Spencer Museum of Art

University of Kansas / Lawrence, KS




Charles Marshall (1905-1992): Artist on Site


Continuing through September 9, 2001 in the North Balcony Gallery is Charles Marshall, Artist On Site. Charles Marshall was the Kansas' state architect from 1945-1952. It was during his tenure that John Steuart Curry designed and painted the murals in the State Capitol. Throughout his life Marshall also painted and sketched avidly. He often depicted Kansas landscapes, documenting many small towns, grain elevators and train stations across the state. He kept sketchbooks of various subjects, including every-day scenes, family life, flowers, and animals.

At his death in 1992, Marshall gave his entire collection of watercolors, drawings, sketchbooks, prints, linoleum blocks, and letters to the University of Kansas. Most of the works are in the Kansas Collection of the Spencer Research Library, but several watercolors and prints came to the Spencer Museum of Art. The exhibition includes works from both institutions. (left: Watchman's Shanty at the 10th Street Crossing, watercolor, Gift of Charles L. Marshall, 92.128)

Charles Marshall was born in Atchison, Kansas, in 1905 and earned a degree in architecture from Kansas State Agricultural College (now Kansas State University) in 1927. After working in Washington, D.C., for the War Department, Marshall returned to Kansas and was assistant state architect until being named state architect in 1945. Among the many buildings he designed are KU's Smith Hall and West Junior High in Lawrence. He was named a Kansas Governor's Artist in 1983.

Charles Marshall made sure to make at least one drawing every day. SMA Director Andrea Norris remembers him telling her how often while driving with his children on an errand, "He'd see something that interested him and stop and make a drawing right on the spot. The children would groan and wait for him to continue their drive."

Curatorial assistant Cori Sherman has organized this exhibition that reveals more than a half century of Charles Marshall's artistic creativity. The landscapes reveal his love for the Kansas scene and his interest in preserving it. Also shown are several of his delightful sketches of people and wildflower studies.

Read more about the Spencer Museum of Art / University of Kansas in Resource Library Magazine

For further biographical information please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 5/28/11

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