Original Navajo Painting of Young Diné Women by Harrison Begay [SOLD]

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Harrison Begay, Navajo Painter
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Medium: Watercolor
  • Size:
    10-1/4” x 9-7/8” image;
    16-5/8” x 16-1/4” framed
  • Item # 26163
  • SOLD

Harrison Begay is rightfully recognized as one of the most influential Diné painters, and this painting of two Diné young women illustrates why he’s so highly regarded.  His work here is exceptionally detailed, with thin, graceful lines defining his subjects’ frames. Two women sit on a blanket, facing one another, preparing perhaps to show and explain the Diné rug hanging behind them.  The young girl on the left appears to be helping her younger sibling get dressed in traditional Diné clothing. The jug in the center is a water jar. There is a ladle in the one basket and an extra concha belt in the other one.

Behind the women the massive Navajo textile is hanging over a rod, but is not on a loom, so it has been finished and is perhaps for sale.  It’s a pleasant arrangement, made even more appealing by Begay’s typically soft color palette. His use of color stands out in this image. Begay’s human subjects, positioned in the center of the image, wear strong green and blue.  Behind and around them, the colors are softer and more muted, effectively directing the viewer’s attention towards the girls.

Harrison Begay (1917-2012) was a world-renowned Diné (Navajo) painter who is generally regarded as one of the most successful and influential early Native American painters.  Begay studied under Dorothy Dunn at the Santa Fe Indian School in the 1930s, and then attended colleges in North Carolina and Arizona. From 1942 to 1945, he served in the US Army Signal Corps.  In 1947, Begay returned to the Navajo reservation, where he enjoyed a long and productive career as a painter. He is known to have continued painting into his 90s. Begay passed away in 2012.

Harrison Begay (1917-2012) Haashké yah Níyá - The Wandering Boy, Navajo artistThe painting is signed “Harrison Begay” in lower right. That his Diné name is not painted in the lower left is an indication that it is an early painting, perhaps as early as the 1940s.   It is placed underneath two layers of matting in complementary soft tones. The off-white, carved wood frame fits the image very well.



Condition: this Original Navajo Painting of Young Diné Women by Harrison Begay is in excellent condition

Provenance: from the personal collection of Diné artist Tony Abeyta

Recommended Reading: Southwest Indian Painting: A Changing Art by Clara Lee Tanner

Relative Links: NavajoNative American Paintings, Harrison Begay, Navajo Textiles and Rugs

Close up view of a section of this painting.

Harrison Begay, Navajo Painter
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Medium: Watercolor
  • Size:
    10-1/4” x 9-7/8” image;
    16-5/8” x 16-1/4” framed
  • Item # 26163
  • SOLD

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