Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Fenimore Art Museum - Cooperstown

Continuing with our visit to Cooperstown New York and our late summer/early fall 2011 road trip…

Cooperstown was a great destination for us… There was much to see and enjoy in a small area in a modest size town.  In other words, we had small town charm, minimal crowds and hassle, plus top notch attractions!

This particular museum should be on everyone’s list as it was top notch in every respect…

This is the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown.  The museum is housed in this impressive neo-Georgian home that was built in the 1930’s.  The facilities of the Fenimore Museum have been expanded twice, once in 1968 and then again in 1995.  The museum is operated by the New York State Historical Association.

The Fenimore is focused on American Indian Art, American Folk Art, Fine Art and Photography.  We were especially blown away by The Thaw Collection’s Art of the American Indian.

This is a Glengarry Cap, made by a Mohawk Indian artist ca. 1970.  The Indians modeled this cap after the ones used by the Scottish Glengarry Regiment that had been based in Canada following the French & Indian War.  In the late 1800’s, native women beaded hats such as this one for sale to visitors and tourists.

I don’t have any detail regarding these display items… My point is that each and every display was well labeled and well thought out, never crowded with so many items that the viewer was overwhelmed, but instead could focus on the individual works of art being exhibited.

This 1904 Quiver Case, Bow & Arrows were made by Geronimo, the great Apache war leader who ran the US Army ragged for years.  While in captivity, Geronimo began making these items for sale.  This set was purchased from him at the 1904 World’s Fair.  He died in 1909.

This Hide with Pigment, ca. 1880, was made by Lakota or Teton Sioux artists in either North or South Dakota.  One can envision the battle shown on the hide!  The artists had excerpted episodes in which the Lakota were victorious over their adversaries, the Crow.  The prime goal of these types of paintings was to serve as a record of the warrior’s achievements or claims of prestige.

This Teton/Lakota Sioux Jacket, ca. 1890 – 1910, was made from hide, cloth, glass beads, weasel fur and pigment.  The jacket was inspired by American-style coats and is often referred to as a Scot jacket.  The warriors on horseback are still colorful and eye-catching after these many years…

We own a few nice Indian baskets…and we enjoy them…but they sure didn’t break the bank when we bought them!  This however, is a truly fabulous basket!  It’s called ‘Beacon Lights’ and it was woven by a Washoe Indian artist from Nevada, Louisa Keyser, (also known as Dat So La Lee), in 1904 and 1905.  This very large, well balanced and spectacular basket was made from willow, western redbud and bracken fern.  Over 80,000 stitches were needed to finish this masterwork…

Switching now from Indian Art to American Fine and Folk Art… This painting is entitled “Hudson River Looking Toward the Catskills”.  It was painted by Asher Brown Durand, one of the leaders of the Hudson River School.

My mother painted several paintings that the family still treasures, which were based on the style of this artist.  This is “Sugaring Off”, painted in 1945 by Anna Mary Robertson, better known as “Grandma Moses”.  Anna Robertson lived from 1860 – 1961.  She was a self-taught artist who became one of the most celebrated Americans of the 20th Century.

Pictured above is a painted wooden Cigar Store Figure entitled “Indian Maiden” which was carved ca. 1870.  The artist was Thomas V. “Daddy” Brooks.  This figure was used in a Tobacco Store in Utica New York for over 50 years.

This oil on canvas painted by James Bard has the rather long title of “Steamer Niagara Passing Fort Washington Point – 1945”.  The location shown is now the eastern end of the George Washington Bridge in New York City.  The steamer Niagara served as a ‘day boat’ for the New York, Albany & Troy Line until 1847.

We own one of these too…Unfortunately, it’s falling apart as it wasn’t properly cared for during the years before it was passed on to us.  The treasure shown above is an 1885 ‘Crazy Quilt’.  It is made out of silk, satin and velvet and the artist was Ann Eliza Gardner Moore.  The problem with these quilts is that the silk becomes very fragile over time and tends to break down if not carefully stored and tended to…

What I’ve shared is just a fraction of the terrific items on display at The Fenimore Museum.  Laurie and I would recommend this experience to even the most jaded museum junkie.  The Fenimore Museum is located at 5798 NY State Hwy. 80 (Lake Road) in Cooperstown.  Phone: 607-547-1400.   Website:  
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. What a great museum. It is so nice to have places like this to yourself. Everything can be seen and enjoyed without the push to move on. It must have been a wonderful day. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  2. The craftsmanship of the quiver case, jacket basket, etc. just amaze me to say the least. Knowing all of these treasures were done completely by manual labor fascinates me. I would really enjoy visiting this museum. Thanks for taking us on the tour with you, Dave.

  3. iv'e heard about the mohawk indians before. The museum is very nice.