R. Brownell McGrew (1916-1994) Kin-Nadl-Dah: Evening 45 x 60in (Painted in 1975.)

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Lot 138
R. Brownell McGrew
(1916-1994)
Kin-Nadl-Dah: Evening 45 x 60in

Sold for US$ 50,000 inc. premium
R. Brownell McGrew (1916-1994)
Kin-Nadl-Dah: Evening
signed 'R. Brownell McGrew' (lower left)
oil on Masonite
45 x 60in
Painted in 1975.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Koenig, Scottsdale, Arizona.
    Sale, Scottsdale Art Auction, Scottsdale, Arizona, March 5, 2008, lot 208.
    Acquired by the late owner from the above.

    Literature
    R.B. McGrew, R. Brownell McGrew: Laguna Beach Museum of Art, Presented by the Thunderbird Foundation, Kansas City, Missouri, 1978, p. 34, pl. 22, illustrated.

    The present work depicts the Native American ceremony of Kin-Nadl-Dah, also referred to as the Womanhood Ceremony, and is a tradition bestowed upon each female member of the Navajo tribe. In addition to the execution of certain ritual chores, upon completion of the ceremony the subject is considered to have reached womanhood. After befriending a family of Native American people living on a nearby reservation, a family whose members became regular models for McGrew's portraits, in 1975, he was invited to attend their daughter Bessie's Kin-Nadl-Dah. In an undated letter he recalls the events which took place on the final night of the ceremonies:

    "It was a bright moonlight night and some time in the middle of the night I was awakened by chanting from one of the hogans. I threw on my clothes and hied me down to this hogan, figuring the whole camp would be there for the singing . . . When I went in, Bessie's father and another man were seated opposite the door of the hogan, doing the chanting. Bessie and a young girl, together with Agnes, the girl's mother, and another woman, were the only other occupants of the hogan, which was lighted by a kerosene lamp placed in front of John, the father, as he sat there through the night and sang the prayers for his youngster. It was one of the most moving scenes I have ever witnessed among the Indians; and will always remain in my memory as a high point."1

    1 R. Brownell McGrew, unpublished letter.
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