Art Abstracts: Fritz Scholder, Pottery Motifs

Art Abstracts

With over 17,000 objects in the museum’s permanent collection, there are many amazing works that visitors rarely get to see. Take a peek into the vaults and off the walls each Monday with a new Art Abstract!


Pottery Motifs

Bialac plain

IMAGE CREDITS | Fritz Scholder, U.S., English/French/German/Luiseño, 1937-2005 | Pottery Motifs, ca. 1980 | Glass, mixed media | The James T. Bialac Native American Art Collection, 2010

Fritz Scholder is arguably one of the most influential Native American artists. As a painter, he worked in series, often manipulating the clichéd image of the “real Indian,” which disempowered the Indigenous people being represented. A personal friend of collector James T. Bialac, Scholder completed this stained glass window as a commission for the Bialac home. The image borrows the Puebloan avanyu motif, or feathered serpent, often found on pottery and textiles. Scholder, who lived in the Southwest during his latter years, was paying homage to the host communities of the region.

In spring 2010, Arizona-based James T. Bialac decided to give his private collection to the University of Oklahoma because of OU’s commitment to excellence in education. The multimillion-dollar collection of more than 5,000 works represents indigenous cultures across North America, especially the Pueblos of the Southwest, the Navajo, the Hopi, many of the tribes of the Northern and Southern Plains and the Southeastern tribes. Included in the James T. Bialac Native American Art Collection are approximately 2,600 paintings and works on paper, 1,400 kachinas and 400 works of varying media, including ceramics and jewelry, representing major Native artists such as Fred Kabotie, Awa Tsireh, Joe Herrera, Allan Houser, Jerome Tiger, Tonita Peña, Helen Hardin, Pablita Velarde, George Morrison, Richard “Dick” West, Patrick DesJarlait and Pop Chalee.

This Thursday, May 12, at 6 p.m., Mr. Bialac will lead a walking tour of his collection within the museum, followed by a reception. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet a generous benefactor of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art!

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