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Ledger Art

Ledger Art

“This genre, often called Ledger Art, represents a transitional form of Plains Indian artistry corresponding to the forced reduction of Plains tribes to government reservations, roughly between 1860 and 1900. Due to the destruction of the buffalo herds and other game animals of the Great Plains by Anglo-Americans during and after the Civil War, painting on buffalo hide gave way to works on paper, muslin, canvas, and occasionally commercially prepared cow or buffalo hides.

“Beginning in the early 1860s, Plains Indian men adapted their representational style of painting to paper in the form of accountants ledger books. Traditional paints and bone and stick brushes used to paint on hide gave way to new implements such as colored pencils, crayon, and occasionally water color paints. Plains artists acquired paper and new drawing materials in trade, or as booty after a military engagement, or from a raid. Initially, the content of ledger drawings continued the tradition of depicting of military exploits and important acts of personal heroism already established in representational painting on buffalo hides and animal skins. As the US government implemented the forced relocation of the Plains peoples to reservations, for all practical purposes completed by the end of the 1870s, Plains artists added scenes of ceremony and daily life from before the reservation to the repertoire of their artwork, reflecting the social and cultural changes brought by life on the reservation within the larger context of forced assimilation.”

 "Ledger Art History." Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California San Diego: Plains Indian Ledger Art Project. 2011

  1. Ledger Art - Morning Star by Evans Flammond, Sr.

    Morning Star

    Evans Flammond, Sr. used colored pencil and ink on an 1886 ledger page to create this bold piece entitled, "Morning Star".
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  2. Four Bears by Evans Flammond, Sr. - Lakota Ledger Art

    Four Bears

    "Four Bears" by Evans Flammond, Sr. is a colored pencil and ink portrait on 1888 ledger paper of the famous and revered Mandan chief who lived from around the late 1700s until 1837.
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  3. Native American Ledger Drawing - Four Bears - Evans Flammond, Sr.

    Four Bears

    With colored pencil and ink on a 1905 ledger sheet, Lakota ledger artist, Evans Flammond, Sr. has done his rendition of famous Mandan Chief, "Four Bears", referencing the portrait by Karl Bodmer from the 1830s. Learn More
  4. Chasing Through the Coup - Don Montileaux - print

    Chasing Through The Coup

    The action and excitement of the chase are rendered wonderfully in complimentary colors in the limited edition print 'Chasing Through the Coup' by Donald. F. Montileaux, renowned South Dakota ledger artist.
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  5. Counting Coup - Don Montileaux - print

    Counting Coup

    Don Montileaux's colorful and dynamic ledger art print shows warriors 'counting coup,' a practice of Northern Plains Indians.
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  6. More than a Few - Don Montileaux - print

    More Than A Few

    'More than a Few' is a limited edition print by Lakota Sioux artist Don Montileaux, depicting horses running across a ledger background.
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