In honor of what would have been her 107th birthday on July 28, the Seminole Nation Museum is honored to announce its 2023 Joan Roberts Ligon Collection Endowment purchase.
Two paintings by renowned Muscogee (Creek) artist Fred Beaver, “Seminole Medicine Man” (1971) and “Seminole Stomp Dance – Oklahoma” (1974), are this year’s addition to the museum’s Permanent Collection of over 1200 works of art. “Each work celebrates the traditional ceremonialism intrinsic to Seminole culture,” said museum Executive Director Richard Ellwanger. “They convey – in an elegant and approachable way – one manner by which Seminoles maintain a balance between the contemporary world and the greater Seminole cosmos.”
Both paintings are rendered in hues of cool sky blue and navy, with pops of white and orange, a colorful contrast inherent in Beaver’s signature “flat” style – a visual design form that he polished and perfected to international acclaim.“Seminole Stomp Dance – Oklahoma” depicts 35 individuals participating in a Seminole stomp dance under the light of a full moon. The Oklahoma Seminole and Muscogees are considered to be some of the most expert practitioners of the dance. The number of figures placed in the painting is unusual for Beaver, who does not typically include that great of a number of individuals in his works.
The second painting, the 1971 work “Seminole Medicine Man,” shows a Seminole medicine man using a reed to bubble a “tea” of herbs and plants. Not only does the blowing of the medicine man’s breath into the concoction mix the potion, but the act itself adds power to the brew. Artist Fred Beaver was born July 2, 1911, in Eufaula, OK. After graduating from Eufaula High School in 1931, Fred studied at Bacone College and Haskell Indian School. Fred served in Italy in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. While serving in the European Theater during the war, Fred received private instruction in art in Italy. Following his return to the United States in 1945, Fred turned his attention to painting as a hobby. To his fortune, he received tutoring from his wife’s cousin –an artist by the name of Acee Blue Eagle.
Fred served in Italy in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. While serving in the European Theater during the war, Fred received private instruction in art in Italy. Following his return to the United States in 1945, Fred turned his attention to painting as a hobby. To his fortune, he received tutoring from his wife’s cousin –an artist by the name of Acee Blue Eagle.
Throughout his lengthy career, Beaver helped define traditional Oklahoma Indian art. He was one of the first artists to be designated as a “Master Artist” of the Five Civilized Tribes. His works are found worldwide and are in many museums and collections, including the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, the Sequoya Research Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, and the Gilcrease and Philbrook Museums in Tulsa. These are the third and fourth Fred Beaver paintings to be acquired by the museum through the Ligon Endowment Fund, bringing the total number of the artist’s work in the Permanent Collection to ten.