Department of Art History and Art

Henry Adams
Professor of American Art

Ph.D. Yale University, 1980
B.A. Harvard University, 1971

Go to Dr. Adams's CV page

A specialist in American Art of the 19th century, Dr. Adams has worked at a number of museums: served as curator of Fine Arts at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, as curator of American Art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, as curator of American Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art, as director of the Cummer Museum of Art in Jacksonville, Florida, and as interim director of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and Design in Kansas City. He has also taught at the University of Illinois, the University of Pittsburgh, Colorado College, the University of Kansas, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Dr. Adams has published widely, focusing principally on American artists of the 19th and early 20th century including: George Caleb Bingham, Thomas Cole, John F. Kensett, John La Farge, William Morris Hunt, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, George Bellows, Charles Burchfield, Thomas Hart Benton, John Graham, Fairfield Porter, and David Hockney. He has curated numerous major traveling exhibitions and produced several books and exhibition catalogues, including John La Farge (principal author), 1987; Thomas Hart Benton: An American Original, 1989; Thomas Hart Benton: Drawing from Life, 1990; Albert Bloch: The American Blue Rider (principal author), 1997; and Dale Chihuly: Thirty Years in Glass, 1997. In 1989, in partnership with acclaimed film maker Ken Burns, he produced a documentary on Thomas Hart Benton which was broadcast nationally on PBS to an audience of 20 million.

He has received the following awards:
Distinguished Service Medal from William Jewell College for his career's contribution to Kansas City and the Midwest. (1989)
College Art Association's Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize. (1985)
Frances Blanshard Prize from Yale University for the best doctoral dissertation in the history of art.