Peaceful Serenity, 1992
Bronze plated steel
74 x 36 x 17 in.
Purchased through a gift from Mary Alice Kean Raynolds and David R. W. Raynolds, Class of 1949; 2007.56
Allan C. Houser (born to Sam and Blossom Haozous) was the first Chiricahua Apache child in his family born out of captivity in the twentieth century, after twenty seven years following the surrender of their leader Geronimo to the U.S. Army in 1886. Today, Houser is regarded as one of the century's most important Native American artists who played a pivotal role in the development of Native American modern and contemporary art. Following a thirteen year teaching career at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, Houser came to Dartmouth College as artist-in-residence in 1979. In the subsequent two decades of his life, he produced almost one thousand realistic and abstract sculptures. He became a major international figure in contemporary sculpture, known as a master of marble, limestone, slate, wood, cast bronze, and fabricated metals.
Houser's early drawings and paintings displayed the figurative and naturalistic style of the Indian art movement taught at the Santa Fe School and the University of Oklahoma in the early twentieth century. However, he soon developed a signature style that digressed from what was expected of "Indian" artists at that time by uniquely fusing Native American narrative themes with a streamlined modernist and often abstract sensibility. His open style of sketching and modeling explored the possibilities of pure form in evoking action, emotion, and relationship, more suggestive of three-dimensional art. These two-dimensional works inspired his later transition to sculpture, as did the work of the sculptors Brancusi, Arp, Lipschitz, and Moore in their play with positive and negative space. Peaceful Serenity, which captures the calm beauty of a mother and child figure. Each stands firm and proud, protective of the precious life cradled in their arms-a narrative motif evident in all phases of Houser's artistic career.
On October 7, 2007, President James Wright, the Native American Studies Program at Dartmouth College, and the Hood Museum of Art joined guests for the unveiling of the sculpture in front of the Sherman House.
Last Updated: 1/7/09