Diné Mother and Her Children by Navajo Painter Harrison Begay

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Harrison Begay, Navajo Painter
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Medium: opaque watercolor
  • Size:
    13” x 9-½” image;
    21” x 17-⅛” framed
  • Item # C4148E
  • Price: $750.00

Navajo artist Harrison Begay always painted with soft pastel colors, never anything bright or garish. This painting is of a Diné mother holding her infant who is safely secured in a traditional Diné cradleboard.  Her daughter accompanies her mother on her errand.

Dorothy Dunn stated that he never painted from models but always from memory. He set an imaginary frame to enclose the family by using a white zigzag line as an inner boundary.  Above them he has billowing white clouds with a rainbow arching between them. His traditional inclusion of blue birds was not overlooked by the artist.

Diné painter Harrison Begay (1914-2012) Haashké yah Níyá - The Wandering Boy was one of the most well-known students of the Santa Fe Indian School, where he was educated from 1934 to 1940.  He received a great deal of international acclaim during his long career, and was one of the first Native American artists to support himself financially with his artwork. Begay enjoyed a long career as a prolific creator of “flat-style” watercolor paintings, celebrating beauty and serenity with a warm and inviting color palette.

Begay always painted with soft pastel colors, never anything bright or garrish. Dorothy Dunn stated that he never painted from models but always from memory. He set an imaginary frame to enclose the family by using a white zigzag line as an inner boundary.  Above them he has billowing white clouds with a rainbow arching between them.  The traditional inclusion of blue birds was not overlooked by the artist.

“Extreme delicacy becomes uppermost in this artist’s works with lines so fine that it seems impossible that they could have been made with a brush.  Coupled with this are the keen powers of observation of which the Indian has more than his share. In Begay’s work there is often the disciplined balance between the heavy formalities of inherited tradition and a warm realish which developed within a very short span of years.

Artist Signature - Harrison Begay (1914-2012) Haashké yah Níyá - The Wandering Boy“Begay evolved a style that is essentially his own, a style which influenced others, but which has not been equaled in perfection by any of those he has so greatly affected.  Lines that breathe rhythm; clean, cool, and sensitive coloring; a gentleness of figure; peace and calm throughout, from facial expression to composition; impeccable drawing, the best in Navajo art; simplicity coupled with realistic detail; few and conventional plant forms or other background effects; harmony and serenity—these and other more elusive traits and qualities are combined in the inimitable Begay manner.” Tanner 1973

Note: when we say Diné, as opposed to Navaho or Navajo, we are referring to the people and not the government.  Since 1969, their government refers to itself as the Navajo Nation


Condition: this Diné Mother and Her Children by Navajo Painter Harrison Begay is in excellent original condition.  

Provenance: from the estate of an extensive Native American painting collection of a gentleman from New York

Reference:

Tanner, Clara Lee. Southwest Indian Painting: a changing art

Dunn, Dorothy. American Indian Painting of the Southwest and Plains Areas

Relative Links: Diné - Navajo NationNative American PaintingsHarrison BegayDorothy DunnClara Lee Tanner

Harrison Begay, Navajo Painter
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Medium: opaque watercolor
  • Size:
    13” x 9-½” image;
    21” x 17-⅛” framed
  • Item # C4148E
  • Price: $750.00

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