ca. 1926 Walter Ufer Born: Louisville, Kentucky 1876 Died: Santa Fe, New Mexico 1936 oil on canvas 50 1/2 x 50 1/2 in. (128.4 x 128.4 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mr. and Mrs. R. Crosby Kemper, Jr. 1984.66 Not currently on view
This painting captures an everyday, yet deeply poetic moment among New Mexico's Pueblo Indians. Ufer was a German émigré who brought to America an intense sympathy for ordinary people instilled in him by his socialist family. He did not romanticize his sitters, because he understood that the Indian "resents being regarded as a curiosityas a dingleberry on a tree." The two men on horseback pay their respects to a woman who lives, like millions of Americans, behind a picket fence. Their costumes show that they have held on to their tribal culture. Not long after Anglo Americans had effectively reduced the Pueblo tribes to touristic curiosities, Ufer quietly underscored the human dignity of a timeless ritual of courtship.
Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006
Ethnic - Indian
Figure female - full length
Figure(s) in exterior - domestic
paint - oil
fabric - canvas