Contemporary Native American Artists


FRITZ SCHOLDER New Mexico 1937- 2005

Scholder’s grandmother was a member of the Luiseño tribe of Mission Indians. Born in 1937, Scholder spent his childhood traveling with his father, who was assigned different posts as a school administrator for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Scholder was regarded as a leader of the New American Indian Art Movement. From the beginning, he struggled to represent the landscape and people of the Southwest without indulging in the romantic clichés of genre art with Native themes. In time he fused abstract expressionism, surrealism, and Pop art to express his unique vision of the Southwest and the Native experience. Scholder’s work can be appreciated as being simultaneously Indian, American, and cutting edge 20th-century art.

After graduating with an MFA Degree in 1964, Scholder accepted the position of instructor in Advanced Painting and Contemporary Art History at the newly formed Institute of American Indians Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico and became a pivotal figure in the burgeoning Sante Fe art community. His work is in dozens of museum collections, including those of the Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He traveled and exhibited internationally and was the recipient of 5 honorary degrees.

RICK BARTOW Newport , Oregon 1946-2016

Rick Bartow was born in Newport, Oregon. He was a member of the Wiyot tribe of Northern California and he was considered one of the nation’s most prominent contemporary Native American artists. He was an artist that produced compelling artworks drawn from his personal experiences of being a Viet Nam veteran, Native American ancestry, and friendships with artists and indigenous peoples from around the world. He confronted personal loss and history through the restorative and transformative powers of art. Animals are recurring subjects in his work. The bears, coyotes, birds, and salmon in his paintings and wood carvings pay tribute to the wildlife of Oregon’s central coast.

His work is permanently held in more than 60 public institutions in the U.S., including Yale University; Brooklyn Museum in New York; and Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts. In 2012, commissioned by the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, Bartow created "We Were Always Here," a monumental pair of sculptures, more than 20 feet high, which was installed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. In 2015, a 40-year retrospective of Bartow’s work was mounted at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Eugene and traveled to museums around the United States.

His work can be seen at Froelich Gallery in Portland.


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