The contemporary Licher gallery on the east end of the museum features a wonderful collection of Historic Navajo Weavings owned by Clare and Max Licher–a fitting show since Max was the architect who brought Allan’s vision for this wing to life!
The Licher Gallery Collection
Max Licher moved to Sedona with his two best friends in 1982, in his mid-twenties, to build a house for his mother. He fell in love with the place, and ended up pursuing a career in architecture there for the next forty years. In that first year, he wandered into Garlands Navajo Rug shop, was befriended there by Dan Garland and Steve Mattoon, and claimed an earthy Crystal in red rock tones by Marlene Harrison on layaway. Over the ensuing years, that first spark turned into a passion for tapestries that spoke of a sense of place and the spirits that have inhabited it for generations. In particular, pictorials from the early decades in the 1900s infrequently turned up and yet were still accessible to a budding collector. Not as perfectly woven as more contemporary pieces, and not as rarified as earlier blankets, they nevertheless possessed a mystery and a deeply human expression of life in nature, in a harsh but beautiful environment.
The work of an architect in Sedona and the greater Southwest demands an attention to pattern and texture, geology and biology, in order to make designs that resonate with the places they inhabit. Out of this grew a love for botany. With his wife Clare, Max has also worked with Arizona native plants, distilling essential oils from wildcrafted material, and documenting the botanical diversity in our region. The woven tapestries speak to that knowledge too; the cornstalks, waterbugs, dragonflies, and feathers, from the perspective of a people whose lives were far more intimately tied to nature than ours. After all these years, they still point towards a beauty that is worth aspiring to in our contemporary creations.