News Archive 2009-2018

Exhibition of Native American Art opens at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art Archives

“Sun Dance,” ca. 1895, pigments on muslin, by an unidentified Lakota artist. Museum Purchase, Lloyd O. and Marjorie Strong Coulter Fund, Laura T. and John H. Halford, Jr. Art Acquisition Fund, Jane H. and Charles E. Parker, Jr. Art Acquisition Fund, Barbara Cooney Porter Fund, and Greenacres Acquisition Fund. Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

On November 9, 2017, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art unveils Art from the Northern Plains. Celebrating the Museum’s recent acquisition of a major late nineteenth-century Lakota painting depicting a Sun Dance ceremony, this special exhibition features works by historic and contemporary Lakota, Kiowa, and Southern Cheyenne artists, including T.C. Cannon, Francis Yellow, and Dwayne Wilcox, alongside artists of European descent working contemporaneously. The exhibition considers how both groups’ artistic practice developed in the wake of American westward expansion.

Taking the Museum’s recently acquired Lakota painting as a point of departure, Art from the Northern Plains brings together examples of Native American art from the museum’s permanent collection to contextualize the painting and tell a larger story of the resilience of Native people in the region. The exhibition exemplifies how both Native and non-Native individuals adopted new artistic materials and pictorial traditions in this period, and provides insights into contemporary Native American artists’ ongoing relationships with the United States today.

Highlights of the exhibition include:

Sun Dance, an intricately painted work on muslin that depicts this sacred religious ceremony, which is of great significance to Native Americans throughout the Great Plains, but which was outlawed by the U.S. government in 1883.

Historic and contemporary ledger book drawings that trace the history of Native American pictographic art and its continued resonance today.

Historic prints by Euro-American artist George Catlin and French-Swiss artist Karl Bodmer that document the Native tribes that they encountered during their travels on the Northern Plains in the 1830s.

“Two Horsemen,” ca. 1890, graphite and colored pencil, by an unidentified Lakota artist. Presented by Donald Ellis, Vancouver, Canada. Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

“Woman of the Snake Tribe, Woman of the Cree Tribe,” 1839, hand-colored aquatint, etching, mezzotint, roulette, by Karl Bodmer, Swiss-French, 1809–1893. Gift of Charles Pendexter. Bowdoin College Museum of Art











The exhibition continues through July 8, 2018

thumb:Sophie Washington ’19