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Making Way for Peace / Paul Anthony Pahsetopah


Making Way for Peace1 portrays an imagined council gathering of prominent Southern Cheyenne War Chiefs. The celebrated veterans and leaders pictured are, from left to right, Black Kettle (ca. 1803–1868), Roman Nose (ca. 1823–1868; 4326.3790), and an unidentified Cheyenne elder (4327.5019b). Paul Pahsetopah often created historical narrative paintings after carrying out intense research about subjects and events, and his works include accurate depictions of details in beadwork, clothing, and other adornments.

The artist’s commitment to realism extended to accurately capturing the individual characteristics of his subjects’ faces, but he upends traditional Western portraiture of Indigenous subjects by combining this realism with his surrealistic approach to the environments in which he places them. Pahsetopah’s deep knowledge of the natural features of Indian Territory provides a first-person perspective of the landscape. He highlights his connection to the land through his use of diverse textures, colors that are both vibrant and subtle, and the repeated patterns that create a sense of joy, ease, and pride.

—Jordan Poorman Cocker, Henry Luce Foundation Curatorial Scholar for Indigenous Painting Collection Research, 2021

This text was developed from an interview with artist Mike Pahsetopah, Paul Pahsetopah’s son, by Jordan Poorman Cocker, July 15, 2021

1 At the request of Mike Pahsetopah, the artist’s son, the title of this painting was changed from After the Powwow to Making Way for Peace.

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Making Way for Peace; After the Pow Wow
Paul Anthony Pahsetopah (Artist)
Native American; Osage, Chickasaw
casein on board
Portrait; single-sided 1.552-1.562mm white, multilayered board.
Object Type: 
Credit Line: 
Gift of Homer and Ruth Herrington
Accession No: 
Previous Number(s): 
TL1993.355.23; 0227.1809; 24499
Not On View

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