Randall Griffin

Art History

University Distinguished Professor





Randall Griffin is a University Distinguished Professor whose scholarship and teaching concerns American art and photography, from the Civil War through the 1950s. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Delaware, was a fellow at the National Gallery of Art’s Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, and taught at Vanderbilt University, before coming to SMU in 1993.

Dr. Griffin has published four books, as well as a series of articles in Art Journal, American Art and Oxford Art Journal, along with reviews in The Burlington Magazine.  His current book project concerns the late work of Georgia O’Keeffe, from the end of World War II through the 1970s. O’Keeffe entered the pantheon of American art with her flower paintings in the 1920s, but her late work has largely been ignored by scholars. The book argues that her art challenges conventional narratives of post-war American art.  O’Keeffe’s paintings made a distinctive contribution, and they epitomize the capacious nature of modernism from that era. Scholars have generally viewed her art through the lenses of biography and formalism, and Dr. Griffin argues that those paintings are ripe for theoretical and historical readings too: They were reflective of notions of class, race, environmentalism and modernity.


Ph.D. Art History, University of Delaware, 1994
M.A. Art History, University of Kansas, 1985
B.S. History, University of Tulsa, 1979

Recent Work


Georgia O’Keeffe, Phaidon Press Limited, 2014

Winslow Homer: An American Vision, Phaidon Press Limited, 2006

Homer, Eakins, and Anshutz: The Search for American Identity in the Gilded Age, Penn State Press, 2004

Thomas Anshutz: Artist and Teacher, University of Washington Press, 1994

Articles and Book Chapters

“Why Paris Became the Center of American Art in the Gilded Age,” in an exhibition catalogue on Paris and the Gilded Age, Denver Museum of Art (forthcoming with Yale University Press, 2021)

“Ernest Blumenschein: Humanizing the Other,” in Unforgettable: An Alternate History of American Art (forthcoming with University of California Press, 2022)

“Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World: Normalizing the Abnormal Body,” in Rethinking Andrew Wyeth, edited by David Cateforis (University of California Press, 2014)

“Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World: Normalizing the Abnormal Body,” American Art (Summer 2010)

“Thomas Eakins’ Construction of the Male Body, or ‘Men Get to Know Each Other Across the Space of Time,’” The Oxford Art Journal (Summer 1995)

“The Untrammelled Vision: Thomas Cole’s The Architect’s Dream,” Art Journal (Summer 1993)

“Thomas Anshutz’s The Ironworkers’ Noontime: Remythologizing the Industrial Worker,” Smithsonian Studies in American Art (Summer/Fall 1990)


University Distinguished Professor, SMU, December 2014

Member of the Board of Directors of the College Art Association, May 2008 – April 2013

Southern Methodist University’s “M” Award, May 2012

Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor, SMU, Spring 2010

Meadows Foundation Distinguished Teaching Professor, 2007

Winslow Homer: An American Vision was awarded the Dallas Museum of Art’s Vasari Award, 2007

Homer, Eakins, and Anshutz: The Search for American Identity in the Gilded Age was awarded the Dallas Museum of Art’s Vasari Award, 2005

Rotunda Outstanding Teaching Award, SMU, Spring 2004

Hope Outstanding Teaching Award, SMU, Spring 2001

The Golden Mustang Award for excellence in scholarship and teaching, SMU, September 1998

Wyeth Fellowship, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, 9/1/89 – 8/31/91

John Sloan Memorial Foundation Grant, 5/1/89 – 8/3/89

Course list

American art and architecture
History of photography
Modern architecture
Picturing the American West
Randall Griffin