Quincy Tahoma (Water Edge) Navajo Painter

Quincy Tahoma was born near Tuba City, Arizona in 1920.

The Name Tahoma in Navajo means “Water Edge”.

Tahoma attended Tuba City Day School, “graduating” in May, 1928.

Navajo Rider Looking at Lost Horses - 1941 Quincy Tahoma, Diné (Navajo), 1921-1956

Navajo Rider Looking at Lost Horses – 1941 Quincy Tahoma, Diné (Navajo), 1921-1956

Tahoma studied art in Santa Fe, New Mexico from 1936 to 1940, where he attended the Santa Fe Indian School in New Mexico from 1936 to 1940 and trained by Dorothy Dunn at the Studio.

Harrison Begay, Navajo artist who was Tahoma’s friend at the Santa Fe Indian School, had told us that Tahoma had a damaged arm, and some other people had mentioned it. At 16 (now in 6th grade) Tahoma carried only 113 1/2 pounds on his 5’6′ frame.

In his youth he also created “sand paintings.” As a boy he spent much of his time hunting and fishing, whereas later in life, he drew much of his artistic inspiration from his boyhood experiences.

Going to Night Chant - Quincy Tahoma, Diné (Navajo), 1921-1956

Going to Night Chant – Quincy Tahoma, Diné (Navajo), 1921-1956

He was known for his dynamic action filled paintings and pictures full of humor.

Early in his career, his paintings were serene and soothing in tone, but increasingly they had subject matter of wars and men killing animals.

His subjects were things like riding, fishing, and hunting, and landscape scenes. He used brilliant colors and precise lines in his work.

He worked most of his life in Santa Fe, on hundreds of paintings from the mid-1930s to 1956 as a Navajo painter and muralist.

He one of the Indian Code Talkers, in World War II who played such a critical part in the winning of World War II in the Pacific. After the war, he returned to the Navajo Reservation and became a successful artist.

Quincy Tahoma the gifted Navajo artist died of alcoholism in November 1956 in Santa Fe.

His Collections can be seen in the following institutions:

  • National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
  • Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University
  • National Museum of the American Indian
  • San Diego Museum of Art
  • Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
  • Philbrook Museum of Art

Source: Quincy Tahoma website