Author and illustrator Paul Goble was born in England on September 27, 1933. He grew up in a family where art and literature were valued and promoted. He also grew up with a deep fascination for the indigenous peoples of North America. As a young man he made several visits to the United States to spend time on reservations in South Dakota and Montana. He moved to America permanently in 1977 and became an American citizen in 1984. He passed away in the Black Hills of South Dakota on January 5, 2017.
Throughout his career, Goble garnered countless awards for his writing and artwork. In 1979 he received the Caldecott Medal, which is one of the most prestigious awards in all of children’s literature. Goble’s Caldecott winner, The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, is just one of over 40 books in a career extending back to his first title, Red Hawk’s Account of Custer’s Last Battle, published in 1969. Throughout his long career, Goble focused on Plains American Indian history and retellings of traditional American Indian stories.
Award-winning Lakota author and illustrator S.D. Nelson says, “Paul Goble has a good heart. His paintings and his storytelling honor Lakota ways. Paul Goble, with his artistic insights, has shared our Lakota tradition and spiritual teachings with the world in a positive way. He is a true friend of our people.”
Like Nelson, world-renowned Lakota flute player and hoop dancer, Kevin Locke, is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. In a letter to Goble Locke once wrote, “You’ve done more to heighten an awareness of our culture than just about anyone I can think of.”
Although Goble’s artwork is scattered throughout the world in private and public collections, the primary resource for access to works representative of his career is in Brookings, South Dakota, at the South Dakota Art Museum. The museum’s extensive Paul Goble Collection consists of over 500 watercolor, gouache, and ink illustrations.
This traveling exhibit is a celebration of Goble’s life and career. The exhibit represents a small collection of his complete works but it provides visitors with the opportunity to enjoy artworks from different books and from different stages of his career. Visitors are invited to enjoy Goble’s paintings and to witness for themselves the products of a scholarly commitment to accurate research, an abiding passion for art, and deep love for the people and cultures of America’s Great Plains. It has truly been his life’s work. We welcome people of all ages and all backgrounds to enjoy the Paul Goble illustrations of American Indian Stories.