“Ceremonial scalp dancing precedes the buying of the scalps. Only those who are pure of heart are allowed to dance the scalps, part of a ceremony to show respect for the scalps and to honor the dead warriors. After the dance, the scalp locks are put on long poles and set on the highest hill. Food is provided for the departing spirits by setting it at the foot of the burial poles. It is given so the spirit will not come back to haunt them”. (commentary written by Oscar Howe)
A dramatic, beautifully designed composition illustrating a feature of his culture’s past tradition–often Oscar Howe successfully married the subject to his artistic depiction–powerful, modern, meaningful.
Choose to experience Howe’s retrospective at either the Portland Art Museum October 29 2022- May 14 2023 or later in 2023, June 11-September 17.
The corresponding hard-bound catalogue ($50) references Howe’s pushback to the Philbrook when his paintings were judged “not Indian enough”. Typecasting of what paintings by American Indians should look like was being imposed. Some called it “conventional style”. Meanwhile he and other artists rebelled, choosing innovation over complying with externally determined limitations. The earliest of the “bold ones” included Leon Polk Smith, Dick West Sr., Pablita Velarde, Oscar Howe, George Morrison, Blackbear Bosin and Patrick Swazo Hinds.
SavvyCollector has been privileged to share with buyers the work of Oscar Howe on many occasions since 2009. Woman Scalp Dancer was just one of these rehomed paintings.
Corinne Cain SavvyCollector.com