In the Dallas Museum of Art
s first Native American exhibition in nearly twenty years, more than 100 works of art from the renowned Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York, on view April 24, 2011, in the Museums Chilton Galleries. Art of the American Indians: The Thaw Collection explores the extraordinarily diverse forms of visual expression in Native North America. Organized by geographic culture areas, the works of art in this exhibition date from well before first European contact to the present and celebrate the continuing vitality of American Indian art.
This major traveling exhibition reveals the exceptional variety of Native artistic production, ranging from the ancient ivories and ingenious modern masks of the Arctic to the dramatic sculptural arts of the Pacific Northwest, the millennia-long tradition of abstract art in the Southwest, the refined basketry of California and the Great Basin, the famous beaded and painted works of the Plains, and the luminous styles of the Eastern Woodlands, including the Great Lakes.
The DMA opened Art of the American Indians with a Sneak Peek Day on Saturday, April 23. In addition, the DMAs May and June Late Nights will be themed around the exhibition.
This is a rare and wonderful chance to see an extraordinary range of Native North American works of the highest quality, said Bonnie Pitman, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art. The Thaw Collection beautifully complements the DMAs collection of art from Native North America, and we are delighted to offer visitors the expanded opportunity to explore these fascinating and beautiful treasures, both in the galleries and through our numerous programs and activities all summer long.
In Eugene Thaws own words, Indian material culture stands rightfully with ancient art masterpieces of Asia and Europe as their equivalent, stated Carol Robbins, The Ellen and Harry S. Parker III Curator of the Arts of the Americas and the Pacific, and curator of the Dallas presentation. Most of the works in the exhibition of the Thaw Collection, hailed by the New York Times as one that any museum in the world should envy, date to the 19th century, but ancient and modern objects are also included to offer an enrichingand enduringcontext.
Exhibition highlights include:
, Northeast Woodlands This may have been an elaborate piece of doll furniture, a souvenir, or possibly a display model. Birchbark was manipulated to mimic a classic Empire-style settee that was then finished with an intricate working of moosehair embroidery.
, Plains, Prairie, and PlateauOn the Plains and perhaps also the Plateau, where this mask was made, horses wore masks and other elaborate regalia during prewar processions. After the end of warfare in the 1880s, horse masks were worn for celebrations and parades.
Jar with Eagle Tail-Feather Motifs
, SouthwestThis vessel was made by the legendary Nampeyo, who pioneered the modern revival of fine Pueblo pottery-making. Her work remains important for Hopi potters today, and some of her great-granddaughters carry on the tradition.
The Ferns basket
, California and the Great BasinAn exquisite example of California basketry from the early 20th century, this basket is elegant in its symmetry.
, Northwest CoastNative information about artwork was often not recorded by early collectors or has been lost, making it difficult to identify the creatures portrayed on many objects, such as this impressive headdress frontlet, a trapping of rank.
Polar Bear Figure
, Arctic and SubarcticDating from c. 100600, this prehistoric Eskimo (Ipuitak) object represents the earliest work of art in the exhibition.