Patinated bronze sculpture, “Harvest” from “Attitudes of Prayer Series” by Retha Walden Gambaro
Published February 24, 2017
ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA — Acclaimed Native American artist Retha Walden Gambaro’s spiritually inspired sculptures that bring tribal traditions and lore to life in stone and bronze are featured in The Potomack Company’s February 28th auction.
An early champion of the National Museum of the American Indian, Gambaro was president of the Amerindian Circle at the Smithsonian Institution that launched funding for the museum at the Kennedy Center’s “Night of the First Americans” gala in 1982 under the patronage of President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan.
The Potomack Company will present a Gallery Talk on Retha Gambaro by Dr. Letitia Chambers on Saturday, February 25, at 11:00 a.m. The talk is open to the public; please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Chambers is a former President and CEO of the Heard Museum in Phoenix, where she curated a major exhibition of Gambaro’s sculpture, favorably reviewed in the New York Times (February 3, 2012.) Dr. Chambers is writing a book on Gambaro to be published in 2018. She served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations General Assembly in 1996.
Classically trained and exhibited at institutions including the Heard, Gilcrease, National Museum of American History and Kennedy Center, Gambaro’s collection at The Potomack Company (www.potomackcompany.com) spans her career, melding traditional and contemporary elements. Retha Walden Gambaro (1917-2013) was born in Indian Territory, Oklahoma, to a mother of Creek descent. Her own works and those of other Native Americans that filled her studio in Stafford, Virginia, represent Gambaro’s passion for heritage and nature as well as her desire to elevate and support fellow Native American artists. Almost 80 of her sculptures will be offered at auction, along with more than 170 lots of Native American art and artifacts from her personal collection.
“Gratitude II” from “Attitudes of Prayer” series by Retha Walden Gambaro
“I am most influenced by artists whose works speak of some spiritual experience – works which show the inspiration from which they come,” wrote Gambaro. “May the Shadow of the Great Spirit fall upon the work of my hands reminding all of the continuity of life.” A fallen leaf that reminded her of the fleeting nature of life inspired the contemplative sculpture Acceptance, part of a series devoted to attitudes of prayer and the universal expression of human emotion.
Among Gambaro’s renowned sculptures at The Potomack Company are herAttitudes of Prayer series that display an array of spiritual emotions in amorphous and realistic human and animal forms, including Faith, “Without faith, what else is there?,” Family, “How great, how wondrous are the bonds,” and Peace, “Sought by so many, destroyed by so few!”
Gambaro also sculpted busts, on commission, of famous Americans – including President John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rev. Jesse Jackson – copies of which will be offered for sale at Potomack. The auction company will recreate Gambaro’s studio at its Old Town Alexandria gallery to showcase her works and personal collection of Native American art and artifacts, her studio equipment and works of her husband, noted photographer Stephen A. Gambaro.