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Arthur Silberman

(b Shungopori, AZ, c. 1900; d Feb 28, 1986).

Native American Hopi painter. He was born into a farming family and educated in traditional Hopi customs. As a child he scratched images of kachinas (supernatural beings) on rocks in his father’s field. He continued to draw such images when he attended the Santa Fe Indian School (see Native North American art, §IV, 2), later claiming that he did so to relieve his loneliness and to remind him of home. In 1918 he joined the informal painting sessions given at the school by Elizabeth DeHuff (1887–1983). Kabotie became one of the first Hopi artists to gain national recognition when in 1920 his work was shown at the annual exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in New York City. He was at his most productive in the 1920s and 1930s, executing such works as the Snake Dance (watercolour, c. 1922–30; New York, N. Mus. Amer. Ind.). His descriptive manner of shading and modelling, close attention to detail, meticulous brushwork and sophisticated use of and emphasis on colour became distinctive features of later Hopi painting. Kabotie also used traditional Native American techniques, such as painting on hides. In ...