Native American Art from the Thomas W. Weisel Family Collection

Edited by Bruce Bernstein, Hillary C. Olcott, Christina Hellmich, and Deana Dartt with Jill D’Alessandro

Native American Art book cover

Spanning nearly one thousand years of artistic creativity, Native American Art from the Thomas W. Weisel Family Collection documents and celebrates a transformative gift to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The collection, developed by Thomas W. Weisel over the course of thirty years, is wide ranging and brings together artworks that embody exquisite aesthetics and rich cultural histories. While the majority of the collection is from the American Southwest—nineteenth-century Diné/Navajo weavings, Ancestral and historic Pueblo pottery, Hopi and Zuni carved figures, and Yavapai and Apache basketry—works from the Pacific Northwest and the Plains are also included.

Building upon the Museums’ first publication on the collection, Lines on the Horizon (2014), Native American Art is an expanded scholarly catalogue that includes all 206 works from the gift and features new research and specially commissioned essays and extended captions. Developed in collaboration with cultural advisors, the catalogue reflects the complex and multilayered nature of the works in the collection and, more broadly, the field of Native American art. Contributions by over eighty authors from different disciplines and cultural backgrounds—including scholars, culture bearers, artists, collectors, and museum professionals—illuminate details about the living histories of the works. The multitude of perspectives and voices offered here embraces the complexity of the dialogue surrounding Native works past and present, ensuring that Native American Art will be a cornerstone publication in the field of Native American art history.


Bruce Bernstein has published broadly on Native arts and museums as well as curated many exhibitions. He has worked previously at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, and Santa Fe’s Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.

Hillary C. Olcott is associate curator of the arts of the Americas at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Christina Hellmich is curator in charge of the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas and stewards the Jolika Collection of New Guinea Art at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Deana Dartt (Coastal Band, Chumash) is the principal of Live Oak Consulting. Previously she held curatorial positions at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Seattle, and the Portland Art Museum.

Jill D’Alessandro is the director and curator of the Avenir Institute of Textile Art and Fashion at the Denver Art Museum. She was formerly curator in charge of the Caroline & H. McCoy Jones Department of Textile Arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

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