Eiteljorg Musuem Blog

Gund Lecture examines early 19th century depictions of Native Americans in art

by Eiteljorg Staff | Aug 30, 2017

'Snake Indians', 1840, by Alfred Jacob Miller
Mary Peterson Zundo is a Ph.D. candidate in American Art History and Visual Culture at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. On Oct. 14, she will present the Eiteljorg’s annual Gund Lecture in Western art in an exciting program titled Fantasia on the Prairie: Plains Warriors, Arabic Equestrians, and Art on the American Frontier, 1800-1850.

Fantasia on the Prairie will examine depictions of Native American equestrianism within the sociopolitical and multicul­tural contexts of colonial encounter in the American West, and American artistic exchange in post-Napoleonic France. Including art from the Eiteljorg collection, the lecture will explore the artistic, cultural and political contexts that informed paintings of the American West in the first half of the 19th century and their lasting impact on the ways in which artists depicted Native peoples.

A focal point for the lecture will be Snake Indians, an 1840 oil painting by American artist Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874), displayed in the Eiteljorg’s Gund Gallery of Western Art. “Snake Indians,” referenced in Miller’s title, was a term used by white travelers to describe members of the Shoshone, Bannock and Northern Paiute tribes of the Great Basin. This program has been made possible through a matching grant from Indiana Humanities in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Gund Lecture Series Speaker:
Mary Peterson Zundo
Fantasia on the Prairie: Plains Warriors, Arabic Equestrians, and Art on the American Frontier, 1800-1850
Saturday, Oct. 14 1–2:30 p.m., Clowes Court
Lecture is included with museum admission and is free for museum members
Sponsored by: 


Image caption: 

Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1844), 
Snake Indians, 1840,
oil on canvas.
The Gund Collection of Western Art Gift of the George Gund Family



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