The Thomas G. Fowler Collection of Eskimo and Inuit Art

Thomas G. Fowler (1943–2006) spent decades gathering a comprehensive collection of works by indigenous artists from the Arctic; he generously donated this collection to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco through a bequest. Mr. Fowler was drawn to works that exemplify yua (spirit or soul in the Yup’ik language), a concept that all things – even inanimate objects – possess a spirit or essence that must be honored and respected.

The works in the collection date from approximately 300 BCE to the modern era and include charms, models, containers, and tools, thus representing both the aesthetic and utilitarian sensibilities of Arctic life. The collection also features sculptures by such contemporary artists as Abraham Anghik Ruben, David Ruben Piqtoukun, Judas Ullulaq, and Susie Silook. The materials used to make these historic and contemporary works – wood, hide, sinew, and bone – reveal the resources available in and integral to the Arctic landscape [please keep current PDF links].

A selection from the collection is on view in de Young Gallery 4.