Original Painting of Elderly Diné Man by Beatien Yazz

C4462C-paint.jpg

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Beatien Yazz, Navajo Nation Painter
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Diné of the Navajo Nation
  • Medium: watercolor
  • Size:
    17-⅜” x 13-⅞” image;
    26-½” x 20-⅜” framed
  • Item # C4462C
  • Price: $1,050.00

This untitled watercolor painting was created by Diné artist Beatien Yazz.  For this piece, Yazz shifted his focus away from ceremonial scenes and animal imagery in favor of a sweet portrait of a Diné elder of the Navajo Nation.  While the primary subject is atypical, the painting’s basic composition—a cluster of forms representing the earth, a thin cloud formation with a bird nearby, no background—is classic Yazz.

Yazz’ elderly subject is depicted in profile.  He carries a tall cane, and wears the traditional clothing of the Diné.  A blue earring hangs from his ear.  Other than this, the man is all orange and brown, with thin black lines defining his details.  The special attention given to the intricacies is what makes this image unique.  Note the fine work in the man’s face and hands, the way his moccasins hang around his ankles, and his visibly aged hands—this is fine work by a skilled painter.  It all feels very specific, which makes us wonder who this elderly man was.  It certainly feels like an affectionate portrait of someone who was important to the artist.

Artist Signature - Beatien Yazz (1928-2012) Little No Shirt - Jimmy ToddyThe painting is signed B. Yazz in lower right.  It is framed under a brown mat in a wood frame.

Beatien Yazz (1928-2012) Little No Shirt (Jimmy Toddy) was a painter who was born in 1928 on the Navajo Reservation.  At an early age, Yazz met Bill and Sallie Lippincott, traders at Wide Ruins Trading Post. They recognized Yazz’s talent and made available to him scraps of paper and other equipment so that he might practice his artwork.  Alberta Hannum’s book Spin a Silver Dollar tells the story of the Lippincotts and the young Navajo boy they encouraged. The book was illustrated by the boy himself—Beatien Yazz. He served in the U.S. Marines in World War II and was a member of the famed Navajo Code Talkers. Following the war, he returned to the reservation and began to paint in earnest. He specialized in subjects familiar to him in his daily life on the reservation. He has been eminently popular with collectors since the 1950s.


Condition: excellent condition

Provenance: this Original Painting of Elderly Diné Man by Beatien Yazz is from the collection of a resident of New Mexico

Recommended Reading: YAZZ Navajo Painter by Wagner and Brody

Relative Links: Navajo ReservationSpin a Silver DollarPaint the WindpaintingsBeatien Yazz, Navajo Nation Painter

Close up view of the man.

Beatien Yazz, Navajo Nation Painter
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Diné of the Navajo Nation
  • Medium: watercolor
  • Size:
    17-⅜” x 13-⅞” image;
    26-½” x 20-⅜” framed
  • Item # C4462C
  • Price: $1,050.00

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