AcrossTime: Time: Across Seminole Por traits Seminole Por traits The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum
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Published for the exhibition Reflections Across Time: Seminole Portraits Organized by The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum Florida International University, Miami November 17, 2012 - January 13, 2013 Also exhibited at The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum of the Seminole Tribe of Florida September 1, 2012 - November 4, 2012
Curator: Annette B. Fromm Text Editor: Emmett Young Graphic Designer: Raymond Mathews Printer: Color Express Printing © 2012 The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum © 2012 The author’s texts All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be produced in any form without prior written consent ISBN: 978-0-9859416-0-4
Cover: George Catlin (United States, 1796-1872) A Seminole Woman (detail),1838 Oil on canvas 29 x 24 inches Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.307 Back Cover: Thomas L. McKenney and James Hall, after Charles Bird King (United States, 1785-1862) (United States, 1785-1859 and 1793-1868, respectively) Foke-Luste-Hajo, A Seminole (detail), 1842 Hand-colored lithograph on paper Published by J.T. Bowen Lithographic Establishment 18 ¼ x 13 ¼ inches The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, Metropolitan Museum and Art Center Collection MET 77.6.34
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Curated by Annette B. Fromm With essays by Carol Damian, Annette B. Fromm and Elgin Jumper
The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum Florida International University, Miami sp.indd 3
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Foreword With the celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki in August, it is as good a time as any to consider the role of this Museum in regard to Tribal artists. Let me point out that I am neither a Tribal member nor an artist, in fact I lean much more toward the left side of the brain and generally see “art” strictly for how it appeals to my personal senses. But isn’t that likely how most people see art? Although our Museum is not an art museum as classically defined within the industry, we do have fine art in our collection and we have continually fostered the work of modern Tribal artists. Why do we collect and interpret art as part of our programming when our mission is not centered on art? I would venture to say that it is because (generally speaking) Seminole Tribal artists are so closely tied to their history and their physical surroundings, that we would not be fulfilling our mission to preserve history and culture unless we included the art of the Seminoles in our efforts. As with any group, art is an integral part of one’s cultural identity. Of course, the word art can be so obtuse at times. Art isn’t just a two-dimensional portrait on a wall or a three-dimensional sculpture on a pedestal, it is an expression of an individual, or at times a group. Having not been designated as what most museum professionals would consider an art museum, we have struggled with what we should collect from Tribal artists and how we should use it once we have obtained it. We have had many discussions here amongst our Tribal members, visitors and staff as to whether the traditional craft-making of basket weaving, beading and patchwork are considered art or are they crafts, and cultural customs? We have also discussed whether we should collect art and should it be art by a Tribal member or art about the Tribe? Should we maintain a collection that includes contemporary or historic pieces, should we even define what art is? Despite all these seemingly unending questions, we have managed to reach a consensus and complement our collection with some wonderful works of art from generations of Tribal artists. I believe we have also come to realize two prominent “things” that seem to inspire these artists: their proximity to and expression of the physical environment, and, appreciation of their history. With that conclusion comes the Museum’s place among the “art” of the Seminoles. This Museum is located in the heart of the Everglades and could not be more appropriately situated to be in tune with the environment. Secondly, with our main focus on history and culture, we are able to provide some of the inspiration to these artists through what we collect and how we exhibit it. The impetus for the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki in the late 1980s was to build a Tribal entity that could “preserve culture and history” (Billy L. Cypress speech, 2001). Those words have been and continue to be, at the core of our overall mission and they manifest themselves in so many ways. Some of the more obvious ways in which this Museum contributes to the preservation of Seminole culture is through the dedication of Tribal time, funding and people. In a more esoteric way, however, we preserve culture and history by allowing Tribal artists the opportunity to contribute to the collections with their art and to use the collections and our location as inspiration. The Tribe’s dedication to preserving their culture sustains the Museum and enables it to display, interpret and maintain Tribal artists in their endeavors; just one aspect of our mission, but an integral one, to be sure. Anne McCudden Museum Director Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki
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Preface The realization of this very important and unique exhibition is the result of years of research and collaboration. It all began with a visit to the Smithsonian Institution’s American Art Museum to see a group of portraits of Native Americans that have always fascinated me, and which I visit each time I go to our nation’s capital. On this particular occasion, I looked into the eyes of Osceola and thought, “you are very far from the Florida community of Seminoles that you represent, and wouldn’t it be nice to bring you back for a visit?” It is not easy to bring masterpieces out of the Smithsonian, but with the assistance of numerous curators and officials, and with our valuable relationship as a Smithsonian Affiliate and our liaison Alma Douglas, it was not impossible. A visit to the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, also an Affiliate, to discuss this idea, or germ of an idea, with Director Anne McCudden proved that cooperation among our institutions could bring results that would be difficult to achieve alone. The process began with the appointment of Annette B. Fromm as Curator from the Frost Art Museum, and working with staff and Curator John Moga from the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum. There were numerous discussions among us as to how best to tell the story, which art works, artifacts and objects would enhance the portraits, and how we could bring the exhibition into the present by including the work of Seminole artists working today. Through their diligent efforts, the team was able to realize my vision for this extraordinary exhibition, and to organize its opening at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum and subsequent travel to the Frost Art Museum in Miami; I am grateful for their trust and determination to bring “Seminole Portraits” to fruition. I am also pleased that this exhibition will be the first of a year-long series of exhibitions and programs in commemoration of Ponce de Leon’s arrival on the shores of Florida. It is only fitting that we welcome an exhibition about our indigenous people, whose long history includes interactions with the Spanish, English, French and Americans, as the introduction to this series. We are honored to exhibit these treasures, and privileged that the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery are the pillars of this project, along with works from the National Gallery of Art, our own collection and from the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, contributing to a remarkable survey of Native American art from our region. During the exhibition, we will welcome scholars and artists, and the Director of the National Museum of the American Indian, Kevin Gover, to share their knowledge of this important subject with our community. We have also received the support of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the Stephen and Dorothea Green Endowment, the Miami-Dade County Cultural Affairs Commission and the Funding Arts Network, all of which recognize the significance of this exhibition, and Osceola’s return to South Florida. Carol Damian Director and Chief Curator The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum
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Acknowledgements “Seminole Portraits” was made possible with the assistance of many. First and foremost is Dr. Carol Damian, Director and Chief Curator of the Frost Art Museum. Without her vision and dream, this remarkable collection of artwork would never have been assembled at the same time in South Florida. Anne McCudden and the staff of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum also helped to make this unique collaboration possible. I am grateful to the Smithsonian Affiliations program through which I had a Visiting Professional Fellowship which enabled me to gain access to many of the museums in that national network over a period of two weeks in the summer of 2011. Alma Douglas and Elizabeth Busbee facilitated this fellowship and arranged for doors to be opened. Through additional research and conversations during this intense time, many of the concepts presented in “Seminole Portraits” were tested
and honed. I thank the following individuals for listening to my ideas in the formative stage: Natural History Museum, JoAllyn Archambault and Bill Billeck; National Portrait Gallery, Sid Hart and Frank Goodyear; the American Art Museum, Bill Truettner; and National Museum of the American Indian, Ed Schupman, Jimmy Locklear, and Martin Earring. Finally, thanks are given to my colleagues at the Frost Art Museum who have included “Seminole Portraits” in their busy schedules. Their hard work and commitment to excellence have helped to insure that this will be yet another well-conceived and beautifully installed exhibit at the Frost Art Museum, and that visitors will find both visually interesting and thought-provoking. Two research assistants, Rebecca Peterson and Denison Weidman, worked behind the scenes to assemble information which was used in the exhibit texts and educational material. Annette B. Fromm Curator The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum
Opposite page: 21 Unidentified Artist, (n.d.) Neamathla, c. 1850 Etching and engraving on paper 8 ⅜ x 5 ⅛ inches National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution NPG.97.162
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Expressions Through Time Annette B. Fromm, Curator The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum
9 George Catlin (United States, 1796-1872) Osceola and Four Seminolee Indians, 1861/1869 Oil on card mounted on paperboard 18 ¼ x 24 ¾ inches National Gallery of Art, Washington, Paul Mellon Collection 1965.16.119
The indigenous populations of North America caught the fancy of a large number of artists, as well as the American public, since the time of first contact. The earliest likenesses captured were perceived identities forged by colonial artists. By the early eighteenth century, the image of the noble savage served to create a stereotype accepted by many colonists. Images of Indian people prior to those created by early-to-midnineteenth-century painters presented either romantic figures in imagined landscapes or blood-thirsty savages. According to Truettner, these early representations filled “the need to understand and control the red Indians” by the British (Truettner 2010, 16). They were a visual context out of which myths emerged. With the expansion of the still young nation, a growing interest in the cultures of Indian people emerged. The work of painters in the nineteenth century changed from imagery based on mythological characteristics to what was considered to be truthful ethnographic images. The purpose of the artwork remained to create an identity by which the Americans could relate to indigenous people. This change from representing the “other” to portraying people more like themselves
began with commissioned, static portraits of tribal delegations visiting Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., and proceeded to paintings, such as Catlin’s, which captured scenes of life in the field. The former showed individuals in an artificial setting. The latter included more realistic images of figures, including hunting scenes and religious ceremonies, which appeared to be ethnographically correct. Both categories of Indian paintings served to capture a culture which was rapidly dying, and also established a long-standing stereotype of American Indians. On the other hand, they actually presented what was still a vibrant Indian life in the process of vast transitions, as frozen in time and incapable of changing with and surviving the advent of white society. Even though early constructed myths were not perpetuated by the artists of the nineteenth century, standards for representing Indians to the curious American public were being set.
Nineteenth-Century Artists Several noted nineteenth-century artists are associated with the large corpus of works which popularized the faces and cultural practices of
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these very non-Western people inhabiting North America so desired by the young and selfish American nation. One of the earlier painters was the well-established St. Louis artist, Swiss-born Peter Rindisbacher (1806-1834). His artwork in the 1820s captured different aspects of the Canadian and American West, including Native American life. Between 1825 and 1828, the United States Indian Department commissioned Detroit artist James Otto Lewis (1799-1858) to attend government-sponsored Indian councils and treaty ceremonies in the Upper Midwest, and record their proceedings. Lewis claimed that he was the first artist to go to the Indians. His collection of seventy watercolors, Aboriginal Portfolio, published in 1835, did not include text, only copies of “his paintings … the product of direct observation” (Wickman, 87). It preceded the more comprehensive work of portraits published by McKenney and Hall in 1837. John Mix Stanley (1814-1872) also traveled west to visit the tribes to record portraits of their leaders in 1842. His travels in search of the final days of the American Indians took him as far west as Oregon. Stanley’s Indian Gallery, a collection of paintings, rivaled those of Catlin. The Irish-born Canadian artist Paul Kane (18101871) also visited the Oregon Territory in the late 1840s. He was considered an imitator of George Catlin.
Perhaps one of the most recognized recorders of nineteenth-century Native American portraits was Thomas McKenney (17851859). McKenney served as Superintendant of Indian Affairs from 1816 until 1830; he was one of a very few government officials to defend American Indian interests at that time. Like so many others in the nineteenth century, however, McKenney viewed the Indian people of North America as a vanishing race. Thus, when a large delegation of Indians came to see President Monroe in 1821, he commissioned the fashionable portraitist Charles Bird King (1785-1862), and James Otto Lewis, to paint the principal delegates, dressed in clothing of their choice. Thus, King painted Indian leaders from at least twenty tribes from life, creating the first comprehensive visual record of Indian people. His well-known portraits were all captured in his studio. A gallery of nearly 150 portraits of famous Indian leaders was the result of this effort. Interestingly, King’s paintings created a new stereotype, one founded on “common characteristics that he believed defined Indianess …”(Truettner, 76).
8 George Catlin (United States, 1796-1872) Seminolee Indians, Prisoners at Fort Moultrie, 1861/1869 Oil on card mounted on paperboard 18 ½ x 24 ¾ inches National Gallery of Art, Washington, Paul Mellon Collection 1965.16.118
Henry Inman was contracted to copy the King portraits so that lithographs could be made from McKenney’s Indian Gallery. In 1837, the portraits were handsomely reproduced as hand-colored lithographs in Thomas McKenney and James Hall’s three-volume classic, History of the Indian Tribes of North America. Hall
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(1793- 1868), a Cincinnati judge and novelist, contributed much of the historical and anecdotal text to the work. Additional works by other artists, including George Catlin and Lewis, were also reproduced in the McKenney and Hall mammoth publication. Because the majority of the original artworks by King and Lewis were destroyed in disastrous fires, the McKenney and Hall works are the most complete record of nineteenth-century Native leaders who traveled to Washington, D.C. to speak for their people.
15 Thomas L. McKenney and James Hall, after Henry Inman (United States, 1801-1846) (United States, 1785-1859 and 1793-1868, respectively) Micanopy, c. 1887 Hand-colored lithograph on paper Published by J.T. Bowen Lithographic Establishment 17 x 14 inches Image courtesy of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Permanent Collection Clewiston, Florida 2002.166.9
Included in the McKenney-Hall compendium are a number of portraits of Seminole leaders. In 1825 and 1826, delegations of Florida Seminoles traveled to the nation’s capital, including Nea-Math-La, Micanopy, Foke-LusteHajo and others. Their portraits, painted by King in 1826, hung in the War Department until 1858, when they were moved to the Smithsonian Institution. These portraits of the Seminoles are considered to be correct in detail, especially with regard to dress. Osceola did not join any of these groups; the Osceola portrait, based on Catlin’s full-length work, was taken from a sketch by an unknown artist.
along with traditional objects that he collected. Though trained as a lawyer, Catlin found his life’s work in painting. He was a self-taught artist with a definite style; it is believed that he studied under Charles Willson Peale and Thomas Sully in Philadelphia. Initially, he specialized in portraiture and miniatures, then devoted his career to visually documenting Indians, predominantly in the West. Catlin was among the artists that painted Indian delegations that came east for meetings with government leaders. Then, between 1830 and 1836, he traveled west of the Mississippi specifically to document the life of Indian peoples living in those regions. During this time period, Catlin traveled up the Missouri River, to Arkansas Territory and through Texas to the Red River. These were among the earliest images recorded firsthand in situ by any non-Native artist. Catlin considered himself a significant historian and, in keeping with current thought, he believed he was documenting lifeways which were moving toward obliteration and oblivion because of contact with European Americans. Catlin developed sympathy for his subjects while also making a living from his work with them.
George Catlin (1796-1872) spent eight years in expeditions to the West, observing and sketching 48 tribes. His goal to create “… a full pictorial history of these interesting but dying people …” resulted in 600 paintings, including portraits, cultural events and landscapes,
Catlin’s Native American Indian Gallery has been viewed as the work of an on-the-spot photojournalist. He exhibited his collection in major cities in the eastern United States between 1837 and 1839. Then he took the extensive exhibition to London and Paris in 1839. There
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he sold oil, watercolor, and pencil copies of his works to wealthy collectors, including King Louis Philippe of France. In addition to the large collection of paintings of Indian people of North America, Catlin also created hundreds of paintings of South American life between 1852 and 1857. His published works include Catlin’s North American Indian Portfolio: Hunting, Rocky Mountains, and Prairies of America (1845); Catlin’s Notes on Eight Years’ Travels and Residence in Europe (2 vols., 1848); Life Among the Indians (1867) and Last Rambles amongst the Indians of the Rocky Mountains and the Andes (1867). Catlin’s unrealized lifetime dream was for the U.S. government to purchase his entire Native American Indian Gallery. Ironically, Florida’s politicians took a significant role in preventing this from happening. A proposal was presented to Congress to purchase Catlin’s paintings in 1847 for the Smithsonian, and James D. Westcott, Jr. of Florida stated that there was “no redeeming value” in the Indian portraits. “What great moral lessons are they intended to inculcate?” (Dippie, 115-116). Westcott most likely held deep-seated feelings against all things Indian; he had been active in Florida politics since the 1830s, during the Second Seminole War. The purchase of the Catlin Gallery met with additional opposition from other southern senators, including Andrew P. Butler, Democrat from South Carolina, who
raised the still raw “issue of Osceola and the Seminoles.” (Ibid.) As fortune would have it, Catlin’s Gallery came to the Smithsonian eventually when it was donated by Mrs. Joseph Harrison in 1879. It had been stored in her husband’s Philadelphia factory, after he had purchased it from Catlin in 1852. Later copies of the works were sold by Catlin’s daughters to collector Paul Mellon, who gave the bulk of them to the National Gallery of Art. These artists held at least one attitude in common about the indigenous populations in the young United States. They sought to capture the waning days of what were generally considered dying and disappearing cultures. This was decades before the emergence of the academic disciplines of anthropology and folklore, both of which focused on the cultural survivals of fading lifeways, including Native American. Charles Bird King felt that Catlin was one of the artists drawn to these romantic, fleeting images. Portraits of this period, whether captured in the field or created in an eastern painter’s studio, served the role of portrait diplomacy. They were celebrated for their realistic portrayals of the “other” people. As the boundaries of the new nation were expanding, the paintings were what Truettner categorized as “artistic imperialism.”
16 Thomas L. McKenney and James Hall, after Charles Bird King (United States, 1785-1862) (United States, 1785-1859 and 1793-1868, respectively) Foke-Luste-Hajo, A Seminole, 1842 Hand-colored lithograph on paper Published by J.T. Bowen Lithographic Establishment 18 ¼ x 13 ¼ inches The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, Metropolitan Museum and Art Center Collection MET 77.6.34
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Florida’s Seminoles The Seminoles of Florida are just one group of the many on the continent, yet it drew the attention of the American public as almost none other did in the early nineteenth century. The story of the Seminole people epitomizes any discussion of conscious and emergent changes of identity. Today’s Seminoles and neighboring Miccosukees are the descendants of an assemblage of southeastern tribes, many members of the ages-old Creek confederacy, a loose group of smaller ethnic groups. The Seminoles were originally comprised of several of the groups in the confederacy which moved southward to territorial Florida in response to the unchecked spread of English and American settlers in the southeastern United States. Gradually they left their traditional homelands in Alabama and Georgia; these persistent people resisted two removals. One was southward in response to pressure from expanding nonNative settlements. The other was forced, across the then frontier, to the West. Distinct ethnic identities were created during this painful process. The first documented use of the term Seminole was in 1765, for a group of Creek who settled in the Alachua area of what is now Florida. The origin of the name continues to be debated, whether it is derived from a Spanish word, a Hitchiti word or a Creek word, the meaning of “free people” is agreed upon. Like other southeastern peoples, they had a
complex hierarchical social structure. At no time was there an individual who was the sole Indian commander-in-chief. The early-to-mid-nineteenth-century Seminole Wars in America’s southern frontier, Florida, caught the imagination of the nation. In these three drawn-out conflicts, dating from 1814 until 1858, a relatively small group of indigenous people continued to resist resettlement and removal from their lands and to hold off the forces of the U.S. Army. Over the years, a series of treaties imposed upon the Seminoles by the U.S. government sequentially took away more of their rights and liberties. The September 1823 Treaty at Moultrie Creek forced the Seminoles to place themselves under the protection of the United States, and to relinquish lands in northern Florida for lands further south. In addition, the United States government was obligated to protect the Seminoles as long as they remained peaceful and law-abiding. This peace lasted for five years, despite the fact that there was continued pressure for the Seminoles to be removed west of the Mississippi. The Seminoles, however, remained staunchly opposed to any such move. The spring 1832 Treaty of Payne’s Landing laid the path for the move west. This document, signed by a number of hereditary chiefs, assigned the Seminoles to Creek lands in Indian Territory. Even though it was not ratified
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until April 1834, this treaty gave the Seminoles three years, starting in 1832, to move west of the Mississippi; their expected departure date was by 1835. General Wiley Thompson was appointed the new Indian agent in 1834 and given the task of persuading them to leave their lands in Florida.
the First Seminole War, he obtained the status of tastanagi, a warrior of first rank. He was also the advisor and interpreter to Micanopy, the highest-ranking leader of the Seminoles. Written in Osceola’s life story is the narrative of the emergence of the Seminoles as an independent people in the face of adversity
During this time, one warrior gained the attention of the U.S. Army and the American public because of his leadership ability and fiery spirit, which made him the symbol of resistance. Osceola was the most notable of the Seminoles who defended their Florida homeland, although not a chief by heredity or merit. Osceola (Asseola, Assyn-ya-hola) was the best-known war leader in the Second Seminole War; he attained his status because of his military and leadership skills. His fighting tactics and daring brought many victories over the U. S. Army to his people. Osceola was a Creek Indian, probably of mixed heritage, born in Alabama between 1800 and 1806. He spent his youth in the Creek homelands of northern Alabama. In response to encroaching white settlement, he and his Creek mother moved south with many others after the Creek War (1813-1814) to join the emergent Seminoles in the land which became Florida. Osceola emerged as a leader as a result of his successful resistance to white expansion into Florida in the early 1830s. Because of his skill at leading successful skirmishes against American soldiers during
However, Osceola, along with 71 warriors, six women, and four black Seminoles, was captured under a white flag of truce on 12 October 1837, as directed by U.S. General Thomas Sidney Jesup, and imprisoned at Ft. Marion in St. Augustine. This deceitful capture was criticized widely by the white population, and Jesup met with public condemnation. It was viewed as a black mark against the government. By January 1838, Osceola and other Seminole prisoners were transferred to Fort Moultrie, Charleston, South Carolina. Osceola died of malaria on 20 January 1838, less than three months after his capture. As famous as Oseola was in life, after his death he rose to become a symbol of independence. At that time, he was the most famous Native American. “He was seen as a martyr, a figure of rebel resistance, fighting for freedom and sovereignty, not unlike an American revolutionary patriot” (Walkiewicz, 109).
4 George Catlin (United States, 1796-1872) Mick-e-no-páh, Chief of the Tribe, Seminole, 1838 Oil on canvas 29 x 24 inches Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.300
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Picturing Osceola Several painters were privileged to record images of Osceola during the final months and days of his life. Osceola’s portraits, and those of other Seminole individuals, according to Truettner, fall in between the category of “picturing ‘civilized’ Indians in European dress … and the more ethnographic style … featuring … Indians … wearing reasonably authentic native attire” (Truettner, 56). Captain John Rogers Vinton (1801-1847) probably drew the first images of Osceola from life. Vinton served with distinction in the U.S. Army in Florida during the Second Seminole War. He met Osceola at the Armistice at Fort Mellon on Lake Monroe in May 1837. Vinton drew at least three sketches of Osceola. The original small, unsigned pencil sketch of Osceola (1838) was probably done under orders. A full-length print showing Osceola in the same shirt and ornaments, also dated 1838, is probably the source of an 1848 engraving. Another reproduction was executed for Dr. Jacob R. Motte’s book, Journey into Wilderness, 1836-1838 (Motte, 1953). John Robert Curtis (ca. 1816- 1877), a local Charlestonian, painted an oil portrait of Osceola shortly before his death in January 1838 for Dr. Robert L. Baker. On 30 January 1838, seven days before Osceola’s death, the Charleston Mercury wrote that Curtis had produced a “very striking portrait of Osceola …given with
great fidelity the intelligent and melancholy countenance which distinguishes this chief.” Curtis almost immediately advertised that he would produce copies of the portrait for all interested buyers. Curtis never achieved national renown, but his portrait of Osceola won regional fame. William M. Laning (1837-1860) is also credited with painting Osceola from life. This American artist painted a full standing portrait of the famous Seminole with the usual accoutrement, including a rifle, in a watery landscape. Although he worked in Charleston for some time, not much else is known about Laning. George Catlin painted Osceola in the final days of the warrior’s life. As soon as he learned of Osceola’s capture, Catlin closed his New York studio and headed to South Carolina. Early in 1838, he received a government commission to paint Osceola and other Seminoles imprisoned at Fort Moultrie, at Charleston. He never delivered the works to the War Department, however. Catlin arrived at Fort Moultrie on 17 January 1838, where other painters, including Curtis, had established themselves to paint and draw Osceola. Catlin painted more than ten portraits of Seminole and Yuchi Indians, including a full portrait of a Seminole woman, in the short time he spent at the fort. His Seminole portraits are just a small example of his work to document
Opposite page: 10 Robert John Curtis (United States, c. 1816–1877) Osceola, War Chief of the Seminoles, 1838 Oil on canvas 39 ¾ x 34 ¾ x 2 inches Image courtesy of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Permanent Collection Clewiston, Florida 1997.28.1
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12 Richard William Hubbard (United States, 1816-1888) Osceola in Landscape, 1835-1845 Oil on canvas 23 x 21 inches Image courtesy of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Permanent Collection, Clewiston, Florida 2000.123.1
the original inhabitants of North America. Catlin stated his intentions in the 17 January 1838 New York Evening Star, “I shall paint Osceola, Coahajo, Micanopy, Cloud, King Phillip and several others, and hasten back with all speed to show the citizens of New York how these brave fellows look” (Wickham, 143). By 25 January, he finished two portraits of Osceola: #310, a waist-length portrait, and #301, a fulllength painting. They are both among the most outstanding portraits in Catlin’s large body of work, capturing the pride of a warrior expressed during a terrible change of circumstances. Of the many images of Osceola, Catlin’s is the most famous. This portrait is noted for the many accurate personal details. The two men quickly developed a brief relationship. As Catlin wrote, “I have painted him precisely in the costume in which he stood for his picture, even to a string and a trinket. He wore three ostrich feathers in his head and a turban made of a vari-colored cotton shawl – and his dress was chiefly of calicoes, with a handsome bead sash or belt around his waist, and a rifle in his hand” (Catlin, 219). Osceola’s death in prison in 1838 captured the attention of the nation, and was found on front pages around the world. After his death, he was transformed into a tragic hero in the American press. Over the next three decades and more, he became, albeit posthumously,
one of the country’s best known Native Americans. Osceola was eulogized by friends of Indians and abolitionists. Stories, many of them exaggerations, and reproduced images widely disseminated in books, prints and paintings built upon the already idealized perception American society had of him. His story captured the imagination. Even before his death, curious interest in Indian people led to the proliferation of copies of paintings by many of the artists painting them. The commercial reproduction of especially striking or meaningful prints featuring Osceola blanketed the United States and Western Europe and helped to promote an image of the fierce, yet civilizing natives. Some artists sought to capitalize upon the likenesses they captured or created. Long before the advent of photography, Curtis provided original copies of his Osceola portrait for thirty dollars. When he returned to New York in 1838, Catlin quickly gained from the sudden fame of his subject. He felt that because of the contemporary interest in Osceola, his recent Seminole portraits would be a draw for visitors to his Indian Gallery. To this end, he produced a stone lithograph of his full-length painting ‘Standing figure, rifle in hand,’ which sold for $1.50. Furthermore, he created new images of Osceola and sold original pencil sketches based on his previous works. Catlin did not merely seek to profit off of Osceola. The painter was strongly opposed to the Jacksonian Indian
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policies, and he used his art to advance his respect for Native Americans and his opposition to Indian removal. Many of the most noted visual representations of Osceola by Catlin, Curtis and Vinton, inspired other artists to create similar works and capture the essence of Osceola. Richard William Hubbard (1816-1888) was a prominent figure of the Hudson River School, known primarily for his landscapes. A native of Connecticut, Hubbard attended Yale University in 1837, before going to New York where he studied painting with Samuel F. B. Morse. Two years of art studies in Europe followed. He seems to have concentrated his efforts on subjects in New York State, especially Lake George, and New England. His work was shown during his lifetime at the National Academy of Design, the Brooklyn Art Association, the Boston Athenaeum, and in exhibitions in New Bedford, New Haven, Buffalo, Sandusky, Chicago, and elsewhere. His portrait of Osceola, painted sometime after Osceola’s death, was probably inspired by Vinton’s drawings. One of the narratives that continued to spread long after Osceola’s death referred to his alleged negative and violent response to a proffered treaty. Some Seminole leaders agreed and signed the treaty; others were in opposition. Osceola, when faced with the treaty that set the way for the removal of the
Florida Seminole to Indian Territory, west of the Mississippi, drove his knife into the treaty and the table below instead of adding his signature to the document. He is alleged to have stated: “There is my mark” or “The only treaty I will execute is with this!” According to Wickman, this heated response brought Osceola into the public eye (Wickman, 14). John Bemrose wrote about the events between Osceola and Indian Agent General Wiley Thompson in his private papers on 3 June 1835. “Osceola ‘broke out with ungovernable rage, drawing his knife, which he brandished in a threatening manner’” (Ibid., 94). The details of Osceola’s reaction to the treaty were recorded widely in writing and in images. With the spread of reports of this so-called signing, one contemporary reporter wrote about the “novel mode of signing with a steel pin.” The story, recorded in many works of art, was probably first published in 1842; like all legends it on took a life of its own in the form of many variations, including even the date and location. Interestingly, a note in the New-York Historical Society Quarterly Bulletin states that “a photostat of the treaty [is] in our Society; clearly showing the scar of the knife thrust” (Zabriskie, 41). The well-distributed image and story of Osceola’s life and death also stimulated the creation of a small corpus of emotion-laden poems. Most notably was that of Walt Whitman, “Osceola” in 1890. His inclusion of “Osceola” in
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13 James Hutchinson (United States, b. 1932) Osceola, 1970 Acrylic on canvas 74 x 38 inches Image courtesy of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Permanent Collection, Clewiston, Florida 2002.166.77
the sixth edition of Leaves of Grass, decades after the conflict, reinforced the persistence of the Seminole War in the minds of citizens who lived through it. Other poetic odes to this warrior included Mary E. Hewitt’s, “Osceola Signing the Treaty (1845); Lucy Hooper’s, “Osceola” (1859); and G.W. Cutter’s, “The Death of Osceola.” Hooper’s inspiration was one of the Vinton portraits of Osceola.
of which experienced revivals. The production of these materials served two purposes. As Americans had more leisure time to travel, the purchase of Native arts as souvenirs brought income to the communities. In addition, the new life breathed into these arts served as a way to express communal and individual identity. Scholars at this time started to consider the role of the individual artist within tradition.
The genre of painting in Native American communities also emerged, whether the pictorial narratives were or were not related to previous aesthetic expression. In New Mexico and Oklahoma, in particular, emerging artists were encouraged and received instruction from white employees at the Indian agencies. Swedish artist and art educator at the University of Oklahoma, Oscar B. Jacobsen, worked with Susie Peters and Kiowa students from the Indian agency in Anadarko in the 1920s. Dorothy Dunn established the Studio School at the Santa Fe Indian School in 1932. Students enrolled there were recruited primarily from the region of the Southwest. Classes for Indian artists at the University of Oklahoma and at the Santa Fe Indian School marked the beginning of the institutionalization of Indian painting. Each school had distinct styles, associated with the traditional styles of painting from which the students came. In general, they were both a flat-art style of narrative painting, lacking depth and perspective. The paintings celebrate the
Interest in images of Native Americans, whether based on reality or imagination, did not wane in the late nineteenth or twentieth centuries. Among the many artists who continued to picture the life stories of the Seminole is Florida artist James Hutchinson (b. 1932). Like many Floridians, Hutchinson was aware of changes that were bringing new life to the Seminoles. In 1960, he and his wife moved to Brighton Reservation, west of Lake Okeechobee. Over the next six years, he produced numerous paintings representing Seminole history, including portraits of elders and their families. He painted at least two variations of the Treaty Signing scene. By the early decades of the twentieth century, attention turned to the artistry of Native Americans. Initially, focus was on aesthetic utilitarian objects, such as Pueblo pottery, Navajo weaving, and California basketry, all
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history and lives of their people, often through personal interpretation, while also conforming to the aesthetics acceptable to their art. In addition to promoting the use of native imagery, these and other Indian schools taught art as a form of economic development. This new Native American art was popularized by a growing number of art fairs in the southwest and nationally, at which these artists were represented. American art museums also began collecting the paintings produced by Native artists in the 1920s and 1930s. The San Francisco Museum of Art; Art Institute of Chicago; the Whitney Museum of Art; Detroit Institute of Arts; the Corcoran Gallery and others acquired collections through purchase and donations. The generations of Native artists which came after these two seminal training programs in the West brought with them a deep respect for the cultural foundations to their artwork. For many, their paintings had deep roots in the images recorded on rocks, hides, and ledger books. They are visual statements about cultural survival, as they sometimes exemplify and portray historical conflicts between cultures in North America. Their art was also influenced by centuries of interactions between Native and colonial societies. Their paintings remain true to basic cultural values such as tribe, family, clans, place and season, regardless of change.
Archuleta has written that, “twentieth century Indian art is about survival, the survival of the spirit” (Archuleta, 1). Artists combine tradition and innovation to represent the continuity of the past and present. They also express the world views of the times through their artwork. Oscar Howe (1915-1983) was a Yanktonai Sioux who studied under Dorothy Dunn at Santa Fe’s Studio School from 1935 to 1938. He graduated at the top of his class, and his works were sent to Paris and London for exhibition. After working for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) with a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1954, Howe was a professor of art at the University of South Dakota until 1983. His work, in general, is known for using traditional Indian artistic values together with non-Indian modernism. Although he was devoted to presenting the life of the Sioux Indians, in the late 40s he worked with Oscar Jacobsen on the North American Indian Costumes Project, which was published in 1952. A Seminole chief is one of the fifty paintings by Howe included in this historic compendium. At least three twentieth-century Florida Seminole artists have gained recognition, either within the tribe or in the wider art world. Of one, Jimmy Osceola (b. 1957), little biographical information is extant. Noah Billie (1949-2000) was the most well-known of the
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three. He straddled two cultures: the traditional Seminole culture perpetuated by his parents, and the urban culture he experienced when his family moved to Hollywood when he was eight years old. Billie was steeped in the history and traditions of the Seminoles and was also a typical American high school football player. After completing school, like many young Native American men, he served as a Marine in Vietnam, where he was deeply touched by the time served during the conflict. He developed an interest in art after the war as a way to express his emotions. His talent came from his parents; his father was a carver, and his mother was known for her beadwork. As an artist, his favorite subject was the Seminole man. His paintings have been noted for their vivid depictions of the history of Seminole ways. In 2000, Billie died from complications of his diabetes and a second heart attack, just as plans were underway for his first major exhibition at the St. Petersburg Museum of History. Leroy “Henehayo” Osceola (b. 1958) tells the story of his people in his work. His paintings offer a narrative that captures their history, while at the same time provokes a discussion and raises awareness of modern day issues which affect Native Americans. His use of Seminole colors, yellows, reds and blacks, is often coupled with imagery representing the American flag. Henehayo’s paintings are a
narrative that not only tells their history, but will also provoke discussions and raise awareness about modern-day issues surrounding Native Americans.
In Conclusion Depictions of the “other” have entranced viewers as a means to create or dispel stereotypes. They also have served to validate and build identity. Portraits of the Florida Seminoles have accomplished both of these goals over a period of two centuries, whether painted by non-Native or Native artists. The much pictured nineteenth-century Seminole warrior, Osceola, was a historical figure whose life and death brought attention to his people, as well as to the fate of Native Americans across the nation. The persistence of interest in his image, through the twentieth century, and how it is portrayed by Native and non-Native artists represents the significance of the meaning carried by portraits of the indigenous people of North America in general. In addition, the growth of expressive culture among Native artists attests to the depth of change and continuity within these widespread communities of persistent people. More importantly, with the recognition and appreciation of artwork by Native artists, it is no longer possible to believe in the notion of a dying race or waning culture, concepts which influenced artists and social scientists
Above: 1 Noah Billie, Seminole (United States, 1948-2000) Osceola, 1990 Acrylic on canvas 36 ½ x 30 ½ inches Image courtesy of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Permanent Collection, Clewiston, Florida 1990.1.1 Opposite page: 11 Oscar Howe (Mazuha Hokshina), Yanktonnai Nakota (United States, 1915-1983) A Seminole chief, 1810, 1948-1952 Watercolor and ink on paper 12 x 15 ¾ inches Courtesy of the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, 24/9014
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of the nineteenth century. As all artists respond to social, cultural and economic change, contemporary Native artists also reaffirm their ongoing belief systems, cultural traditions and independence, all of which value creative adaptation.
Archuleta, Margaret and Rennard Strickland, eds. Shared Visions, Native American Painters and Sculptors in the Twentieth Century. New York: The New Press, 1991. Catlin’s North American Indian Portfolio: Hunting Scenes and Amusements of the Rocky Mountains and Prairies of America. London. 1844. Dippie, Brian W. Catlin and his Contemporaries: The Politics of Paintings. Lincoln, Nebraska: The University of Nebraska Press, 1990. Lewis, James Otto, Introduction by Philip R. St. Clair. The American Indian Portfolio: An Eyewitness History, 1823-28. Kent, Ohio: Volair Limited, 1980. McReynolds, Edwin C. The Seminoles. Norman, Oklahoma: The University of Oklahoma Press, 1957. Motte, Jacob Rhett. Journey into wilderness; an army surgeon’s account of life in camp and field during the Creek and Seminole Wars, 1836-1838. Gainesville, Florida: The University of Florida Press, 1953. President Zabriskie’s Communication. The New-York Historical
Opposite page: 17 Henehayo (Leroy) Osceola, Seminole (United States, b. 1958) Untitled, 1993 Pen and ink drawing on paper 21 ½ x 15 ½ inches Image courtesy of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Permanent Collection Clewiston, Florida 2007.9.140
Society, Quarterly Bulletin. Vol. 24, No. 2, April 1940:39-43. Truettner, William H. Painting Indians and Building Empires in North American 1710-1840. The Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010. Walkiewicz, Kathryn. “Portraits and Politics: the Specter of Osceola in Leaves of Grass.” Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 25 (Winter 2008), 108-115. Wickman, Patricia Riles. Osceola’s Legacy. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2006.
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Native Americans in Art Carol Damian Director and Chief Curator The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum
The Frost Art Museum at Florida International University is located on the eastern edge of the Everglades, home to our Native neighbors, the Seminoles and the Miccosukees. Though our university may be in close geographic proximity to these Native American communities, ironically, the reality is that we reside in almost completely different worlds. Truthfully, few of us here in South Florida, or even throughout most of the United States, really understand and, more importantly, appreciate what these nations represent, or their extraordinary history. They have come to be recognized for tourist activities, airboats, alligator wrestling, patchwork dolls, and chickee huts still sitting in the swamps. Who are these people and how did they get to the Everglades? Were they really the only indigenous people to never submit to American imperialism? It was on a visit to the Smithsonian Institution’s American Museum of Art that I looked again at some of the most familiar paintings in American art history with fresh eyes. Always appreciative of their historic value and poignant beauty, it was the realization that the extraordinary image of Osceola, the Seminole hero, was far
from home. He was also the focal point, for me, of a selection of extraordinary images of Native Americans that deserved consideration beyond their value as historical documents, and to be studied as masterpieces of American Art within a methodology that discusses them stylistically, iconographically, and culturally. They became the inspiration for this exhibition and my determination to bring them to South Florida. These portraits are visual records of historical people at a very specific time that were created within a period which imposed a certain way of thinking on not only the artist, but also on the viewing public. Yes, there was an agenda in the eighteenth and nineteenthcenturies’ Age of Enlightenment and Manifest Destiny, and the “noble savage” was a favorite subject for consideration, but was the artist’s genuine objective to capture the image of a vanishing breed with a sympathetic eye, or was it with an eye for profit in a world fascinated by the exotic? Whether the artists in this exhibition subscribe to that agenda, or their own, is not relevant to my discussion, and it is not necessary to castigate them if they did exploit their subjects for commercial success. Our interest in this exhibition is to reveal and
5 George Catlin (United States, 1796-1872) Osceolá, The Black Drink, A Warrior of Great Distinction, 1838 Oil on canvas 30 ⅞ x 25 ⅞ inches Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.301
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identify these historical personalities, especially Osceola, within a particular time frame and follow the course of their history through art.
14 Thomas L. McKenney and James Hall, after Unknown Artist (United States, 1785-1859 and 1793-1868, respectively) Asseola, A Seminole Leader, 1842 Hand-colored lithograph on paper Published by J.T. Bowen Lithographic Establishment 19 ¾ x 14 ¼ inches The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, Metropolitan Museum and Art Center Collection MET 77.6.33
In her essay, Curator Annette B. Fromm has presented a very succinct history of the artists who travelled the new America to capture the images of the Native Americans as they fought or succumbed to dramatic changes. The portraits by such well-known artists as George Catlin, John Stanley Mix, Charles Bird King, and James Otto Lewis are the nineteenth-century equivalents of photographs. Strictly posed, each person stands or sits quietly, seemingly aware of the import of their presence. Both static and realistic, the character of each subject comes forth in proud recognition of the awesome responsibility they represent for their people. Let us not read too much into their expressions as sad, the end of a nation and everything it once was in this great land. We know the story ends badly for many, but we also must be aware that there are still Native Americans in the United States who are determined to persist, survive and preserve their history and traditions, much of it through art. Our view of the portraits will be as works of art that include the paraphernalia, garments, ornaments and other objects of significance then, and newly appreciated today, for the beauty of their craftsmanship and power of their symbolic message. The art of the Seminole Tribe of Florida is included in this exhibition and enhances the selection of
portraits by bringing attention to each sitter’s possessions. Another aspect of this discussion is certainly related to “posed” portraits within studios that were “set up” and often included backgrounds (a Seminole with teepees?) and objects not necessarily owned or traditionally worn by the subject, or the proper locale. However, my essay will focus on the artworks themselves through the selection chosen by the curator that certainly was part of the traditions of the time. To be able to view a nineteenthcentury portrait, and then the objects or ornaments included in the portrait, is a unique opportunity for the viewer that we hope will set this exhibition apart from just a picture gallery. The nineteenth-century paintings in this exhibition are conceived through the eyes of artists who bring their own perceptions, views and prejudices to the audience. These images of a supposedly-vanished people frozen in time are the product of a complex period of world history fraught with the rapid processes of imperialism, urbanization, industrialization, and a new respect for the commercial. While each artist worked in his own particular style, he was trained to capture the likeness of the sitter through a realistic approach that ranged from detailed to rather spontaneous or rapid. Their aim is twofold: capture the character of the person, and note the details that distinguish his role or status in society, in particular, his soonto-be-lost society. There is a sense of immediacy
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in the application of paint for all of the artists who lived in a time when the exact replication of the natural world was not as important as the context or meaning of that world and the people in it. It was a Romantic vision that would lead to the modern: to use direct observation, then quickly reveal the essence of the subject and what he/she symbolizes beyond the details of dress and surroundings. The Academy will wane in importance as the modern world (and photography) creeps in and affects artists and their production. These artists may be far away from the official academies, but they knew there was a new mood of independence looming and they could consider their craft from their own perspective. George Catlin, in particular, approached the new world with great energy, eager to study in the wilderness, “the true school of the arts,” and paint men “in the honest and elegant simplicity of nature” (Gurney, 28). To do so, he and the other artists dedicated to this genre, had to develop a style that allowed them to capture a moment in time and place, and preserve it forever. This included paintings of the landscape, animals, ceremonies, villages, groups of people and, most notably, portraits of individuals they deemed significant to their story. The Seminole Indians had captured the imagination of Americans for over a hundred years as they migrated to the swamps of Florida, settled, resisted, and made new lives for themselves. They were depicted as strong and noble, in colorful attire and silver ornaments,
that were as appealing as their story. Seminole traditional dress included a variety of techniques, patterns, and ceremonial objects adopted over hundreds of years of migrations over long distances. There are recognizable elements from Plains Indians, Mississippians, Muskogee and numerous southeastern tribes combined in decorative details. The earliest descriptions of native dress come in the eighteenth century with a visit to London of Cherokees to Queen Anne (1730), and in the British gathering of Creek Indians to sign a treaty of cooperation in Georgia (1733); both were accompanied by artists who made drawings and descriptions of the traditional dress of the Indians. These ancestors of the Seminoles and Miccosukees displayed intricately painted bodies and faces, eagle feathers in their hair, hide coats, fur ties and robes, beaded collars and ornaments. With the arrival of colonizers from the British Isles and the exchange of gifts of cloth, beads and other objects, the dress became more elaborate and soon developed into the garments included in the nineteenthcentury portraits. Dorothy Downs attributes the arrival of Highlanders as the introduction of skirt-like clothing replacing the traditional breechcloth, and the wearing of shirts because of the many that were given as gifts. Calico and other materials are used for the shirts, which were simple tunic-like garments (called “hunting-shirts”), often with decorative ruffles
24 Bandolier, c, 1830 Seminole, Florida, USA Wool, cotton, silk, glass beads Bandolier 12 ½ x 27 inches; sash 4 x 56 inches Image courtesy of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Permanent Collection Clewiston, Florida 1997.30.1
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6 George Catlin (United States, 1796-1872) A Seminole Woman, 1838 Oil on canvas 29 x 24 inches Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.307
applied across the chest or on the shoulders. A loose fitting coat or jacket made from cotton cloth was often worn over the shirt, and is believed to be derived from eighteenth-century English styles. The continued use of this long shirt among Florida Seminoles by old men on formal occasions has given rise to their name, “medicine-men’s coat” (Goggin, 176). The rest of the attire included a bonnet or turban, stockings and garters, sash, shoulder bag or pouch, and moccasins or shoes. The turbanstyle headdress (often described as made from a silk or cotton shawl) with customary feathers (Osceola is always shown with black and white plume feathers at the back of his turban), and occasionally with a silver band, appears in the eighteenth century and is of unknown origin, although may have come from the British, who would have been introduced to them in India. Emblems or crests of silver were placed on the bonnet, belt and pouch to indicate clan membership (Downs, 20). Silver wristbands and ankle bands and necklaces of silver trinkets were also worn, often by men and women, depending on status. Change in dress for both men and women occurred rapidly after the arrival of the whites and the introduction of commercial fabrics and ribbons gave the clever seamstresses among the Indian women opportunities to experiment with new patterns for acceptably modest clothing. There are few portraits of women, and they are shown in long wide skirts and blouses (or dresses?)
and shawls, and wearing necklaces and other ornaments. The Seminole’s and Miccosukee’s mastery of ribbon borders, applique, ruffles and patchwork is recognized as typical decoration in their clothing today. In the portraits of Osceola, there may be three or four gorgets, a silver crest-shaped ornament that hangs on the chest from a hide strap. Sometimes the gorgets were decorated with incised lines. There are several examples of gorgets in the portraits of nineteenth-century leaders from many tribes. They were made by Indian silversmiths who used metals and coins and may have been modeled after similar ornaments worn by British officers, derived from insignia used in early armor. They were first given to Indian chiefs as recognition of rank (Goggin, 188). Over time, gorgets became larger and developed into the most distinctive emblem of authority (Downs, 181-185). Other silver ornaments, brooches, bands and pendants were worn by both men and women and had special meaning for their owners, who were often buried with them. Today, Billie Osceola continues the family tradition of silversmithing and has started a revival of other crafts for the annual Seminole Tribal Fair on their reservation (Downs, 191). Shoulder bags, or bandolier bags, may also have been introduced by British soldiers who wore them over their shoulder and across their
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chest and used them to hold their shot, tobacco and other items. The Indian adaptations also used the bags for ritual paraphernalia and their decoration was uniquely Indian, even if the material was European. Beadwork, twining, tapestry designs, finger woven and embroidered patterns distinguish the various kinds which combine ancient with new designs (Downs, 155). The introduction of beadwork to the Native Americans begins in the early years of contact, when beads, especially glass beads, were presented as gifts by the first explorers, and became very popular and sought-after. Much of the clothing and bandoliers in these portraits include beadwork decoration, some very elaborate, and often feature strings of beads. Beadwork continues to be a recognizable craft among the Seminoles and Miccosukees, who incorporate a variety of techniques to create jewelry, bandolier and clothing decoration.
Ah-Tak-Thi-Ki Museum. Osceola Remembered. Clewiston, Florida: Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, 2008. Downs, Dorothy. Art of the Florida Seminole and Miccosukee Indians. Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida, 1995. Douglas, Frederic H., and René d’Harnoncourt. Indian Art of the United States. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1949. Goggin, John M. “Osceola: Portraits, Features, and Dress.” Florida Historical Quarterly 33 (January-April, 1955): 161-192. Gurney, George and Therese Thau Heyman, eds. George Catlin and His Indian Gallery. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2002. Matthiessen, Peter, ed. George Catlin: North American Indians. New York: Penguin Books, 1989. Milanich, Jerald T. Florida’s Indian from Ancient Times to the Present. Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida, 1998.
The clothing of the Seminoles, and the examples in this exhibition that are associated with Osceola and others, not only enhance the beauty of the paintings, but recognize the arts and crafts and their symbolic roles in the maintenance, and sometime invention, of traditions for the native people. They should not be overlooked as mere decoration; they are part of the story of survival and adaptation of a great people, our neighbors to the west.
Moore, Robert J., Jr. Native Americans: A Portrait. The Art and Travels of Charles Bird King, George Catlin, and Karl Bodmer. New York: Stewart, Taborn, & Chang, 1997. Smith, Patrick D. A Land Remembered. Sarasota, Florida: Pineapple Press, 1984. Weitenkampf, Frank. “How Indians Were Pictured in Earlier Days.” The New York Historical Society Quarterly 33 (October 1949): 213221. Wickman, Patricia Riles. Osceola’s Legacy. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: The University of Alabama Press, 2006.
Clockwise from top-left 26 Man’s Coat, 1830-1837 Seminole, Florida, USA Deerhide/deerskin, hide thong/ babiche, cotton thread, sewn 42 ½ x 24 inches Courtesy of the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution 22/9750 27 Gorget, c. 1780 Seminole, Florida, USA Silver, hammered, riveted 4 ⅝ x 2 ½ x ¾ inches Courtesy of the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, 24/1225 28 Wristband, c. 1880 Seminole, Florida, USA Silver, bent, perforated 4 x 2 x 1 ⅞ inches Courtesy of the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, 01/8254
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Bridges Across Time Elgin Jumper Seminole Tribe of Florida
20 Jimmy John Osceola, Seminole (United States, b. 1957) Stick Man, pre-2000 Acrylic on canvas 48 x 30 inches Image courtesy of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Permanent Collection Clewiston, Florida 2000.47.1
I have been painting and creating other works of art for some seven years now. Over that time, I have painted still-life, landscapes and portraits. Of the three, portrait painting has always held an especially wondrous charm for me, a passion and magical fascination, which never ceases nor diminishes, allowing me to record and document humanity. My portraits depict all sorts of people with exceptional appearances and character, while utilizing a rich and vast art history as inspiration and influence: Rembrandt, Halls, Vermeer, Velazquez, Delacroix, Van Gogh, Picasso, and Matisse, to name but a few, as well as my own personal style and approach to portraiture. I so love to paint! I am constantly seeking and striving to bring my portraits to life with luminous color effect and lively brushwork, design and composition. I work thoughtfully, as well as intuitively, to capture that peculiar essence and quality of my model, with sincerity, truth, and an ever-increasing understanding of sound painting strategies and, in so doing, putting into action drawing skills and furthering my painting skills.
and Native American Artists across the country; today, also, Native American Art is known and appreciated the world over. Thankfully, other more prominent Native American Artists are shinning forth their radiant light, giving back, passing the torch, so that other indigenous generations of Native American Artists on the rise may follow. Thus, Florida Seminole art is alive and active, changing and reflecting Seminole Culture, and yet remaining the same, simultaneously and paradoxically looking to the past to move forward into the twenty-first century. In a manner of speaking, Contemporary Seminole Art is like a vital bridge; this show could actually be called â€œBridges Across Time: Seminole Portraits,â€? in that Seminole Portraits act as a crucial bridge which joins the Seminole world with the nonSeminole world, visually, culturally, and so on and so forth, over which the Seminole Artist can move freely back and forth, though historical differences yet arise, and are yet in place. Importantly, however, the Unconquered Seminole People of Florida and their proud culture remain.
With that knowledge and insight, I intend to build upon Seminole Art and Culture, reinterpreting it for a modern world. Today, there are a variety of mediums and styles being employed by Seminoles
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Let us celebrate it! As a Contemporary Seminole Artist and Portraitist, I find the task at hand to be quite challenging, gratifying, and ever-enriching, giving me a clearer understanding of color, materials, techniques and approaches. It gives me a profoundly heartfelt sense of moving forward, always progressing, always seeking, always striving, while at all times merging traditional methods with contemporary or modernist.
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22 Captain John R. Vinton (United States, 1801-1847) Portrait of Osceola, 1837-1845 Pencil on paper 3 ⅛ x 3 ⅜ inches Courtesy of the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, 26/2870 Photo by Walter Larrimore
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Exhibition Checklist 1 Noah Billie, Seminole (United States, 1948-2000) Osceola, 1990 Acrylic on canvas 36 ½ x 30 ½ inches Courtesy of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Permanent Collection, 1990.1.1 2 Noah Billie, Seminole (United States, 1948-2000) Three Seminole Scouts, 1991 Acrylic on canvas 36 ½ x 48 ½ inches Courtesy of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Permanent Collection, 1991.3.1 3 Noah Billie, Seminole (United States, 1948-2000) Seminole Warrior, 1993 Acrylic on canvas 63 ½ x 52 inches Courtesy of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Permanent Collection, 1993.10.1 4 George Catlin (United States, 1796-1872) Mick-e-no-páh, Chief of the Tribe, Seminole, 1838 Oil on canvas 29 x 24 inches Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.300 5 George Catlin (United States, 1796-1872) Osceolá, The Black Drink, A Warrior of Great Distinction, 1838 Oil on canvas 30 ⅞ x 25 ⅞ inches Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.301
6 George Catlin (United States, 1796-1872) A Seminole Woman, 1838 Oil on canvas 29 x 24 inches Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr. 1985.66.307 7 George Catlin (United States, 1796-1872) Osceola (“Black Drink”), 1838 Hand colored lithograph on paper 26 ¾ x 19 ⅜ inches National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution NPG.94.53 8 George Catlin (United States, 1796-1872) Seminolee Indians, Prisoners at Fort Moultrie, 1861/1869 Oil on card mounted on paperboard 18 ½ x 24 ¾ inches National Gallery of Art, Washington, Paul Mellon Collection 1965.16.118 9 George Catlin (United States, 1796-1872) Osceola and Four Seminolee Indians, 1861/1869 Oil on card mounted on paperboard 18 ¼ x 24 ¾ inches National Gallery of Art, Washington, Paul Mellon Collection 1965.16.119 10 Robert John Curtis (United States, c. 1816–1877) Osceola, War Chief of the Seminoles, 1838 Oil on canvas 39 ¾ x 34 ¾ x 2 inches Courtesy of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Permanent Collection, 1997.28.1
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11 Oscar Howe (Mazuha Hokshina), Yanktonnai Nakota (United States, 1915-1983) A Seminole chief, 1810, 1948-1952 Watercolor and ink on paper 12 x 15 ¾ inches Courtesy of the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, 24/9014 12 Richard William Hubbard (United States, 1816-1888) Osceola in Landscape, 1835-1845 Oil on canvas 23 x 21 inches Courtesy of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, Permanent Collection, 2000.123.1 13 James Hutchinson (United States, b. 1932) Osceola, 1970 Acrylic on canvas 74 x 38 inches Image courtesy of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Permanent Collection, 2002.166.77 14 Thomas L. McKenney and James Hall, after Unknown Artist (United States, 1785-1859 and 1793-1868, respectively) Asseola, A Seminole Leader, 1842 Hand-colored lithograph on paper Published by J.T. Bowen Lithographic Establishment 19 ¾ x 14 ¼ inches The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum Metropolitan Museum and Art Center Collection MET 77.6.33
15 Thomas L. McKenney and James Hall, after Henry Inman (United States, 1801-1846) (United States, 1785-1859 and 1793-1868, respectively) Micanopy, c. 1887 Hand-colored lithograph on paper Published by J.T. Bowen Lithographic Establishment 17 x 14 inches Courtesy of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Permanent Collection, 2002.166.9 16 Thomas L. McKenney and James Hall, after Charles Bird King (United States, 1785-1862) (United States, 1785-1859 and 1793-1868, respectively) Foke-Luste-Hajo, A Seminole, 1842 Hand-colored lithograph on paper Published by J.T. Bowen Lithographic Establishment 18 ¼ x 13 ¼ inches The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum Metropolitan Museum and Art Center Collection MET 77.6.34 17 Henehayo (Leroy) Osceola, Seminole (United States, b. 1958) Untitled, 1993 Pen and ink drawing on paper 21 ½ x 15 ½ inches Courtesy of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Permanent Collection, 2007.9.140 18 Henehayo (Leroy) Osceola, Seminole (United States, b. 1958) Untitled, 1993 Acrylic on canvas 36 x 23 ½ inches Courtesy of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Permanent Collection, 2007.9.142
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19 Jimmy John Osceola, Seminole (United States, b. 1957) Osceola, pre-1994 Acrylic on canvas 40 x 30 ½ inches Courtesy of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Permanent Collection, 1994.31.1 20 Jimmy John Osceola, Seminole (United States, b. 1957) Stick Man, pre 2000 Acrylic on canvas 48 x 30 inches Courtesy of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Permanent Collection, 2000.47.1 21 Unidentified Artist, (n.d.) Neamathla, c. 1850 Etching and engraving on paper 8 ⅜ x 5 ⅛ inches National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution NPG.97.162 22 Captain John R. Vinton (United States, 1801-1847) Portrait of Osceola, 1837-1845 Pencil on paper 3 ⅛ x 3 ⅜ inches Courtesy of the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution 26/2870 23 Brian Zepeda, Seminole (United States, b. 1971) Bandolier, 2003 Seminole, Florida, USA Wool, cotton, glass beads 40 x 84 inches Courtesy of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Permanent Collection, 2003.287.1
24 Bandolier, c, 1830 Seminole, Florida, USA Wool, cotton, silk, glass beads Bandolier 12 ½ x 27 inches; sash 4 x 56 inches Courtesy of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Permanent Collection, 1997.30.1 25 Fingerwoven Sash, pre-1838 Seminole, Florida, USA Wool, glass beads 3 ½ x 97 ½ inches Courtesy of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum Permanent Collection, 1997.30.2 26 Man’s Coat, 1830-1837 Seminole, Florida, USA Deerhide/deerskin, hide thong/babiche, cotton thread, sewn 42 ½ x 24 inches Courtesy of the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, 22/9750 27 Gorget, c. 1780 Seminole, Florida, USA Silver, hammered, riveted 4 ⅝ x 2 ½ x ¾ inches Courtesy of the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, 24/1225 28 Wristband, c. 1880 Seminole, Florida, USA Silver, bent, perforated 4 x 2 x 1 ⅞ inches Courtesy of the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, 01/8254 37
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Florida International University Board of Trustees Albert Maury, Chairperson Michael M. Adler, Vice Chairperson Sukrit Agrawal Cesar L. Alvarez Jose J. Armas Jorge L. Arrizurieta Robert T. Barlick, Jr. Thomas Breslin, Faculty Trustee Marcelo Claure Laura Farinas, Student Trustee Gerald C. Grant, Jr. Mayi de la Vega Claudia Puig
Jessica Lettsome, Visitor Services and Events Assistant Miriam Machado, Curator of Education Mary Alice Manella, Budget & Finance Manager Raymond Mathews, New Media Specialist Amy Pollack, Special Projects D. Gabriella Portela, Communications Assistant Klaudio Rodriguez, Assistant Curator Jessica Ruiz de Castilla, Visitor Services Assistant Luis Tabares, Security Guard Oliver Tameze-Rivas, Finance Assistant Andrew Vasquez, Museum Preparator Ragan Williams, Security Guard Emmett Young, Marketing & Communications Assistant Director Sherry Zambrano, Assistant Registrar
Florida International University Administration Mark B. Rosenberg, President Douglas Wartzok, Provost , Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Pete Garcia, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Andres G. Gil ‘86, Vice President, Sponsored Research Sandra B. Gonzalez-Levy, Senior Vice President, External Relations Robert Grillo, Vice President, Information Technology and Chief Information Officer Irma Becerra-Fernandez, Vice President for Engagement Jaffus Hardrick, Vice President, Human Resources Kenneth A. Jessell, Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President, Administration Howard R. Lipman, Senior Vice President, University Advancement; President & CEO, FIU Foundation Inc. Javier I. Marqués ’92, ‘96, Chief of Staff, Office of the President M. Kristina Raattama, General Counsel John A. Rock, MD, Senior Vice President, Medical Affairs Stephen A. Sauls, Vice President, Governmental Relations Terry Witherell, Vice President of External Relations
Interns / Work Study / Volunteer Linda Aragon, Curatorial Veronica de la Fuente, Collections Laura de Socairaz-Novoa, Collections Alexia Escalante, Marketing and Communications Danny Euceda, Collections Joan Johnson, Volunteer Gabriel Pagan, Curatorial Leticia Romano, Finance Jacquelyne B. Velken, Visitor Services
Frost Art Museum Staff Carol Damian, Director and Chief Curator Alexis Altamirano, Visitor Services Assistant Julio Alvarez, Security Manager Kelly Brady-Rumble, Grants Specialist Alison Burrus, MDCPS Museum Educator Ana Estrada, Curatorial Assistant Annette B. Fromm, Museum Studies Coordinator Ximena Gallegos, Membership Coordinator Alex Garcia, Digital Archivist Elisabeth Gonzalez, Administrative Assistant Alberto Hernandez, Exhibitions and Sculpture Park Manager Julia P. Herzberg, Adjunct Curator Michael Hughes, Director of Development Debbye Kirschtel-Taylor, Curator of Collections/Registrar
Docents Miriam Alter Tomas Dennis Teresita Fernandez Gabriela Guzman Dorothea LaFrieda Miriam Mulkay Alvarez Magdalena Ortiz Bennie Osborne Claudia Starosta Alessandra Terzino Gregory Urruela Helen Venero Karen Carvajal Maria Antonieta Garcia Nemeli Figueredo Hilda Escalon Gabrielle Powell Jean Carlos Fernandez
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The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum
Florida International University 10975 SW 17th St., Miami, FL 33199 t: 305.348.2890 | e: firstname.lastname@example.org | w: thefrost.fiu.edu Museum Hours: Tues-Sat: 10am-5pm / Sun: 12pm-5pm / Mon: Closed Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program
The Frost Art Museum receives ongoing support from the Steven and Dorothea Green Endowment; the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Cultural Affairs Council, the Mayor and the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners; The Miami Herald; Target; the Members & Friends of The Frost Art Museum.
The presentation of Reflections Across Time: Seminole Portraits at the Frost Art Museum received support from Funding Arts Network, Inc.
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Published on Feb 26, 2013
The Frost Art Museum and The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum of the Seminole Tribe of Florida merge Native American portraiture with Native American et...