Charles C. Eldredge

Charles Eldredge
  • Professor Emeritus
  • Hall Distinguished Professor, American Art and Culture


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.


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

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.

Awards & Honors

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


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

Ph.D. Dissertations Directed

Mindy A. Besaw, “Re-Framing the American West: Contemporary Artists Engage History,” (co-advised with David Cateforis) 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 M. 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.

Emily Stamey, "Pop, Place, and Personal Identity in the Art of Roger Shimomura," (co-advised with David Cateforis) 2009.

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

Reed Anderson, “James Ormsbee Chapin and the Marvin Paintings: An Epic of the American Farm,” 2008.

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

Deborah J. Wilk, “The Representation of Immigration in Art and Architecture in New York City, 1850-1920,” 2005.

Samuel E. Watson, “Childhood's End: Representing American Youth, c. 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 Gage 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,” 2002.

Nancy Strow Sheley, “Bringing Light to Life: The Art of Agnes Pelton (1881-1961),” (American Studies) 2000.

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

Lisa Dorrill, “Picturing the Dirty Thirties: Paintings and Prints of the Dust Bowl,” 1998.

Cynda L. Benson, “Early American Illuminated Manuscripts from the Ephrata Cloister,” 1994.

Dixie Jeanine Webb, “The Aesthetic of the Industrial District: Images of the Factory in American Art, 1918 to 1940,” 1992.

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

Sandra Rosson (Lea Rosson DeLong), “The Career of Alexandre Hogue,” 1983.

Marilyn Anne Kindred, “The Army Officer Corps and the Arts: Artistic Patronage and Practice in America, 1820-85,” (American Studies) 1981.

Elizabeth G. Broun, “American Painting and Sculpture in the Fine Arts Building of 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