Deerskin paintings

Every so often I am blessed by an email that comes out of the blue from a person I don’t know or have ever heard of before that brightens my day (or several days) considerably. One such message came from Barr Shriver. Mr. Shriver’s grandparents, Barr and Marie Cox “Nana” Crawford, lived in the same apartment building in Pittsburgh as the Dietzes for several years in the early 1950s. Barr’s grandparents and the Dietzes became good friends during this period.

Barr Crawford worked in the truck parts department at Hoover Dam during its construction and made friends with many Indians. When he worked as a salesman with International Harvester (IH) during the Great Depression, the Indians didn’t have enough money to pay for the repair parts they needed. So, Mr. Crawford allowed them to trade beautiful blankets and art for the parts needed to keep their trucks running.

Having grown up in Montana, the Crawfords appreciated Indian art and understood the hardships Indians had undergone. Seeing Lone Star’s artwork, they struck a deal with him. Their son-in-law, Barr Shriver’s father, was a hunter and supplied two deer hides that he had had tanned and Lone Star had them mounted as if they were canvases and trimmed to about 14 by 16 inches. On one he painted a bust of an Indian woman and on the other a self-portrait in his war shirt and headdress. He signed the colorful paintings with the distinctive signature he used on his artwork at Carlisle.

After the Crawfords died, the paintings passed to Barr Shriver’s mother, their daughter. One of the things I mourn is that much of Lone Star’s art has been lost over the years. That, fortunately, is not the case this time. The Shrivers are proud to have and appreciate what are two-of-a-kind paintings and family heirlooms.

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One Response to “Deerskin paintings”

  1. Pittsburgh Slim Music, Videos, Fan Site » Blog Archive » Deerskin paintings Says:

    […] The Burgh Blog placed an observative post today on Deerskin paintings […]

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