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Mother and Child / Marian Terasaz, October 14, 1915 - January 2, 2009, Native American (Artist)

Essay/Description

In Mother and Child, Marian Terasaz depicts a Comanche woman caring for her newborn infant. She sits comfortably on the ground, embracing her child’s cradleboard, and her posture, unbraided hair, and downcast eyes create a sense of intimacy, peace, and safety. Even though the baby’s face is not visible, the swaddling clothes bulging through the cradleboard’s laces indicate the infant’s presence.

Terasaz has portrayed the woman wearing a cream-colored braintanned buckskin dress with detailed geometric beadwork along the sleeves. The brightly colored sash around her waist seems to fall against an implied floor line, and the thinly cut fingertip fringe from her sleeve drapes over her leg to the floor. The cradleboard, painted a vivid blue, is anchored to a wooden lattice adorned with two stars made from brass upholstery studs. The foot of the cradleboard has two painted flaps with peyote-stitch beadwork, a technique in which the beads are stitched together tightly with thread in horizontal rows and then fastened by thread and red-dyed horsehair tassels. In the lower left corner, the artist inscribed her Comanche name followed by the date: “Aukemah –’38.” Flatstyle paintings such as this have a representational, narrative approach, presenting the viewer with solid color fields and a limited or nonexistent background.

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

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Title(s): 
Mother and Child; Mother & Child
Creator(s): 
Marian Terasaz, October 14, 1915 - January 2, 2009, Native American (Artist)
Culture: 
Native American; Comanche
Date: 
1938
Materials/Techniques: 
tempera on paper
Classification: 
Object Type: 
Credit Line: 
Gift of the Thomas Gilcrease Foundation, 1955
Accession No: 
02.29
Previous Number(s): 
0227.29; 22253
Department: 
Signed by hand in tempera, "Aukemah — '38" in lower right on recto.
Not On View

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