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Harvest / Virginia Stroud

Essay/Description

Cherokee and Muscogee artist Virginia Stroud studied art at Bacone College (Muskogee, Oklahoma) in the late 1960s and 1970, and attended the University of Oklahoma in the 1970s. Stroud’s emotive, narrative-based style combines Flatstyle painting with elements of ledger art and figurative art techniques. Stroud’s tempera on paper painting Harvest tells the story of a young Apache woman who is carrying a handwoven harvest basket on her back. The dyed and patterned utilitarian basket hangs securely from a strap around the woman’s forehead.

Stroud is one of the first women to incorporate ledger or figurative art—historically reserved for men—into her practice. She is known for celebrating the experiences of her predominately female subjects by reveling in the ordinary or everyday.

“I paint for my people. Art is a way for our culture to survive . . . perhaps the only way. More than anything, I want to become an orator, to share with others the oldest of Indian traditions. I want people to look back at my work just like today we’re looking back at the ledger drawings and seeing how it was then. I’m working one hundred years in front of those people and saying ‘this is how we still do it . . . we still have our traditions.’”1
—Virginia Stroud

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

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1 This statement can be found under the entry for Virginia Stroud, “Art in Embassies,” at the U.S. Department of State website.

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Title(s): 
Harvest
Creator(s): 
Virginia Stroud (Artist)
Culture: 
Native American; Cherokee (United Keetoowah Band)-Muscogee (Creek)
Date: 
1980
Materials/Techniques: 
tempera on paper
Classification: 
Object Type: 
Credit Line: 
R.E. and Mary Maxwell, Jr., Fort Worth and Houston, Texas
Accession No: 
0227.1768
Previous Number(s): 
24419
Department: 
Signed by hand in tempera, "Virginia Stroud 1980 GGGS" in lower right on recto.
Not On View

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