Navajo Painting of Fawn Playing in Snow by Robert Chee

C4534C-paint.jpg

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Robert Chee, Diné Painter
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Diné of the Navajo Nation
  • Medium: casein
  • Size:
    9-½” x 7-½” image;
    15-½” x 12-½” framed
  • Item # C4534C
  • Price: $650

This original painting was created by Diné of the Navajo Nation artist Robert Chee.  It is a skillfully composed depiction of a fawn playing in a light snowstorm.  The fawn bounds along with its mouth open and its tongue hanging out, clearly enjoying the weather as it reaches the top of a small hill.  A snow-covered tree emerges up into the blue sky, which is decorated with wavy streaks of snow and wind.

Chee’s work is reliably stylish and attractive.  Here, he leans more toward realism than usual, leaving out the decorative elements and stylized touches that often hover around the edges of his images.  The white-over-blue color scheme shows hints of that style, though, and the rocks and plants peeking through the snow are reminiscent of those seen in the works of earlier Diné painters.  This is a beautiful image from a talented painter.

Artist Signature of Robert Chee, Navajo PainterThe painting is signed R. Chee in lower right.  It is framed under plexiglass and two layers of mat board, in a 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 Navajo Painting of Fawn Playing in Snow by Robert Chee is from a private New Mexico collection

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

Relative Links: Diné of the Navajo NationAllan HouserApacheNative American PaintingsRobert Chee, Diné Painter

Close up view of the deer.

Robert Chee, Diné Painter
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Diné of the Navajo Nation
  • Medium: casein
  • Size:
    9-½” x 7-½” image;
    15-½” x 12-½” framed
  • Item # C4534C
  • Price: $650

C4534C-paint.jpgC4534C-large.jpg Click on image to view larger.