Paul Staiti is a specialist in American art, particularly the work of eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth century painters. He has cocuratored and coauthored John Singleton Copley in America, an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; and Jefferson's America and Napoleon's France at the New Orleans Museum of Art.
For the Louvre in Paris he wrote "American Artists and the July Revolution," an essay that was published in conjunction with the exhibition American Artists and the Louvre. His essays on the relationship between nineteenth-century American artists and the culture of deception have been included in exhibition catalogues for the National Gallery of Art and the Metropolitan Museum. Staiti also authored a book on the artist and inventor Samuel F. B. Morse and recently published essays on portraits of American capitalists, and on the late sea pictures of Winslow Homer. He is currently at work on Gilbert Stuart's portraits of Washington. He is particularly interested in how they were used as political propaganda for the Federalist Party in the 1790s.
Staiti has lectured widely and most recently delivered the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Lecture at the University of Virginia. He has received numerous fellowships and awards, including those from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Liguria Study Center. He teaches courses in American art, American studies, and film studies, as well as the seminars Hollywood Film and The Gilded Age.