Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum
American Indian Portraits: Elbridge Ayer Burbank in the West (1897-1910)
The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas will present American Indian Portraits: Elbridge Ayer Burbank in the West (1897-1910). This nationally-touring exhibition, organized by the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio, is comprised of more than 60 portraits of American Indians selected from the more than 1,000 Burbank painted between 1897 and 1910. This will be the only showing west of the Mississippi.
On March 12, 1897, the Chicago painter Elbridge Ayer Burbank (1858-1949) arrived at Fort Sill, Oklahoma Territory, to paint a portrait of the famous Apache, Geronimo. Immediately taken with his subject, as well as with the West, Burbank never really returned to Chicago. By 1910, Burbank had completed nearly 1,000 oil portraits of American Indians in his aim to paint "every single Indian tribe in America." Burbank's painting endeavor is one of the most comprehensive of its kind, second only to that of George Catlin, who worked nearly 70 years earlier. (right: Standng Bull - Southern Cheyenne)
The exhibition will also include a rich survey of American Indians from all areas of the West -- from Montana to New Mexico and from Missouri to California. Burbank's portraits have appeal due to their variety, visual integrity, and psychological sensitivity. The portraits not only give ample evidence of Burbank's capabilities as a draughtsman and colorist, but they also give evidence of the humanity of their subjects. The exhibition will present the portraits in the context of the reservation environment in which they were produced, as well as descriptions of their culture and how the subjects were presenting themselves. (left: She Comes Out First - Sioux)
American Indian Portraits: Elbridge Ayer Burbank in the West (1897-1910) will be on exhibit at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum October 13, 2001 through January 13, 2002.
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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 6/7/11
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