Portraits

Portraits of the Past

CROSSROADS GALLERY FOR CONTEMPORARY ART WITH THE HISTORY MUSEUM PRESENTS

PORTRAITS OF THE PAST: THE POTAWATOMI AS PAINTED BY VAN SANDEN

South Bend, Indiana – January 29, 2015 – The Crossroads Gallery for Contemporary Art with The History Museum presents Portraits of the Past: The Potawatomi as Painted by Van Sanden.

Portraits of the Past: The Potawatomi as Painted by Van Sanden opens February 11th at the Crossroads Gallery for Contemporary Art.  The exhibition runs through April 3, 2015.

Featuring artworks by Van Sanden, a nineteenth century Dutch itinerant painter, Portraits of the Past features nine portraits created circa 1835.  The contemporary viewer sees the nineteenth century as crafted by Van Sanden; the portraits represent the subjects as he had them sit.

Little is known about Van Sanden other than that he was active in the Michiana area in the nineteenth century.  Though his portraits provide a captivating glimpse into the people he knew well enough to paint or the patrons who commissioned their portraits from him, it cannot be said that these are accurate representations of the sitters. This is  a unique opportunity to see all of the Van Sanden paintings in one exhibition. The History Museum has rarely, if ever, loaned the entire collection at the same time and has not displayed it together in many years. Eight of the nine portraits on display are believed to be Potawatomi, with the ninth being a self-portrait of the artist.  

The French, particularly the Canadian and French economy, were dependent upon the Native American population for furs. The Native Americans, in turn, became dependent upon the French and European goods that forts and outposts had to offer, such as iron and steel tools, glass beads, wool blankets, and weapons. Cloth was an especially important trade item due to its versatility and the Native Americans adapted the new technologies and goods in traditional ways. The French also relied on the Native Americans as allies in times of war. The relationship between the Native Americans and the French Voyagers may explain why Van Sanden painted his Portrait of a Voyager in 1825.

All works are on loan from the collection of The History Museum, South Bend.  This partnership was facilitated by the Notre Dame Center for Arts & Culture Global Experience’s Indigenous World initiative and by SB150.

Please join us for the reception at the Crossroads Gallery on Thursday, February 12th from 5-7:00 PM.

Crossroads Gallery is located on the main floor of the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture at 1045 West Washington Street in South Bend.