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November 13 2020

Ledger Drawings: Fort Marion and Beyond

Outsider Art Fair Viewing Room 

November 16 - December 7, 2020

Donald Ellis Gallery is pleased to present Ledger Drawings: Fort Marion and Beyond, the first online exhibition hosted on the Outsider Art Fair Viewing Room. The exhibition will be live November 16 - December 7, 2020.

While the term ‘Outsider’ is used to describe art that is produced independently of prevailing fine arts conventions, the drawings in this exhibition are a continuation of long established Indigenous pictographic traditions that have their origins in prehistoric petroglyphs and historical hide painting. In the late 19th century, a group of Native American warriors from a number of Central Plains nations were sentenced to prison at Fort Marion in St Augustine, Florida. A small number of young Cheyenne and Kiowa men took up drawing on paper supplied to them by their military captors. For these warrior artists, Ledger Art was a novel means of documenting their feats of courage, showcasing their artistic skills, and making a small income from sales to the military men and local tourist community with whom they interacted on a daily basis. Part of a dominant colonial system that has kept these exceptional drawings on the sidelines of the broader art world, this exhibition seeks to reposition Plains Indian Ledger Drawings as profoundly significant works of American art.

In response to the current global health crisis Donald Ellis Gallery will donate 10% of all sales to relief efforts. Clients will have their choice in supporting one of the following charitable organizations:

The Center for American Indian Health
Navajo & Hopi Families Covid-19 Relief Fund
City Meals on Wheels

A publication related to Ledger drawings is available here.

To view the exhibition click here

To view the Virtual Walk-through and Panel Discussion from Monday, November 30th click here

Ledger Drawings: Fort Marion and Beyond
October 20 2020


Donald Ellis Gallery is pleased to announce its participation in the digital edition of Art Toronto 2020, taking place online and in art galleries across Canada. ArtTO 2020 will be open to the public from October 31 to November 8, with three VIP preview days beginning October 28.

The gallery will present two concurrent exhibitions, showcasing historical Indigenous art from the Northwest Coast and Plains Indian Ledger Drawings from the late nineteenth century.

Highlights will include an exceptionally rare selection of argillite carving and jewellery by the Haida artist Charles Edenshaw (Tahayghen, 1839–1920). Edenshaw is widely considered the most renowned and accomplished artist of the Northwest Coast, and his artistic achievements place him as a major figure in Canadian art history. Born in 1839, Edenshaw created work for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous patrons, masterfully adapting Haida design traditions with a sense of modernity that was deeply innovative. Edenshaw’s work is highly sought after today, and is represented in the permanent collections of major institutions including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver; and The National Museum of the American Indian, Washington D.C. The gallery will also feature a selection of bentwood boxes and bowls, model totem poles, and a small but important group of argillite works.

In the second part of the exhibition, the gallery will present a selection of Ledger drawings from Indigenous cultures of the Great Plains. Rarely exhibited in Canada, ledger drawings were an artistic privilege of Plains warriors, a continuation of earlier biographic and pictographic traditions on rock and hide. Ledger drawings offer immediate and eloquent first- person narratives about a specific moment in North American history, spanning the intercultural wars of the mid nineteenth-century into the early years of the Reservation Period. The drawings are both records of actual events and articulate the cumulative acquisition of spiritual power and status. Donald Ellis Gallery has been instrumental in bringing these unique artistic records of North American history to public and institutional attention for the first time since the groundbreaking exhibition Plains Indian Ledger Drawings at the Drawing Center, New York, in 1996.

Donald Ellis Gallery will donate 10% of all sales to Canadian organizations addressing the legacy of the Residential School System, supporting Indigenous education and mental health, and promoting Reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. Clients will have their choice in supporting one of the following charitable organizations:

The Legacy of Hope Foundation
The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund



October 09 2020

Frieze Viewing Room 2020

Historical Native American Drawing from North to South

October 9-16, 2020

Preview Days: Wednesday, October 7 and Thursday, October 8, 2020

Donald Ellis Gallery is pleased to announce its participation in the second edition of Frieze Viewing Room, a digital platform hosting both Frieze London and Frieze Masters 2020. Frieze Viewing Room will be live October 9–16, 2020, with an invitation-only preview October 7–8.

Download the full press release

Frieze Viewing Room 2020
May 08 2020

The 10 Best Booths at Frieze New York Online

Artsy editors select their favorites from 200 galleries from around the world that are participating in the Frieze Art Fair’s inaugural online viewing rooms.

Read the full article

The 10 Best Booths at Frieze New York Online