INDIAN ART IN AMERICA by Frederick J. Dockstader
Kirkus Star


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The director of the Museum of the American Indian of the Heye Foundation in this book gives us the Indian as an artist, a departure from the traditional image of the courageous hunter and fearless fighter. It is difficult to see how the reader-and viewer- (the book consists largely of plates, superbly printed in color) can respond to this book other than with pride and delight, for here is the artistic culture of our own country in exciting form, color and profusion. The oldest work shown, a small rectangular sandstone slab with an incised abstract pattern, may date back to 500 AD. The latest is a painting of a prairie fire, done in 1953 by an Oklahoma Indian. In between, there is an astonishing array of items such as ceramics, carvings, ornaments, figures and figurines, masks, clubs, drums, articles of clothing, dolls, shields and baskets. Especially impressive is the range of forms and expressions, the wide variety of materials used, the high level of craftsmanship evidenced. We see the American Indian in a new light, less romantic, but more complex and diginified. Text and plates are kept separate, the text comprising less than one fourth of the whole. Each plate is accompanied by a descriptive paragraph, along with information as to size, source and present location of the object. A valuable contribution to a much neglected aspect of Indian culture, this has wide appeal.

Publisher: N. Y. Graphic Society