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Assiniboine Horse Mask

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RTCFA No. NA 0435
Assiniboine Horse Mask
Artist: Joyce Growing Thunder Fogarty Birth: 1950 Death:
Beads, muslin backing, turkey feathers, metal discs and beads, plastic rings, felt, red stroud, embroidery thread, 16.5 x 17.5 in. (41.9 x 44.4 cm).

Geographic Location: Ft. Peck Reservation, Montana
Region: Plains
Group / Tribe: Assiniboine (Nakota)

Description: This piece was commissioned by Ralph T. Coe from Joyce Growing Thunder Fogarty, whom he met during his research for his exhibition and book, /*Lost and Found Traditions*/. Over the next three decades they became good friends; moreover, Coe was an ardent promoter of Fogarty’s fine work. Originally, Coe had envisioned using the piece in a lecture series documenting the creation process from inception to completion and noting its transformative aspects. Despite the fact that the lecture series fell through, he felt it was important to complete the commission so as to “insure her future” as an international artist. This is an excellent example of how Coe continued to support Native artists throughout his collecting career and how he helped to establish the market for contemporary Native art as art, breaking away from the convention of viewing pieces exclusively as artifacts. Coe compared the mask to an earlier one made by Fogarty and noted: “The quadripartite division looks backwards and is more traditional in form than the open field composition than the second mask, thus attesting to Joyce’s continued exercise of individual imagination, one of the hallmarks of a great artist.”


*Coe wrote:* Purchased directly from the artist in Santa Fe, NM. This horse mask was commissioned as the outcome of two factors: 1) an article I wrote for Sotheby's that appeared in the May 1998 auction catalogue of Important American Indian Art, in connection with the only other horse mask Joyce has made and 2) the Recursos of Santa Fe, (a non-profit educational organization) commissioning of Peter Furst to devise a program of lectures devoted to aspects of transformation for the fall of 2000, which never took place because of a lack of subscribers.