R. Tripp Evans

Professor of the History of Art


Watson 143

Monday & Wednesday 1-2

(508) 286-3586

(508) 286-3565


Main Interests

My work centers on the art and architecture of the Americas, spanning the pre-Columbian period to the present. My first book, Romancing the Maya: Mexican Antiquity in the American Imagination, 1820-1915 (University of Texas Press: 2004), examined the ways nineteenth-century artists and audiences grappled with the notion of “American” identity; more recently, my research on the American painter, Grant Wood, has explored the same issue from the vantage point of the 1930s. The courses I teach at Wheaton represent a broad range of interests in American visual culture, including pre-Columbian art, contemporary design, and the visual history of New York City.


Ph.D., Yale University (History of Art): 1998
M.A., Yale University (History of Art): 1993
B.A., University of Virginia (School of Architecture): 1990

Research Interests

In the recent past my scholarship explored the life and work of the Grant Wood, best known for his iconic 1930 painting, American Gothic. My biography of Wood, Grant Wood:  A Life, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2010 and won the National Award for Arts Writing. My current research centers on urban history in Providence, Rhode Island, and a case study of three historic house museums in Massachusetts (the Codman Estate in Lincoln; Gibson House in Boston’s Back Bay; and Beauport in Gloucester). For more information, visit trippevans.com

Teaching Interests

In addition to the survey courses I teach in modern architecture, the art of the United States, and pre-Columbian art, I have recently developed a number of specialized courses in African-American art, the development of the skyscraper, and feminist art history. In the fall of 2008, I led a seminar on Wheaton’s International-Style architecture, resulting in a catalogue of student essays entitled Making it Modern: Wheaton College and the International Style(2009). In the years ahead, I will continue to develop and refine my courses in American art, and hope to teach another seminar devoted to Wheaton’s architectural history.


Grant Wood:  A Life, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010); winner of the National Award for Arts Writing and finalist for the Lambda Literary Award (Memoir/Biography)

Romancing the Maya: Mexican Antiquity in the American Imagination, 1820-1915 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2004)

“A Profitable Partnership: The Men and Women of Chicago’s Kalo Shop,” Chicago History; Volume XXIV, Number 2 (Summer 1995)

“Navigating the Afterlife: Two Shaft Tomb Figures from Ancient West Mexico,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (1995-96)

Student Projects

(editor), Making it Modern: Wheaton College and the International Style (2009)