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Bear

1990 Louise Goodman Born: 1937 fired clay with piƱon pitch 22 1/4 x 10 5/8 x 10 7/8 in. (56.5 x 27.0 x 27.6 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase made possible by Mrs. Gibson Fahnestock 1997.124.154 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 25A


Luce Center Quote

"If you want to get money out of them, you gotta shake them." The artist, quoted in Chuck and Jan Rosenak, The People Speak: Navajo Folk Art, 1994

Luce Center Label

Ceramist Louise Goodman started making animals and other decorative pieces in the 1980s when she noticed a decline in demand for her functional clay objects. Creating animal figures was common among Navajo potters at the time and Goodman became well known for her playful bears. The bears, with their stubby limbs and exaggerated torsos, became Goodman's most popular pieces. She often added an unexpected detail—a slot in the back to make the bear into a piggy bank. This transformation from figurine to piggy bank is especially fitting as the bear often represents power and plenitude in the Navajo culture.

Keywords

Animal - bear

decorative arts - ceramic

folk art

clay

plant material