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Buffalo Hunt / Acee Blue Eagle


Buffalo Hunt by Acee Blue Eagle (Muscogee, Pawnee) depicts two men hunting a bison. The artist has used a combination of Flatstyle painting approaches, evident in the dry-brush technique for the color blocking in the depictions of the horses and bison. The scene is an homage to figurative Plains painting: the artist combined the semirealistic postures of the hunters with a narrative symbolism that seems atypically and unclearly attributed to a specific Indigenous nation. He also drew upon ledger art techniques, which can be seen in the outlined figures and profile perspective.

Each of these interrelated movements—Plains figurative, Flatstyle, and ledger art—represents different eras of shift in painting techniques among numerous Plains Nations. Blue Eagle did not descend from a community that had a history of ledger art or hide painting (like the Plains), and he did not primarily work within these styles. Buffalo Hunt might be an experiment from his early career, when he was actively exploring ancestral Indigenous art practices of his contemporaries, and drawing on experiences, styles, and mediums that were not his own. Here, he appears to have capitalized on these styles by combining them in an almost cartoonish manner. During the early twentieth century, Flatstyle painting entered the art market in an unprecedented way, and this artwork seems a prime example of Blue Eagle making an economically savvy attempt to take advantage of art market preferences.

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

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Buffalo Hunt
Acee Blue Eagle (Artist)
Native American; Muscogee (Creek), Pawnee
mid-20th century
tempera on paper
Landscape; single-sided 0.268-0.278mm cream colored, machine-made with chain and laid lines. Fibers slightly unevenly distributed in transmitted light.
Object Type: 
Accession No: 
Previous Number(s): 
TL1946; 0227.578; 41064
Not On View

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