American Colonial Folk Art Cards

Folk art is done by artists who are not trained or who produce art that appeals to common people.  During colonial times people produced art for their own homes or manufactured art for others that was inexpensive enough that common people could buy it.  Furniture, ship figureheads, embroidery, paintings, and decorated pottery are all examples of folk art that was common in Colonial times.  You can help your children learn about this type of art with this American Colonial Art Card Set.

colonial folk art cards

Colonial painters focused on portraits because that was what the Americans demanded.  They wanted pictures of their family members to hang on their walls and be passed down to posterity.  But portraits were not the only paintings.  People also painted decorative landscapes or historical images, like the picture of Martha and George Washington, above.

This is a brightly colored portrait of a young man. His identity is unknown but some have guessed he is a minister or a son of a minister because of the hymnal he is holding. This portrait is in the collection of the Abby Aldritch Rockefeller Folk Art Museum. Click on the picture to see the museum and more of its collection. Image in the public domain.

Free Printable American Colonial Folk Art Cards

Print the cards onto white card stock and cut them apart on the solid lines.  In the document they are paired with a description of the piece, a little history, a little about the techniques, or a little about the artist. The pdf includes six pages of art cards and one page of instructions.  Click on the image below to go to the free pdf.

Art Cards sets-001

You can use the American Colonial Folk Art Cards as a matching game with the images in one group and the descriptions in the other.  The kids can choose a card from each group, read the description, and see if they match. In the process they’re learning the name of the piece, the artist, and a little about the painting.

They can also be used as flash cards.  Hold up an image card and see if the kids can remember the name of the piece, the artist, details about the painting, or all three.  You can give out points for correct answers if you like.

On each card a date, or approximate date, of when the piece was done is included.  Arrange the cards in chronological order.  Can you see a progression of technique, style, or subject matter?  Can you arrange the cards in other ways according to different categories?

After the kids are familiar with these pieces, they can look up the artists online or in art books and see if they can recognize his style in other paintings.

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