Monumental Collection Gift by Ed Ruscha Debuts in November

In 2018, Omaha-born artist Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937) made a significant gift of art to Joslyn Art Museum following the exhibition Word/Play: Prints, Photographs, and Paintings by Ed Ruscha (February 3–May 6, 2018). This incredible body of work will make its debut in Gallery 17 in late November. Ruscha’s gift is a compact retrospective of his practice, surveying the artist’s wry and playful use of text and image. Anchoring the installation are drawings from the early 1960s through the 1990s that employ both traditional materials, such as acrylic and graphite, and more unconventional media, including gun powder. Ruscha’s printmaking prowess is also highlighted in several recent etchings, as well as the seven-color screen print, Standard Station, 1966, one of the artist’s most iconic images.

Complementing the installation are an additional twenty works from Ruscha’s personal collection made by his colleagues in Los Angeles, where he has lived since the mid-1950s. While Ruscha is recognized as one of the most influential California artists of his time, this gift acknowledges the friendships and collaborators that helped him establish his career. Seen in tandem, Ruscha’s two gifts allow Joslyn to tell a westward-looking narrative of modern and contemporary art through the lens of an artist born in the city of Omaha

What's Pictured: Ed Ruscha (American, born 1937), Artists, 1998, acrylic on paper, 30 1/4 x 39 7/16 in., Promised gift of Ed and Danna Ruscha

Indigenous Matriarchy Balcony Gallery Installation

Opening in November 2021, an installation curated by Joslyn intern Alexandrea Walker examines Indigenous matriarchy beyond the stereotypical images of the “Indian Princess” and “squaw.” Indigenous women are often shrouded from the public eye. Yet, prior to colonization, many tribal nations were matrilineal societies and led by Indigenous women. A selection of historical and contemporary artworks shows how today, we honor our Indigenous women for their artistic abilities, knowledge, and leadership in Indian Country.

Alexandrea Walker is a citizen of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and an undergraduate student at the University of Nebraska Omaha in Creative Nonfiction and Native American Studies. She works with the Great Plains Action Society to advocate for the rights of nature, missing and murdered Indigenous relatives, and decolonization. Walker’s internship is sponsored by the American Association of Museum Directors.

Faces from the Interior: The North American Portraits of Karl Bodmer
In the early nineteenth century, Prince Maximilian of Wied, a German explorer, ethnologist and naturalist, traveled the length of the Missouri River on an excursion to uncover what he called “the natural face of North America”—its landscapes, flora and fauna, and particularly its Native inhabitants. Among his small party was the young Swiss artist Karl Bodmer (1809–1893), who would prove to be one of the most accomplished and prolific artists to visit the American frontier. On their 2,500-mile journey, Maximilian and Bodmer spent time among the Omaha, Otoe, Pawnee, Yankton and Santee Sioux, Assiniboines, Plains Cree, Blackfeet, Piegans, Bloods, Gros Ventre, Mandan, and Hidatsa. Bodmer’s nearly 350 pencil, ink, and watercolor images made on the trip, especially his portraits of members of these Indigenous communities, remain one of the most perceptive and compelling visual accounts of the American West.

The Maximilian-Bodmer Collection has been a cornerstone of Joslyn Art Museum for more than four decades. Housed in Joslyn’s Margre H. Durham Center for Western Studies, the collection is well known throughout the United States and Europe. Joslyn's new publication drawn from the collection—Faces from the Interior: The North American Portraits of Karl Bodmer—is the first book to focus on Bodmer as a portraitist and provides new perspectives on Euro-American encounters with nineteenth-century Indigenous communities in the American West.

Generous funding for this historic volume comes from Mary and Joe Daugherty. Additional support was provided by Susan and Michael Lebens, the Wyeth Foundation for American Art, and Barbara and Ronald Schaefer.

Published by Joslyn Art Museum and distributed by University of Washington Press, the catalogue includes essays examining Bodmer’s artistic practice within the context of nineteenth-century ethnography; the international dissemination of his images; and the ongoing significance of his work to Indigenous communities. Over 50 watercolor portraits are reproduced, accompanied by a selection of the artist’s landscapes and renderings of camp and ceremonial sites.

Faces from the Interior is edited by Toby Jurovics, Joslyn’s former chief curator and Richard and Mary Holland Curator of Western American Art. Joslyn’s executive director and CEO, Jack Becker, Ph.D., offers a foreword.
Contributors include Marsha V. Gallagher, editor of The North American Journals of Prince Maximilian of Wied and former chief curator at Joslyn, and leading academic and museum scholars Scott Manning Stevens (Akwesasne Mohawk Nation), Lisa Strong, and Kristine K. Ronan. Annika K. Johnson, Joslyn’s associate curator of Native American art, presents a compelling essay drawn from her interview with Gerard Baker of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation.

Now available in the Hitchcock Museum Shop!
Faces from the Interior: The North American Portraits of Karl Bodmer
is available for purchase in Joslyn’s Hitchcock Museum Shop: $44.95 hardcover (member price $40.46).

Publication Accompanies Exhibition of the Same Name

This fall, Joslyn presents the first major exhibition to focus exclusively on Bodmer’s portraits of Indigenous individuals—Faces from the Interior: The North American Portraits of Karl Bodmer (October 2, 2021–January 2, 2022).

NEW! European Collection Catalogue

European Paintings and Sculpture from Joslyn Art Museum is the first publication to reexamine the Museum’s permanent collection in over three decades, marking a significant milestone for the institution and drawing well-deserved attention to the artworks in its care.

This new, richly illustrated volume presents 100 artworks from the collection, dating from the late thirteenth century to the early twentieth century and representing many of the most important artists, schools, and styles of European art history. Noted scholars and specialists in the field examine these works while considering artist biography, practice and technique, and cultural and historical contexts. An introductory essay written by Taylor J. Acosta, Ph.D., Joslyn's Associate Curator of European Art, offers an engaging history of the arts in Omaha and the formation of the Museum’s European collection.

This publication has been made possible with the generous support of The Hawks Foundation, Gilbert M. and Martha H. Hitchcock Foundation, Joslyn Art Museum Association, Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Robert Lehman Foundation, and an anonymous donor.

Now available in the Hitchcock Museum Shop!
$45 hardcover (Joslyn Member Price: $40.50); $35 softcover (Joslyn Member Price: $31.50)

The Maximilian Journals

Between 1832-34, the explorer and naturalist Prince Alexander Philipp Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied, Germany, embarked on a voyage into the furthest reaches of the American Interior. Accompanied by the Swiss artist Karl Bodmer, Maximilian set forth from St. Louis in April 1833 on a 2,500 mile journey by steamship and keelboat up the Missouri River, traveling as far as Fort McKenzie, Montana. Wintering at the Mandan village near Fort Clark, they returned downriver the following spring, having spent over a year amongst the tribes of the Upper Missouri. The watercolors that Bodmer produced on this journey remain one of the most perceptive and compelling visual accounts of the West ever created. Meanwhile, his patron Maximilian was equally hard at work on a journal documenting his scientific and anthropologic observations. Few historical chronicles are as informative and eloquent, describing the topography, Native peoples, natural history, and the burgeoning fur trade of the High Plains. Today, Maximilian’s journals are a centerpiece of the Joslyn collection, accompanied by his collection of over 350 watercolors and drawings by Karl Bodmer. 

In September 2012, Joslyn Art Museum published the third and final volume of the English translation of The North American Journals of Prince Maximilian of Wied, one of the most important documents of the nineteenth-century American West. Volumes 1 and 2 were published in 2008 and 2010 respectively. In 2008, Volume 1 was named the "Outstanding Nonfiction Book" of the year by National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. In the fall of 2011, Volume 1 received the Western History Association’s Dwight L. Smith Award, a biennial award recognizing outstanding bibliographic or research work. Earlier in 2011, Volumes 1 and 2 were reviewed by Stuart Ferguson of The Wall Street Journal, who called the works a "magnificent chronicle."

The North American Journals of Prince Maximilian of Wied — Volume 1: May 1832–April 1833;
Volume 2: April–September 1833; and Volume 3: September 1833–August 1834 are available in Joslyn Art Museum’s Hitchcock Museum Shop for $85 per volume. The Journals are edited by Stephen S. Witte and Marsha V. Gallagher. Volumes 1 and 2 are translated by William J. Orr, Paul Schach, and Dieter Karch with forewords by John Wilson. Volume 3 is translated by Dieter Karch with a foreword by Joslyn’s Executive Director and CEO Jack Becker.

Support for the Maximilian Journals Project has come from many sources. Robert Daugherty funded the completion of the translation in 2003. The Bodmer Society, Charles W. Durham, and Marlene and J. Joe Ricketts made timely contributions to support initial editing and production costs. Dorothy and Stanley M. Truhlsen, Arader Galleries, Ann and Steve Berzin, Judy and Terry Haney, Susan and Michael Lebens, Pinnacle Bank, and Phyllis and Del Toebben provided additional support. Joslyn was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the University of Oklahoma Press received funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. Ultimately, however, it has been the extremely generous gifts of Howard L. and Rhonda A. Hawks and The Hawks Foundation that have made this important publication possible.