Fritz Scholder “First Mystery” Stone Lithograph

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Fritz Scholder, Luiseño Indian Artist

“First Mystery” is a lithograph by Luiseño painter Fritz Scholder. The image, which was completed in 1982 at Tamarind Institute, features Egyptian imagery. Much of Scholder’s work could be described as “mysterious,” but this particular piece leans so heavily in that direction that the inclusion of the word in its title feels appropriate. Scholder had a way with enigmatic abstraction, creating images that feel at once dreamlike and tethered to the physical world. This piece is a fine example of that unique effect.

As far as materials go, Scholder kept it somewhat simple for this piece, using black and purple inks on light gray paper. A large rectangular form appears in black, with the paper’s light gray tone serving as a frame. Hieroglyphs appear near the top of the black block; a shadowed pyramid form cuts through the black down below. Vertical lines in brilliant purple appear along the edges of the black form, providing a touch of energetic color to the otherwise dark image.

Artist Signature of Fritz Scholder, Luiseño Indian PainterThe original print is signed Scholder in lower right and numbered “11/50” in lower left. It is marked with the chop marks of the artist, printer, and print shop.  It is unframed.

Fritz Scholder (1937-2005) was by birth one-quarter Luiseño Indian, a California Mission Tribe. He was born in Minnesota, spent two decades in the Dakotas, and lived in Galisteo, NM, and Scottsdale, AZ.  Scholder came to Santa Fe in 1964 to teach advanced painting and art history at the new Institute of American Indian Arts, a school established by the United States Department of the Interior. He obtained a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Arizona in 1964 before moving to Santa Fe and joining IAIA.  Scholder enjoyed a long and successful career and is regarded today as one of the most innovative and influential Native artists.


Condition: excellent condition

Provenance: this Fritz Scholder "First Mystery" Stone Lithograph is from a private Santa Fe collection

Reference: Fritz Scholder Lithographs Text by Clinton Adams

TAGS: Luiseño Indian, a California Mission TribeSanta FepaintingslithographsAlbuquerqueFritz Scholder, Luiseño Indian Painter

Close up view of a section off this lithograph.