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EIU Tarble Arts Center

Tarble Arts Center Permanent Collection

The Tarble Arts Center permanent collection contains just over one-thousand objects. Intended as a teaching collection, holdings are concentrated in:

  • American Scene/Regionalism
  • Folk Art
  • Paintings by Midwest Impressionist: Paul T. Sargent (1880-1946) and Robert M. Root (1863-1937)
  • Modern and Contemporary mixed-media works
  • Modern and Contemporary painting and sculpture

American Scene/Regionalists

Oil painting on canvas of snow-covered bushes and trees that partially cover the view of a small cabin.
Paul T. Sargent, Cabin in Winter, 1927, Oil on canvas


The American Scene/Regionalist holdings consists primarily of prints purchased from Associated American Artists (AAA) in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and those that were produced through Federal “New Deal” art projects of the 1930s and ‘40s.

Artists represented: Thomas Hart Benton, Federico Castellon, Aga Cheffetz, Howard Cook, John Steuart Curry, Adolf Dehn, William Gropper, Rockwell Kent, Julian Levi, Luigi Lucioni, Samuel Margolies, Fletcher Martin, Paul Sample, Raphael Soyer, Stow Wengenroth, Grant Wood. “New Deal” artists represented: Briggs Dyer (PWAP), Ann Michalov (WAP/FAP), Cornelius Sampson (PWAP), Paul Stoddard (PWAP), Charles Turzak (PWAP), John R. Winters (WPA).

Modern and Contemporary Works

Mixed media photo collage on watercolor paper using many multicolored flowers to depict an abstract scene.
Ebony G. Patterson, i dug him up II, 2014, Mixed media photo collage on watercolor paper.


Excluding folk arts, most of the Tarble Arts Center collection holdings are works by 20th and 21st century American artists and include original prints, paintings, watercolors, drawings, sculpture, and other mixed media works. Some noted artists include: Alice Baber, Jasper Johns, Robert Lazzarini, Thomas Morimura, Claus Oldenberg, Ebony G. Patterson, Lorna Simpson and Kara Walker. 

Folk Arts Collection and Archives 

Amish quilt made up of log cabins blocks arranged in a square pattern, bright oranges on half of each block and black on the other


Eastern Illinois University began to actively collect examples of Illinois folk arts in 1976 through the College of Fine Arts. The impetus and basis for the Folk Arts Collection came from three surveys of east-central and southeastern Illinois folk artists, conducted between 1976 and 1985, and funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Funding to purchase contemporary Illinois folk art was made possible through two grants from the Charles E. Merrill Trust, based on the survey information. The collection has been added to through gifts and grants, and works by Illinois artists continue to be sought for the collection, especially contemporary works from artists living in east-central and southeastern Illinois.

Many works illustrate traditions carried from peoples of the Upland South and Yankee North who settled in eastern and southern Illinois. From the Upland Southern tradition are woven rag rugs, bi-lobed baskets, and bent-stick furniture. From the Yankee tradition are hooked rugs, baskets done on crossed-hoop frames, fish decoys, and apple-head dolls. Also in the collection is a scale replica of a 1820s log tavern, similar to the type found along the National Road which at one time ended in Vandalia, Illinois, and brought travelers to the area from the North and South. The Amish from the area are represented by quilts, leather work, and blacksmithing. Nearly all the objects in the Folk Arts Collection speak to the traditions and values of the rural Midwest.

Additional Information

For more information about the holdings of the Tarble Arts Center, or policies concerning access for study or loans to qualifying institutions, contact the Tarble Arts Center at (217) 581-2787 or email

Related Pages

Contact Information

Tarble Arts Center

2010 9th St.
Charleston, IL 61920

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