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The Fleischaker Collection: Western and Native American Art

 

Visitors will enjoy an exceptional exhibition at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City through May 16, 2004, of 20th-century Native American and regional art of the Southwest from the collection of Richard H. and Adeline J. Fleischaker. The exhibition, The Fleischaker Collection: Western and Native American Art, on loan from the Fred Jones, Jr. Museum of Art, The University of Oklahoma, includes pottery, baskets and sculpture as well as paintings from the Taos Society of Artists.

The works on display in the Arthur and Shifra Silberman Gallery of Native American Art and the Grayce B. Kerr Changing Exhibition Gallery include Buffalo Dancers, T.C. Cannon; Adobe-Tesuque, Fremont Ellis; Road to Taos at the Rio Grande; William P. Henderson, King Solomon, Leon Gaspard; Road to Chimayo, John Sloan; Santa Fe Landscape, B.J.O. Nordfeldt; Procession at Norogachic, George Carlson; frog effigy bowl, (Zuni) unknown artist; basket (Olla-Western Apache), unknown artist.

Between 1970 and 1994, Richard and Adeline Fleischaker developed a passion for the intrinsic beauty and cultural depth of artists who translated the beauty of northern New Mexico into their individual works. Eventually, the Fleischakers became interested in regional Native American art and their collection grew into one of the most valued of its kind in existence.

The desert beauty of the Taos landscape attracted artists of both European descent and American origin. By 1912 the Taos Society of Artists was formed by masters of the genre: Joseph H.Sharp, Bert Phillips, Ernest Blumenschein, Oscar Berninghaus, E. Irving Couse and W. Herbert Dunton. Eventually the artistic elegance of the rugged landscape lured others to join the colony. With the inclusion of E. Martin Hennings, Victor Higgins, Walter Ufer, Kenneth Adams, the Taos Ten was founded. The Fleischaker Collection contains works by most of these men.

As Taos grew into an art center, it wasn't long before the movement expanded to close-by Santa Fe which was more accessible, making it a core of commerce and government for the area. Throughout the years, the colony continued to thrive, attracting contemporary artists such as Oklahomans T. C. Cannon, Glenna Goodacre and Alan Houser and New Mexicans Bettina Steinke, Randy Lee White and Clark Hulings, each of whom is represented in the Fleischaker Collection.

The Fleischaker Collection consists of approximately 400 pieces of art. "If there are threads that run throughout the collection, connecting the pieces to the collecting," says Pam Fleischaker, the couple's daughter, "they are a combination of an appreciation of the beauty of the art and the region; an intense desire to learn about the history, methods and quality of the work; and a generosity that made the Fleischakers more than 'patrons' of the art community."

The University of Oklahoma acquired the collection in 1996 following the deaths of the Fleischakers. It is now part of the permanent collection of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art. The Fleischakers' vision and appreciation for art of the Southwest is now shared with students, the public and scholarly communities. Additional selected pieces will be on view after February 14.

Editor's note

Readers may enjoy reading these RLM articles and essays concerning the Taos Society of Artists:

 

Read more articles and essays concerning this institutional source by visiting the sub-index page for the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Resource Library Magazine.


Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library. See America's Distinguished Artists for biographical information on historic artists.

This page was originally published in 2004 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

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