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 Oscar Howe  (1915 - 1983)

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Lived/Active: South Dakota      Known for: Indian figure-genre often abstract

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Untitled, depicting a Native figure emergent from an abstract composition
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Savvy Collector:
Born in Joe Creek, South Dakota, on the Crow Creek Reservation on 13 May 1915, Howe was given the name Mazuha Hokshina meaning "Trader Boy".

A student at The Studio at the Santa Fe Indian School between 1935 and 1938, Howe earned his BA from Dakota Wesleyan University in 1952 and his MFA the following year having attended the University of Oklahoma.  At the Indian Arts Center in Lawton, Oklahoma he learned mural techniques while working with Olaf Nordmark.

Following military service in World War II between 1942 and 1945, he taught art at Pierre Indian School where he later became Director of Art.  At the State University of South Dakota he was a Professor of Fine Arts.  Later Howe was chosen to be an artist in residence at Dakota Wesleyan University and at the State University of South Dakota.   An active man, he served on various boards, two of which were for the Institute of Indian Studies and the State University of South Dakota.

The earliest listed exhibition for Mr. Howe took place in 1956 at the prestigious Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma.   His work is included in every major museum with an emphasis in fine Native American Art.   Some of these are: the Denver Art Museum; the Heard Museum; the Oscar Howe Art Center; the Josyln Art Museum; the Museum of the American Indian; the Montclair Art Museum; the Museum of New Mexico; the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; the Philbrook Museum of Art; the Sioux Indian Museum and Craft Center and the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles.

Howe created murals for the Carnegie Library in Mitchell, South Dakota, in 1940, the City Auditorium in Mobridge, South Dakota, in 1942, Steinhart Park in Nebraska City, Nebraska, in 1949, and Proviso High School in Hinsdale, Illnois, in 1956.  He also won numerous awards in his artistic career, including the Grand Purchase Prize form the Philbrook Art Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1947, 1954, 1959 and 1962. In 1952, he was awarded the Dorothy Field Award from the Denver Art Museum in Denver, Colorado and in 1958 he won the Mary Benjamin Award from the Museum of New Mexico in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The Governor of South Dakota proclaimed 19 September 1981 to be Oscar Howe Day.

Sources include:
St. James Guide to Native North American Artists written by Kevin Smith
Oscar Howe: A Retrospective Exhibition Catalogue Raisonne, ed. Frederick J. Dockstader

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