Tuesday, June 28, 2016

In my first blog post, I discussed the pairing of a photograph of Millicent Rogers with a painting by Awa Tsireh in Millicent as Visionary, an exhibit dedicated to the parallels between Rogers' life and the vision of the museum. Awa Tsireh, also known as Alfonso Roybal and Cattail Bird, is often associated with a group of self-taught painters from San Ildefonso Pueblo, which includes Julian Martinez, Tonita Peña, and others. All three artists are included in our Santa Fe Indian School Style exhibit as precursors to the institutionalized method of painting that was established at the school. American Indian painters that produced work in the years between the two World Wars adopted an artistic style that can be characterized as having little to no modeling of the figures, flat fields of color, heavy outlines, and an absence of a background or identifiable setting. Although there are variations among individual painters, the general characteristics of this style became synonymous with Native American artists and was identifiable as a new artistic tradition in American art.  For example, Awa Tsireh's work demonstrates strong influences from both the painted designs on San Ildefonso polychrome pottery and the bold colors and repetitive, geometric motifs of Art Deco.  In fact, a recent exhibit of Awa Tsireh's work at the Smithsonian American Art Museum explored the span of his career in relation to other movements in art.  In addition to the pieces by Awa Tsireh in our Millicent as Visionary and Santa Fe Indian School Style exhibits, we have six more of his paintings in our permanent collection that date to the museum's founding and some of the works were part of Millicent Rogers' personal collection.  We recently received a major donation of a variety of works from the Frank Waters estate for our upcoming Turquoise Gala, which includes a piece that is very similar to the ones we have on view as well as several works in the Smithsonian's collection.  If you are interested in purchasing tickets for the gala, which will be held on August 20th at the Sagebrush Inn in Taos, you may do so on our website, by phone at (575)758-2462, or by visiting the museum's store.  If you are not able to attend the gala but would like to bid by proxy, please email me at caroline@millicentrogers.org.

Photograph of Millicent Rogers dying velvet taken by her son,
Arturo Peralta-Ramos.  A group of five small paintings
by Awa Tsireh hangs on the wall in the background.

View of the Millicent Rogers photograph and the Awa Tsireh
paintings in the Millicent as Visionary exhibit.

Awa Tsireh painting included in the Santa Fe Indian School
Style exhibit.

Awa Tsireh painting donated by the Frank Waters estate to the Millicent
Rogers Museum's annual Turquoise Gala.  It will be available during the live
auction portion of the gala and all proceeds directly benefit the museum.

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