This man stands out among Native American artists as one of the groundbreakers, one who created something special, new and different.

He was also a tortured soul, subject to depression and addiction. The trail he left was filled with praise and admiration for his work from artists and collectors. It was also filled with sadness that this man could not conquer his demons.


He passed from a stroke early in life while painting in his studio.

During his career, he was subject to wild mood swings, from exhilaration to depression and, like his mind, his best work was one of movement and powerful emotions.

Earl Biss was born in 1947. He was a member of the Absaroke (Crow) tribe and was raised by his grandmother at Crow Agency, Montana and at Yakima, Washington.

As a young person, he had rheumatic fever and it was difficult for him to be active, playing outside with his friends. He turned to his artist side and began to draw and paint.

At the age of 16 he was accepted into the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe and in 1965, he attended the San Francisco Art Institute. T.C Cannon, Kevin Redstar and Doug Hyde were among students at the Institute, and he studied with Alan Houser and Charles Loloma, the famous Hopi jewelry.


After attending the art institute, he went to Paris to study and to learn the art of print making. In this, like his painting, he excelled and found an avenue to share his work with large numbers of collectors. His career exploded.

I only met Biss a couple of times in Santa Fe. He had an intense manner, and unfortunately, he had a manic energy that, combined with his addictions, made things difficult for the people in his life. He had nine marriages. I knew one of them and she is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Something in his soul just wouldn’t let him hold a connection. Sometimes he would paint for two or three days in a row, refusing to stop until he collapsed.

Greatness sometimes comes at a price, but no one who knew this man and his work could deny that he created a special place for himself in the art world. One of his favorite subjects was a scene of Native riders, with a storm moving about them, surrounded by mountains and the elements.


These painting always left me with a feeling of wonder at the power of Nature. His sky’s boiled and moved and snow often moved with the wind over the blanketed riders who looked so small in comparison to the power that surrounded them. Others have told me these prints and paintings were a tribute to man’s ability to persevere in the everlasting battle against nature.

In an interview, he talked about “moving paint” but it was more than that. He moved emotions and feelings. When you look at a print or painting by Earl Biss, you feel energy. And that energy is what carried him in his work. Ultimately, it he lost control of it, and it killed him.

Earl Biss, despite his short life and short comings touched greatness, which few of us do. He left a beautiful and powerful legacy.

We have four wonderful serigraphs that I hope you will enjoy seeing.