Detail of Chicago Settee by Zacherias Nicholas; photo by Bill Holm
Faculty / Robin K. Wright

Robin K. Wright

Professor, Art History
Director, Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Coast Art
Curator of Native American Art, Burke Museum
Burke Museum, room 110

Bill Holm Center Endowed Professor

M.A., University of Washington, 1977
Ph.D., University of Washington, 1985


Native American Art
Nineteenth Century Haida Art

I have taught art history at the University of Washington since 1985 and have a joint appointment as Curator of Native American Art at the Burke Museum. My research, teaching, and curatorial work center on the Native arts of the Pacific Northwest Coast, in particular nineteenth century Haida art. Since 2003, I have directed the Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Coast Art at the Burke Museum, a globally accessible learning center to promote scholarly research on Northwest Coast Native art, increase Native and public access to research resources, and foster appreciation and understanding of Native art of the Pacific Northwest Coast.

I am currently researching the set of Skidegate Haida house and pole models made in 1892 for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago (see link at right under multimedia publications). Twenty-nine model houses, most with frontal poles, and 16 free-standing model poles were commissioned by James Deans for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. This is a collaborative project with the Skidegate Haida community, the Haida Gwaii Museum in Skidegate, B. C. to develop a traveling exhibit of the house models, and document them in a book. This research has been partially funded by the UW Royalty Research Fund, Canadian Embassy Senior Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities, and UW College of Arts and Sciences.

Recent Courses

ART H 435 – Themes and Issues in Native American Art
ART H 533 – Graduate Seminar in Native American Art

Curriculum Vitae

Selected Publications:

Charles Edenshaw (co-edited with Daina Augaitis). London and Vancouver: Blackdog Publishers and Vancouver Art Gallery, 2013.

In the Spirit of the Ancestors: Contemporary Northwest Coast Art at the Burke Museum (co-edited with Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse). Seattle: Bill Holm Center and University of Washington Press, 2013.

"Zacherias and the Chicago Settee: Connecting the Masterpiece to the Master," American Indian Art Magazine 35 (1) 2009: 68-75. PDF

Northern Haida Master Carvers. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2001.

"Two Haida Artists from Yan: Will John Gwaytihl and Simeon Stilthda Please Step Apart?," American Indian Art Magazine 23 (3): (Summer 1998): 42-57, 106-107. PDF

A Time of Gathering - Native Heritage in Washington State. Seattle: Burke Museum and University of Washington Press, 1991.

Selected Multimedia Publications:

Skidegate Haida Model Houses and Poles

The Enduring Power of Totem Poles

Totem Poles: Heraldic Columns of the Northwest Coast