An expansive private collection of Indian art assembled over a half-century has been donated to the University of Oklahoma

assurances that the art would be a permanent display fixture and that the works be kept together as a cohesive collection.

“He didn’t want the collection broken up, but Bialac was also very much interested in placing everything in an institution that had an educational component,” White said, adding that the university is already developing courses, lectures and symposiums around the collection.

About 600 paintings from the collection are currently on loan to the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Arizona’s court system. White said the museum will honor those loans for as long as they’re wanted.

Bialac’s first purchase was a painting by Navajo artist Robert Chee, which he bought in 1964. Over 50 years, Bialac amassed works by dozens of American Indian artists, including Fred Kabotie, Awa Tsireh, Jerome Tiger, Richard “Dick” West and Helen Hardin. Bialac is active in the southwestern art community and has juried Native exhibitions in Santa Fe, N.M.

Some of the collection’s standout pieces include “atypical” works by well-known artists, White said. The collection includes the only stained-glass piece created by influential Luise


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