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Making Sweet Grass Medicine, Blackfoot Ceremony by Joseph Henry Sharp / American Art
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Making Sweet Grass Medicine, Blackfoot Ceremony

ca. 1920 Joseph Henry Sharp Born: Bridgeport, Ohio 1859 Died: Pasadena, California 1953 oil on canvas 30 x 36 1/8 in. (76.2 x 91.7 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Victor Justice Evans 1985.66.362,160 Smithsonian American Art Museum
2nd Floor, North Wing



Gallery Label

Sharp arranged three figures to suggest different steps in a ceremonial fire. On the hide hanging behind the men, faint shapes of hands seem to suggest the helpful presence of spirits. Sharp built a successful career as a painter of tribal scenes, and the Smithsonian was one of the first museums to acquire his works. By the 1920s, painters in the American West understood that railroads and Model Ts had irrevocably transformed the lives of Native Americans. But there is no trace of the modern world in this image, and this painting is a ritual itself, a romantic effort to call forth a vanished civilization.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006

Keywords

Ceremony - Indian - Medicine Ceremony

Ethnic - Indian - Blackfoot

Figure group

Figure(s) in interior - domestic

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Joseph Henry Sharp

Born: Bridgeport, Ohio 1859 Died: Pasadena, California 1953

More works in the collection by
Joseph Henry Sharp