Tsireh’s unusual blending of native and Anglo influences found an audience among the many artists, writers, educators, anthropologists, and archaeologists who discovered the charms of the ancient cultures of the Southwest and descended on Santa Fe in great numbers. The poet Alice Corbin Henderson moved to Santa Fe during World War I and took particular interest in Tsireh, assembling a large body of his work. The paintings in this exhibition were donated to the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 1979 by her daughter, Alice H. Rossin.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum collection includes fifty-one watercolors created between 1917 and 1930. The Modern Pueblo Painting of Awa Tsireh is the first time the group of paintings have been on public view together. The exhibition serves to integrate more fully Tsireh’s work into the story of American art.
The exhibition was organized by Joann Moser, deputy chief curator.