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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755
603.646.2808
hood.museum@dartmouth.edu

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Recent Acquisitions 7

Arrow (Elk Society), Cheyenne, active 19th century
Cheyenne Warrior Who Has Dismounted and Run into a Ute Camp Where He Is Counting Coup on an Abandoned Baby, page number 21, from the Arrow’s Elk Society Ledger, about 1875
Graphite and colored pencil on ledger paper
6 1/8 14 3/4 in.
Gift of Mark Lansburgh, Class of 1949, in honor of James Wright, President of Dartmouth College; 2008.75

 

Arrow (Elk Society), Cheyenne, active 19th century
Amen, or So Be It Tree, page number 155, from the Arrow’s Elk Society Ledger, about 1875
Graphite and colored pencil on ledger paper
6 1/8 x 14 3/4 in.
Gift of Mark Lansburgh, Class of 1949, in honor of Brian Kennedy, Director, Hood Museum of Art; 2008.76.1

Arrow (Elk Society), Cheyenne, active 19th century
Arrow Kills the White Man’s Hunting Dog, page number 156, from the Arrow’s Elk Society Ledger, about 1875
Graphite and colored pencil on ledger paper
6 1/8 x 14 3/4 in.
Gift of Mark Lansburgh, Class of 1949, in honor of Brian Kennedy, Director, Hood Museum of Art; 2008.76.2

Ledger Drawings Acquired by Hood Museum of Art

In December 2007, the Hood Museum of Art acquired a major collection of over one hundred Native American ledger drawings. Collected over thirty years by Mark Lansburgh, Dartmouth Class of 1949, it is considered the largest and most diverse collection of nineteenth-century Native American drawings in private hands. This acquisition is of exceptional importance because of the opportunity it affords for study of a period of profound cultural transition among the Plains people during the second half of the nineteenth century.

During fall 2010, Dartmouth’s Leslie Center for the Humanities will sponsor an institute directed by the distinguished historian Professor Colin Calloway. Multiple Narratives in Plains Indian Ledger Art: The Mark Lansburgh Collection will involve a number of major scholars in the field, including Joyce Szabo, Jackie Rand, and Mike Cowdrey. At the same time, the Hood will present an exhibition of the ledger drawings.

Ledger drawings represent a continuation of the tradition of Plains pictographic shorthand that was formerly executed on animal hides. As contact with Euro-Americans increased from the 1850s through the 1870s, this method of drawing was transferred to the medium of paper. Early ledger art, executed largely by men, was primarily a record of valiant deeds, a type of heraldic painting depicting warfare, hunting, and horse stealing. The genre evolved during the latter part of the nineteenth century, the beginning of the reservation era, to include scenes of social interaction such as courting and domestic life, with some drawings made for sale to outside audiences as well.

This past fall, the Hood’s added seven ledger drawings to its collection. Of these, five are by the artist Arrow, identifiable by his name glyph. Arrow was a Southern Cheyenne warrior, a Lance Bearer of the Elk Society. His drawings are from a ledger collected in 1882 at Darlington Indian Territory, the Agency of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Reservation. They may record the events of 1874-75, when the Southern Cheyenne were engaged in a bitter battle with U.S. soldiers to preserve their way of life as they were being forced onto reservations. For artists like Arrow, these drawings were recollections of tribal history, a means of holding on to their way of life in a period of dramatic upheaval and cultural change.

Of the Arrow drawings above, “page 21” (2008.75) depicts a warrior who has dismounted and run into a Ute camp where he is “counting coup” on an abandoned baby. Counting coup was a war honors system, a means of tribal acknowledgment for valiant deeds. The touching of a live enemy, a baby in this depiction, ranked very high on the bravery scale. This ledger drawing was donated by Mark Lansburgh ’49 in honor of President James Wright.

Another Arrow drawing acquired this year, “page 154” (2008.71.3), depicts courting activities, with the artist himself on the right, identified by the arrow glyph over his head. He is seen in a clandestine meeting with two eligible young women, attired in brightly colored blankets, who have gone to a spring to fetch pails of water. They are accompanied by an older female relative, depicted in muted tones, whose duty it was to prevent just this type of meeting. This drawing was given by Mary Alice Kean and David Raynolds ’49 in honor of President James and Susan Wright.

 

Robert Rauschenberg, American, 1925-2008
At Leo’s, 1980
Offset lithograph
30 1/2 x 22 1/4 in.
Gift of G. Scott Walsh; 2008.77

 

Aaron Siskind, American, 1903-1991
Providence 35, 1986
Gelatin silver print
Frame: 22 1/4 x 22 1/2 in.
Gift of Mel Alperin, Class of 1958; 2008.78

 

Michael Mazur, American, born 1935
Untitled, 2004
Multicolored print
18 3/4 x 14 3/4 in.
Gift of Varujan Boghosian; 2008.79.1

James Bohary, American, born 1940
Water System, 1996
Acrylic on paper
17 1/2 x 13 in. (irreg.)
Gift of Varujan Boghosian; 2008.79.2

Amparo Carvajal-Hufschmid, Colombian, born 1957
Untitled, 1993
Color woodcut
Image: 19 1/2 x 14 3/8 in.; sheet: 24 5/8 x 16 7/8 in. (irreg.)
Gift of Varujan Boghosian; 2008.79.3

Rosamond Purcell, American, born 1942
Bufo Marinus (Illuminations) #5, about 2006
Color photograph
16 x 20 in.
Gift of Varujan Boghosian; 2008.79.4

Ninon Lacey, American, 20th century
Bugs, 2002
Etching
Frame: 17 x 19 in.
Gift of Varujan Boghosian; 2008.79.5

Last Updated: 11/18/09