Indian Image

Media - 1973.151 - SAAM-1973.151_1 - 4471
Copied Fritz Scholder, Indian Image, 1972, acrylic on canvas, stretcher: 68 1880 in. (173.0203.2 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 1973.151

Artwork Details

Indian Image
Not on view
stretcher: 68 1880 in. (173.0203.2 cm.)
Credit Line
Gift of the artist
Mediums Description
acrylic on canvas
  • Indian
  • Equestrian
  • Landscape — plain
Object Number

Artwork Description

In the 1960s, Scholder helped invent a new Native American art, one that conveys the complexity of modern Native experience through a rich array of cultural sources and references. Enlivened by vivid color and energetic brushwork, his paintings of American Indians are pointedly contemporary in style, even when based -- as is Indian Image -- on a historical photograph. Scholder both did and did not identify as "Indian" (his ancestry was German, Luiseño, French, and English) and initially chose not to paint Native subjects, but changed his mind when confronted by "over-romanticized paintings of the 'noble savage'" prevalent in Southwestern art. When his students at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe began painting what he called "pop Indian themes," Scholder joined them, later noting that "[Indians] had never been painted honestly before, and nobody, certainly, had painted the Indian the way he is today.