Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Ledger Art - (a.k.a. Indian sketchbook)

History and Art

There is so much to learn....
Our last docent training was on the History of Native American Art.
Kate Morris was the Santa Clara University Professor who spoke to us.

She started with the earliest Indian art that has been found on paper. The Indians used Ledger books gotten from the military. She took us all the way through to current Indian artists.

It is so cool to think that Indians used these Ledger books as sketchbooks

Beginning in the early 1860s, Plains Indian men adapted their representational style of painting to paper in the form of accountants ledger books. Traditional paints and bone and stick brushes used to paint on hide gave way to new implements such as colored pencils, crayon, and occasionally water color paints. Plains artists acquired paper and new drawing materials in trade, or as booty after a military engagement, or from a raid. Initially, the content of ledger drawings continued the tradition of depicting of military exploits and important acts of personal heroism already established in representational painting on buffalo hides and animal skins. As the US government implemented the forced relocation of the Plains peoples to reservations, for all practical purposes completed by the end of the 1870s, Plains artists added scenes of ceremony and daily life from before the reservation to the repertoire of their artwork, reflecting the social and cultural changes brought by life on the reservation within the larger context of forced assimilation.

Contemporary Native American Artist
This painting below is now in the de Saisset Museum.
It was added to their collection to represent that Native American Indians are contemporary artists as well.

Frank LaPena

"We Are All Sacred"
29.5" x 44" Lithograph