Underneath blankets and sheets, and encased in a number of cardboard boxes in the basement of a Lakewood, Colorado, home lay a vast collection of more than 140 Native American artifacts that’ll leave your jaw on the floor.
Evergreen Fine Art Gallery in Evergreen, Colorado, is the lucky space that will afford lovers of both art and history the chance to view a monumental collection of Native American artifacts that were recently discovered hidden in a basement. Belonging to Diana Hinman Baltz, the items were once part of the George D. Hinman Collection — he was Baltz’s grandfather. Forgotten for nearly 60 years, the artifacts were only recently “unearthed” and will be the subjects of an excellent exhibition.

Among the objects in the collection are Midwestern Mound Culture pots, woven Nez Perce corn bags, and beautifully beaded Plains Indian clothing. Via the gallery, “George Hinman met ESAH – PA – WISHE (Chief Half Moon), a Choctaw from Arkansas, in New Haven where the Healy & Bigelow’s Kickapoo Indian Medicine Company’s traveling medicine show kept winter quarters. The two men formed a 20-year bond that’s still visible in Half Moon’s letters to ‘Friend’ Hinman sent from as far afield as England and invariably decorated with sketches of his many Native American associations. Half Moon studied the lore, arts and customs of the Arapaho, Crow and other tribesmen with whom he traveled.

“Hinman’s passion to preserve what he could of Native America’s marvelous arts and crafts is evident in the breadth of the collection he amassed over 40 years. From dealers across the country he acquired rare items of archeological, cultural and artistic significance, including pre-Columbian pottery, exquisitely worked stone implements, and select prizes gleaned from the collection of Major Ted ‘Texas’ Powell, acquisitions that he documented in dealer receipts and the scripted pages of a small hard-bound ledger.

“In the 1950s and 60s, Diana and Elmer Baltz added their own treasures to the already marvelous mix. A field geologist working out of Albuquerque, Dr. Baltz contributed large decorated pottery shards, an ancient Puebloan pottery “killed bowl” and a ceremonial rattle. Among other things, Diana collected fine Puebloan pottery and the works of Native American painters.”

To learn more, visit Evergreen Fine Art.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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