Eiteljorg Musuem Blog
  • Images of the Indian: New installations in the Gund Gallery of Western Art

    by James Nottage, vice president and chief curatorial officer | May 07, 2013

    Eiteljorg vice president and chief curatorial officer, James Nottage, blogs about the new installations in the Gund Gallery of Western Art.
    Joseph Brant When the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York, asked about borrowing the Eiteljorg’s painting of The Burial of Uncas by N. C. Wyeth, we were happy to oblige.  The Fenimore is an important museum and they were producing a major exhibit on art of the extended Wyeth family.  Happily, several members of our staff went to graduate school in Cooperstown and had deep familiarity with collections of the Fenimore Art Museum.  One of their great paintings is by the artist best known for his portraits of George Washington.  We asked, while our Wyeth was in New York, if the Fenimore would consider loaning us their Gilbert Stuart portrait of an Iroquois Indian. Gilbert Stuart (American, 1755-1828) was one of the most famed portrait painters of his time.  In 1786 he visited England and was commissioned to paint a portrait of Joseph Brant (1742-1807). Brant was in England at the time.  He had led the Iroquois against Americans in the Revolutionary War, supporting the British. This portrait is considered to be one of the finest depictions of a Native American done in the 18th century.  It clearly reflects the British sense of the Indian as the “noble red man.” The statesman-like pose shows Brant wearing a feathered headdress and he is wrapped in a blanket with a silver decorated shirt.  Time is limited to view this important painting. The Eiteljorg will feature this work, from the collection of the Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of Stephen C. Clark, from May 2 through September of this year. 

    In placing the Joseph Brant portrait on exhibit, we have taken the opportunity to more deeply explore the manner in which Native Americans have been portrayed by artists through the 1800s.  Visitors will see familiar portraits from our permanent collection by Charles Bird King, E. A. Burbank, and others.  We have also placed three other works in this section of the Gund Gallery that have not been shown.  The first is a new acquisition purchased with funds provided by the George Gund Foundation.  It is titled The Surprise, and was painted by American artist Louis Maurer in 1858.  Maurer had not traveled west or experienced Indian life in person.  In the 1850s, along with English painter A. F. Tait, he visited a library in New York to study books with Indian paintings by Carl Bodmer and George Catlin, who had traveled to the West in the 1830s.  Tait and Maurer created many paintings that were made into popular prints published by the firm of Currier and Ives.  These often violent images depicted Plains warriors as savages in mortal combat with frontiersmen.  Even though they were fictional, the prints created a fearful stereotype in the minds of pioneers headed west.  The Surprise was published by Currier and Ives in 1858. 

    Theodore Baur (American, born in Germany, 1835-1894)

    Two bronzes donated by Harrison Eiteljorg and newly conserved by a special intern, are being shown for the first time in many years.  Theodore Baur (American, born in Germany, 1835-1894), created Chief Crazy Horse, in 1885.  This heroic bust represents an important Lakota warrior known for fighting against U.S. forces at important battles including the Little Big Horn in 1876. Crazy Horse was killed by a soldier while trying to escape from imprisonment in 1877. Theodore Bauer originally conceived of this bronze as a portrait of Sitting Bull. When completed, it became an iconic representation of a sympathetically portrayed, but defeated Crazy Horse. 

    Adolph A. Weinman (American, born Germany, 1870-1952)

    Finally, we are pleased to present the Adolph A. Weinman (American, born Germany, 1870-1952), bronze of Chief Blackbird, cast in 1907.  Weinman’s depictions of the Indian are sympathetic and romanticized.  This bust portrait gives us the stereotype of the warrior-chief wearing an eagle feather headdress.  In the summer of 1902, the artist went to Coney Island and later to Madison Square Garden in New York to create images of Sioux members of Colonel Cummins’ Wild West Indian Congress.  Among them, Chief Blackbird and his wife were favorite subjects. The decorative bust of Blackbird is expressive of the artist’s observation that the subject was “a stoic, if ever there was one.”

    James Nottage
    Eiteljorg vice president and chief curatorial officer 

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  • Mother's Day Gifts from the Eiteljorg Museum Store

    by Robert Tate and May Ann Clifford, Eiteljorg Museum Store | May 03, 2013

    From pocket change to budget buster, our top picks for Mom from the Eiteljorg


                                                                        Eiteljorg Museum Store

    Even if you weren’t the perfect child, it was Mommy who kissed the booboos and scared away the monsters under the bed. Tell her “Thank You” with gifts from the Eiteljorg.

    For the Mom who loves to write, we have a wide selection of beautiful and unique note cards.  Two of our favorites are the “Inuit designs” embossed note cards and the Georgia O’Keefe floral note cards.

    Inuit Designs embossed by Cape Dorset
    Members  $12.75, Retail $15.00
    Georgia O’Keeffe flowers by Pomegranate
    Members $13.56, Retail $15.95
    Kenojuak Ashevak, birds of Cape Dorset by Pomegranate
    Members $13.56, Retail $15.95
    Paintings of the Southwest, Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM
    Members $12.71, Retail $14.95

    For the Mommy who loves to picnic outdoors on a beautiful warm evening or carpet picnic at home when it is storming outside, we have the Pendleton picnic blanket.  It is perfect for sitting on the damp grass at outdoor concerts with the rugged Pendleton wool top and nylon back.   Don’t forget a box of Eiteljorg Salted Caramels and a bag of white cheddar popcorn for your evening treats.

    Pendleton Woolen Roll-Up Blanket, 100% Wool Top, 100% Nylon Back
     Members $100.30, Retail $118.00
    Eiteljorg Sea Salt Caramels by South Bend Chocolate
     Members $11.05, Retail $13.00
    White Cheddar Popcorn by Lakota
    Members $2.51, Retail $2.95

    More than likely it was Mama who taught you the “ABCs” and then how to read.  Tell her thank you for the gift of reading with one of our many books ranging from Native American history to living in the Southwest.  We also have small throw pillows that make reading a cozy leisure activity.

    Indian Voices, Listening to Native Americans by Alison Owings
    Members $22.91, Retail $26.95
    The New Adobe Home by Byrne and Larson, Photography by Haskell
    Members $29.75, Retail $35.00
    Painting the Wild Frontier, The Art and Adventures of George Catlin by Reich Members $17.85, Retail $21.00
    Zapotec Large Throw Pillow
    Members $102.00,Retail $120.00
    Zapotec “Peanut” Mini-Throw Pillow
    Members $25.46, Retail $29.95

    Our ultimate Mother’s Day present is this beautiful necklace and bracelet set. The hardest part with this present is who deserves it more -- the wife of your beautiful family or your mother because she never told dad about “that incident” at college.

    Vintage Turquoise and Natural Coral with Silver Necklace and Bracelet set
     by Johnny McCray, Navajo 
     Members $1,955, Retail $2300.00

    Whether she’s Mother, Mom, Mommy or Mama, May 12 is her day! The Eiteljorg Museum Store has a wide selection of perfect gifts. We’re open every day! So be sure to stop in!

    Robert Tate and Mary Ann Clifford
    Eiteljorg Museum Store

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  • Hoop Dancing Champion Heads to Eiteljorg Indian Market & Festival

    by Jaq Nigg, Eiteljorg festivals and markets manager | May 01, 2013

    As the Eiteljorg’s festival and markets manager, each year I plan what I hope will be an exciting entertainment schedule for Indian Market and Festival. My goal is to fill the stage with mesmerizing, educational, straight-up fun performances. This year will not disappoint! We’re excited to bring five-time world champion hoop dancer Tony Duncan (Apache/Arikara/Hidatsa) to make his Indian Market debut June 22 and 23!

    Duncan told Indian Country newspaper, he believes people should “Dream big. Whatever it is you love to do, do that. Practice, practice, practice!”

    So, you might be wondering, what is hoop dancing?
    In hoop dancing, dancers use colorful hoops and their bodies to tell stories, creating shapes with the hoops – for example, animals, flowers and eagles. But trying to describe it with words doesn’t work. You have to see it to really appreciate the artistry and athleticism that go into being a hoop dancer.

    Click for video

    Tony embodies the idea of tradition playing an important role in contemporary life. Traditional hoop dance was ceremonial and has evolved into a storytelling art. After winning his fifth world championship, Tony was approached by Canadian recording artist Nelly Furtado about performing in the video for “Big Hoops (Bigger the Better). He jumped at the chance to combine traditional dance with contemporary dance music. He loved the experience and joined Nelly on a world tour and on mainstream stages like the Billboard Music Awards and The Tonight Show.

    Click for video

    For Tony, hoop dancing is special. Here's what he told Indian Country about what hoop dancing has meant to him:  “It's very inviting—a hoop is laying there and you just want to pick it up and start spinning it and jump through it. My father taught me when I was 5 years old, and since then I've just loved dancing. The hoop teaches us many things, primarily, having respect for all of life and life’s creations. It teaches us about the different cycles of life, the changing seasons upon Mother Earth, as well as the seasons of our own lives. All of life dances in a circle and we’re all connected. It’s a very exciting yet spiritual dance, there's nothing else like it.”

    Please visit Power 2 Give to find out how you can help bring Tony Duncan and his dance group to Indian Market and Festival.

    Over the years, the Indian Market & Festival stage has been graced by a diverse mix of traditional and contemporary representations of Native cultures: flutes, drums, electric guitars and didgeridoos; stories about raven, coyote and other animal teachers; stories about cell phones, airplanes and modern life; songs in English, Lakota, Navajo, Tsimshian and Inuit; traditional dancers with superman tattoos; and contemporary singers wearing regalia. This mixture of past and present is evidence of vibrant Native cultures and part of what makes Indian Market such a great event. 

    We hope to see you June 22 and 23! Be sure to catch Tony Duncan's performance. And, if you've ever seen hoop dancing, tell us about your experience in our comments section!

    Jaq Nigg
    Eiteljorg festivals and markets manager 



  • The Guitars! iPod Touch Experience

    by Dolly Hayde, Eiteljorg Visitor Experience Fellow | Apr 29, 2013

    Here at the Eiteljorg, we care deeply about “Telling Amazing Stories,” but like anybody, we learn a lot of what we know through listening to you. As an Eiteljorg Visitor Experience Fellow, I get to read comment cards given to us by our visitors. My role is to analyze feedback from specific exhibits and programs.

    Right now, I’m working on analyzing the Guitars! Roundups to Rockers iPod experience! When our visitors tour Guitars! they have the opportunity to listen to nearly three hours of extra guitars content, like guitar technique demonstrations and historic recordings on iPod Touch devices.  I give visitors a map of the exhibit and ask them to draw their paths. Next, I have them talk a little about how using a playlist shaped their time in the gallery. I also ask them which tracks they enjoyed most, and why.  I have never had more fun with an interview question. Here’s a look at the many names that come up:

    The thing about music is that it acts as a direct line to emotions and memories - the territory of most really good stories. By talking to visitors during this evaluation, I’ve learned that it’s not just “Purple Haze;” for some, it’s a rich memory of what it was like to be at Woodstock.  As someone who doesn’t play guitar, I’ve been painstakingly given a whole new appreciation for the inspirational qualities of “Eruption.” I have had the peculiar joy of watching a 12-year-old guitarist’s face light up when talking about playing “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” 

    As you might expect, most people tell me about their favorite songs and artists. I really like hearing visitors talk about what they know and love, but the most exciting stories are the ones about discovery. Musicians in awe of hearing a harp guitar for the first time and fans intrigued by the sounds of new Western heroes remind me of the power listening has to explain, confirm, and inspire.

    You might wonder what we do with your feedback. Here’s the short answer: Our staff members collect and organize them, then pass individual answers on to particular departments as needed. Your input can explain issues, confirm needs, and inspire new offerings. Simply put, it helps us understand how to improve our own storytelling.

    So, which track from the iPod playlist did you like best, and why? Leave a comment here or, better yet, come tell us in person. We look forward to hearing your stories.

    Dolly Hayde
    Eiteljorg Visitor Experience Fellow

    Go comment!

  • Learn the history of the American guitar in a special presentation

    by User Not Found | Apr 26, 2013

    Mark your calendars for Sunday, May 5! That’s when C.F. Martin & Co. historian/guitar expert, Dick Boak, will take participants through an interactive journey of the history of the American guitar. Dick’s presentation will showcase the 180-year-old Martin company, as well as the evolution of its acoustic guitars.

                                                  (Left) 1834 Martin Stauffer, (Right) 1945 Martin D 45

    The presentation will be supplemented with demonstrative guitar "vignettes" of appropriate period pieces on an assortment of evolutionary Martin designs by acoustic guitarist Steve Reno of Reno's Music in Fishers, IN.

    Dick has been inextricably intertwined with C.F. Martin, in Nazareth, PA, for more than 35 years. He established and managed Martin’s Artist Relations and Limited Edition guitar program which produced signature models for more than 100 legendary artists, including Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, Jimmy Buffett, Dave Matthews, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Tom Petty, John Mayer and Sting. He is an accomplished guitarmaker, woodworker, musician, illustrator and writer. Following the discussion, Dick will be available to sign copies of three books, Martin Guitar Masterpieces, Martin Guitars: A History and Martin Guitars: A Technical Reference.

    Martin acoustic guitars continue to be prized for their tone, consistency, quality and attention to handcrafted detail. Professional and amateur musicians in every category of music hold Martin guitars in high esteem.

    The list of Martin players, past and present, reads like a "Who’s Who" of the musical world and includes legends such as Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Hank Williams, Sr., Jimmy Buffett, Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Joan Baez, Paul Simon, Sting, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and countless others. In addition to guitarmaking, Martin is also one of the world’s largest manufacturers of musical strings.

    C.F. Martin & Co. was founded by Christian Frederick Martin Sr. in 1833. It remains the oldest surviving maker of guitars in the world.

    So, whether you’re a self-proclaimed guitar geek, novice string strummer, or just a fan of music history, come join us! Sunday May 5 is sure to be a very special afternoon with a man whose heart and hands have had a mighty influence on some of American’s favorite riffmeisters.

    While you're here, check out Guitars! Roundups to Rockers. More than 100 guitars—owned by greats including Roy Rogers, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Buddy Holly and others— are on display.

    Photos for this post are courtesy of C. F. Martin Archives.

    DeShong Perry-Smitherman, Eiteljorg Public Relations Manager
    Contact me at for interviews with Dick Boak or Steve Reno. Follow me on Twitter @DeShongPerry.

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