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Pamplin art collection reflects Curtis' influence

Lake Oswego Reads exhibit contains artifacts, books, photos and more


SUBMITTED PHOTO - A pair of Sioux children's beaded moccasins will be on display Tuesday.Historical images and artifacts will mix with contemporary work by nationally known artists in a unique presentation scheduled for Tuesday as part of Lake Oswego Reads.

All of the material comes from the collection of Dr. Robert Pamplin and his wife, Marilyn, who gathered examples

of Native American clothing, domestic items, weaponry

and items of adornment over the course of more than 30 years.SUBMITTED PHOTO - A Tlingit carved wooden pipe stem from the Pamplin collection depicts a slave, a raven and a frog.

The exhibit, which is scheduled from 7-8:30 p.m. on Feb. 23, will be held at ARTspace, 510 First St. in Lake Oswego. It’s timed to coincide with Lake Oswego Reads, which this year is paying tribute to author Timothy Egan and his book about photographer Edward Curtis, “Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher.”SUBMITTED PHOTO - This Haida traded-cloth bag is decorated with a beaded and buttoned killer whale.SUBMITTED PHOTO - The collection includes a Plains beaded knife sheath.

“We want to show Curtis and his times,” says Chet Orloff, director emeritus of the Oregon Historical Society, who serves as director and co-curator of the Pamplin collection. “When he was at the height of his career, it was a great time for collectors.”

Curtis set out in 1900 to capture Native Americans on film before their old ways disappeared. His mission was supported by some of the wealthiest people in the U.S., who shared his desire to preserve a culture that was slowly vanishing and often accompanied him on his expeditions.SUBMITTED PHOTO - This Haida traded-cloth bag is decorated with a beaded and buttoned killer whale.

The Native American section of the Pamplin collection contains a wide variety of unique items, from a carved wooden Tlingit pipe stem and beaded Plains knife sheath to a pair of Sioux children’s beaded moccasins. Besides the artifacts, there are books that show scenes from the lives of Native Americans and a large-format book of Curtis photographs — once forgotten, now treasured.

“The art collection of Dr. Pamplin is a fantastic example of preservation of the culture of Native Americans — their sophistication, their spirituality and their creativity,” says Pat Squire, a member of Friends of the Lake Oswego Library, who asked Orloff to present the collection. “Many of these types of objects were included in Edward Curtis’ images, and this will be an opportunity to see these articles in a collection.”

Contact Cliff Newell at 503-636-1281 ext. 105 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..