Louisville Magazine

SEP 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 9.18 39 What amazed me most, while researching information for the photo of long-deceased Louisville artist Frederick Weygold (opposite page), was the versatility he brought to his explorations of Native American culture. Not only was he eager to photograph, sketch and paint the American Indians he encountered at reservations in South Dakota, Montana and Oklahoma, Native Knowledge Retrieving the meaning of true American nativism. By Jack Welch or those he met at Wild West shows touring Europe and America, but he also made it his mission to learn tribes' signed and spoken language, record old warriors' thoughts and remembrances in impromptu interviews, examine and note the dyes and beadwork artistry in their leather garments, purchase practical and fanciful pieces of their handiwork for posterity, document their genealogies, take part in their festivities and even, as a friend reported later in his life, sing their traditional songs while doodling at his desk. The Weygold painting shown here, a 1909 portrait of 87-year-old Oglala (Lakota) Sioux Chief Red Cloud a few months before his death, was the end product of photographs Weygold took of the once-powerful leader at the Pine Ridge reservation — the last vestige of the millions of acres of communal holdings the Sioux and other Plains tribes controlled a few decades earlier. The livelihoods of Red Cloud, Sitting Bull and other veterans of property wars with the federal government were reduced to paid appearances in Wild West shows in their later years. The Red Cloud painting was included in the 1910 introductory exhibition of the Louisville Artists League, which merged with the Louisville Art Association in 1920, and was one of the major components in the 2017 Speed Art Museum exhibition "Picturing American Indian Cultures: The Art of Kentucky's Frederick Weygold." The show comprised 188 paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs and artifacts produced or collected by Weygold. He had donated more than 1,400 artworks to the Speed over the years. Weygold's reverence toward America's indigenous culture makes him a true nativist — a word that's picked up added nastiness in the present political climate of harsh invective toward immigrants. The families of the real natives in this country were here when white men arrived. The rest of us — America-firsters included — remain historical intruders. JUST SAYIN'

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