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Brummett Echohawk: An Artist’s Journey

May 2 - July 7, 2023


Brummett Echohawk (1922-2006) was a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma who joined the 45th Infantry Division (known as the Thunderbirds) and valiantly served in Europe during World War II. Fighting in the 1943-1944 Italian Campaign, Echohawk sketched throughout his wartime experience, producing battlefield drawings that are highly detailed and of great value. Returning home after being wounded in battle, Echohawk trained at the Art Institute of Chicago and became both an illustrator of a Native American comic strip (“Little Chief”) and an artist known for both landscapes and portraiture. He spent most of his artistic career in Oklahoma, rendering the landscape of his native Oklahoma and exploring the history of his Pawnee community and its corresponding visual archive. His portraits of heroic chiefs, medicine men, and scouts are informed by the early photographs of William Henry Jackson, Trevor Booth, Harris Cole, and others. Echohawk not only transformed the black-and-white ethnographic images into painted portraits, he staged an intervention that allotted his Pawnee subjects (and himself) a new status in the history of art.


This exhibition was created as part of an art history course at OSU. Graduate and undergraduate students assisted in its vision, research, and installation. It also forms part of the “Echohawk Project,” a multi-year celebration of the life and legacy of Brummett Echohawk. The next installment will be “Nations at War! Field Sketches of a Pawnee Warrior,” opening at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in September 2023. 


ReceptionThursday, May 4th, 5-7 PM. Talk begins at 5:30 and light refreshments will be served. 


Faculty Curator: Associate Professor Cristina Cruz Gonzalez, PhD, Department of Art, Graphic Design and Art History
University Students: Andy Baker, Autumn Bean, Elise Braggs, Jorge Luis Chavez Enriquez, Daniel Diaz, William Ellis, Kit Frye, Chloe Hart, Vera Pieri, Andrea Valentina Plata Martinez, Autum Tanner, Madison Williams, and Noah Williams.


Dr. Gonzalez and her class wishes to thank the Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation, the 45th Infantry Division Museum, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Charles Little, and, especially, Joel Echohawk and the Echohawk family for their support of this exhibition.


  • Resources
  • Credits

    Funding for this season of programming is provided through the generous support of Deb and Dave Engle, Caroline and John Linehan, Suzanne Sugg, the OSU President’s Office | OSU Foundation, Thomas N. Berry & Company, and the OSU Museum of Art Advocates. 


    Top Image: Brummett Echohawk (Pawnee, 1922-2006), The Creek Council Tree, Tulsa, ca. 1967, oil on canvas, gift of the OSU Foundation, 2013.001.432.



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