Million dollars of ‘love’ bestowed

Painting of Little Bighorn survivor, Chief Iron Hail also known as Dewey Beard by David Humphreys Miller.

Painting of Little Bighorn survivor, Chief Iron Hail also known as Dewey Beard by David Humphreys Miller.

The Wassenberg Art Center in Van Wert, Ohio has been chosen to be the recipient of a large collection of art consisting of original paintings, prints and sketches of the late world-renowned artist, David Humphreys Miller. The collection will be housed in the art center’s upcoming new location at 214 N. Washington Street.

     Originally from Van Wert, artist Humphreys Miller became interested in the Battle of Little Bighorn at the age of 16. During his summer vacations he traveled out west and began interviewing and painting the Native American survivors of the battle after learning five tribal dialects. In the years following he painted and interviewed 72 survivors and other Native Americans, authored two books, consulted and acted in several hit films including, “Stagecoach”, starring John Wayne and “How the West was Won”. Humphreys Miller’s research is often referenced when determining which individual supposedly killed General George Custer. Due to the fact Miller interviewed survivors and eyewitnesses in their native dialect, issues commonly caused by erroneous translation were greatly reduced. 

David Humphreys Miller is shown painting Joseph White Cow Bull in 1939. White Cow Bull is believed to have been the warrior to kill General George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn.

David Humphreys Miller is shown painting Joseph White Cow Bull in 1939. White Cow Bull is believed to have been the warrior to kill General George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn.

    “Faces of Little Bighorn” is the only permanent collection of Miller’s work in the United States and is valued at nearly one million dollars. Hope Wallace, director of the Wassenberg Art Center says “Housing the Miller collection will elevate the Wassenberg Art Center to a museum in addition to community art center,” says Hope Wallace, director of the Wassenberg Art Center.

     Donor Robert Brent Stevens writes, “It comes full circle. I want the Wassenberg to put my collection on permanent display for a couple of reasons. My father was a teacher in Van Wert. Education, regardless of what the student was interested in, was very important to him. I want to do the same. David Humphreys Miller sets an example by following what he loved and it took him all over the world. He became a great artist and historian. He built a career around his passion, painting Native Americans. He spoke with hundreds of warriors and learned their side of the story of the battle of Greasy Grass, what Lakota (Sioux) called the Battle at Little Bighorn. I am excited to have this collection on permanent display in Van Wert as a way to say thank you to my hometown and to my family.”

     For more information on this upcoming permanent exhibit, call 419.238.6837 or email, info@wassenbergartcenter.org.




Published by on April 2013. Filed under Archives, At the Centers dept, Northwest Passage Record/NWPR, Ohio, PaletteBoards Section. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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