Kansas Art History

with an emphasis on representational art



This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "Kansas Art History." Articles and essays specific to this topic published in TFAO's Resource Library are listed at the beginning of the section. Clicking on titles takes readers directly to the articles and essays.

Following the links to Resource Library articles and essays are a listing of museums in the state which have provided materials to Resource Library for this or any other topic.

Listed after Resource Library articles, essays and museums are links to online resources outside the TFAO website. Following these resources is information about offline resources including DVDs, paper-printed books, journals and articles. Our goal is to present complete knowledge relating to this section of Topics in American Art.

TFAO welcomes volunteers to further the broadening of knowledge related to this topic. To learn more about TFAO's many volunteer opportunities please click here. Volunteers are welcome to contribute suggestions for additional content in this catalogue. Please see Catalogue and database management for details.


Resource Library essays listed by author name in alphabetical order, followed by articles:

40 Years of the Prairie Water Color Painters by Cori Sherman North

A Kansas Art Sampler

The Prairie Print Makers

Vanished Voices: The Legacy of Northeast Kansas Indians

We recommend that researchers always search within Resource Library for additional material. Please see TFAO's page How to research topics not listed for more information. As of April, 2015 Resource Library contains 494 pages including the state's name.


Museums and other non-profit sources of Resource Library articles and essays:

Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery

Coutts Memorial Museum of Art

Dane G. Hansen Museum

Edwin A. Urich Museum of Art

Kansas State Historical Society

Mulvane Art Museum

Society for German American Studies, Department of Germanic Languages and Literature, Univarsity of Kansas

Spencer Museum of Art / University of Kansas

Ulrich Museum of Art

Wichita Art Museum


Other online information:

"Art in Kansas has a long and varied history," by Denise Neil, March 13, 2011, The Wichita Eagle. Accessed August, 2015.

Artists from Kansas, from Kansas Historical Society. Includes biographies and list of well known Kansas Artists. Accessed May, 2015.

Artists from Kansas in Wikipedia. Accessed August, 2015.

Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945) by Craig, Susan V., issued in 2006; from KU ScholarWorks. Accessed August, 2015.

Embracing Nature, an exhibit held September 9 through October 19, 2014 at the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery. Includes exhibit catalog. Accessed May, 2015

Kansas (sampling of artists and works connected to state) from askArt. Accessed August, 2015.

Kansas Artists from George Laughead. Accessed August, 2015.

Kansas State Capitol Artwork - from Kansas Historical Society. Accessed August, 2015.

Kansas State Capitol Murals - from Kansas Sampler Foundation. Accessed August, 2015.

No Mountains in the Way: Photographs from the Kansas Documentary Survey, 1974 is a 2016 exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum which says: "In the 1970s, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) conceived a series of photo survey projects, inspired by the epic documentary photography program undertaken by the federal government in the 1930s and 1940s." Accessed 8/18

Prairie Print Makers, a Kansas artists' group founded in the 1930s from University of Kansas / Spencer Museum of Art. Accessed August, 2015.

Prairie Print Makers - 10 Charter Members from casewardprintmaker.com. Accessed August, 2015.

Printmaking in Kansas City: The Moffett Collection is a 2016-17 exhibit at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art which says: "In the 1930s and '40s, printmaking enjoyed a new popularity across the nation, and Kansas City proved no exception. The Kansas City Art Institute's (KCAI) curriculum added print courses in lithography first under Ross Braught (1898-1983) around 1931 through 1935." Accessed 2/17


TFAO's Distinguished Artists catalogue provides online access to biographical information for artists associated with this state. Also, Search Resource Library for online articles and essays concerning both individual artists associated with this state's history and the history of art centers and museums in this state. Resource Library articles and essays devoted to individual artists and institutions are not listed on this page.


Books, listed by year of publication, with most recently published book listed first:

Kansas Murals: A Traveler's Guide, by Lora Jost (Author), Dave Loewenstein (Author), Saralyn Reece Hardy (Foreword). 278 pages. Publisher: University Press of Kansas (October 3, 2006). ISBN-10: 0700614699. ISBN-13: 978-0700614691. Product Description: Travelers in Kansas in search of fine art needn't restrict themselves to the state's many excellent museums. They need look no further than the walls of their own communities to discover a remarkable array of murals--artistic creations that are striking, democratic, and easily accessible. Depicting Civil War history, the fruits of agriculture, Kansas' diverse cultural roots, and much more, these long-neglected works are now the subject of Lora Jost and Dave Loewenstein's fine new book. Jost and Loewenstein, artists themselves, have crisscrossed Kansas researching and documenting over 600 murals to promote, preserve, and celebrate this vibrant public art. Theirs is the first and only book devoted exclusively to Kansas murals--a striking visual travelogue that offers a new perspective on the state's culture and history. From unique small-town creations like Dennis Burghart's The Saga of the Santa Fe outside the Offerle Cafe to the world-famous John Steuart Curry painting of John Brown in the state capitol, murals constitute an enormous public art gallery. Some are socially compelling or were once the focus of intense controversy. Many are group projects in which artists have served as coordinators; these murals represent true expressions of their communities. All show the state as it has been seen through the eyes of Kansas artists over the past hundred years. The authors focus on ninety exemplary murals--including mosaics and friezes--organized by region and featuring full-color photographs, brief descriptions, and notes on the artists. From Sacred Heart Cathedral to the Early Childhood Education Center on the Potawatomi Prairie Band Reservation, the artworks selected represent some of the most enduring and powerful images to be found throughout the state. The book also provides regional locator maps for travelers and a list of all 600-plus murals with their locations. A unique resource that attests to the rich diversity of the mural tradition, this book is an open invitation to visit the open-air museum of Kansas murals and appreciate the stories they tell and their place in public life. They may be tucked into urban landscapes or require travel to out-of-the way locales; some may even be stained by years of exposure to the elements; but these expressions of public art are there for the viewing--and now, thanks to this book, there for the finding." (text courtesy of Amazon.com)

Beautifying Wichita Through Sculpture, By Chris Paulsen Polk, Inc. (Wichita Project Beauty, Kan). Published by Project Beauty, 1995. Google Books says: "Describes 170 pieces of outdoor sculpture including addresses."

Kansas Quilts and Quilters, by Barbara Brackman (Author), Jennie A. Chinn (Author), G. R. C. Davis (Contributor). 216 pages. Publisher: University Press of Kansas (September 1993). ISBN-10: 0700605843. ISBN-13: 978-0700605842. Product Description: "Mary Ellison came to Kansas in 1870, keeping house for her father and numerous siblings before raising her own family. By the age of 92, she estimated, she'd made more than three hundred quilts. Rose Kretsinger studied design at the turn of the century in Europe and at the Art Institute of Chicago. Quilts made from her award-winning designs are now in an art museum collection. Kay McFarland sold quilts to put herself through law school in the 1960s. Today she is the first woman on the Kansas Supreme Court. These three women, along with thousands of other Kansans from a variety of backgrounds, have pursued quiltmaking for economic and artistic purposes. The result of their efforts: a treasury of quilts, from plain to fancy, utilitarian to decorative. In 1986 the Kansas Quilt Project began an ambitious effort to find and document Kansas quilts. Aided by legions of volunteers, this group catalogued 13,107 quilts and quilt tops made in Kansas or brought to the state. From this cataloguing, from interviews with quilters and their descendants, and from extensive historical research, the six authors of this book have produced the first comprehensive discussion of quilts and quiltmaking in Kansas. They focus on specific types of quilts and fabrics, such as red-and-green appliqué quilts and conversation prints; regional and ethnic quiltmaking communities, including Mennonites, African-Americans, and an unusually prolific and talented group of quilters in Emporia a half-century ago; and present-day quilting groups. Featuring 165 photographs, 68 in full-color, this volume is a visually rich mosaic that illuminates the enduring community of quiltmakers in Kansas and chronicles its relation to the historical and cultural heritage of the state. This 9 x 6" book contains 99 color photographs, 4 black-and-white photographs, and 8 color maps." (text courtesy of Amazon.com)

The Prairie Print Makers, By Barbara Thompson O'Neill, George C. Foreman, Howard W. Ellington. Published by Kansas Arts Commission, 1981. ISBN 0960797807, 9780960797806

For the Sake of Art: The Story of an Art Movement in Kansas, By Cynthia Mines, Salvador Estrada. Published by Mines, 1979. 79 pages

Bethany in Kansas: The History of a College, By Emory Kempton Lindquist. Published by Bethany College, 1975. ISBN 0916030032, 9780916030032. 309 pages

The Kansas Portrait Index, By National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Kansas Historical Activities Committee, Published by Historical Activities Committee of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, 1970. 40 pages

Kansas: The First Century, edited by John D. Bright. Published by Lewis Historical Pub., 1956

Development of Art in Kansas, By Gertrude Dix Newlin. Published by s.n, 1951

Arts and Crafts in Kansas; Catalog of an exhibition held in Lawrence, University of Kansas, February, 1948

Kansas Art and Artists, By Florence Lydia Snow. Published by Watson Library, 1942



Brett Beatty: "Regional Art from Kansas Public Schools" American Art Review March-April 2002 (Volume XIV, Number 2)

Edna Reinbach. "Kansas Art and Artists" Collections of the Kansas State Historical Society 17 (1926-1928) 371-85


On 5//10/12 TFAO inquiry sent to Bill North, Senior Curator, Beach Museum of Art.

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