Native American Art of the 20th Century: The William P. Healey Collection celebrates a transformative gift of outstanding works by Native American artists active across the 20th century. The promised gift of 100 works establishes a critical junction between the Saint Louis Art Museum’s deep collection of pre-1920 Indigenous art and a growing emphasis on the contemporary.
For the first time, with this exhibition, the Saint Louis Art Museum shares the remarkable, intergenerational story of modern Indigenous painters and sculptors who first developed and then revolutionized the movement for Native American fine art.
Beginning in the 1920s, largely self-taught artists such as Fred Kabotie, Tonita Peña and Carl Sweezy established professional careers as easel painters in New Mexico and Oklahoma. Soon after, instructors trained Native students in the emerging genre of Native American painting.
The Healey collection also charts significant changes to Native studio art following World War II. In 1962, the founding of the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe helped expand the range of Native art practices, bringing the field in direct conversation with mainstream styles and media.
Native American Art of the 20th Century: The William P. Healey Collection will showcase leading IAIA artists Fritz Scholder and T. C. Cannon.
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