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Personal papers of Robert N. Sudlow

Call Number: PP 514


The collection consists of over 30 of Robert Sudlow's sketchbooks and many varied items that were laid in the sketchbooks.


  • Creation: 1956 - 1999


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Robert N. Sudlow

Robert N. Sudlow is known for his paintings depicting the Kansas landscape, making it seem alive. Sudlow was born in Holton, Kansas on February 25, 1920, attending the University of Kansas from 1938 to 1942 where he studied drawing and painting under Albert Bloch and Raymond Eastwood. After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Sudlow served as a seaplane pilot for three years in the U.S. Navy. He was discharged as a Lieutenant, Senior Grade and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for service in the Western Pacific Theater in World War II.

In 1945, Sudlow was hired as Bloch's teaching assistant at KU. He also married Lillian Gehb that year. In 1947, Sudlow became an instructor in the KU Department of Fine Art and Drawing. For nine months in 1951-1952 he studied in Paris at the Académie de la Grand Chaumière and the Académie André Lhote. He received his Master's degree in Fine Arts from the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1956.

Sudlow would later take other sabbaticals to England, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, and Greece. In 1962, he became an associate professor of drawing and painting at KU and continued teaching until his retirement in 1987 as professor emeritus of art. He was regarded very highly by his students and would take them out into the elements, including wind, freezing temperatures, and rain, to paint the Kansas landscape. He believed that the Kansas landscape was constantly changing so no two paintings of Kansas would ever look the same.

Throughout his career as a faculty member, Sudlow's work was exhibited in the Midwest. After his retirement his work was not only featured in numerous exhibitions throughout the U.S. but also in Eutin, Germany, Lawrence, Kansas's sister city, as a part of a cultural exchange between the two cities. His work is included in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, St. Louis Art Museum, Spencer Museum of Art, Beach Museum of Art and many more. In 1974, Sudlow was selected as the first "Governor's Artist" and in 1997, he was named Kansan of the Year by the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas. He received many other awards in his lifetime. In 1985, he married Barbara Keeler Wolf. Robert Sudlow died in Lawrence, Kansas on March 25, 2010.


4 Linear Feet (4 boxes + 2 oversize boxes)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

PP 514

Related Materials

Consult library staff regarding the availability of related photographs, biographical files, and scrapbooks.

Processing Information

The collection contains sketchbooks. Each sketchbook is listed and then items that were removed and placed in folders are listed separately from the appropriate sketchbook, in folders following the numbered sketchbook. Oversize items have been removed and foldered separately and are described in a separate series.

Guide to the Robert N. Sudlow Collection
Personal papers of Robert N. Sudlow
Finding aid prepared by mlh, 2011. Finding aid encoded by mlh, 2011. Finding aid revised by eear, 2013; mwh, 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Personal papers of Robert N. Sudlow, University Archives, PP 514, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States