent of the University of Chicago Press.

Mary Lackritz Gray
A Guide to Chicago's Murals
Cloth $85.00 ISBN: 978-0-226-30596-7
Paper $25.00 ISBN: 978-0-226-30599-8

©2001, 5-3/4 x 7-1/2, 516 pages, 204 color plates, 35 halftones

For information on purchasing the book—from bookstores or here online—please go to the webpage for A Guide to Chicago's Murals.

See also:

  • Our catalog of art titles
  • Our catalog of titles about Chicago