For the first time in its 40-year history, the American Folk Art Museum is able to present a significant selection of masterworks from its renowned collection, including major new acquisitions. American Anthem, which accompanies the show, is a chronological consideration of American folk art from the colonial period to the present. Unlike past surveys, the artworks will not be arranged by medium or theme, but rather through contextual settings in a visually powerful mix of materials, demonstrating the aesthetic ideas that were commonly held in a particular period and that received different interpretations across mediums. For example, the imposing portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds, attributed to early Connecticut artist Reuben Moulthrop, will be considered along with a stunning late-18th century bed rug and superb examples of painted furniture of the period. Approximately one-third of the volume will be devoted to self-taught artists of the 20th century, placing this artistically and culturally diverse field in an historical continuum with traditional folk art for the first time. In every period, past and present, American folk artists have responded to common impulses: patriotism, religion, community, and the desire to make objects that were beautiful as well as functional. American Anthem will elucidate how the expressions of such 20th-century masters as Horace Pippin, Bill Traylor, Martin Ramirez, Morris Hirshfield, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Nellie Mae Rowe, and others often found precedence in earlier forms or techniques, and how they fit into the broader picture of American folk art as well as with European artists such as Adolf Wolfli and Carlo Zinelli.