Book - Frederick Weygold: Artist and Ethnographer of North American Indians

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Frederick Weygold (1870–1941), American artist and self-trained ethnographer, is today almost unknown outside German-speaking Europe. This book, based upon the voluminous body of his paintings, drawings, and papers held by the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, and upon research in American and European museums and archives, offers for the first time a comprehensive account of Weygold’s life and achievements as an artist, collector, educator, and social activist.

Born in St. Charles, Missouri, Weygold studied languages and art in Germany and Philadelphia before settling in Louisville in 1908. In Europe, Weygold became fascinated with American Indians, taught himself the Lakota language, and began his lifelong study of Native American art by drawing early objects from the Plains in German museum collections. In Philadelphia he did “fieldwork” with Lakotas working for Wild West shows and collected Lakota texts and drawings.

In 1909 he went to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, acquiring Native artifacts for the Museum of Ethnology in Hamburg and documenting in photographs Lakota life and culture, including the first photographic record of the Plains Indian sign language. He later used his ethnographic expertise in a series of oil paintings and to illustrate books by the Dakota author Charles Eastman and by the western writers James Willard Schultz and Stanley Vestal.

Weygold also gained local recognition for his painting of the iconic “Old Kentucky Home” and was involved in the movement to save Cumberland Falls from being developed into a source of hydroelectric power. Over time, Weygold built a personal collection of Native American artifacts he later donated to the Speed Museum, which now forms the core of the museum’s holdings.

This book features selected examples from his work as a painter, illustrator, photographer, and collector of American Indian art and artifacts.


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Additional Info

Additional Info

Edited by:
Christian F. Feest & C. Ronald Corum
Publication Details:
ZKF Publishers (January 17, 2017)
Book Details:
Hardcover, 260 pages