Fritz Scholder occupies a unique spot in Native American Art. Many times during his career, he claimed that he was not an Indian, but the works that initially brought him to fame were a series on Native Americans.
He basically shocked the Native American art market with his paintings of Indians with beer cans, American Flags and some other wild stuff. He really was part Indian, a one-quarter Luseino, which is a California Mission tribe.I can’t pretend to do him justice in the length of this email, but his biography is fascinating. I strongly recommend that you check it out.
Another Matinee Cowboy
I never met Scholder, but I remember seeing him at Santa Fe Indian Market. All of the other Indian artists were usually dressed up in Native or Western clothing and, since it was the height of the jewelry boom, they were dripping in turquoise. Not Scholder. He had a suit coat on.
Most of the other Native artists were showing in booths on the plaza. Not Scholder. He had been recognized early on by Elaine Horowitz, who was a friend of my father’s. She owned the most amazing gallery that Santa Fe had, or may ever have. Her building was on San Francisco Street and today the space is occupied by Sorrel Sky Gallery.
One of my clearest memories was waiting in line to get into the Fritz Scholder opening on Friday Night before Indian Market. People were lined up down the block and Elaine sent her staff out with red paper dots to give to people who were in line. When the door opened, people rushed in and began putting the red dots on the title cards next to Scholder’s paintings.
Sioux War Party
I have no idea how many hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent that night, but I was completely amazed. And, to be real truthful, I really didn’t get what all the fuss was about. Well, as you get older, and if you want to, you gain appreciation for things you didn’t understand before. Scholder was a unique artist that was the first to give a really critical appraisal of the Indian in American society. He was a master. His composition, color palette and message were way ahead of his time.
Elaine and Fritz were superstars and she promoted him until she passed on. He continued to show and teach in Santa Fe and around the world. His works were shown in every major museum in the country and many around the world. He established himself as an world artist, not an Indian artist.
But the American Indian was always one of his favorite subjects. And, when he discovered printmaking, he took the genre to the next level. There is currently an exhibit of Scholder’s prints at the Adobe Gallery in Santa Fe and I urge you to visit it online. My good friend Al Anthony, the owner of the gallery, is selling a collection of Scholder’s work that I know you will enjoy.
We are very lucky to have two very exciting and wonderful prints by Fritz Scholder. You can see them on our website here.
These are all first rate pieces and are very reasonably priced. This is your chance to own a work by one of America’s greatest artists.