Oscar Howe

1915-1983, Yanktonai Dakota

"Camte waste, no no wa" ("Good Heart Forever")

Gouache on paper
Signed lower right: Oscar Howe, with the artist's fingerprint imprinted in paint in the lower right sheet margin; titled on a label affixed to the frame's backing board
Image: 18.5" H x 24.625" W; Sheet: 20.25" H x 26.5" W

  • Provenance:
    John C. Weaver, acquired from the artist circa January 1967
    A Private Rancho Palos Verdes Estate, by descent from the above

    Oscar Howe (1915-1983) was a renowned Native American artist who is best known for his innovative and expressive depictions of traditional Dakota culture and mythology. Born on the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota, Howe grew up immersed in his heritage and was deeply influenced by the rich visual traditions of his people.

    Despite facing significant obstacles as a Native American artist in a predominantly white art world, Howe persevered and became one of the most respected and celebrated artists of his generation. Howe experimented with a wide range of artistic styles and techniques, eventually developing a highly individualized style that blended traditional Dakota imagery with contemporary abstract forms. He drew inspiration from the geometric designs and bright colors of Dakota beadwork and quillwork, as well as from the bold, sweeping lines of modernist painting.

    Throughout his career, Howe created a vast body of work that included paintings, drawings, prints, and murals, as well as sculptures and installations. His art was exhibited widely in galleries and museums across the United States and Europe, and he received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to the field. Despite facing discrimination and marginalization throughout his life, Oscar Howe remained committed to his artistic vision and his cultural heritage.

    In 2022, a major exhibition titled "Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe" opened at the National Museum of the American Indian, New York which reintroduced Howe's work to contemporary audiences. The exhibition subsequently traveled to the Portland Art Museum in Oregon and will be on view at the South Dakota Art Museum at South Dakota State University from June 10, 2023 to September 17, 2023.

    A label on the frame verso, typewritten by the artist, provides the following explanation of this painting's subject matter:

    "EAGLE DANCER" (Wambidi Waci)

    "The dancer in this dance, goes through all the movements of the Eagle in flight and on the ground - He uses the bird as a totem or symbol for his belief in the bird that brought him some unusual information as to medicine (use of herbs) or spiuritualism in his vision - This bird is considered sacred and used as totem to communicate with the Great Spirit (in prayer).

    "So the dancer is an Eagle Medicine Man.

    "In the painting, the movement is emphasized by use of plastic patterning of the arm movements -

    "The background reflects nature (outdoor) as interpreted by Indian language - where foreground (Indian) is usually in phase with his surroundings (background) in life and movement."
  • Condition: Condition: Overall very good condition. The colors vibrant. The sheet is adhered to an artist's mat board under 1" thick masking tape along all four edges, with the artist's fingerprint covered by approximately .25" of tape on the bottom and right side.

    Framed under glass: 26.5" H x 32.5" W x 1.75" D

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June 6, 2023 12:00 PM PDT
Monrovia, CA, US

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