Rudolph C. Gorman was born in 1931 on the Navajo Nation at Chinle, Arizona. As a boy, his life was very traditional, herding sheep with his maternal grandmother. He attended school on the reservation through high school. He attended Arizona State College (now Northern Arizona University). He took a break from his schooling to enlist in the U.S. Navy for four years.
Returning to NAU in 1955, he studied art and literature. Gorman studied at Mexico City College for a year on a Navajo tribal scholarship. While in Mexico, he discovered the renowned artists Zuniga, Orozco, Rivera, and Siqueiros, whose work had a profound impact on him. Zuniga’s manner of handling the female figure was a great influence on Gorman.
R. C. and his father, noted artist and Navajo code-talker, Carl Nelson Gorman held a two-artist exhibit at the Philbrook Art Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1964 and at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona in 1965. Since then, R.C. traveled, and his work had been exhibited, all over the world. In 1968, Gorman acquired the Manchester Gallery in Taos, New Mexico and renamed it the Navajo Gallery.
A very prolific artist, R.C. Gorman has been called "Picasso of Indian artists". Best known for his sensitive and beautiful depictions of Navajo women, he passed away in 2005.