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Ernest L. Blumenschein
The Gift
1922
oil
40 1/2 x 40 1/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Henry Ward Ranger through the National Academy of Design



This painting raises many questions. Why is a Taos Indian, who wears a traditional white shawl, carrying a Plains Indian pipe bag and wearing beaded leggings and moccasins? What is a large Rio Grande Pueblo pot doing in a Taos scene? Have these people gathered for a special occasion? What is the gift—the pipe bag or the pot? Like many of the Taos School artists, Blumenschein often mixed artifacts of different tribes and cultures together, arranging objects to provide the most decorative picture.