An American Stoic
1912, cast 1913
28 x 10 1/8 x 6 1/4 in.
Signed, on back left hip on belt: Calder
Signed, on back of base: A. Stirling Calder \ Copyrighted 1912
Stamped on back of base: GORHAM CO FOUNDERS Q309 #3
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas
Wrapped in a blanket, shoulders squared, an American Indian figure gazes forward. The title of Calder’s bronze, An American Stoic, explains the man’s stern demeanor. A stoic, the epitome of self-control, is someone free from passion, unmoved by joy or grief, and able to quietly endure.
The silent, stone-faced American Indian was a common image in art and popular culture at the turn of the century. But this stereotype did not reflect reality. Native peoples were vocal civic participants during Calder’s lifetime. They debated and advocated for a range of reforms—as they continue to do today—including tribal land ownership and political self-determination.
What might be the benefits of using bronze to create a sculpture?
Why do artists choose particular tools, techniques, and materials to express their ideas?
What does the word “stoic” mean? How does the idea of stoicism function within American history?
How do works of art reflect and impact the history of those who identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color in the United States?
In what ways is the use of an image of a single person inadequate to represent a larger group?
How are stereotypes created and then perpetuated, and what role do these stereotypes play in the national imagination?
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