The Outsider's Gaze

An accompanying exhibition to Mingled Visions, The Outsider’s Gaze, brings together ten European American artists working in the mid-19th and early 20th centuries. Their paintings and sculpture explore the subject of Native Americans from different levels of authenticity. Their depictions range from overly staged and romanticized scenes, to caricatures. A few of the artists had direct contact with Native Americans, in some cases even living with tribes, and tried to remain true to individual and tribal identity. Others painted derivative scenes, where the figures and clothing were generic and more symbolic. Though some of the artworks stereotype Native Americans as “noble savage,” many of the artists in this exhibition were genuinely concerned about the fate of Native American culture as a result of discriminatory federal policies and western expansion. Works in the exhibition include Indian Encampment by Ralph Blakelock, on loan from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Taos Family, N.D. by Joseph Sharp, on loan from the Erie Art Museum.

Launched in 2017 with the goal of generating nationwide collection-sharing networks, the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative is a joint grant program of Art Bridges and the Terra Foundation for American Art. This initiative supports multi-year, multi-institutional partnerships, pairing a large metropolitan museum with smaller museums that traditionally lack the opportunity or resources to work together. The purpose of these partnerships is to engage local communities with outstanding works of American art. Partners collaborate by sharing collections and resources to create a series of content-rich exhibitions of art combined with in-depth educational and interpretive materials to reach a broad spectrum of audience interests. In addition, the initiative fosters professional development and exchanges among partners.

For Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Museum of Art serves as the catalyst museum partnering with a consortium of eight museums across the Commonwealth. The Westmoreland was invited to be a part of this initiative in 2017. The other partners are Allentown Art Museum, The Demuth Museum, Erie Art Museum, James A. Michener Art Museum, Palmer Art Museum, Reading Public Museum, and The Trout Gallery. Coming together as a consortium offers the exceptional opportunity to share collections, exhibitions, ideas and professional expertise with our audiences.

The Westmoreland’s first focus exhibition to include loans from the partnership is The Outsider’s Gaze. On loan from the Philadelphia Museum of Art are Penn’s Treaty with the Indians by Edward Hicks (above) as well as the previously mentioned Indian Encampment by Ralph Blakelock. We are excited to bring these artworks to our community!

The Outsider’s Gaze is one in a series of American art exhibitions created through a multi-year, multi-institutional partnership formed by the Philadelphia Museum of Art as part of the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative.

Support for the exhibition has been provided by the Hillman Exhibition Fund of The Westmoreland Museum of American Art.

This project was completed in partnership with the Rivers of Steel Heritage Area. Funding was provided in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation,Environmental Stewardship Fund, administered by the Rivers of Steel Heritage Corp.