Works Donated by Leading Contemporary Native American Artist at Gorman Museum

Rick Bartow, artist, Gorman Museum, donations, Native American
Artwork by Rick Bartow, Gorman Museum, Native American
"Homage to Little Beaver Fry I," 2004

Around the time of his death in 2016, artist Rick Bartow and his estate donated 45 of his works to the C.N. Gorman Museum at UC Davis. Many of those pieces go on display for the first time in “Comings and Goings: Works on Paper by Rick Bartow” opening at the museum Jan. 7.

Bartow is considered one of the most important leaders in contemporary Native American art. He drew on his Native American heritage, as well as his experiences during the Vietnam War, and his creative life as a musician in his artwork. Animals and self-portraits populate his iconography, and he is known for interpretations of literary, musical and visual sources. The Gorman Museum exhibition, on display through March 15, will include 36 artworks.

“The Gorman Museum has had a long relationship with the artist, showing his work over the years,” said Veronica Passalacqua, museum curator. “In his support of the Gorman, the artist selected the museum to receive works he held privately and with the Froelick Gallery as a gift at the time of his passing.”

Rick Bartow drawing, Gorman Museum, art
Untitled drawing, 1983

Bartow’s career retrospective exhibition, “Rick Bartow: Things You Know But Cannot Explain,” is touring the country. Bartow's monumental pair of cedar sculptures, "We Were Always Here," were commissioned in 2012 by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. where they overlook the National Mall.

The artist spent most of his life in his native Oregon and was a member of the Mad River Band of Wiyot Indians, based in Humboldt County, California.

Charles Froelick, owner of the Portland, Oregon, gallery that long represented the artist, will give a talk at the museum Feb. 27 at 3:30 p.m.

— Jeffrey Day, content strategist in the College of Letters and Science