Oscar Howe Gallery at The U digitally documents artist's collection

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The Oscar Howe Gallery is temporarily closed for digital documentation of the Oscar Howe Collection and reinstallation of Howe’s work for the next show. During this temporary closure, the University Art Galleries will be painting the interior of the gallery, preparing Howe drawings for display, and making other changes as necessary for the upcoming show.

According to Eddie Welch, director of the University Art Galleries and scholar of Howe’s life and art, the digital documentation of Howe’s paintings and drawings began on Nov. 2 and will continue until the entire Howe Collection is documented with a high-tech Mamiya camera.

“The digital documentation of Howe’s paintings and drawings in the USD collection is a significant development in the larger research objectives that are being carried out to understand Howe’s place in 20th century American and Native American art,” Welch said. “With the largest collection of Howe’s works in the world, the university will be better equipped to promote the Howe Collection once this inventory process and digital library is completed.”

Welch and Sarah Hanson, curator of photographs at USD, have coordinated the effort to digitally photograph more than 200 paintings and drawings by Howe, a USD Department of Art faculty member from 1957 to 1980. Howe (Yanktonai Dakota, 1915-1983) is an internationally recognized artist who maintained close ties to South Dakota and the greater region during his career as a professional artist and educator. Welch said that Howe’s stature as a leading artist of his generation, and his endearing influence on Native American art and artists, will continue to grow over time as research initiatives such as the digital documentation and a major tour of Howe’s works gets underway.

When the Howe Gallery in Old Main reopens, it will feature more than 20 drawings by Howe, the largest and only Howe drawing exhibition ever, Welch said. “Oscar was a master draftsman,” he added. “He believed art began with lines, and his drawings in this exhibition will showcase his talent and gift to draw.”

For more information on the Oscar Howe Gallery or Oscar Howe in general, contact gallery director, Eddie Welch at eddie.welch@usd.edu or 677-3177.