The Stark Museum of Art houses one of the finest collections of nineteenth and twentieth century Western American art in the country. The collection focuses on the stunning land, dramatic people, and diverse wildlife of the American West. The Museum also holds a significant collection of American Indian art as well as collections of rare books and manuscripts, and of decorative arts.
The Stark Museum of Art Western Art collection conveys the artistic interpretation of the western region over two centuries. Paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries portray the story of the American West.
The collection has major holdings from the twentieth century when artists settled in art colonies in Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Museum has significant representations of the founders of the Taos Society of Artists, especially works by Joseph Henry Sharp, W.H. Dunton, and O. E. Berninghaus. It also includes works by other artists of the Southwest such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Alexandre Hogue.
Oscar Edmund Berninghaus (1874-1952), Racers at the Pueblo, oil on canvas, 35 x 39 3/4 inches, Partial bequest of H.J. Lutcher Stark, 1965 and partial gift of Nelda C. Stark, 1973, 31.24.64
The Western collection begins in the early nineteenth century with strong holdings of explorer-artists such as George Catlin, Alfred Jacob Miller, John Mix Stanley, and Paul Kane, who traveled across the continent. From their perspectives, they recorded and documented American Indians in portraits and scenes of their customs. In the following decades, artists such as Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran brought their painting skills to depict the grandeur of the Western landscape. Paintings and sculptures by Frederic Remington, Charles Marion Russell, and others created enduring iconic images of the Wild West.
Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874), Indians at the Mountain Lake, after 1853, oil on canvas, 18 x 23 inches, Bequest of H.J. Lutcher Stark, 1965, 31.34.3
American Indian Art
The American Indian collection represents artistic accomplishments of major cultural groups of American Indian peoples. It includes clothing, ornaments, baskets, pottery, carvings, weavings, and other objects. Most objects are from the historic periods of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Highlights include Diné (Navajo) rugs and blankets; Pueblo pottery, including blackware by Maria Martinez of San Ildefonso; Hopi katsinas, and other works.
Zia Pueblo, Water Jar with Tall-necked Bird with Head Plumes, c. 1880, clay with white slip, and black and red pigments, Partial bequest of H.J. Lutcher Stark, 1965 and partial gift of Nelda C. Stark, 1977, 42.900.29
Rare Books & Manuscripts
The Rare Books and Manuscript collection features printed books and manuscript material in two major areas: items related to Western American art and to natural history subjects. The collection includes extensive holdings of John James Audubon, including his personal five volume set of The Birds of America as well as other publications and manuscripts. It also holds nineteenth century exploration publications and documentary material from artists. The natural history works include illuminated manuscripts from the late medieval period, and botanical and ornithological books.
John Woodhouse Audubon (1812-1862), Bill of Sale, December 7, 1861, pen and ink on paper, 7 7/8 x 7 3/4 inches, Bequest of H.J. Lutcher Stark, 1965, 11.2.105.C
The Decorative Arts collection contains primarily glass and porcelain objects that interpret themes of American history and nature. The glass holdings feature Westward Ho glassware by Gillinder & Sons and crystal from Steuben Glass, including the only complete set of The United States in Crystal, along with other engraved bowls, plaques, and objects. The porcelain collections include modeled birds by Edward Marshall Boehm with Boehm Porcelain, and by Dorothy Doughty with Royal Worcester Porcelain. The Doughty collection includes complete sets of her American and British birds.
Steuben Glass (1903- 2011), Sidney Waugh (1904-1963) (designer), The United States of America, 1950-1959, engraved crystal, Bequest of H.J. Lutcher Stark, 1965, 220.127.116.11.A-E