Grandma’s Blessing, Sculpture by Julius Keyonnie

Title: Grandma’s Blessing


Grandma’s Blessing, Sculpture by Julius Keyonnie

Artist: Julius Keyonnie 

Award: Sculpture -Honorable Mention

Nizhoni Fine Arts Competition

Navajo Nation Fair 2012

Navajo Baskets by Sally Black

Navajo Baskets by Sally Black

“Chief Blanket” 2nd Place Winner
“Yei figure” Honorable Mention
Nizhoni Fine Arts Competition, Navajo National Fair 2012

Reservation Scene Navajo Rug by Louise Nez

Reservation Scene - Navajo Rug woven by Louise Nez 1992Title: Reservation Scene

Date 1992
Weaver: Louise Nez (Navajo)
Type: Pictorial Navajo Rug woven with commercial yarn
Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson

Harrison Begay – Patriarch of Navajo Art

Harrison Begay who’s Navajo name is (Haashké yah Níyá, that means “Warrior Who Walked Up to His Enemy”)

He was born in White Cone, Arizona on the Navajo Reservation in White Cone, Arizona sometime around 1914 to 1917. He said He’s never been sure about the date.

His mother belonged to the Zuni White Corn Clan, and his father was Walk Around Clan / Near Water Clan. Young Harrison herded his family’s flock of sheep near Greasewood, where he still lives.

In 1933, he entered the Santa Fe Indian School to study art under Dorothy Dunn.
He is correctly known as the patriarch of twentieth century Navajo art.

In his art he depicts religion, life and animals of the Navajo native American people.
He painted children, animals, shepherds, weavers, and native American ceremonies, including the “Squaw Dance” and several Yei Bei Chai spiritual dances.

Navajo Squaw Dance by Harrison Begay

Painting of Navajo Squaw Dance – Date created: circa 1990 by Harrison Begay (Haskay Yahne Yah [Warrior Who Walked Up to His Enemy]), Diné (Navajo) – Media/Materials: Watercolor from an acrylic base.

His favorite medium was watercolor from an acrylic base.  This medium enabled him to capture the soft pastel colors for which he is so well known.

In 1936 Begay painted Navajo Horse Race at the school and sold the piece to Charles Mc C. Reeve for twelve dollars.  It is now in the Southwest Museum connection in Los Angeles.

Begay won two grand awards at the Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial and has been a consistent winner at state and tribal fairs. In 1954, he was awarded the French Ordre des Palmes Académiques. In 1995, he was awarded the Native American Masters Award by the Heard Museum. In 2003, he won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, the organizers of the annual Santa Fe Indian Market.

Begay returned to the Navajo reservation in 1947, and has made his living as a painter ever since. Begay has continued to paint in the Dorothy Dunn “Studio style” throughout his long career – he was still painting (in acrylics) in 2004, at age 90.

Works from his career are in permanent museum collections around the world almost every important public and private collection of Native American art, including the following:

  • Museum of the American Indian
  • Smithsonian Institute
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Museum of Northern Arizona
  • Heard Museum
  • Museum of Indian Arts and Culture
  • Wheelwright Museum
  • Southwest Museum
  • Philbrook Museum
  • Gilcrease Museum
  • National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
  • The Museum of Western Art
  • Desert Caballeros Western Museum
  • Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
  • Great Plains Art Museum

Begay was awarded the 2003 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Southwestern Association of Indian Artists, organizers of the annual Santa Fe Indian Art Market.

His portrait was featured in the Smithsonian Institute’s Museum of the American Indian in 2004.

Harrison Begay biography from Encyclopedia of World Biography
Harrison Begay at Indigenous Research Center
Harrison Begay in the Grove Dictionary of Art
Biography at Medicine Man Gallery

Alfredo Rodriguez American West Artist

Painting of a Navajo Woman and Girl with a newborn baby in in Cradleboard. 

"The New Arrival" By Alfredo Rodriguez
“The New Arrival” By Alfredo Rodriguez

For Alfredo Rodriguez, painting was as much a part of his childhood development as learning to walk and speak. Some of his earliest memories are of illustrating classroom assignments and painting portraits of family members with one of his earliest gifts, a set of watercolors from his mother at the age of six. Born and raised in Mexico in a family of nine children, Alfredo used his talent to supplement his family’s income needs.

Now living in California and winning top awards from several of the most prestigious organizations, Rodriguez’ work is also included in the books “Western Painting Today” by Royal B. Hassick and “Contemporary Western Artist” by Peggy and Harold Samuels. Alfredo also has been featured in magazines such as “Art of the West,” “Informart,” “Western Horseman” and “International Fine Art Collector.”

Alfredo currently exhibits at several important invitational art shows, including “Masters of the American West” at the Autry Museum in Los Angeles, California. His paintings are also included in the permanent collections of several museums, such as the Favell Museum in Oregon, the Leanin’ Tree Museum in Colorado, the Booth Museum in Georgia and the Pearce Western Art Collection in Texas. Alfredo was also the 2005 featured artist for the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival.

A professional artist since 1968, Alfredo Rodriguez is enjoying international response by private and corporate art collectors, as well as wide critical acclaim. He is internationally recognized for his outstanding paintings of the American West. His rich and vivid images of mountains, deserts, and Indian villages are admired wherever they are displayed, but it is his portrayal of the inhabitants of the land that provides the focal point of his work. As he paints, he captures the dignity of the human spirit elevated by the majestic beauty of their surroundings. He has come a long way from such a humble beginning, yet the critics believe that his masterful treatment of the American West is largely responsible for his success and demonstrates even great potential for the future.
Source: Alfredo Rodriguez website

Image Copyright by Alfredo Rodriguez. Use for educational purposes only.

Navajo Couple on Horseback by Delbert Buck


Navajo Couple on Horseback - 1991 Delbert Buck

1991 by Delbert Buck

Carved and painted wood, wire glasses, beadwork, turquoise jewelry, aluminum foil, leather, feathers, cloth, horse hair

 Smithsonian American Art Museum