Color and Shape in American Indian Art

Zena P. Mathews

View Inside Price: $30.00

September 3, 2013
24 pages, 8.5 x 9
13 illus. (12 in color)
ISBN: 9780300200591

Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Distributed by Yale University Press

Available only as Print-on-Demand

Color and Shape in American Indian Artwas the first special exhibition to be held in The Michael C. Rockefeller Wing of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. A loan from a friend and private collector made it possible to present a group of choice works of American Indian art.

The stereotype of Native American art—that it is made up of feathers, buckskins, and beads—was formed in the late nineteenth century, based on the resplendent paraphernalia of the Great Plains warrior, who, astride his spotted pony, rode into the history of the American West. However flamboyant this image, it is nonetheless limited. True to the historical moment in which it crystallized, the convention ignores much other work of different geographic areas and different time periods, such as the intimate, carefully wrought wood objects of the Northeast or the assertive, imposing wood sculptures of the Northwest Coast; the elegant baskets of every size and shape from the Far West; the intricate finger-woven textiles of the Great Lakes region; or the much loved, cleanly designed wearing blankets of the Southwest. Today, awareness is broadening to include these works.

This exhibition and accompanying publication illustrate the gradual move from traditional design and restrained use of color to eclectic but exuberant design and high color during the period from the late eighteenth century to the early twentieth century. It is drawn from a private collection that was assembled largely during the 1970s; its very formation pays homage to expanded perceptions. A wider variety of forms and materials and a greater subtlety of conception are now expected, and found, in Native American art. [This book was originally published in 1983 and has gone out of print. This edition is a print-on-demand version of the original book.]