(1906-1993) An East Indian mother and a father from Taos Pueblo represented a mixed beginning for Pop Chalee. Merina Lujan Hopkins grew up at Taos Pueblo, then attended and graduated from the Santa Fe Indian School.
Pop Chalee began her professional painting in 1936 after serving as the only adult attending the Santa Fe Indian School to study easel painting with Dorothy Dunn. Best known for her depiction of horses and forest scenes. Pop Chalee used watercolor with meticulous detail.
She was the first Native American painter included in Who's Who.
Prior to her death she was living in New Mexico. Margaret Cesa gathered information for approximately four years and published a book on Pop Chalee titled The World of Flower Blue Pop Chalee: An Artistic Biography.
[I was introduced to Pop at Leo and Buck Saunders' Gallery in Scottsdale and immediately commented "You look just like your paintings!". as she was pristinely dressed with not a hair out of place. It was a great privilege to meet this talented woman. Years later I was blessed with the purchase of a small painting by Pop. - Corinne]
Every collection of Native American painting ought to include an example of this woman's very special work. Pop Chalee's work is included in the exhibit "Beautiful Resistance: Works on Paper from the Heard Museum Collection" May 22 - December. 2005.