Living with American Indian Art: The Private Collection of Alan J. Hirschfield

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-09-30
  • Publisher: Gibbs Smith
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"Among the greatest private collections of Plains and Plateau Indian art in the world." -Gaylord Torrence, Senior Curator of American Indian Art, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Living with American Indian Art: The Hirschfield Collection contains numerous masterworks, the great majority of which have never been published or exhibited. This book brings the collection into the scholarly domain as surely as any museum publication, making it accessible to the rest of the world for the first time. Alan Hirschfield built the collection primarily with an art-based view, focusing on pieces that he has found to be interesting and attractive. As a result, there is broad representation of many different tribes and regions, and includes textiles, leather pouches, war shirts, dresses, vests, cradleboards, beadwork, weaponry, pottery, toys, and basketry. Whether you are a collector, a scholar, or someone interested in decorating with American Indian art, inspiration will be found in Hirschfield's approach.


The collection may be described quite directly. Although the Hirschfields' first acquisitions were baskets, which stillremain significant, the great strength-the collection's real core-consists of Plains and Plateau beadwork. Selected worksfrom the Southwest are joined with these two groups, and all are integrated throughout the house. Within these three broad categories are objects of many kinds, some acquired as singular examples and others collected in number, ranging from two or three to large concentrations. Although most pieces date from the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth, the collection also contains a number of works dating from the third quarter of the nineteenth century or before.

A range of artistic traditions may also be found in the collection. Objects from the three sub-regions of the Plainsare perhaps most heavily represented. From the Central Plains are works from the Sioux (Lakota, Yankton/Yanktonai and Dakota) and Métis-Sioux as well as the Northern Arapaho and Northern Cheyenne. Northern Plains groups are represented by pieces from the Assiniboine, Plains Cree, Métis, Crow and Blackfeet, and from the Southern Plains are objects from the Kiowa, Comanche, Southern Cheyenne, Southern Arapaho and Ute.

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