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Recent Acquisitions: Allan Houser, Taza, 1991

Hood Quarterly, spring/summer 2010

Harry T. Lewis Jr., Dartmouth Class of 1955, has made the generous gift of Allan Houser’s Taza, a major bronze sculpture cast from a piece originally carved in Indiana limestone in 1991. This is the second important gift of a Houser sculpture by a Dartmouth alumnus in recent years, following the 2007 gift of the large-scale bronze Peaceful Serenity (1992) by David and Mary Alice Kean Raynolds.

Allan Houser (1914–1994), a member of the Chiricahua Apache tribe, is one of the most prominent Native American artists of the twentieth century. An artist-in-residence at Dartmouth in 1979, he taught at the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe from 1962 to 1975, playing a pivotal role in the development of modern and contemporary Native American art movements through his work with younger artists. Houser is recognized for synthesizing a modern aesthetic with the traditional Native American narrative traditions in which he had been trained as a painter.

Taza is a monumental, almost life-sized, depiction of a lone female figure. The historical Taza was in fact the son of the famous Chiricahuan Apache leader Cochise. Taza became chief when Cochise died in 1874 but, on a trip to Washington, D.C., on tribal business in 1876, Taza himself died. According to David Rettig of Allan Houser, Inc., the title of this sculpture may indicate that the woman depicted is thinking of Taza.

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