Monday, June 13, 2016
Prior to my arrival at the Millicent Rogers Museum, I worked with the Native American pottery and beadwork collections at the E. Irving Couse and Joseph Henry Sharp Historic Site in Taos, and several of the pots that I had the pleasure of researching and cataloguing are included in a new exhibit in the site's Luna Chapel, the original location of Sharp's painting studio. One of our current special exhibits, Storytellers: Teaching Heritage through Song and Story, includes Tesuque rain gods from the Couse Collection, which I discussed in a previous post, and we will be including some of the Couse-Sharp site's beadwork in a new exhibit, Crossing Paths, opening this August. Sharp's second studio at the site is undergoing a major renovation project, and will be restored to its original appearance thanks to a gift and long term loan of Sharp artworks and Native American studio props from the Tia Collection of Santa Fe. The Tia Collection was also generous enough to loan an Allan Houser painting for our Santa Fe Indian School Style show, which can be viewed at the entrance to the exhibit. In addition to the Couse-Sharp Historic Site, the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming both have significant collections of Sharp's artworks and personal effects. Although Sharp is most known for his paintings of Pueblo Indians and New Mexico landscapes, he spent several years painting in Montana at the Crow Agency. According to Marie Watkins, an expert on Sharp's work, the artist attempted to paint all of the surviving Native American fighters from the Battle of Little Bighorn, writing "if I do not paint them no one ever will." I was recently admiring the digital collection on the Buffalo Bill Center's website and saw that they own the original copper etching plate for one of Sharp's prints, Bull Thigh--Cheyenne, a participant in the famous battle, as well as print 44/227. Thanks to a donation from the Nedra Matteucci Gallery in Santa Fe, we will be offering print 145/227 in our annual Turquoise Gala on August 20th. You can view this piece in person during our Gala Preview exhibit, which runs from July 29th to August 19th. If you are interested in attending the gala or would like to purchase this work, see our website.