Published on July 30, 2012 by Amy
Archie Blackowl was a Cheyenne painter from Oklahoma who played a pivotal role in mid-20th century Native American art.
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Archie Blackowl was born in Custer County, Oklahoma, on November 23, 1911 and died on September 15, 1992, in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Blackowl was survived by ten children.
Blackowl is generally considered to be one of the important Oklahoma traditional painters. Blackowl’s work captures the traditional Southern Plains culture and life. The paintings, generally in tempera or mixed media depict scenes of dancers or ceremonies in the Flat style of the Dorothy Dunn school or Bacone style of painting. Blackowl was best known for his stylized dancers adorned with traditional regalia and lack of backgrounds, as well as works upon the unforgiving blackboard. Blackowl’s devotion to traditional style flat painting earned him the honor of Living Legend by Ralph Oliver in 1990.
Blackowl, was educated at Haskell Indian Nations University, studied under Olle Nordmark. Blackowl was a muralist and studio painter, who began painting actively and professionally in the early 1930s.
Blackowl has inspired many contemporary artists across the midwest and southwest. His art is a legacy to which many young Native artists look to for information of tradition and technical skills. Original paintings and prints are still available.
Blackowl’s works are included in such museum collections as the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, New Mexico, and the Sequoyah Research Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. Blackowl’s work is also in many private collections nationwide.