Charles M. Russell’s career spanned the period at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries when the art world was characterized by a dizzying array of competing art movements or “-isms.” In his illustrated talk, Professor Rafael Chacón will address the complexity of this world and how artists in the American West such as Russell responded to it.

H. Rafael Chacón is the Professor and Division Coordinator of Art History and Criticism in the School of Art at the University of Montana––Missoula. He holds an A.B. in art from Wabash College and received his M.A. and Ph.D. in art history with honors from the University of Chicago.

A specialist on renaissance and baroque art, Chacón teaches a broad range of courses on the history of art and criticism, both within and beyond the European tradition. Chacón is known as a dynamic lecturer and has designed innovative projects in his art history classes.

His research interests are predominantly in architectural history, historic preservation and the development of art in the inland northwest. The 2007 recipient of the Dorothy Ogg Award for Individual Contributions to Historic Preservation, he published a book on the life and work of Montana architect A.J. Gibson in 2008 and seminal articles on the art of Glacier National Park in 2009 and 2010. He has published ground-breaking research on the development of modernist architecture in Montana, most recently on the life of modernist architect Daphne Bugbee Jones, the first woman to study with Walter Gropius at Harvard after WWII.

He also keeps his eye on global aesthetics, both ancient and contemporary. He has studied the art associated with medieval and renaissance pilgrimage routes in Europe and has walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain and France twice. He has lectured abroad on topics as wide ranging as contemporary public arts projects that go viral. In 2014, the Cuban-born scholar delivered a TEDx talk on genetic testing and family history. Most recently, he was named among the Top Ten lecturers of the Smithsonian Institution’s prestigious Journeys program.