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Man's Painted Hide Shirt

Wisconsin / Illinois

early 18th century

hide, paint

width: 60"

Inventory # W2201


acquired by the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN


Hotel Druout, Paris, France
Robert DuPerrier, Paris, France
Herman von Bonk, Munich, Germany


Brasser, Ted. J. Native American Clothing: An Illustrated History. Toronto: Firefly Books, 2009, pgs. 120-121
Donald Ellis Gallery catalogue, 1998, cover and pg 1

A small group of early historic artifacts with abstract paintings have survived. In addition to this painted skin shirt, the early abstract painting style is represented by painted skins or robes in the Musee de l'Homme, Paris, France; The Musee des Beaux Artes, Bessancon, France ; the Museo de America, Madrid, Spam; and the Museum of Mankind, London, England. Highly elongated triangles are characteristic elements in early paintings from the Great Lakes region. These long and narrow triangles are often combined in shapes reminiscent of feathers, forked bird tails and arrows.

The painting style is unique but resembles the intermediate style found in the 1720's in the region south and west of Lake Michigan. This resemblance is most obvious in comparing the shirt to the four illinois-attributed skins in the Musee de l'Homme.

Brasser, Ted J. Notes on a recently discovered Indian Shirt from New France by Ted J. Brasser in American Indian Art Magazine, vol. 24, no. 2 Spring, 1999.