Susan Earle

Susan Earle
  • Curator of European & American Art, Spencer Museum of Art

Contact Info

Spencer Museum of Art
1301 Mississippi St.
Lawrence, KS 66045


Ph.D. in Art History, Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, New York, NY
B.A. in English & Art History, Williams College, Williamstown, MA
with distinction


Susan Earle has served as curator of European and American art at the Spencer since 1996, overseeing the collection of painting, sculpture and decorative arts from those regions. Earle earned a bachelor’s degree in English and art history with distinction at Williams College, and a doctorate in art history at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. She has curated or organized more than 50 exhibitions and works to promote artistic research among students, colleagues and community members. She has commissioned major works of art from both local and international artists, including, most recently, the exhibition and book An Errant Line: Ann Hamilton & Cynthia Schira (2013). She also organized the first nationally touring retrospective of Aaron Douglas (PDF) and edited the accompanying book, Aaron Douglas: African American Modernist (Yale, 2007). Additional recent publications include a current essay on the Spencer’s Le Discret by Joseph Ducreux for the exhibition and book America Collects Eighteenth-Century French Painting organized by the National Gallery of Art. Future projects include two exhibitions featuring African American narrative histories through quilts (summer 2017), an interdisciplinary re-imagination/re-installation of the Spencer’s 20/21 Gallery, and recreation of the community mural Pollinators in downtown Lawrence. Earle serves as affiliate faculty in the Kress Foundation Department of Art History and the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, both at the University of Kansas. She held a Curatorial Research Fellowship from the Getty Foundation in 2006 and received an Outstanding Educator Award from the Kansas Torch Chapter of Mortar Board Senior Honor Society in 2004.

Research interests:

  • artist-led inquiry
  • constructions of race and gender and African American art
  • European art, particularly 19th-century
  • contemporary site-specific and community-based public art

Awards & Honors

Curatorial Research Fellowship, Getty Foundation

Outstanding Educator Award, Kansas Torch Chapter of Mortar Board Senior Honor Society