Art of the American West

Elizabeth Davey Lochrie

Montana/California (1890-1981)


Elizabeth Davey Lochrie was born in Deer Lodge, July 1, 1890.  Her life was spent in early Montana settlements with “braid” Indian neighbors; she was educated in Butte schools and received her art education at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 1911.  During 1924-1925 she painted eighteen children’s murals for the Montana State Hospital.

After 1931 Lochrie specialized in Native American portraits, particularly of Blackfeet tribal members, having produced more than a thousand water colors, oils, murals and sculptures. Admission to her lectures was frequently a donation of clothing and other necessities for needy native Americans.  She was adopted by the Blackfeet and given the name “Netchitaki” which translates as “Woman Alone In Her Way.”  The Blackfeet said, “She came to us from over the Western mountains, this white woman. She was friendly and understanding. We brought her into the medicine teepee and made her our sister.”

She later recalled her days at the Great Northern Summer Art School, studying with Weinold Reiss: “I got acquainted with the Indians. I found them so paintable that I’ve done them ever since.  I’ve done hundreds, maybe thousands.  Every summer after (1931) I either took the children or left them home with the maid, and I went to Glacier or the Flathead, or somewhere to paint Crow, Nez Perce, Blackfeet, Assiniboine.  I spent all summer chasing Indians.”

From 1937 to 1939, Lochrie painted some historic murals in the post offices at Burley and Saint Anthony, Idaho and in Dillon and Galen, Montana.  From 1936 to 1939, she was staff artist for the Great Northern Railroad in Glacier National Park.

Exhibitions: NY World’s Fair, 1939; Montana Historical Society, 1944 (solo); NW AA, 1944-46; Statler Hotel (LA), 1960 (solo); Wilshire Methodist Church (LA), 1962; Montana Arts Chateau, 1987. In: Bancroft Library (UC Berkeley); Southwest Museum (LA); LA Museum of Science & Industry; Burley (ID) Post Office (mural); Idaho Falls Post Office (mural); Dillon (MT) Post Office (mural); Helena (MT) Hist. Society; Whitney Museum (Cody, WY); Univ. of Wyoming (Laramie); State Hospital, Galen, MT (mural).