An ambitious exhibition of more than 100 oil paintings, sculpture and works on paper depicting American Indians — portraits rendered by natives and non-natives over 160 years — is on view at the Utah Museum of Art (until August 11, 2013). The work included in Bierstadt to Warhol: American Indians in the West is drawn primarily from the Diane and Sam Stewart Collection. The Stewarts are Mormons, active LDS in Salt Lake City, who are not easy to pigeonhole. In 2008 they hosted George W. Bush in their home for a fundraiser for McCain (yes, Gov. Romney was there, too). A year later they hosted a meeting between LDS Church officials and representatives of Utah’s gay community–which produced the Church’s support of a non-discrimination ordinance. (A UCLA study reports Utah has climbed from 38th to 14th in the nation for people living in committed same-sex relationships.)
Sam Steward is chairman of Wasatch Advisors, an asset management company he founded in Salt Lake City in 1975. A well-educated businessman (among other accomplishments an Austin Scholar at Northwestern, Alfred P. Sloan, Jr Fellow at Stanford, and professor of finance at Columbia University), Mr. Stewart knew little about art before collecting. Along the way, he and his wife refined their growing collection to specialize in depictions of Western women and Indians. “We have no cowboys,” Ms. Stewart said. Hanging in their master bedroom is W. Herbert Dunton’s Woman Delivering the Mail, an oil painting of a pioneering woman hard at work. It captures the American spirit of diligence and determination.