Untitled (Family Tree Totem)

Copied William Dawson, Untitled (Family Tree Totem), 1977, painted wood, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Orren and Marilyn Bradley and Kohler Foundation, Inc., 2015.58.7

Artwork Details

Title
Untitled (Family Tree Totem)
Date
1977
Dimensions
23 × 3 18 × 3 12 in. (58.4 × 7.9 × 8.9 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Orren and Marilyn Bradley and Kohler Foundation, Inc.
Mediums Description
painted wood
Classifications
Keywords
  • Figure group — family
  • Figure female — head
  • Landscape — tree
  • Figure male — head
Object Number
2015.58.7

Artwork Description

William Dawson’s carved totems, made from discarded table and chair legs, were the sculptural form for which he would become famous. This one depicts blocky, stylized heads placed one above the other, with a green tree at the base symbolizing a family tree. Among the striking features of Dawson’s work are the eyes and teeth, each painted brilliant white against a darker background.