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 Francis Blackbear Bosin  (1921 - 1980)

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Lived/Active: Oklahoma/Kansas      Known for: genre-Indian, animal and mural painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Following is a biography from Denise Morris of El Dorado, Kansas:

Blackbear Bosin, Comanche and Kiowa, was born on June 5, 1921 in Anadarko, Oklahoma. He was given the name of his grandfather, a Kiowa subchief, Tsate-Kongia (Blackbear). He was a member of the Kiowa Gourd Clan and the O-Ho-Mo Lodge Society.

Blackbear attended Saint Patrick's Mission School where he was first exposed to the traditional art of the Kiowa-Five painters. The library's collection of traditional paintings stimulated in him an enthusiasm to learn and read. He started painting then and never ceased until the day of his death, August 9, 1980. Bosin was a graduate of Cyril High School and attended a trade school in Chilocco while painting at night and peddling his pictures for $2.50.

In about 1940, he moved to Wichita, KS. The artist enlisted in W.W. II and was stationed in Hawaii. As a Marine, he studied painting with J. Harvard McPherson of Phoenix, Arizona. His first one-man show was in Honolulu in 1945 was a sell-out. Later, he exhibited extensively throughout the United States including the White House and the National Gallery of Art. His first national recognition came when the National Geographic magazine featured his painting, "Prairie Fire."

Blackbear was a self-taught artist who developed his own style. He worked within the confines of tradition. "Indians are poetic people by virtue of the most fundamental elements of their life. So they paint the symbols around them - the pulse and the essence," he once said, "I would not put too much realism into a painting or I would ruin its vision."

Blackbear's senses of drama lead him to develop strong background elements with motion yet staying within the traditional realm. His paintings and charismatic character had a great influence on the Indian Schools of art during his lifetime and on the contemporary Plains painters of today.

Blackbear home was Wichita, KS after 1940 and remained an active force in the artistic and creative development of the city and Plains Indian art.

Among the most famous pieces Blackbear Bosin created is a mural commissioned by the Farm Credit Bank of Wichita, Wichita, Kansas, entitled "From Whence All Life." His only sculpture, the design of which he donated to the City of Wichita, "Keeper of the Plains", is a forty-four foot tall sculpture of Cor Tan steel expressing the essence of the Indian heritage. The "Keeper of the Plains" remains Blackbear's most famous contribution to the City of Wichita. He died in 1980.

Personal Information, Tribe: Kiowa / Commanche
Birth Date: June 5, 1921
Death Date: August 9, 1980
Education: Saint Patrick's Mission School, Anadarko OK Cyril High School, 194O, Anadarko OK

Military Service: 1944 enlisted in U.S. Marine Corps, served the remainder of World War II with the Fourth Marine Division in the Pacific theater.

Honors / Awards Partial listing of more than 33 includes:
American Indian Days. Sheridan, WY (annual in Aug.)
California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, CA.
Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO.
Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonials. Gallup, NM. Now held at Church Rock, NM. (annual, 1st-1920).
Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe, NM.
Philbrook Art Center, Tulsa, OK. Currently Philbrook Art. Annual Indian Art Exhibition. 1946-1979 (juried).
Scottsdale National Indian Art Exhibition. Scottsdale, AZ (annual, 1st-1987, discontinued 1991), four grand awards.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Civil Servant Award, 1959.
Wichita (KS) Art Guild, Board of Directors.
Indian Arts & Crafts Board, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C., Certificate of Appreciation, 1966.

Memberships:
Wichita Art Guild.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born Anadarko, OK, June 21, 1921; died Wichita, Aug. 10, 1980. Painter. Illustrator. Muralist. Also known as Tsate Kongia or Blackbear. Native American artist with Kiowa and Comanche affiliations. His mother was an award winner in beadwork. Attended St. Patrick’s Mission school in Anadarko. Graduated from Cyril (OK) High School, attended University of Oklahoma, and studied with J. Havard McPherson and Spencer Asah. Served in the marines and was wounded. During convalescence in Honolulu, HI Bosin taught himself art. Moved to Wichita in 1940 to work at Western Lithography Co. as a color separator and platemaker. Bosin also worked as an industrial designer for Richard Teneyck Co. before becoming director in the creation of training aids for air education at McConnell Air Force Base. Provided illustrations for Boeing. In 1960 he, along with artist A. E. Wadsworth, opened Great Plains Studio featuring Native American artifacts as well as Bosin’s own work. He served on the Kansas Governor’s Arts Commission 1976-80 and was appointed Governor’s artist in 1977.
Source:
AWARDS:
Kansas Governor’s Artist Award, 1977.

COLLECTIONS:
Bureau of 30 Indian Affairs; Denver Art Museum; Heard Museum; Philbrook Art Center; Wichita Art Association; Wichita Art Museum; DeYoung Museum; Gilcrease Museum.

MEMBERSHIPS:
Wichita Art Guild.

SOURCES:
Susan Craig, "Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945)"
Sain, Lydia. Kansas Artists, compiled by Lydia Sain from 1932 to 1948. Typed Manuscript, 1948.; Belden, Dorothy. “Kansas Artists Known in World”, in Wichita Eagle Beacon, Jan. 29, 1978. p. 12K; Samuels, Peggy. Illustrated Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1976.; KAC; Kanshistique (Sept. 1981); Who’s Who in American Art. New York: American Federation of Arts, 1936- v.1=1936-37 v.3= 1941-42 v.2=1938-39 v.4=1940-47. 6, 7; NMAA files; AskArt, www.askart.com Accessed July 20, 2006; Lester, Patrick D. The Biographical Directory of Native American Painters. Tulsa: Sir Publications, 1995..
This and over 1,750 other biographies can be found in Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945) compiled by Susan V. Craig, Art & Architecture Librarian at University of Kansas.

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