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date: 21 January 2020

Howe, Oscarlocked

(b Joe Creek, SD, May 13, 1915; d Vermillion, SD, Oct 17, 1986).
  • Arthur Silberman

Extract

(b Joe Creek, SD, May 13, 1915; d Vermillion, SD, Oct 17, 1986).

Native American Sioux painter. He attended the Santa Fe Indian School (see Native North American art, §IV, 2), from which he graduated in 1938. Even before graduation his work was already exhibited widely in the US and Europe, and in 1940 he obtained a commission from the Works Progress Administration, the US government depression era relief programme, to decorate the ceiling of the Mitchell Library in South Dakota. After finishing his next commission, ten panels in the City Auditorium of Mowbridge, SD, he reported for military service during World War II. He earned a BA degree from Dakota Wesleyan University and an MFA degree from the University of Oklahoma. In 1957 he was appointed Assistant Professor of Fine Arts at the University of South Dakota. Howe’s early work was descriptively realistic. In the early 1950s he developed a style based on Cubism. Using as subject-matter the range of Dakota philosophic and mystical experience, he sought to convey its essence through restructured planes and colouristic effects. Although his approach was revolutionary for Native American art at the time, he stated that he had no iconoclastic intentions. On the contrary, he maintained that his purpose was to carry on the traditional and conventional in Native American art. In ...

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