Native American

Wolf Picture

Artist: Doris Beck
Culture/People: Chipewyan
Place: Fort Reslution, NWT, Canada
Media: Velveteen and caribou hair
Dims: 21.2 x 19.5 in. (53.8 x 49.5 cm), framed
Date: 1990
RTC No: NA0491
Gift of Ralph T. Coe, 2011


“In search of a fine tufted caribou hair item, I kept hearing that the finest worker in this media lived at Fort Resolution, along the southeast shore of the Great Slave Lake. I headed out of Hay River, and went as far as Fort Smith, then doubled back to Fort Resolution. I finally heard the name Doris Beck, and went to sit on her stoop. After I had been there a disconsolately long time, a passerby looked at me quizzically. I explained that I was trying to find Doris Beck. He said, “she’s not here, she’s off at fish camp.” There was nothing to do but go back to Hay River.” —Ted Coe

The next morning, I went rather indifferently along the main street and found a gift shop run by a very nice lady from Saskatchewan (it seems to me that everyone from Canada flees Saskatchewan) …. Here was the large, salient image that I had hankered over so longingly, right back in Hay River from where I had started out, and the author proved to be the sought-after Doris Beck. She had signed the picture “D.B. Ft. Res. NWT.” The wolf is depicted in exquisite profile and one can almost sense the plaintive bark as he serenades the darkling approach of night. There is an indescribable element of the long ago and far away and of the desolateness of the far north in winter that could only be achieved by someone who had spent a lifetime there. Despite the use of only a black and white palette, there is a subliminal sense of broad colorism so subtle are the undulating masses of caribou hair that delineate legs, haunch, and stretched muscles on the wolf.”

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