Free

Opening Reception — Picturing History: Ledger Drawings of the Plains Indian...

Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time

Location

Location

Fairfield University Art Museum

Bellarmine Hall

200 Barlow Road

Fairfield, Connecticut 06824

View Map

Friends Who Are Going
Event description

Description

Picturing History: Ledger Drawings of the Plains Indians will be on view at the Fairfield University Art Museum from September 27 - December 20, 2017; an Opening Reception will take place on Tuesday, September 26, from 6-7:30 pm in the Fairfield University Art Museum, Bellarmine Hall. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, artists from the Plains Indian peoples (Lakota, Cheyenne, Arapaho and others dwelling in the Western United States and Canada) produced an extraordinarily rich and distinctive body of drawings chronicling battles, rituals, and winsome if sometimes jarring events of everyday life. Known as Ledger Drawings because they were done on the pages of commercially produced account books, these striking images, many bearing pictographic signatures, are executed in ink, graphite, and colored pencil and watercolor. Some favor flat, stylized forms and a stark economy of means, while others show a lyrical predilection for rhythmic movement, minute descriptive and narrative detail, and dense, mosaic-like surface patterns. What all share is their makers’ acute powers of observation and ambition to record and describe recognizable people, places, things and events—to eloquently picture and record history as it transpired.

Ledger Drawings are virtually unknown other than to a small group of specialists and cognoscenti, and with rare exceptions they have been studied foremost as anthropological and ethnographic documents rather than as artistic creations. Yet the medium—pencil and watercolor on paper—as well as the function and absorbing subject matter align these works with the western artistic tradition of drawing “stories” that began in Europe in the late 15th century and was part of American practice by the 18th century. The images find an equally resonant context in the venerable tradition of picture chronicles, which extends back even further in time, to the Middle Ages and earlier. Featuring some fifty Ledger Drawings, this exhibition presents these evocative works as graphic masterpieces in the long and rich history of drawing.

Generous support for the exhibition is provided by Donald Ellis Gallery and by the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation.

Photo credit: Detail from Cheyenne Attacking a Pawnee Camp (Ledger Drawing), ca. 1875-78. Attributed to Howling Wolf (Southern Cheyenne, Central Plains). Watercolor, graphite and colored pencil on paper; 8 ½ x 11 ¼ inches. Private collection, courtesy of Donald Ellis Gallery, New York.

Share with friends

Date and Time

Location

Fairfield University Art Museum

Bellarmine Hall

200 Barlow Road

Fairfield, Connecticut 06824

View Map

Save This Event

Event Saved