Gilcrease Museum today announced that a piece from their collection has been selected for use in the 59th Presidential Inaugural Ceremonies platform program. The piece, Lewis and Clark with Sacajawea at the Great Falls of the Missouri 1804 by Olaf Seltzer, will be on display at Gilcrease beginning Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021 in the Americans All! exhibition.
“Gilcrease Museum is first and foremost an institute of American History and Art, as such we are honored to be a part of this historic day,” said Susan Neal, executive director of Gilcrease Museum. “We are pleased that our collection is being represented at the Capitol during this momentous occasion.”
The piece, Lewis and Clark with Sacajawea at the Great Falls of the Missouri 1804 by Olaf Seltzer, was selected by The U.S. Senate Historical Office in partnership with the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies to illustrate Sacagawea’s role in the expedition led by Captain Meriwether Lewis and Lieutenant William Clark to explore the Louisiana Purchase and the Pacific Northwest.
“Sacagawea’s role in the narrative of Lewis and Clark’s expedition is often romanticized, but her significance as an intelligent and diplomatic Agaidika Shoshone woman is crucial to this history,” said Dr. Chelsea Herr, the Jack and Maxine Zarrow curator for Indigenous art and culture at Gilcrease Museum. “She took advantage of the opportunity to serve as an interpreter for the expedition, drawing on her fluency in both Shoshone and Hidatsa to navigate cultural terrains from North Dakota to the Pacific Ocean.”
The painting portrays Sacagawea, Lewis, Clark and his slave, York, overlooking the Great Falls of the Missouri River, which they reached in 1805, in spite of the painting’s given title. It will be on display beginning Wednesday, Jan. 20 in the ongoing exhibition Americans All!, which celebrates over 250 years of American art by 26 immigrant artists, including the Danish artist Olaf Seltzer, who painted Lewis and Clark with Sacajawea at the Great Falls of the Missouri 1804 in 1927.
“Seltzer (1877-1957) was born in Copenhagen where his artistic talents were first recognized, and immigrated to America in 1892 to join family in Montana,” said Mark Dolph, curator of history at Gilcrease Museum. “Seltzer’s artistic style was strongly influenced by his longtime friend, mentor and fellow Montanan, Charles Russell. Beginning in the 1920s, Seltzer began a series of works depicting Montana history for his patron, Dr. Philip Gillette Cole. Thomas Gilcrease purchased the entire Cole collection of more than 600 paintings and sculptures in 1947, including Lewis and Clark with Sacajawea at the Great Falls of the Missouri 1804.”
Visitors can reserve tickets online to see Lewis and Clark with Sacajawea at the Great Falls of the Missouri 1804 in person. The painting will be on display through July 4, 2021.
Learn more about the history behind the piece in this article.