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 Elizabeth Davey Lochrie  (1890 - 1981)

About: Elizabeth Davey Lochrie
 

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Lived/Active: Montana/California      Known for: Indian portrait and figure, sculpture

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Ad Code: 3
Elizabeth Davey Lochrie
from Auction House Records.
Julie Black Boy and Prairie Flower
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:

The following text was submitted by Donald Baughman in June of 2006:


ELIZABETH DAVEY LOCHRIE was born in Deer Lodge Montana, July 1, 1890; she was educated in Butte schools and received her art education at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 1911. During 1924-1925 she painted eighteen children's murals for the Montana State Hospital.  After 1932, Lochrie specialized in Native American portraits, particularly of Blackfeet tribal members, having produced more than a thousand watercolors, oils, murals and sculptures.  She was adopted by the Blackfeet and given the name "Netchitaki" which translates as "Woman Alone In Her Way."


“Yesterday I painted all day,” Elizabeth wrote in a 1932 letter to her family upon Glacier National Park stationary, “Gypsy and Bull Child posed two hours in the afternoon and we had a long visit beside.  They wanted to take Son and I into the tribe and give us names.  She was adopted by the Blackfeet and given the name "Netchitaki" which translates as "Woman Alone In Her Way."

Elizabeth returned almost every summer till the late 1940’s to her adopted people.  In her notes from the summer of 1942 she describes her visit to Sun Dance at Heart Butte Montana “The medicine woman never raises her eyes, no water for four days save a sip at sundown and no food.” Swims Under and Mink Woman broke a green sapling about six feet stripped all but a tuft at top.  It signifies part of the Beaver Crown and means fertility.”

In the summer of 1945 she tells again of being part of this world, “I took part in Feather Dance in Fish Robe Lodge.  He came and asked me as they were having prayers for a little girl recovering; she had been in the Great Falls hospital for several months.  Fish prayed, we all bowed our heads, about sixteen of us.  Then came the feather dance and he painted my face.  We used a handful of sticks decorated with three feathers each and three bones like in stick game but with no gambling Women side against men, we won three straight which took three hours.  I sat at the head by Fish as chief guest, a great honor.

Elizabeth for the rest of her life visited with many tribes throughout Montana, Wyoming and the West both to paint and learn about people.  Her palette and brush captured a time when most Americans was unaware that the “old ways” were still alive.  One could not have seen this without an open invite; she was truly “Woman Alone In Her Way.”

She left behind a body of work which upon the back of almost every one is written a story that allows one to be know those people that she captured through this developed bond.

Today when her works are displayed it is not uncommon for Native Americans to come and show their children their grandfathers and grandmothers. They talk about the objects in the hands, the clothes that are worn, and this is one of the greatest compliment an artist may ever receive.

Elizabeth died in the company of her family in Ojai, California in 1981.


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from Jane Brown of Sonoma, California.  She writes: "Elizabeth Lochrie was my grandmother. This biography was prepared by the Hockaday Art Museum for its 2002 exhibition "The Artists of Glacier National Park".

Elizabeth Davey Lochrie was born in Deer Lodge, July 1, 1890.  Her life was spent in early Montana settlements with "braid" Indian neighbors; she was educated in Butte schools and received her art education at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 1911.  During 1924-1925 she painted eighteen children's murals for the Montana State Hospital.

After 1931 Lochrie specialized in Native American portraits, particularly of Blackfeet tribal members, having produced more than a thousand water colors, oils, murals and sculptures. Admission to her lectures was frequently a donation of clothing and other necessities for needy native Americans.  She was adopted by the Blackfeet and given the name "Netchitaki" which translates as "Woman Alone In Her Way."  The Blackfeet said, "She came to us from over the Western mountains, this white woman. She was friendly and understanding. We brought her into the medicine teepee and made her our sister."

She later recalled her days at the Great Northern Summer Art School, studying with Weinold Reiss: "I got acquainted with the Indians. I found them so paintable that I've done them ever since.  I've done hundreds, maybe thousands.  Every summer after (1931) I either took the children or left them home with the maid, and I went to Glacier or the Flathead, or somewhere to paint Crow, Nez Perce, Blackfeet, Assiniboine.  I spent all summer chasing Indians."

From 1937 to 1939, Lochrie painted some historic murals in the post offices at Burley and Saint Anthony, Idaho and in Dillon and Galen, Montana.  From 1936 to 1939, she was staff artist for the Great Northern Railroad in Glacier National Park.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Deer Lodge, Montana on July 1, 1890.  Mrs. Lochrie graduated from Pratt Institute in 1911 and further studied with Winold Reiss in Glacier Park, and with Dorothy Puccinelli and Victor Arnautoff in San Francisco.  For 45 years she had a studio-home in Butte, Montana which was a gathering spot for art lovers and western history buffs.  The artist worked in California during the 1930s while visiting her daughters.  She died in Ventura, California on May 17, 1981.

Exhibitions: NY World's Fair, 1939; Montana Historical Society, 1944 (solo); NW AA, 1944-46; Statler Hotel (LA), 1960 (solo); Wilshire Methodist Church (LA), 1962; Montana Arts Chateau, 1987. In: Bancroft Library (UC Berkeley); Southwest Museum (LA); LA Museum of Science & Industry; Burley (ID) Post Office (mural); Idaho Falls Post Office (mural); Dillon (MT) Post Office (mural); Helena (MT) Hist. Society; Whitney Museum (Cody, WY); Univ. of Wyoming (Laramie); State Hospital, Galen, MT (mural).
Source:
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Interview with the artist or his/her family; Women Artists of the American West; Who's Who in American Art 1953-80.
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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