Bacone Style Painting of Woman Gathering, c. 1950
Bacone style, signed ALS
tempera on paper
12.5" high x 9.5" wide x .5" deep framed
The Oklahoma and New Mexico Native American art movements in the first half of the 1900s share similar traits that define the Native American art market, including patronage, mentoring, community-based collectives, and new structures of support through education and museums. The Bacone school art movement was influenced by the Bacone College, as well as art programs of Chilocco Indian School, and Haskell Indian Industrial Training Institute, all of which were located in a similar geographic region. Tribes from the Southeastern, Prairie, and Central Plains regions each have their own historical practices of pictorial representation, whether in carving or painting; however, removal to Indian territory in the 19th century disrupted many customary art practices. Access to Western art materials (such as easels, watercolors) gave Native artists a new means of self-expression, as well as a new way of recording history and daily practices.
The Bacone style differs from the two other prevalent flat styles of Native American painting in Oklahoma of the time: Kiowa style, and the Studio style. The "Flatstyle" painting was in part made popular in the 1920s by the Kiowa style (also known as Southern Plains style) of painting by the Kiowa Six, which was rooted in the teachings of Oscar Jacobson at the School of Art at the University of Oklahoma (OU), where he served as director from 1915 to 1945. However the Bacone style was specifically different from the Kiowa style because the artists used brighter colors, depicted more movement and action, and included visual perspective.
The Southern Plains style had its origins in Plains hide painting and winter counts. After the decline of buffalo herds in the late 19th century, Plains painting shifted to Ledger Art which, under the stewardship of such artists as Silver Horn (1860–1940, Kiowa), evolved into easel art.
The Studio style, as taught at the Santa Fe Indian School first by Dorothy Dunn, and later by Geronimo Cruz Montoya (Ohkay Owingeh), built upon the accomplishments of the San Ildefonso School of painters and painters such as Fred Kabotie, who were successful "Flatstyle" easel artists in the 1910s and 1920s in Arizona and New Mexico. These artists were inspired by Pueblo mural painting and pottery painting traditions. Their work often features pastoral scenes in muted colors