The Oceanic art collection includes an array of art forms from the South Pacific region and is especially strong in art from the geographic regions of Melanesia and Polynesia. This collection of more than 1,000 pieces includes important historic monumental sculpture, delicate bark cloth, intricate wood carvings, and the work of contemporary artists such as Mathias Kauage and Laben Sakale.
During the North Building renovation project the Oceanic art galleries are closed. Please view select pieces from the Denver Art Museum’s Oceanic art collection in the cross-departmental exhibition, Stampede: Animals in Art.
EXPLORE THE COLLECTION ONLINE: Browse artworks from the Oceanic art collection anytime. Check back often for additions and updates.
The Oceanic collection includes all major island groups, with particular strength in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century wood carving and painted bark cloth from the islands of Samoa, Tonga, and Hawaii. Most impressive is the Melanesian collection, consisting of masterpieces from Papua New Guinea and New Ireland.
Dyani White Hawk incorporates the practices of painting, beadwork, and porcupine quillwork, creating works that are tied to and build upon the histories and intersections of modern abstraction and Lakota art forms.
She will speak about the development of her practice as well as the works and concepts driving her latest body of work currently featured in See Her, a solo exhibition at the Lilley Museum of Art in Reno, Nevada. More
The present-day market for historical African, Oceanic and Native American art is distinctive. In its general aesthetic approach, it relies heavily on the norms and values that govern the market for modern and contemporary art; its conception of authenticity and approach to connoisseurship, in contrast, derive from the antiques trade.
This unique mixture first emerged in Paris between the two world wars, and took on the form it retains to this day thanks to the innovative commercial strategies the noted dealer Charles Ratton developed between 1927 and 1939. More
News & Stories
Companion to Oceanic Art at the Denver Art Museum. Blomberg, Nancy J. Denver: Denver Art Museum, 2014.
Organized by the four major regions of Oceania (Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Australia), the 100-page book contains 80 color photos, including close-ups that allow the reader to see incredible details that would not be visible even in the gallery.
- John Lukavic, A. W. Mellon Curator of Native Arts
- Julia Strunk , Curatorial Assistant
- Heather Nielsen, Associate Director of Learning and Engagement
- Nancy Blomberg, Chief Curator and Curator of Native Arts
- Denene De Quintal, Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Curatorial Fellow
- Edgar C. McMechan, Curator
- Frederic H. Douglas, Curator
- Kate Peck Kent, Assistant Curator
- Royal B. Hassrick, Curator
- Norman Feder, Curator
- Richard Conn, Curator
- David Irving, Assistant Curator
- Ryntha Johnson, Assistant Curator
- Moyo Okediji, Assistant Curator
- Roger Echo-Hawk, Assistant Curator
- Polly Nordstrand, Associate Curator