Folk art has been part of the American idiom for nearly as long as America has been a nation. Today it remains one of the best-loved and most fervently collected forms of American art, a diverse and authentic vernacular expression. American Folk presents over sixty remarkable objects from one of the country's most prominent collections of folk art, many of them never before published. Included are paintings, carvings, textiles, prints, frakturs, furniture, and utilitarian objects, dating from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century. They range from such masterpieces as Erastus Salisbury Field's lush The Garden of Eden, E. L. George's surrealistic Child in a Rocking Chair, a complex, monumental quilt by the former slave Harriet Powers, and Wilhelm Schimmel's extraordinary carved animals, to a remarkable assortment of whirligigs, windmills, decorated chests, figurines, and even carousel dogs. The introductory essay by Gerald W. R. Ward discusses the elusive notion of "folk art" itself and presents the history of the collections' acquisition by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Lavishly illustrated in full color, American Folk is a vibrant and engaging introduction to one of our proudest cultural traditions.