Inuit Art from the collection of Dr Samuel Wagonfeld and his wife Sally Allen

This is a virtual tour of the exhibition that I put together from photos I took.
The tour is broken out into 3 different pages. Each page will provide a link to the next page in the tour.
These pages contain a few of the pictures that I took when I visited this exhibition on September 12th, 2004.
I also was lucky enough to meet and talk with Dr. Wagonfeld and his wife Sally before I attended his lecture. They are both wonderful people and
Dr. Wagonfeld and I have a similar story on how we both started collecting, we both started collecting from chance visits to a gallery and then
started learning about the culture and became addicted. I enjoyed meeting them and talking to them and having Dr. Wagonfeld show me some of
his favorite pieces and also hear some interesting stories from his wife Sally. They have been collecting for about 15 years now and have a
fantastic collection. I have a great appreciation for Inuit art even though they are not a culture that produces masks and statues like most African
cultures. The art that is produced by Inuit people is mainly art that was produced after the people were introduced to outside cultures and
influences. The Inuit were a largely nomadic people and the items they produced originally were mostly utilitarian objects.

There was a fantastic catalog put out with this exhibition,
and if you are interested in a copy you can call the museum directly at (970) 962-2410 (It's $20 USD)

Press releases about the exhibition...
Original release

Loveland Museum Gives Dramatic View of Arctic Art and Culture

“Powerful.” “Eye-opening.” “Such a surprise.” “Extensive”. “Well-presented.” “Insightful”.

These are among visitor responses to the current exhibition of Inuit sculpture, prints, drawings and textile wall hangings now at the Loveland
Museum/Gallery, 5th & Lincoln in Loveland. Survival: Inuit Art offers a comprehensive introduction to the major life themes of the Inuit people,
northern Canadian Eskimos whose traditional way of life and culture are disappearing. The show encompasses works depicting family life, hunting
and fishing, Arctic wildlife, shamanism, legends and myths and historical accounts of life in the inhospitable climate of the Arctic North. It is a visually
dynamic exhibit, designed to enhance the artistic impact of each piece and, at the same time, to place each work of art in a broader and well-
documented context.

Spanning over a half-century of art-making in Arctic, the works on exhibit are from the private collection of Samuel Wagonfeld, M.D. of Denver. As
Canadian gallery-owner Patricia Feheley points out in the exhibit’s extensive color catalog, the collection illuminates a culture that has undergone
radical change. It also includes insight into the modern Inuit artists who move “beyond traditional cultural boundaries to stand as universal
expressions of mature artistic form.”

Almost as fascinating as the art and history of the Inuit are the questions the show raises about the passion of collecting art. “An art collection is as
individual as a thumbprint,” says Feheley. And, when a collection is shared with others through exhibition and publication, others can learn to
appreciate the art as well.
As one viewer said, “To experience the depth of feeling for Inuit culture and art which is palpable in this exhibit was
moving in a way I had not anticipated.”

Why would a small local museum design a comprehensive exhibit of works undoubtedly unknown to most of its visitors? “One of the goals of our
exhibits mission is to introduce the community and region to unique art experiences. Another is to feature local collections. In this case, we were
able to do both,” says Janice Currier, the Loveland Museum/Gallery’s Curator of Exhibits. Currier lived in the Arctic for fifteen years and is well
acquainted with Inuit culture and its long struggle for survival. “We were pleased to discover Dr. Wagonfeld’s interest and commitment to Inuit art
and culture, and appreciate his willingness to share his collection with the community.”

Dr. Wagonfeld will present a gallery tour and illustrated lecture on Inuit art in the Foote Gallery at the Loveland Museum on Sunday, September 12,
at 1:00 p.m.

The exhibition continues through October 3 2004. The Loveland Museum/Gallery is located in downtown Loveland at Fifth and Lincoln. Hours are:
Tuesday-Friday, 10-5; Thursday evenings until 9; Saturday 10-4; Sunday 12-4.
Loveland Museum/Gallery hosts an exhibit examining Western influence on Inuit art.  
By Laura McWilliams / Rocky Mountain News
Original article

In his introduction to the show Survival: Inuit Art, Denver psychiatrist Dr. Samuel Wagonfeld describes his first experience with Inuit art as a “chance
visit to a gallery ‘north of the border.’” He adds, “The freshness of the strange and bold images, their imagination and wonderful appeal were
different from traditional Western art and captivated me.” His Inuit art collection, one Wagonfeld began after this chance encounter is on view in a
beautiful exhibit at the Loveland Museum/Gallery.

The Inuit are a people who have lived for thousands of years in a circumpolar region stretching from Siberia around the globe to Greenland.
Survival examines the art and culture of the Central Canadian Inuit.

The Canadian Inuit were until very recently a nomadic people living in small hunting bands. Contact with European explorers as early as the 16th
century affected Inuit culture and traditions as explorers, traders and missionaries brought with them useful materials such as metal and wood but
also introduced foreign diseases, money and trade into the traditionally subsistence economy.

Still, many Inuit continued to follow traditional ways until the 1950s, when changes in caribou migration routes and an ebb in the fur trade led to a
time of mass starvation and death among the people. The Canadian government stepped in to offer humanitarian assistance, resettling Inuit
groups in permanent villages throughout Canada. The government built churches, schools and houses, and administered social welfare programs.
It also introduced trades such as printmaking to many communities as a means of economic independence.
This period in the 1950s is the beginning of what Wagonfeld refers to as “a golden age” of contemporary Inuit art.

I expected this show to be strong on history and to emphasize traditional artistic styles and methods. The Loveland Museum/Gallery does a good
job of presenting a condensed version of modern Inuit history (if you’re interested, be sure to look through the show’s catalog). But I was surprised
by the wide variety of styles on view in the show. The exhibit consists of drawings, carvings, wall hangings and prints. The pieces are beautiful and
range from austere and simple prints to complex symbolic drawings and sculptural objects.
In addition, the earliest works differ greatly from more recent art. The earliest pieces are largely free from connections to Western art, but the more
recent Inuit art includes many subtle and not-so-subtle references to European systems of representation.
Much of the earliest prints, drawings and carvings in Survival illustrate a way of life that ended with the resettlement. The Inuit who lived through the
starvation period of the 1950s and the move to villages often idealized the lives they left behind, depicting bountiful lands and effortless hunts.

Drawings and prints by Luke Anguhadluq (1895-1982) depict a subsistence existence. His works include pictures of swimming caribou, hunters in
kayaks and fishers with fish. Anguhadluq turned the paper as he worked, conflating time, space and perspective as he strove to describe an image.

Kiakshuk (1886-1966) is described by the show’s catalog as “a well-known storyteller in the community” who “became highly respected for his
ability to translate oral history, tales of the hunt, of animals, family life, or shamans and spirits, into graphic media.” His “Hunting Seals and Polar
Bears” nearly takes the form of a manual for Inuit hunters. The flat graphite drawing shows diagrammatic images of a hunter trapping and spearing
a polar bear and fishing a seal out of an ice hole. His stonecut print, “Hunting Whales,” from 1961, depicts five large blue whales pursued by two
kayaks and one larger boat. This is a view of an idyllic land of plenty in which animals nearly outnumber Inuit and the hunting is easy and clean.
In contrast to the older generation, many younger artists make work that depicts stories passed on through generations by a strong oral tradition.
Much of this work illustrates shamanistic myths, Inuit legends or historic stories.

Victoria Mamnguqsualuk (b. 1930) is, according to the gallery’s artist description, “one of the best known Canadian Inuit artists of her generation.”
Her simple drawings are retellings of Inuit myths and legends. “Brother Moon/Sister Sun” presents an illustration of a creation myth and incest
taboo that describes the formation of the sun and the moon. The story runs from the paper’s bottom left corner and ends at the top, describing a
legend in which a girl is kissed by a stranger in the dark. When she discovers that the stranger is her brother, the two flee in shame into the sky to
become Sister Sun and Brother Moon.

Kenojuak Ashevak (b. 1927) uses animal shapes as vessels for her explorations of line, color and positive and negative space. “Bird with
Feathers” presents a legless bird surrounded by its own flowing, red-tipped, bulbous feathers. The bird shape is filled with obsessive, regular
scribbles that give form to the animal and which also serve to shade and highlight the rounded creature. The image is beautifully balanced with the
negative space of the white paper, and the delicate lines counteract the heavily geometric bird-and-feather form.

The drawings, prints and sculptures in this exhibit are enchanting and beautiful, and the formal choices of artists such as Anguhadluq and Ashevak
are delightfully innovative. But it is the dichotomy of Inuit/European that is most intriguing. The clear Western influence evident in much of the work
(English titles and captions, occasional attempts at realism and perspective) conflicts with the Inuit culture that is the exhibit’s subject matter.

This exhibit includes a nice variety of subjects and styles, and presents artwork from a large number of artists. It teaches a bit about Inuit history
and culture while allowing viewers to enjoy a truly gorgeous art show.

• • • • •
Survival: Inuit Art runs through October 3, 2004 at the Loveland Museum/Gallery, 5th and Lincoln, Loveland. For information, call 970/962-2410.