Navajo Painting of a Proud Horse “King of The Wild” by Quincy Tahoma [SOLD]

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Quincy Tahoma, Navajo Painter
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Medium: watercolor paints
  • Size:
    9-1/2” x 7-1/8” image;
    17-½” x 14” framed
  • Item # C4066B
  • SOLD

Quincy Tahoma was a talented Navajo painter who was initially educated in the arts by Dorothy Dunn at the Santa Fe Indian School (The Studio).  Alongside fellow Navajo painters like Harrison Begay and Gerald Nailor, Tahoma learned to create simple, boldly-colored watercolor paintings that depicted Native life and religious rituals.  These artists’ subjects were usually pictured in profile and with little background or ground plane. These “flat-style” or “studio style” paintings were and still are popular with collectors of Native American Art.

Quincy Tahoma, a naturally gifted artist, evolved quickly as a painter.  His earlier works focused mostly on everyday Navajo life—the scenes he witnessed every day during his childhood. As he grew older and more technically adept, he focused his attention on more complicated scenes. Many of his best images feature muscular Navajo hunters clashing with their surroundings. His works are full of movement and action, but rarely feel violent or indulgent. Tahoma’s life and career were, unfortunately, cut short by alcoholism. He passed away in 1956 at age 39. Fortunately for those who appreciate his works, he was very prolific and left behind a large body of work.

With this painting, Quincy Tahoma (1917-1956) eschewed the action in favor of a quiet, serene image: a horse, pictured in profile.  With one leg lifted off the ground, it appears to be moving along at a leisurely pace. Tahoma’s line work—particularly in the horse’s muzzle and feet, which require more attention to appear realistic—is remarkably detailed, as is expected of his works from this period.  Behind the horse, a blue sparrow circles up, away from, and back towards the ground, drawing behind it a rainbow. In keeping with the style taught to the artist at the Santa Fe Indian School, there is no detailed or elaborate ground plane or back ground. Instead, he included just a single shrub sitting atop a short pair of lines.

Tahoma included, as per his usual, a small image above the signature that informs the viewer of what will happen next.  Here, we see the horse in full stride.  The painting is signed and dated 1942.  Quincy Tahoma titled and signed his name on verso—”King of The Wild” by Quincy Tahoma, Indian School, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Tahoma included, as per his usual, a small image above the signature that informs the viewer of what will happen next.  Here, we see the horse in full stride. The painting is placed underneath a matte which matches the paper’s color, inside a beautifully carved wooden frame, probably the original frame made at the Santa Fe Indian School wood shop.


Condition: this Navajo Painting of a Proud Horse “King of The Wild” by Quincy Tahoma is in very good condition

Provenance: from the collection of a New Jersey resident

Recommended Reading: Quincy Tahoma: The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist by Havens and Badertscher.

Relative Links: NavajoNative American PaintingsQuincy TahomaDorothy DunnHarrison BegayGerald Nailor

Close up view of the yellow horse.

Quincy Tahoma, Navajo Painter
  • Category: Paintings
  • Origin: Diné - Navajo Nation
  • Medium: watercolor paints
  • Size:
    9-1/2” x 7-1/8” image;
    17-½” x 14” framed
  • Item # C4066B
  • SOLD

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