Indian and Contemporary Chair

Media - 1983.111 - SAAM-1983.111_1 - 68222
Copied Fritz Scholder, Indian and Contemporary Chair, 1970, oil on linen, 6047 in. (152.4119.4 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Judge and Mrs. Oliver Seth, 1983.111, © 1983, Fritz Scholder

Artwork Details

Indian and Contemporary Chair
6047 in. (152.4119.4 cm.)
lower left in oil: Scholder stretcher upper right in felt-tipped pen and ink: INDIAN AND CONTEMPORARY CHAIR/Scholder
© 1983, Fritz Scholder
Credit Line
Gift of Judge and Mrs. Oliver Seth
Mediums Description
oil on linen
  • Figure
  • Figure male
  • Figure
  • Animal — dog
  • Indian
  • Dress — Indian dress
  • Object — furniture — chair
Object Number

Artwork Description

Throughout his life, Fritz Scholder struggled with his dual identity as a Native American and white man. He rejected the label of "American Indian artist" and instead found his inspiration in mid-twentieth century artists such as Wayne Thiebaud. Later in his career, Scholder began creating images of Indigenous people in direct response to what he perceived as the "over-romanticized paintings of the 'noble savage.'" In the past, white artists have often depicted Indigenous subjects in natural settings, grounding their identity within the landscape. In Indian and Contemporary Chair, Scholder's choice to place his subject indoors, in a mid-century modern chair, undercuts stereotypes that confine Native people to nostalgic landscapes, and points to the complexities of living in a modern world.

Many Wests: Artists Shape an American Idea, 2023