Rare Print Collection: Eagle in the Mist by Marvin Oliver, Quinault Nation
Eagle in the Mist, 1992
Marvin Oliver, Quinault Nation
embossed serigraph, printers proof
27" x 21" paper size
35" x 20" framed
Print floated on acid free blue mat, with second mat the same color as the print paper, contemporary black wood frame with subtle red distressed paint.
Marvin Oliver is of Quinault and Isleta-Pueblo heritage. He draws upon the Northwest Coast half of his heritage for artistic inspiration, combining northern formline design with southern Coast Salish imagery.
Marvin is one of the Northwest's best known sculptors and printmakers. His prints, masks, helmets and wood panels fuse ancient forms with contemporary aesthetics.
His monumental works in cedar, bronze, cast glass and enameled steel - especially his totem poles and towering, stylized whale fins - have influenced recent directions in contemporary Northwest Coast art and has established him as one of Seattle's foremost contributors to civic art. His works have been installed in Washington as well as through out the United States, Canada, and Japan.
Not only is Marvin an excellent artist but an inspiring teacher as well. He holds a part time post at the University of Alaska, Ketchikan, and is also the Director of the American Indian Studies Department at the University of Washington. He teaches two-dimensional design and woodcarving to students in the University's Art Department and also serves as an adjunct art history professor. Marvin is Curator of Contemporary Native American Art at the Burke Museum.
“My works are formulated by merging the spirit of past traditions with those of the present, to create new horizons for the future”
- Marvin Oliver
Seattle Times Obituary
Marvin Oliver, a contemporary sculptor and printmaker who, as an artist and professor emeritus at the University of Washington, influenced the development and recognition of American Indian contemporary fine art, died early Wednesday morning (July 17, 2019) in Seattle. He was 73.
“He was a very happy, open, loving, creative, compassionate man, and a master of the art, in all mediums,” said Brigette Ellis, his wife of 32 years. Mr. Oliver died at their home in Wallingford, surrounded by family, including one of their five children and Oliver’s sister. He had pancreatic cancer.
Family and friends spent the hours after Mr. Oliver’s death praying, dancing, drumming and singing traditional Chinook songs, Ellis said. His eldest son and daughter were called home from the annual Intertribal Canoe Journey, started by Mr. Oliver’s father, Emmett Oliver.
“It’s been very comforting.”
Born in Shelton, Mr. Oliver’s family moved to the Bay Area when he was in the third grade. He started drawing in high school and, after a brief interest in architecture and reproducing frayed Bay Area billboards, he enrolled at the UW’s graduate school, where he took classes from Northwest Coast Native art expert Bill Holm and acclaimed African American artist Jacob Lawrence. He started teaching at the school in 1974.
Mr. Oliver’s creativity was steeped in his Quinault and Isleta-Pueblo heritage, but couldn’t be contained to one style — Northwest Coast, Salish — or one medium. “He was able to bridge all the arts to create his own style,” Ellis said.
From glass, Mr. Oliver created colorful Northwest Coast-style baskets and spirit boards, kachinas and fins, faces and disks. He carved and painted wood totem poles, cylinders and door panels. He cast towering bronze fins. His serigraphs of whales and birds were bright and joyful.