Native American Art and Artifacts
The impressive collection of Native American and Southwestern artwork is the product of over three decades of serious collecting on the Laumeisters’ part and includes more than three hundred paintings, fifty bronzes, fifty Hopi Kachinas, eighty-five hand-woven Navajo rugs and numerous pieces of Native American pottery, jewelry and baskets.
The collection is unique not only because of the size and quality of the artwork but also due to the fact that it includes handicrafts created by Native Americans as well as paintings and bronzes of the indigenous people by non-natives in a narrative style. This allows patrons to get a more complete sense of the lives and traditions of the people depicted, as Native Americans did not tend to create images of their daily lives but instead crafted beautiful but functional artwork.
Navajo Rugs and Weavings
Throughout our hallways and stairwells The Bennington keeps an extensive collection of Navajo Rugs and Weavings that have been acquired over the course of 40 years by curators Bruce Laumeister and Elizabeth Small. The collection was put together to show the old along with the new; the variety of size, design, and color; type of wool; the large and the small; patterns of varying areas, and patterns not specific to any area. We invite you to compare, examine, and enjoy.
We also have some rugs available for purchase in our shop.
The Bennington also has a large collection of Katsina dolls which are handcarved by men and given to their families as gifts. The dolls carved represented the Katsinas they would impersonate in the upcoming ceremony and would be given, most often, to the children of the family. The dolls are normally carved out of cottonwood root and hung on beams of the Hopi household. They are used as a means of education, not as toys.
Among the exhibit is a vast collection of Native American pottery of all different shapes, sizes, and styles. Each piece of pottery is labeled and provides information such as the name of the artist, which region/tribe they come from, and in some cases the date in which they were crafted. There are seven different styles of pottery in our artifact room all from different regions/tribes: Hopi, Santa Clara, Acoma, Jemez, Isleta, Navajo, and Dalawepi.
Some of our smaller pottery is available for purchase in our shop.
The exhibit includes Tohono O'odham baskets. Each basket represents an individual effort in not only the handweaving process, but also in gathering as well as preparing the materials. These baskets were commonly used for washing, as trade items for food, and as gifts.
Small Tarahumara baskets, made of pine needles are also available for sale in our shop. These baskets can be purchased in-house only.
Images of galleries by Jade Photography