Acee Blue Eagle

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Acee Blue Eagle
Native name Chebon Ahbulah (Laughing Boy), Lumhee Holot-Tee (Blue Eagle)
Born (1907-08-16)August 16, 1907
Near Anadarko, Oklahoma
Died June 18, 1959(1959-06-18) (aged 51)
Resting place National Cemetery, Fort Gibson, Oklahoma
Ethnicity Muscogee Creek-Pawnee-Wichita
Education Chilocco Indian Agricultural School; Bacone College; Oklahoma State Technical School, Okmulgee, and Haskell Institute
Alma mater University of Oklahoma, Norman
Occupation Artist, educator, dancer, and flute player.
Organization United States Army Air Corps, Bacone College
Notable work Murals in the dining hall of the USS Oklahoma (BB-37) and U.S. Post Office at Seminole, Oklahoma
Style Bacone style
Spouse(s) Second wife, Balinese dancer, Devi Dja
Partner(s) Mae Wadley Abbott
Parent(s) Solomon McIntosh, mother was either Mattie Odom or Ella Starr
Relatives Second cousin, Muscogee-Seminole artist Fred Beaver; cousin, Howard Rufus Collins, who painted under the name Ducee Blue Buzzard
Awards Indian Hall of Fame, Who's Who of Oklahoma, International Who's Who, "Outstanding Indian in the United States", 1958; received a medal for eight paintings at the National Museum of Ethiopia

Acee Blue Eagle (17 August 1907 – 18 June 1959), also named Alex C. McIntosh, Chebon Ahbulah (Laughing Boy), and Lumhee Holot-Tee (Blue Eagle), was a Muscogee Creek-Pawnee-Wichita artist, educator, dancer, and flute player.[1]

Background[edit]

He was born near Anadarko, Oklahoma, into the Mcintosh family, a family which has given the Creek tribe of Oklahoma many of its chiefs.[2] His great-grandfather was chief of the creeks for 31 years.[3] He studied at Chilocco Indian Agricultural School; Bacone College; University of Oklahoma, Norman; Oklahoma State Technical School, Okmulgee,[1] and Haskell Institute, Lawrence, Kansas, where a business administration building is named Blue Eagle Hall in his honor.

Blue Eagle served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. He died on 18 June 1959,[4] and is buried in the National Cemetery at Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.

Art career[edit]

Blue Eagle became a painter of murals for the Federal Art Project in 1934.[5] In 1935, Blue Eagle was invited to give a series of lectures on American Indian art at Oxford University in England, and he took Europe by storm. Returning to the United States, he established the Art Department at Bacone College in 1935, and directed the program until 1938. There he helped shaped development of the Bacone style of painting. In the 1940s he created a number of works for his friend, the collector Thomas Gilcrease.[6] Blue Eagle gained worldwide fame during his lifetime, and his two-dimensional paintings hang in private and public galleries all over the world. Acee was well known for painting large interior murals, some of which are still preserved in Oklahoma. One of Acee's murals was in the dining hall of the USS Oklahoma (BB-37). In 1934, as a Public Works of Art Project commission, Blue Eagle completed two large murals for the classrooms of the health and physical education building of Oklahoma College for Women, now the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.[7] He also completed PWAP murals at other Oklahoma colleges, including one in the auditorium of Central State College (now University of Central Oklahoma) and on in the administration building of Northeastern State Teachers' College (now Northeastern State University).[7] Blue Eagle's large interior oil on canvas murals titled Seminole Indian Scene commissioned by the WPA in 1939 for the U.S. post office at Seminole, Oklahoma are still on display. For the U.S. Post Office in Coalgate, Oklahoma, Blue Eagle painted the acrylic Women Making Pishafa,[7] or Indian Family at Routine Tasks[citation needed] in 1942, which was commissioned by the Section of Painting and Sculpture.[8] The Coalgate mural was restored in 1965 by prominent Muscogee Creek-Seminole painter and muralist Fred Beaver.[9]

Honors[edit]

He was elected into the Indian Hall of Fame, Who's Who of Oklahoma, and the International Who's Who. He was chosen "Outstanding Indian in the United States" in 1958. Among his many honors, Blue Eagle received a medal for eight paintings at the National Museum of Ethiopia, presented by the Emperor Haile Selassie I.[4] Fellow Oklahoma artist and muralist Charles Banks Wilson said of Blue Eagle; "Acee was the Dale Carnegie of Indian Art. If Oklahoma has a foundation in Indian Art, it is with Acee Blue Eagle."[3]

Tamara Liegerot Elder published a biography of the artist: Lumhee Holot-tee: The Art and Life of Acee Blue Eagle, in 2006 through Medicine Wheel Press.

Relatives[edit]

The Muscogee-Seminole artist Fred Beaver was Acee's second cousin and friend. in 1965, Beaver was hired by the Coalgate Post Office to restore Acee Blue Eagle's mural, Women Making Pashofa.[10] Acee's cousin, Howard Rufus Collins, painted under the name Ducee Blue Buzzard, as a parody of Acee's name. Besides being an artist and illustrator, Blue Buzzard was a Freemason known for his charity work with children.[11]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Wyckoff, 92
  2. ^ Elder, 3
  3. ^ a b Lester,73
  4. ^ a b Lester, 73
  5. ^ Register to the Papers of Acee Blue Eagle, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
  6. ^ Moran, 113
  7. ^ a b c McLerran, Jennifer. A New Deal for Native Art: Indian Arts and Federal Policy, 1933-1943, University of Arizona Press: Tucson, Arizona, 2009. p. 266.
  8. ^ Alyson Greiner (March 4, 2009). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: United States Post Office Coalgate" (pdf). National Park Service.  "Accompanying 19 photos, from 2007." (pdf). National Register of Historic Places Inventory. 
  9. ^ Lester, Patrick D., The Biographical Directory of Native American Painters, SIR Publications, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 9780806199369, page 48, First edition, 1995
  10. ^ Elder, 50–52
  11. ^ Gregory, Strickland, and Blue Buzzard, 49

References[edit]

  • Elder, Tamara Liegerot. Lumhee Holot-tee: The Art and Life of Acee Blue Eagle. Edmond, OK: Medicine Wheel Press, 2006. ISBN 978-0-9754072-1-9.
  • Gregory, Jack and Rennard Strickland, editors. Ducee Blue Buzzard, illustrator. American Indian Spirit Tales: Redbirds, Ravens, and Coyotes. Muscogee, Oklahoma: Indian Heritage Association, 1974. ASIN B0006W9L16.
  • Lester, Patrick D. The Biographical Directory of Native American Painters. Norman and London: The Oklahoma University Press, 1995. ISBN 0-8061-9936-9.
  • Morand, Anne, Kevin Smith, Daniel C. Swan, Sarah Erwin, Treasures of Gilcrease: Selections from the Permanent Collection (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2005), ISBN 978-0-8061-9956-6 (excerpt available at Google Books).
  • Wyckoff, Lydia L. Visions and Voices: Native American Painting from the Philbrook Museum of Art. Tulsa, OK: Philbrook Museum of Art, 1996. ISBN 0-86659-013-7.

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