Tripp Evans Portrait

Photograph taken by Chad Houle

WINNER OF THE 2010 MARFIELD PRIZE: THE NATIONAL AWARD FOR ARTS WRITING 

Tripp Evans is a Virginian by birth and Rhode Islander by adoption – hence his love for bourbon, Gothic storytelling, and stuffed quahogs. He majored in architectural history at the University of Virginia, and received his Ph.D. in art history from Yale (between degrees, he was a distracted receptionist and voracious reader). Since 1997 he has taught in the Art and Art History Department at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, specializing in American art and culture of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Tripp’s books examine how and why American artists evoke national character in their work – from U.S. explorers’ fanciful representations of the pre-Columbian past (Romancing the Maya: Mexican Antiquity in the American Imagination, 1820-1915) to Grant Wood’s deeply personal use of national iconography (Grant Wood: A Life, winner of the Marfield Prize). Biography – whether of nations, institutions, or individuals – is his favorite genre.  

In 2005, Tripp and his partner Ed Cabral moved into a former iron foundry in Providence, Rhode Island. The factory’s unusual story, and its site’s ties to colonial, Native American, and geological history are the subject of his next book. Three Acres of Providence will trace the life of this patch of land from continental drift – a time when Rhode Island bordered Morocco – to the post-industrial present.