1970 Oscar Howe "Skin Painter" Painting

Value (2012) | $10,000 Auction$12,000 Auction

I brought an Oscar Howe original painting. He was probably one of the best well-known Indian artists in North America. And he went to school at the University of South Dakota. My half-brother went to school there with him, and they both taught a while...


And he got to know Oscar Howe very, very well. And he was able to buy this one from him, and it's an original that has never been copied or anything.

What did he pay for it?

He paid $900 for it in 1970, I think.



Now, Oscar Howe ended up a professor at the University of South Dakota? In Vermillion?


Well, he was Sioux. I can't remember which band, whether it was Yankton or Lakota, but he was of the Sioux tribe. He did become a major artist. His art was sold all over the world, and this is an original painting. What the woman is doing is she's in front of a tepee, and she has a rawhide stretched out on the ground, and she's painting the design on a parfleche, which is a folded container for storing things for travel. They carried everything from clothes in those containers to meat. It's classic Indian style in that it's a lot of flat paint. A lot of flat color. What this appears to be is casein. It's a type of watercolor on board. And it's very typical of all the Indian painters. They learned how to make that paint very flat and very saturated in color. Most of the guys liked this flat appearance, and casein and blended watercolor gave that appearance. This movement is real typical of what he did. And he got even more dramatic in other paintings to where there's a lot of movement, a lot of these diagonals and intersecting lines going around.


This almost looks back at some of his early paintings from the 1940s, 1950s.


It's a painting of traditional Sioux life, which he got very modern with his paintings as time went on. Oscar Howe died in 1983, and he was born in 1915, so he had a good career. His son is also a very prominent artist. Original paintings by Howe are very valuable and they are very sought after. If this came up for auction today, I would expect it to sell for $10,000 to $12,000.

Oh! Well, very good, very good.

Appraisal Details

San Antonio, TX
Appraised value (2012)
$10,000 Auction$12,000 Auction
Rapid City, SD (July 14, 2012)
Tribal Arts

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