Original Painting of Horse and Yei Figure by Robert Chee [SOLD]

C4404-paint.jpg

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Robert Chee, Navajo Painter
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Diné of the Navajo Nation
  • Medium: watercolor
  • Size:
    18-½” x 14” image;
    27-¾” x 23-¾” framed
  • Item # C4404
  • SOLD

This charming Diné painting was made by Robert Chee.  Chee’s life was very short, but the frequency with which his works come to us suggests that he was quite prolific.  His paintings have been quite popular with our clientele, and we’re always happy to handle them.  Chee’s paintings are classic Diné images in every way, and they possess a unique charm that remains consistent throughout his body of work.  This piece, which is larger than those we’ve seen in the past, is particularly enchanting.

This painting takes one of Robert Chee and his peers’ favorite subjects and blows it up into a larger scale.  It features a pony bounding along the arid hills of the Navajo Nation.  The pony is expertly crafted and full of personality.  As far as its surroundings go, little in the way of detail is included, which is exactly what we expect of a work in this style.  The hill is covered in rocks and plants, and a few small formations are visible in the distance.  A single cloud is visible behind the pony, and a Yei figure passes overhead.  Chee’s color palette is minimal, and this restraint serves the image well.  It’s black and white, essentially, with touches of various shades of gray.  Chee’s work with this Diné pony is delightful.

Artist Signature - Robert Chee, Hashke-Yil-e-CaleThe painting is signed Robert Chee in lower right.  It is framed under a wide white mat in a simple wood frame.

Robert Chee (1937-1971) Hashke-Yil-e-Cale was a Diné painter whose life and career were, unfortunately, very short. Chee's mother recognized his talent and enrolled him at Brigham, Utah's Inter-Mountain School. There, he studied with famous Apache artist Allan Houser.  He was in the military from 1958 to 1961, and was actively creating art then, too, painting murals in Army facilities in Germany. Chee's paintings are almost always in keeping with the traditional Diné style, which had already been made recognizable by artists like Harrison Begay, Quincy Tahoma, and Gerald Nailor. The influence of these predecessors is clear in his paintings, particularly in his subjects' faces. The fine lines and incredible detail for which the pioneering Diné painters are rightfully celebrated is present in Chee's strongest works. Chee died in 1971, at just 34 years old.

Condition: excellent condition

Provenance: this Original Painting of Horse and Yei Figure by Robert Chee is from a private Colorado collection

Recommended Reading: Southwest Indian Painting: a changing art by Clara Lee Tanner

Relative Links: DinéNavajoAllan HouserApacheNative American PaintingsRobert Chee

Close up view of the section of the painting that shows the Yei figure.
Robert Chee, Navajo Painter
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Diné of the Navajo Nation
  • Medium: watercolor
  • Size:
    18-½” x 14” image;
    27-¾” x 23-¾” framed
  • Item # C4404
  • SOLD

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