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Charles C. Eldredge

Professor Emeritus
Primary office:
200-B Spencer Museum of Art






Professor Eldredge's research and teaching focus on painting, sculpture and allied arts of the United States, especially from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. His scholarship reflects his training in American Studies, with particular interest in social and literary history, as well as art history; his long association with art museums and collections makes the unique object central to his work, much of which is related to exhibitions. His current research includes an art-and-agricultural history project based on the harvest motif and a reconsideration of Arthur B. Davies's paintings of the American West.


1971 Ph.D., Art History, University of Minnesota
1966 B.A., American Studies, Amherst College

Professional Experience

1988-2018, Hall Distinguished Professor of American Art and Culture, University of Kansas
1982-88 Director, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
1971-82 Director, Spencer Museum of Art, and Professor, Art History, University of Kansas
1970-71 Curator, Museum of Art, and Assistant Professor, Art History, University of Kansas

Selected Publications

Eloquent Objects: Georgia O’Keeffe and Still-Life Art in New Mexico, 2014.

The Legend of Rex Slinkard, with Geneva M. Gano, for the Cantor Arts Center, 2011.

Wendell Castle: About Time, Spencer Museum of Art, 2008. 

John Steuart Curry's "Hoover and the Flood": Painting Modern History, University of North Carolina Press, 2007.

Tales from the Easel: American Narrative Paintings, University of Georgia Press, 2004.

The Floor of the Sky: Artists and the North American Prairie, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, 2000.

Reflections on Nature: Small Paintings by Arthur Dove, 1942-1943, The American Federation of Arts, 1997.

Georgia O'Keeffe: American and Modern, Yale University Press, 1993.

Pacific Parallels: Artists and the Landscape in New Zealand, 1840-1990, with Jim Barr and Mary Barr, University of Washington Press, 1991.

Georgia O'Keeffe, Harry N. Abrams Inc., 1991.

American Originals: Selections from Reynolda House, Museum of American Art, with Barbara B. Millhouse, Abbeville Press, 1990.

Art in New Mexico, 1900-1945: Paths to Taos & Santa Fe, with Julie Schimmel and William H. Truettner, Abbeville Press, 1986.

Charles Walter Stetson, Color and Fantasy, Spencer Museum of Art, 1982.

American Imagination and Symbolist Painting, Grey Art Gallery, New York University, 1979.

Ward Lockwood, 1894-1963, University of Kansas Museum of Art, 1974.

The Arcadian Landscape: Nineteenth-Century American Painters in Italy, with Barbara Novak, University of Kansas Museum of Art, 1974. 

Marsden Hartley, Lithographs and Related Works, University of Kansas Museum of Art, 1972.

Selected Honors and Awards

2008 Balfour S. Jeffrey Award for Achievement in the Humanities and Social Sciences

2004 Phi Beta Kappa, honorary

2003 W.T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence (graduate teaching)

2000 KU Center for Teaching Excellence Award for Undergraduate Instruction

1993 Foundation Fellow, University of Auckland

1990 Honorary member, Association of Art Museum Directors

1989-present Smithsonian Research Associate

1986 Outstanding Achievement Award, University of Minnesota

1983 Fulbright Scholar (New Zealand)

1979 Smithsonian Fellowship

Editorial Activities

1996-2006 Editorial board, American Art
1987 Founder, American Art
1976-82 Editorial board, American Studies
1979-81 Museum news editor, Art Journal (College Art Association of America)

Ph.D. Dissertations Directed

Mindy Besaw, “Re-Framing the American West: Contemporary Artists Engage History,” 2015.

Stephanie Fox Knappe, “Art Perpetuating Fame: The Posters of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West,” 2013.

Jerry N. Smith, “Auto-America: The Automobile and American Art, Circa 1900-1950,” 2012.

JoLee Gillespie Stephens, “Modern Art and Modern Movement: Images of Dance in American Art, c. 1900-1950,” 2011.

Kate Meyer, “Broken Ground: Plowing and America’s Cultural Landscape in the 1930s,” 2011.

Lara (Scherman) Kuykendall, “‘By Popular Demand’: The Hero in American Art, c. 1929-45,” 2011.

Letha Clair Robertson, “The Art of Thomas Hicks and Celebrity Culture in Mid-Nineteenth-Century New York,” 2010.

Reed Anderson, “James Ormsbee Chapin and the Marvin Paintings: An Epic of the American Farm,” 2009.

Cheryl Ragar, “Plunging into the Very Depths of the Souls of Our People: The Life and Art of Aaron Douglas,” (American Studies) 2008.

Shirley Reece-Hughes, “David Bates: Southern Culture, Places and Memories Through the Eyes of an Expressionist,” 2006.

Deborah Wilk, “Jewish Identity in American Art: Immigration in New York City at the Turn of the Century,” 2005.

Samuel Watson, “Childhood's End: Representing the American Child, 1940-1970,” 2005.

Donald E. Sloan, “‘Why Not Revolution?’ The John Reed Club and Visual Culture,” 2004.

Scott Shields, “Legends of Bohemia: The Monterey Peninsula and Its Early Art Colony, 1875-1907,” 2004.

Martha Elton, “Bertram Hartman (1882-1960), An Early Modernist from Kansas,” 2004.

Kerry Ann Morgan, “From the Courtroom to the Gallows: Picturing Justice in American Visual Culture, 1850-1880,” 2003.

Nancy Strow Sheley, “Agnes Pelton (1881-1961),” (American Studies) 2001.

Randall R. Griffey, “Marsden Hartley's Late Paintings: American Masculinity and American Identity in the 1930s & 40s,” 1999.

Lisa Dorrill, “American Art and Environmentalism in the 1930s,” 1997.

Cynda Benson, “Utopian Expressions: The Arts of the Ephrata Community,” 1995.

Dixie Webb, “The Aesthetic of the Industrial Zone and Images of the Factory in American Art, 1916-1940,” 1993.

Richard Gruber, “Thomas Hart Benton: Teaching and Art Theory,” 1987.

Lea Rosson DeLong, “Alexandre Hogue,” 1982.

Marilyn W. Kindred, “The Army and the Arts: A Study of Patronage in Nineteenth-century America,” (American Studies) 1981.

Elizabeth G. Broun, “American Painting and Sculpture at the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893,” 1976.


Terra Foundation for American Art, 2007-2013
Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, TX, 2003-2006
Georgia O'Keeffe Foundation, Abiquiu, NM 1989-1995
Amherst College, Amherst, MA, 1987-1993; Trustee Emeritus
Reynolda House, Museum of American Art, Winston-Salem, NC, 1986-1988
Association of Art Museum Directors, 1981-1982, 1987-1988
Watkins Community Museum, Lawrence, KS 1973-1976

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