The Dr. Samuel R. Poliakoff Collection of Western Art

at the Abbeville County Library System, Abbeville, SC

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Jim Abieta
Jim Abieta
Jim Abieta
Jim Abieta
Norma Ami
Mildred Antonio
Joe Beeler
Nathan Begay
Nathan Begay
Ernest Berke
Ernest Berke
Ernest Berke
Ernest Berke
Ernest Berke
Nettie Bica
Rena Billie
Rena Billie
Blue Corn
Blue Corn
Blue Corn
Mary Cain
Barbara and Joseph Cerno
Lorraine Chinama
Marie Z Chino
Grace Chino
Marie Z Chino
Marie Z Chino
Marie Z Chino
Roger Cooke
Roger Cooke
Arthur and Hilda Coriz
Joe de Yong
Joe de Yong
Joe de Yong
Joe de Yong
Thomas A DeDecker
Frank DiVita
Juanita Suazo Dubray
Cora Duran
Richard Ebelacker
Nick Eggenhofer
Daro Flood
Joseph Gachupin
Laura Gachupin
Tina Garcia
Rose Chino Garcia
Rose Chino Garcia
Louise Goodman
Martha Gordon
Pula Gutierrez
Pula Gutierrez
Pula Gutierrez
Margaret Gutierrez and Luther Gutierrez
Margaret Gutierrez and Luther Gutierrez
Margaret Gutierrez and Luther Gutierrez
Geraldine Gutierrez
Pula Gutierrez
Pula Gutierrez
Virginia Gutierrez
Pula Gutierrez
Pula Gutierrez
Lois Gutierrez de la Cruz
Eva Hisita
Allan Houser
Rodina Huma
Stella Huma
Rodina Huma
Rodina Huma
Mary Kee
Alton Komalestewa
Charles Lee
Emma Lewis
Lucy Lewis
Emma Lewis
Lucy Lewis
Emogene Lomakema
Anita Garcia Lowden
Ralph Lowe
Rebecca Lucario
Maria Martinez and Popovi Da
Maria Martinez and Popovi Da
Maria and Julian Martinez
Ben Matchers
Lucy Leuppe McKelvy
Sofia Medina
Helen Naha
Rainey Naha
Sylvia Naha
Priscilla Namingha
Priscilla Namingha
Leah Nampeyo
Dextra Nampeyo Quotskuyva
Dextra Nampeyo Quotskuyva
Teresita Naranjo
Elizabeth Naranjo
Bernice Swazo Naranjo
Teresita Naranjo
Teresita Naranjo
Joy Navasie
Bill Nebeker
Cecelia Nelson
Oktollik
Paulita Pacheco
Paulita Pacheco
Jack Riley
Virginia T Romero
Ida Sahme
Jean Sahme Nampeyo
David Salk
Selina Sanchez
Helen Shupla
Stella Shutiva
Mary Small
Ada Suina
Andrea Tafoya
Mark Tahbo
Thelma Talachy
Robert Tenorio
Jennie Thomas
Lavine Torivio
Dorothy Torivio
Tony Tso
Faye Tso
Vallo
Sue Williams
Wayne Wolfe
Lola Yazzie
Sally Yazzie
Iris Youvella Nampeyo
Unknown
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Abbeville County Library System website

Born on March 14, 1919 in Abbeville, South Carolina, the youngest of six children of David and Rachel Poliakoff, Dr. Samuel R. Poliakoff was a medical doctor and teacher of high reputation as well as a collector and a patron of the arts. He graduated from the University of South Carolina and received his medical degree from the Medical College of South Carolina where he was first in his class. Following service in the Korean War as a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, he moved to Atlanta where he became Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Piedmont Hospital, and clinical professor in that field at Emory University Medical School. Dr. Poliakoff passed away on July 2, 1989. He loved his extended family and his hometown, and bequeathed his collection as a gift on behalf of the Poliakoff Family of Abbeville.

The Native American and Western art collection of Dr. Samuel R. Poliakoff was assembled in the 1980s during his extensive travel throughout the American Southwest. He desired his significant collection of Southwestern American art to belong to the city and county of his birth, bequeathing his collection to the Abbeville County Library along with a financial bequest. Authentic and built with an extensive knowledge of the Southwest peoples, each piece in the collection serves as window into Native American art, increases our knowledge and inspires other artists.

Dr. Poliakoff enjoyed his travels in Europe and the Southwest and brought home many fine pieces to enrich his life and remind him of the Southwest. Through collecting Native-made art, Dr. Poliakoff found a wholly unique American art form, one rich in history and traditions as well as beauty. American Indian-made art has traveled around the world for centuries. That such an extensive collection would find a permanent home as a public collection in Abbeville may at first be surprising, but what a delightful and thoughtful bequest by a native son of South Carolina.

Dr. Poliakoff traveled at an opportune time because there was then a virtual explosion of creativity by Pueblo people in pottery production and Navajo people in textiles. Collecting bronze sculptures connected him with one of the great American Western art traditions as well. As authentic works each piece carries with it a tradition of craftsmanship and connection to materials and subject matter. With a clear eye for detail and subject matter in a relatively short amount of time Dr. Poliakoff was able to assemble a lifetime of experience and art. He especially admired the landscape, people and cultures of New Mexico and Arizona. On each of his yearly and often bi-yearly trips to the Southwest he gathered the various objects in this collections. Upon returning home he corresponded with galleries to collect additional pieces for his growing collection.

Dr. Poliakoff understood the West, as we all do, on his own terms. He was not a voracious collector but judicious in selecting fine works and not succumbing to tourist trinkets and bobbles. In addition, he acted deliberately in his acquisitions by strategically visiting the same galleries and steadily gaining an appreciation of the complexities of each art form through study. He was interested in families and the peoples of the Southwest too. Purchasing several pieces of pottery from a single family and lineage was an excellent way for Dr. Poliakoff to demonstrate his understanding of Native art traditions and the matriarchies of Pueblo pottery making.

Preparation of this website is funded in part by The Humanities Council SC, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Preparation of this website is funded in part by The Myer and Rosa Poliakoff Memorial Family Fund of Abbeville, SC.
Technical assistance at the Collection location was provided by the South Carolina Arts Commission.

Copyright 2014, Abbeville County Library System. - Credits