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Annotated Native American Painting Bibliography

Anthes, Bill. Native Moderns American Indian Painting, 1940-1960.  Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2006.

If you hunger for "extra insight" into the minds of the artists of this period, their intentions, this is the right book to snag and commit to reading.

Benes, Rebecca C.  Native American Picture Books of Change. Santa Fe:  Museum of New Mexico Press, 2004.

Compilation of books illustrated by artists who have become the most recognized Native American artists of the mid to late 20th century is this book's mandate. Includes Fred Kabotie, Quincy Tahoma, Allan Houser, Velino Herrera, Andrew Tsinajinnie, Oscar Howe, Charles Loloma, Narcisco Abeyta (Ha-So-De), Pablita Velarde to name a few.

Bernstein, Bruce & W. Jackson Rushing. Modern by Tradition American Indian Painting in the Studio Style. Albuquerque, NM: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1995.

One of my favorite books addressing the shaping of Native American painting.


Books On Specific Artists

Jim Abeita

The American Indians of Abeita His People foreword by Joe Stacey

 Pop Chalee

The World of Flower Blue Pop Chalee An Artistic Biography by Margaret Cesa

 T.C. Cannon

T.C. Cannon He Stood in the Sun by Joan Frederick

 Patrick DesJarlait

Patrick DesJarlait Conversations with a Native American Artist recorded by Neva Williams

 Helen Hardin

Changing Woman The Life and Art of Helen Hardin by Jay Scott

 Rance Hood

Rance Hood Mystic Painter by James J. Hester and Rance Hood

John Hoover

 John Hoover Art and Life by Julie Decker

Allan Houser

Allan Houser (Ha-O-Zous) by Barbara H. Perlman

Allan Houser An American Master (Chiricahua Apache, 1914-1994) by W. Jackson Rushing III

 Oscar Howe

Oscar Howe A Retrospective Exhibition Catalogue Raisonne edited by Frederick Dockstader

 David Johns

David Johns on the Trail of Beauty by Lois Essary Jacka

 Fred Kabotie

Fred Kabotie: Hopi Indian Artist by Fred Kabotie with Bill Belknap

 Truman Lowe

Woodland Reflections The Art of Truman Lowe by Jo Ortel

George Morrison

Turning the Feather Around My Life in Art by George Morrison as told to Margot Fortunato Galt

 Dan Namingha

The Art of Dan Namingha by Thomas Hoving

Geronima Cruz Montoya

The Worlds of P'otsunu Geronima Cruz Montoya of San Juan Pueblo by Jeanne Shutes and Jill Mellick

 David Chehlahe Paladin

Painting the Dream The Shamanic Life and Art of David Chethlahe Paladin Foreword by Matthew Fox

Tonita Pena

Tonita Pena by Samuel L. Gray

Roxanne Swentzell

Roxanne Swentzell Extra Ordinary People by Gussie Fauntleroy

Pablita Velarde

Pablita Velarde Painting Her People by Marcella J. Ruch

Beatien Yazz

Yazz Navajo Painter by Sallie R. Wagner and J.J. Brody and Beatien Yazz


Breeskin, Adelyn D.  Scholder/ Indians.  Flagstaff, AZ  Northland Press, 1972.  Lists lithographs and paintings by Scholder prior to 1972.

Broder, Patricia Janis. American Indian Painting & Sculpture. New York: Abbeville Press Publishers, 1981. 

Deceptively large, this book could pass as a coffee table book, until you read it. Many of the greats are introduced to the reader in this volume matched with powerful color illustrations.

Broder, Patricia Janis. Earth Songs, Moon Dreams: Paintings by American Indian Women. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999.

Patricia assembled this book showcasing many of the most impressive Native Americans painters works coupled with insightful explanations for specific paintings as well as the development of their careers.

 Broder, Patricia Janis. Hopi Painting: The World of the Hopis. New York: Brandywine Press, 1979.

Patricia chronicles the past to the present, the traditional to the non-traditional in Hopi painting. 

Brody, J. J. Pueblo Indian Painting: Tradition and Modernism in New Mexico, 1900-1930. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press, 1997.

Solid scholarship by an informed art historian focused on the early 20th century Pueblo paintings in the Collections of the School of American Research is homed with luscious illustration in this book. 

Burke, Christina.  Impact  The Philbrook Indian Annual 1946-1979.  Tulsa, Oklahoma:  Philbrook Museum of Art, 2014.

The influence of this competition of American Indian paintings only was tremendous.  Gorgeous illustrations of some remarkable paintings compliment Burke's well developed essay.

Dunn, Dorothy. American Indian Painting of the Southwest and Plains Areas.  Santa Fe: The University of New Mexico Press, 1968.

Together with the Tanner book, these two represent the bible books for those discovering Native American painting.

Elder, Tamara Liegerot.  Lumhee Holot-Tee The Art and Life of Acee Blue Eagle.  Edmond, OK:  Medicine Wheel Press, 2006.

English, Samuel F. and Ann Dallman.  Sam English The Life, Work and Times of an Artist.  Quinnesec, Michigan: Sam English Art, 2009.

Everett, Deborah and Elayne Zorn. Encyclopedia of Native American Artists Artists of the American Mosaic. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2008.

Seventy (70) artists ranging from Kenojuak Ashevak, George Morrison and Bill Reid to Sheldon Harvey and Steven Yazzie are featured. Each entry offers museum and gallery opportunities to see an artist's work as well as bibliographic references.  When possible, the artists' comments about their work is shared rendering a more dimensional expose than standard reference tools tend to offer.

Gundersheimer, Werner.  Fritz Scholder Paintings.  Tucson, AZ:  Nazraeli Press, 2001.  Offers an abundance of color plates charting Scholder's paintings.
Haralson, Carol, ed. Woody Crumbo.  Tulsa, Oklahoma:  Gilcrease Museum, 2012.

Havens, Charnell & Vera Marie Badertscher. Quincy Tahoma The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist.  Atglen, PA: Schiffer Ltd, 2011.

Beautifully researched investigation of Quincy Tahoma's development as an artist by two very committed authors.

Henkes, Robert. Native American Painters of the Twentieth Century The Works of 61 Artists. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 1995.

Contemporary and traditional approaches to painting share the focus in this book of 20th century painters.

Highwater, Jamake. Song from the Earth: American Indian Painting. Boston: New York Graphic Society, 1976.

Pre-ledger drawings through Fritz Scholder and Rance Hood are explored here.

Highwater, Jamake.  The Sweetgrass Lives On: Fifty Contemporary North American Indian Artists. New York: Lippincott & Crowell Publishers, 1980.

Fifty artists who were cutting edge 25 years ago are revealed along with some of their predecessors.

LaPena, Frank and Mark Dean Johnson ed., When I Remember I See Red American Indian Art and Activism in California.  Oakland, California:  University of California Press, 2019.
This catalogue partnering with a major exhibition uniquely focused on the work of contemporary art by 50 American Indian artists living in California over the past half century serves to introduce anyone to the major players.  

Lester, Patrick D. The Biographical Directory of Native American Painters. Tulsa: SIR Publications, 1995.

This book includes more artists than perhaps Snodgrass, but there are mistakes in it with respect to some artists' dates. That said, you must own it.

Lucie-Smith, Edward.  Fritz Scholder A Survey of Paintings 1980-1993.  Munich, Germany:  Nazraeli Press, 1993.  Softbound with beautiful illustrations.

Matuz, Roger, ed. St. James Guide to Native North American Artists. Detroit: St. James Press, 1998. 

In-depth coverage of artists who work with paint, who sculpt with metal, who make baskets, etc.  Lists core data including exhibitions, collections including the artists' works as well as publications along with commentary about stylistically what typifies an artist's work.

McFadden, David Revere and Ellen Napiura Taubman. Changing Hands:  Art Without Reservation 2 Contemporary Native North American Art from the West, Northwest & Pacific. New York, NY: Museum of Arts & Design, 2005.

This exhibition catalogue is magnificently illustrated. Anyone heretofore intriqued with contemporary art will be stunned by the range and quality demonstrated by artists whose work is included.

McGeough, Michelle.  Through Their Eyes Indian Painting in Santa Fe, 1918-1945.  Santa Fe, New Mexico: Wheelwright Museum of American Indian Art, 2009.

Critical book to experience some of the finest examples of American Indian paintings from the Southwest. Michelle's text explores both the art instructor/ patron side of these artists. She also investigates it from the artists' families viewpoints, identifying some of the artists' intentions in making the work, which is so inciteful.

Caveat, very few hardbound copies remain available due to a limited printing coupled with a strong quantity having been gifted to Indian schools, so arrange for your copy soon!

Pecina, Ron and Bob Pecina.  Neil David's Hopi World.  Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2011.  

Rushing, W. Jackson ed., Native American Art in the Twentieth Century.  London, England: Routledge, 1999. 

Two amazing articles, one by David W. Penney & Lisa A. Roberts and another by Bruce Bernstein, cogently map the development of American Indian fine art for the reader.

Ryan, Allan J.  The Trickster Shift Humour and Irony in Contemporary Native Art.  Seattle, Washington:  University of Washington Press, 1999.
Schreffler, Michael and Marilyn Zeitlin ed. Fritz Scholder  Thirty Years of Sculpture.  Munich, Germany:  Nazraeli Press, 1994.  More diversity than expected

Seymour, Tryntje Van Ness. When the Rainbow Touches Down. Phoenix: The Heard Museum, 1988.

Accompaniment to a fabulous exhibition of the Denman collection. Many, many artists were interviewed with a great deal of sensitivity and this is recorded . Chapters are grouped by culture: Apache, Navajo, Rio Grande Pueblo, Hopi. Way of Life, Religion and Art topics are followed by biographical investigations of the artists and descriptions of their paintings.

Silberman, Arthur. 100 Years of Native American Painting. Oklahoma City: The Oklahoma Museum of Art, 1978.

As guest curator for this exhibit, Mr. Silberman should be cheered. This was an early survey exhibition ahead of his time.

Simmonds, David, PhD.  Blackbear Bosin  Keeper of the Indian Spirit.  Newton, Kansas: Carriage Factory Art Gallery, 2012.
Sims, Lowery Stokes ed., Fritz Scholder Indian Not Indian.  Washington, DC:  National Museum of the American Indian, 2008.  Accompanying a comprehensive exhibit covering full breadth of Scholder's artistic development.  Keen articles penned by several scholars in this field, both indigenous and non.

Snodgrass, Jeanne O., comp. American Indian Painters: A Biographical Directory. New York: Museum of the American Indian Heye Foundation, 1968.

For anyone who hasn't memorized various artists' Native names versus their more commonly known names, this book is a MUST! 

Tanner, Clara Lee. Southwest Indian Painting: A Changing Art. 2nd ed. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1973.

Not the best examples illustrated, but it is one of the two foundation volumes for collecting Native American art.

Taylor, Joshua C, Peterson, Maass, Turk.  Fritz Scholder.  New York, NY:  Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 1982.

One of several covering Scholder's development as an artist up through 1982.  Heavily illustrated, this book exposes the reader to Scholder's artistic attitudes as well.  A special edition of 150 includes an original lithograph. Dream, 1982.

Taylor, Joshua C.  Fritz Scholder/ The Retrospective 1960-1981. Tucson, Arizona:  Tucson Museum of Art, 1981. Taylor's nimble essay offers solid incite couched in an academic's "art speak".
Touchette, Charleen.  NDN Art  Contemporary Native American Art.  Albuquerque, NM:  Fresco Fine Art Publications, Inc., 2003.

Verzuh, Valerie K. & Antonio R. Chavarria. Painting the Native World Life, Land and Animals. San Francisco, California: Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, 2009.

A near picture book, but with illustrations of some truly fresh examples, some by artists whose work I have not seen before. 

White, Mark Andrew, ed.  The James T. Bialac Native American Art Collections Selected Works.  Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 2012.

A beautiful tribute to one of the most generous donations of an American art collection to any museum in this country. Bialac gifted over 2000 paintings to a university to be hung throughout the university for all attending students to experience.

Wilmerding, John and Jeremy Strick.  Fritz Scholder Paintings and Monotypes.  Altadena, California:  Twin Palms Publishing, 2008. hardbound with large color illustrations.

Wyckoff, Lydia L., ed. Visions and Voices: Native American Painting from the Philbrook Museum of Art. Tulsa: Philbrook Museum of Art, 1996.

Extremely well chosen examples configured by the Philbrook Curator of Native American Art. It is inspiring to glance through and then personable to read as the artists explain how they came to paint.

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