TULSA, OK.- Philbrook Museum of Art
announced the important gift of 364 works of Hopi art, including katsinas, basketry and other media from Atlanta and Santa Fe-based collector, Wayne S. Hyatt. Featuring works by more than 160 artists, the Hyatt Collection both expands and strengthens the impressive survey of 20th and 21st century Native American art within the Philbrook holdings.
The Hyatt family began traveling to the Hopi reservation in northern Arizona in the late 1980s, quickly becoming friends with many artists representing several Hopi communities. With the encouragement and involvement of his late wife Amanda, as well as the continued interest and support of his current wife Margaret, the Hyatt collection now includes a broad range of works spanning the late 1980s to 2013. The Hopi Collection I am giving to Philbrook consists of far more than cottonwood and plant fibers, carvings and baskets, said Hyatt. It contains cultural, indeed spiritual, components as well. Visiting dear friends and family on the Mesas and being receptive to what they help me understand has been a vital, motivating force to my collecting.
Highlights of the collection include 25 katsinas (carved wooden figures of Hopi spiritual beings) by brothers Wilmer and Wilfred Kaye of the Badger/Butterfly Clan of Third Mesa. The brothers come from a remarkable family of artists that includes their sister Verma Nequatewa (also known as Sonwai), and uncles Charles and Willard Loloma.
The collection also features works by Stetson Honyumptewa (Reed Clan), who was born and raised in the Lower Moencopi community of northeastern Arizona. Steeped in Hopi tradition as well as 21st century American culture, Honyumptewas work has won numerous awards at juried competitions, including the coveted Best In Show at both the Heard Museum (2012) and the prestigious Santa Fe Indian Market (2010).
Another strength of the collection includes pieces by Manfred Susunkewa (Second Mesa). Susunkewa revived a traditional style of katsinas in the 1970s by focusing on well-established stylized imagery more common in historical pieces, and by using only natural pigments and minerals. In recognition of his contribution to Native art in his home state, Susunkewa was named an Arizona Indian Living Treasure in 2002.
This large and important collection adds a significant new facet to the Philbrook holdings of Native American art, stated Curator Christina Burke. Although Philbrook has an exemplary survey of Twentieth Century Native art, katsinas have not been a major component. In addition, The Hyatt Collection adds a complementary dimension to the extensive Philbrook holdings including basketry from throughout North America, Pueblo pottery, contemporary paintings, cultural arts, and Southwestern jewelry.
Through the Hyatts friendships and collecting pursuits over the years, they carefully documented their acquisitions by recording the names of artists, dates of purchase, and other pertinent information related to each piece. Its truly an intimate and highly personal collection, reflected Philbrook Director Rand Suffolk. And yet, the collection has the sophistication, range, and quality to stand as significant and distinctive.
When asked why he chose Philbrook for this personal and important collection, Hyatt commented, Philbrook has an obvious and abiding appreciation for what this collection represents. I believe the Hopi Collection will be at home at there.