Bear

  • Louise Goodman, Bear, 1990, fired clay with piñon pitch, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase made possible by Mrs. Gibson Fahnestock, 1997.124.154

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.

Luce Object 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
Title
Bear
Artist
Date
1990
Location
Dimensions
22 1/4 x 10 5/8 x 10 7/8 in. (56.5 x 27.0 x 27.6 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase made possible by Mrs. Gibson Fahnestock

Mediums
Mediums Description
fired clay with piñon pitch
Classifications
Keywords
  • Animal – bear
Object Number
1997.124.154
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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