Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Confederated Salish and Kootenai) - 20th Century & Contemporary Art: Online Auction New York Monday, July 17, 2023 | Phillips
  • In A Cloudy Day, 1992, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith uses abstraction and text towards political means in art. The present work was created the year after the artist’s Ode to Chief Seattle series, 1989-1991, which paid homage to Chief Si’ahl (Seattle), a 19th century Duwamish and Squamish leader who emphasized the interdependence of humanity and nature in his activist work.


    A Cloudy Day picks up on the environmentalist and Indigenous rights themes of the Chief Seattle series; a hazy wash covers the painting, reminiscent of acid rain, a major environmentalist platform in the early 1990s. Black text crowds into the space between abstracted tree trunks and red and green clouds of leaves. The text is a vocabulary of burgeoning late 20th century capitalism, with references to the stock market, white collar crime, and globalization. But placed in a painted forest setting, the words transform, and recall the violence enacted against Indigenous Americans by settlers.  Do “terms,” for example, refer to the terms of a financial contract, or the terms of violated treaties between Indigenous and settler populations?


    The text in A Cloudy Day provides a matrix upon which Smith adds contemporary and real meaning to an otherwise abstract landscape. As a citizen of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation, Smith believes that her “life’s work involves examining contemporary life in America and interpreting it through Native ideology.”i A Cloudy Day accomplishes this intersection, placing the language of settler American capitalism in a forest setting, where the presence of trees, and their Indigenous painter, color the viewer’s understanding of the words. A Cloudy Day weaves together the binaries of natural and corporate, Indigenous and settler, textual and abstract, in one, united composition.



    Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, quoted in “Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: Memory Map,” The Whitney Museum of American Art, 2023, online.

    • Provenance

      Jan Cicero Gallery, Chicago
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1996.


A Cloudy Day

signed, titled and dated "'A Cloudy Day" JQTS Smith 1992" on the reverse
watercolor, sumi and charcoal on two joined sheets of paper
16 1/8 x 59 7/8 in. (41 x 152.1 cm)
Executed in 1992.

Full Cataloguing

$15,000 - 20,000 

Sold for $30,480

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20th Century & Contemporary Art: Online Auction

17 - 26 July 2023