John Nieto Original Painting titled “Sioux Chief”


+ Add to my watchlist Forward to Friend

John Nieto, Mescalero Apache / Hispanic artist

"Sioux Chief" is an original painting by John Nieto, an influential artist of Mescalero and Hispanic descent who passed away in 2018. This piece was completed in 1986, using acrylic paints on canvas.

Nieto's "Sioux Chief" stands tall in the center of the large canvas, with his massive, commanding headdress nearly reaching the upper edge. He is wrapped in a blanket, or perhaps a flag—many of Nieto's works incorporate American flags alongside Indigenous imagery, and the red, white, and blue stripes seen over the shoulders may be a subtle expression of this idea. Down below, and on the right side, the stripes' colors shift to purple and pink. That the transition is so smooth and the colors work so well together speaks to Nieto's keen eye for color.

Up above, brilliant green and orange tones appear, drawing the viewer's attention to the chief's face and headdress. His eyes are buried within slim black shadows, but other facial features appear in detail. Rather than using focused outlines or additional colors, Nieto composed the chief's face using careful applications of the blue and purple tones used down below, which makes the figure feel cohesive and somewhat natural despite the imaginative color palette. The composition is striking, and the masterful color choices elevate its power immeasurably.

Nieto placed his figure over a background of purple and pink. The pink tone occupies the upper quarter of the background, and the purple occupies the rest. A thin line of bright red separates the two background colors, and also links with a red line outlining the headdress, which communicates cohesion and unity between the chief and his surroundings. This is a beautifully conceived and brilliantly executed example of John Nieto's work.

The painting is signed Nieto in lower right. An additional signature, a date of 1986, and the title "Sioux Chief" appear on the back of the wooden frame.

John Nieto (1936-2018) was an artist of Mescalero Apache and Hispanic descent. Nieto was born in Colorado and eventually moved to New Mexico, where much of his family had lived for generations. The last fifteen years of his life were spent in Texas. Nieto's long list of accomplishments includes exhibiting work internationally, receiving the New Mexico Governor's Award for Achievement in the Arts, and having a painting displayed in the White House's Oval Office. Nieto passed away in 2018. Today, he is regarded as a significant and highly influential artist with a unique style.

Condition: excellent condition

Provenance: this John Nieto Original Painting titled "Sioux Chief" is  from the large collection of a New Mexico family, who purchased it in 1989

Recommended Reading: THE INDIANS OF THE GREAT PLAINS, 1981

TAGS: ApacheHispanic CultureNative American PaintingJohn Nieto

Close-up view of a section of this painting.



John Nieto, Mescalero Apache / Hispanic artist
C4766A-paint.jpgC4766A-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.