Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Celebrating Western and Native American Art: The Eddie Basha Collection

When a friend of my parents recommended that we visit the Eddie Basha Collection, I wasn't sure what to expect. It was free, and the collection was in the corporate office building of Basha's, a supermarket chain in Arizona. Upon entrance into the first gallery room, I could see that this was not going to be a dusty collection with a few kitche pieces.

One room alone was dedicated to an expansive collection of woven baskets of varying sizes, mostly between the 19th and 20th centuries.
Apache baskets from the Eddie Basha Collection
Yet another expansive room was filled with over 40 years of over 3,500 collected pieces - paintings, sculptures, jewelry, katsinas, and drawings. 
Horse Pirates by Ted Long - Eddie Basha Collection
The collection is considered to be one of the largest private collection of Contemporary Western American and American Indian art. Originally encouraged and guided by his Aunt Zelma, Basha began visiting studios of contemporary artists, kindling friendships and supporting them. He sought to collect pieces of artists he actually met; cowboy artists such as Joe Beeler, John Clymer, David Halbach, and Martin Grelle, as well as contemporary American Indian artists such as David Johns and Larry Yazzie. Absent in his collection are deceased Western artists such as Charles Russell and Frederic Remington, since Basha wanted to focus on contemporary artists he actually met.
Geronimo by Harley Brown - Eddie Basha Collection 
Some of the pieces had rather lengthy descriptions. I especially liked the ones written by the artists, vividly describing historical events seen in the images.

Although we spent nearly three hours in the gallery, we did not have enough time to see all artwork. Actually, it was too much to see in one visit. Perhaps it would have been better to focus on one aspect of the collection, such as the bronzes one day, Native American pieces another day, etc.
The gallery is open to individuals or groups (above 25 people requires an appointment) but it is self-guided. We happily placed some money in the donation box, pleased that the proceeds helped support initiatives within the community, including the arts. 

The Eddie Basha Collection is located at:
22402 S. Basha Road
Chandler, Arizona 85248
Phone: 480-895-5230

It is open Monday - Friday 9-4 pm

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